20 Awesome Shore Excursions in Alaska
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Are you taking an Alaska cruise or planning a trip to Alaska using the ferry? Being on a boat is an amazing experience on its own but the shore excursions will make your trip even more incredible.
Alaska is a land of breathtaking beauty and wild adventures. If you only have brief stops at each destination you’ll want to make the most of your time and book amazing shore excursions.
Alaska Shore Excursions: Awesome Things To Do in Alaska
Your cruise ship might have a range of excursions and activities for passengers but maybe you’d prefer to escape the crowds and do something with a smaller group or work with a local tour guide.
Here are 20 awesome Alaska shore excursions for a range of interests. They are organized by popular ports for your convenience.
Ketchikan Shore Excursions
Ketchikan City Tour: take a cultural tour of Ketchikan and explore two totem pole parks in the area. Learn about the culture and heritage of the Haida and Tlingit native peoples.
Ketchikan Seaplane Ride: see the town and harbor of Ketchikan from the air on a seaplane tour. This short tour is a great way to get oriented to the city and get a different perspective.
Ketchikan Zipline Adventure: this exciting zipline tour in Tongass National Forest will have you soaring through an Alaskan rainforest canopy. See bears eating salmon and fly past bald eagles high above the ground.
Ketchikan Kayaking Tour: paddle your canoe following a guide along Ketchikan Creek and across the Tongass Narrows, to explore the surrounding islands where bald eagles nest in the forest and colorful inter-tidal creatures inhabit the shore.
Juneau Shore Excursions
Alaska Beer Tasting Experience: indulge in a beer tasting at Alaskan Brewing Company. Learn about the history of the brewery and beer brewing in Alaska.
Whale Watching & Salmon Bake: take a jet boat on Auke Bay to see humpback whales. You’ll also spot porpoises, sea lions and eagles plus beautiful scenery.
Pack Creek Bear Viewing Adventure: visit this protected wildlife area by taking a floatplane then kayaking through Windfall Harbor. Watch brown bears catching salmon on the river and frolicking in the fields.
Mendenhall Glacier Shuttle: would you like to visit Mendenhall Glacier? Take this quick and easy shuttle to get there and back from the cruise port.
Skagway Shore Excursions
White Pass Summit & Skagway Tour: meet your guide in the heart of downtown Skagway and begin your tour on the city streets. Drive by the wooden facades of historic buildings as your guide shares tales of the gold-diggers and prospectors, plus the brothels and saloons that prospered on the frontier. Then head out on the Klondike Highway to see the mountains and forests along the White Pass.
Chilkoot Lake Kayak Tour: take a high speed ferry from Skagway to Haines, then kayak with your guides on Chilkoot Lake. You’ll see waterfalls, glaciated peaks and abundant wildlife as you paddle your single or double kayak.
Chilkoot Hike and Float Trip: take a two mile hike with a guide through temperate rainforest then climb aboard a rubber raft for a relaxed and scenic float down the Taiya River.
Inside Passage Sea Kayaking: catch the high speed ferry from Skagway to Haines then paddle Alaska’s Inside Passage, exploring the dramatic coast lined with towering peaks. Watch for bald eagles, moose, and whales as you paddle a 2-person kayak, then come to shore for a picnic on an Alaskan beach.
Anchorage Shore Excursions
Railroad Experience and Craft Beer Tour: discover some of Alaska’s finest brews on this beer adventure to Talkeetna on the train. Ride the rails through the Chugach Mountains to this historic mountain town, stopping off at award-winning breweries and locally loved tap houses on the return trip to Anchorage.
Turnagain Arm Tour: set off from Anchorage driving along the shores of Turnagain Arm into Portage Valley and the wilderness of Chugach National Forest. After gazing at the scenery, arrive on the shores of Portage Lake for a boat tour. After the boat ride, visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center before making your way back to Anchorage.
Matanuska Glacier Hike: walk across the icy expanse of the Matanuska Glacier on this exciting guided hike. You’ll don crampons and hiking poles to keep your balance on this fantastic adventure.
Anchorage Bike and Brewery Tour: don your helmet and hop on a bike for a ride on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. After exploring by bicycle you’ll stop at three local breweries to taste their beer and learn about their operations.
Chugach Mountains & Glacier Helicopter Landing: make your way to Girdwood from Anchorage to catch a helicopter ride over the Chugach Mountains to land on Colony Glacier.
Sitka Shore Excursions
Sitka Whale Watching Tour: sail a catamaran in Glacier Bay on this whale-watching tour from Sitka. Watch for gray whales, humpbacks, porpoises and seals on a small group adventure.
Alaska Wildlife by Land & Sea: hop aboard a catamaran and watch for whales, otters, porpoises and birds. Then explore Sitka’s attractions in a passenger van top attractions, like Sitka National Historical Park, Japonski Island and Fortress of the Bear, a habitat for rescued brown bears.
Sightseeing Tour of Fortress of the Bear & Totem Poles: see rescued bears at Fortress of the Bear, and take in the stunning scenery of Sitka National Historical Park and admire the impressive totem poles.
Alaska Overland Tours
Will you be combining your cruise with overland adventures on the Alaska Railway or visiting Denali National Park? If so, here are a few activities you might want to consider.
Arctic Circle Adventure: start the day in Fairbanks and head north toward the Arctic Circle. View wildlife and interior Alaska including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and ice road truckers.
Alaskan Heritage Tour: enjoy an immersive experience of Alaska’s history and culture on this half-day Fairbanks tour
Chena Resort and Hot Springs: spend the evening soaking in the geothermal springs at the historic Chena Resort.
Denali Flightseeing Tour: soar high over ancient glaciers and take in the beauty of Alaska’s wild landscapes on a sightseeing flight over Denali National Park.
Denali River Rafting: explore scenic waterways full of wildlife on a raft on the Denali River.
Denali Backcountry Safari: hop aboard a rugged 4-wheel drive safari transport vehicle and head off on a spectacular off-road journey into Denali’s backcountry.
Lake Byers Kayaking Tour: enjoy the beauty and serenity of Denali State Park as you kayak through the tranquil waters of Byers Lake.
Alaska Cruise Transfers
Need to get from the ship to your hotel or to the airport? Check out these handy Alaska cruise transfer services:
Whittier – Anchorage Transfer & sightseeing: need to get from Whittier to Anchorage before or after your cruise? Take this customizable sightseeing ride with your private group and experience the sights of Turnagain Arm including Bird Point and Portage Lake.
Whittier – Anchorage Shuttle Transfer: if you aren’t traveling with a group and just need to get between Whittier and Anchorage while seeing some sights along the way, book this less expensive shuttle transfer.
Flight to Denali National Park: save time on the road and fly between Anchorage, Talkeetna, Fairbanks or another city to and from Denali National Park on a fixed wing private aircraft.
Anchorage to Seward Transfer: start your cruising adventure in style and avoid the crowds on the cruise company’s buses by opting for a small-group ride from Anchorage to Seward. Turn your transfer into a tour and make the most of the drive, stopping at Portage Glacier and to see the northern critters at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
I hope you found a fun Alaska shore excursion from this list. Have a wonderful time in Alaska on your adventure!
What is the best month to cruise Alaska? The cruise season runs from April to September. Most people take a cruise in the summer months, June through August.
What are common Alaska ports of call for cruise ships? Poplar ports of call include Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Homer, Kodiak, Haines and Anchorage. If you take the ferry you might stop at smaller ports of call too.
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