When planning a trip to the last frontier – one rule should be set: Don’t skimp on Ketchikan shore excursions. No one cruises to Alaska to lie on the deck of a cruise ship and take in sun.
Ketchikan, Alaska is the first civilized town in Alaska for cruise passengers heading North. While the dockside and surrounding areas offer sights and activities, the real beauty lies just beyond the cruise pier.
If you’re going to stick close to the pier than my recommendation would be starting at the Visitors Center located at the cruise pier. If you want a little more excitement and exploration in your Ketchikan cruise stop, consider these sights and popular Ketchikan shore excursions:
Crab Feast and Flightseeing
The Crab Feast and Flightseeing shore excursion give you good eats and great views. There is nothing cooler than boarding a flightseeing plane, flying for 30-minutes and landing at George Inlet Lodge for some an amazing crab feast, pulled straight from the waters. On the flight back you’ll get a guided tour over the Tongass National Forest before landing on one of the busiest seaplane landing areas, which happens to be right in front of your cruise ship. A great aerial photo opportunity!
Misty Fjords Flightseeing
The Misty Fjords National Monument is located 35-miles outside of Ketchikan and completely untouched. Views of the snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, copious amounts of wildlife and stunning waterfalls will take your breath away. And when you choose the Misty Fjords Flightseeing excursion, all of this is fully narrated by your pilot and tour guide through your aviation headsets that give you the chance to talk back to the pilot.
Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour
You may have only heard of the Bering Sea from the television show Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel, but venture on the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour excursion and you’ll have a chance to go out in the crabbing vessel Aleutian Ballad, the only licensed crabbing boat allowed to carry leisure passengers. You’ll be able to sit on the heated sidelines and see what it’s like in a day in the life of a professional crabber.
Zipling in the Rain Forest
When you think of the rain forest, your mind may go straight to Central or South America, but did you know there is an amazing rain forest just outside of Ketchikan? Experience the rainforest in a different way – like the wildlife – between eight zip lines ranging from 100- to 850-feet long. The Ketchikan Zipline Adventure Park is an thrilling place to see a different side of Alaska!
Salmon Fishing Adventure
If you feel like testing your luck with Alaska Salmon, this one is for you. I mean, Alaska is the Salmon Capital of the World. Did you know there are five types of salmon in Alaska: chum, sockeye, king, silver and pink? When you head out in your chartered Alaska salmon fishing boat (with not more than six guests!) you have the chance to catch one first hand. Catch and release or keep and ship home, it’s your call!
- One thing Alaska is known for in the summer months is rain, so you’ll want to expect the wet stuff. Consider picking up a throw-over rain slicker that you can put in your bag before heading out on your Ketchikan shore excursions.
- Dress in layers. Just because it’s the middle of the summer doesn’t mean that it’s going to be 80 degrees in Alaska during the day. The early mornings can start off in the 40-50s while the daytime highs reach only the lower 70s.
- Remember that Alaska is once-in-a-lifetime trip. You’ve invested a lot of money into your cruise vacation, so be open to try new adventures. There is far more to Alaska once you step off the cruise pier.