Are you looking to learn about Ketchikan Excursions? Ketchikan, Alaska is one of the most common stops made by cruise ships that travel through the inside passage of Alaska. While you could easily spend a week enjoying all Ketchikan has to offer, most ships are there for just one day. In order to make the most of your time, you should plan ahead.
If you are arriving in Ketchikan on a cruise ship, the cruise ship company will provide many shore excursion options. You can reserve these in advance or choose what to do once you start your cruise. You can also wait until you get to port and step on shore. There are many tour companies at the visitor’s center to choose from.
Two of the best things to do in Ketchikan are see the bears and fly to the Misty Fjords National Monument. The most reliable way to see bears is to take a tour. The only way to see Misty fjords National Monument is to fly or boat there. These are popular adventures and should be advance of arriving. There are a limited number of seats available on the planes. When we were there the trips sold out.
If you are in town from July through September, look for bears where the salmon are. They can be found reliably at the fish hatchery at Herring Cove 10 miles from town or at Neets Bay by floatplane.
We loved our flight and visit to Neets Bay. We watched a couple bears fish for salmon for an hour and a half. We were very, very close to the bears. They are very used to the tourists watching them and too busy fishing for Salmon to pay attention to the humans. We had plenty of time to set up a tripod and watch. While we were there we saw three or four black bears move through the area. More information about float plane tours.
We also took a tour to see the bears at Herring Cove. We went there twice, and both times the bears stayed close to the forest, on private property and far from the road. We went in the morning each time and saw a couple of bears for a few minutes. The tours only stay 20 minutes or so even if the bears are there. It was not a great experience.
You can also go to Neets bay on a boat. The boat captain will look for bears and other wildlife on the trip so that you will have an opportunity to take pictures and video. Note that the boat will not stop to let you out on shore.
Misty Fjords National Monument is awe-inspiring. The sheer granite cliffs rise out of the water dramatically. That is not an exaggeration! When we visited in August, the mountaintops were dotted snow, with the greenest vegetation and the whitest mountain goats. The sky was a deep blue, and there were scattered, beautiful clouds. To top it off, the floatplane pilot was playing lovely background music in between his narration.
Misty Fjords can be reached by boat or plane. The cruise ships offer both options. It takes longer to go by boat of course, but you may see whales and ocean wildlife along the way. We went by plane with Promech, which I highly recommend.
It rains around 154 inches a year in Ketchikan, so if it is a clear or partly clear day and you are on the fence about taking a floatplane tour, do it! Misty Fjords was the highlight of our ten-day Alaska vacation.
For some family entertainment, get tickets to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. It is located next to the dock in Ketchikan. We didn’t attend it, but we could hear the cheering crowd, laughter, and oohs and aahs. You can walk over and buy tickets on the spot.
Although we didn’t try any, there are a number of companies that offer whale watching, kayaking, boating, and snorkeling activities in Ketchikan. However, there didn’t seem to be any way to rent kayaks on your own, and the place that people snorkel is pretty far from town, so if you want to snorkel it is best to do it with the tour operator – Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure.
Mountain Point Snorkeling provides a wetsuit with hood, boots and gloves. They provide complete instruction, in-water supervision and entertaining narrative. They also provide transportation to and from the ship.
There are two Totem parks in Ketchikan: Totem Bight State Historical Park and Saxman Native Village Totem Pole Park. We liked the Totem Bight State Historical Park better as it is larger and located in a prettier setting. You can also go inside a traditional Clan House to get a feel for what it would be like to live there. The Saxman Native Village Totem Pole Park is small and doesn’t take very long to look around, and it is a common stop for the tours. The city bus goes to both parks, so you don’t need to take a paid tour.
We did not take the Duck Tour. If for some reason the people in your group can’t walk around the little town of Ketchikan themselves, then this might be a good activity. This colorful amphibian will take you on a 90 minute tour through both the streets of Ketchikan as well as a boat ride along the Tongass Narrows and harbor front in Ketchikan. Keep in mind that the city bus provides transportation around town for $1.
The Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary offers a number of activities including:
Ziplining, a crab feast, and a short hike to do bear viewing. If you look at the cruise ship selection of activities there are actually quite a few that take you to the sanctuary. They offer a variety of activities for different price points.
While most people at Herring Cove don’t get a very good view of the creek and therefore the bears, the view from the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary is pretty good. The tour guides did appear to let people stop and take photos for a short while. There wasn’t time to set up a tripod and really get some good shots.
It is not too late to book a 214 Alaska Cruise and Alaska Cruise Prices are some of the best cruise prices around. Some of the lowest priced and highest priced rooms are sold out, so there isn’t a lot of time. If you want more information on any of these cruises, just email us and we can answer your questions and book your cruise.