22 Things to Do in Ketchikan From Cruise Ship

Are you getting pumped for your upcoming cruise to Ketchikan? Well, buckle up because we’ve got a list of 22 things you’re going to want to do once that ship docks.

From exploring the local boutiques to getting up close and personal with some Alaskan wildlife, we’ve got you covered.

Grab your camera and your sense of adventure because Ketchikan is about to show you a whale of a good time.

Let’s set sail on this journey and discover all that this charming Alaskan town has to offer!

1. Watch the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan is the perfect combination of rip-roaring entertainment and mouthwatering cuisine.

Watch world-class lumberjacks compete in thrilling events like log rolling, axe throwing, and pole climbing.

Then, dig into an all-you-can-eat crab feast featuring the freshest Dungeness crab in town.

It’s the ultimate Alaskan experience that will leave you shouting “timber!” with a full belly.

Creek Street in Ketchikan Alaska
Creek Street in Ketchikan Alaska

2. Visit Colorful Creek Street

Step off your cruise ship and immerse yourself in the charming atmosphere of Creek Street!

Just a short walk from the terminal, this historical boardwalk is a vibrant mix of quaint shops and colorful buildings.

As you stroll along the picturesque street, feel the essence of Ketchikan’s rich history humming beneath your feet.

Shop for unique Alaskan souvenirs and indulge in the local atmosphere. Venture further and discover the salmon ladders, and maybe even embark on the legendary Married Man’s trail.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this delightful gem during your cruise stop in Ketchikan.

3. Ketchikan Duck Tour

You won’t want to miss the Ketchikan Duck Tour, an unforgettable 90-minute experience that’s part bus, part boat, and a whole lot of fun.

As you board the quirky, amphibious duck vehicle, prepare to be entertained by your hilarious guide.

Brace yourself for a rollercoaster of laughter as your guide showers you with entertaining stories, witty commentary, and fascinating trivia.

They’ll lead you through the charming, rustic streets of Ketchikan before making a splash into the harbor for breathtaking views of Alaska’s First City.

4. Grab a Burger at Burger Queen

When you disembark from your cruise ship and find yourself craving a delicious bite in Ketchikan, make your way to Burger Queen.

Located in the heart of downtown Ketchikan, it’s a perfect opportunity to mingle with the locals.

Don’t miss out on their famous Halibut Burger, which has received rave reviews from past visitors.

As you sink your teeth into this delightful treat, you’ll know you’ve made the right decision.

Whale Watching and Wildlife viewing tour Ketchikan
Whale Watching Photo by Viator

5. Go Whale & Wildlife Watching

Marvel at majestic humpback and orca whales frolicking in their natural habitat while your knowledgeable guide shares fascinating facts about these gentle giants on this wildlife tour.

Keep your eyes peeled for other Alaskan wildlife, like bears, eagles, and seals, as you explore the pristine coastline.

This is an exhilarating and educational experience that will have you singing to Alaska’s captivating marine life.

6. Tidepool Snorkeling

Imagine plunging into the refreshing waters of Ketchikan, surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty as you embark on a one-of-a-kind adventure!

This snorkeling tour offers you this thrilling opportunity to explore the pristine underwater world of the Inside Passage.

Don’t worry about the chilly Alaskan waters; you’ll be outfitted in top-of-the-line gear, including full wetsuits to keep you warm and toasty in the water.

As you glide through the crystal-clear waters, marvel at the fascinating marine life that calls this place home.

7. Saxman Native Village

Step into a world filled with rich cultural heritage and fascinating history at Saxman Native Village – a charming little town near Ketchikan, which boosts a population of only about 400 people!

As you stroll through the village, be enchanted by the 24 magnificent totem poles, each narrating a captivating story of its own.

And don’t miss the mesmerizing native dance performances that will leave you spellbound.

Totem Poles Near Saxman Tribal House
Totem Poles Near Saxman Tribal House

8. Shop at the Local Stores

Stroll down Mission Street and immerse yourself in the eclectic mix of independently-owned stores. You’ll find everything from local craftsmen and artists to candy stores and gift shops.

Feel the excitement as you uncover one-of-a-kind treasures in the vibrant atmosphere of Ketchikan’s shopping scene.

Don’t forget to explore Creek Street, another great hub for unique shopping. Discover stunning local arts and crafts like hand-carved totem poles that make perfect souvenirs or gifts for loved ones back home.

9. Go on a Photography Tour

Embark on a 3-hour photo tour in Ketchikan, venturing off the beaten path to capture the raw beauty of Alaska’s wilderness.

Led by a local photography enthusiast, you’ll explore hidden gems and snap breathtaking shots of waterfalls, wildlife, and lush forests.

Discover the secrets of great nature photography while immersing yourself in Ketchikan’s awe-inspiring scenery.

10. Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest offers a magical experience as you wander through its lush landscape.

During your visit, you can’t miss embarking on some of the 700 miles of trails like the Deer Mountain and Rainbird trails.

With astonishing views and captivating wildlife encounters, it’s bound to leave you speechless.

In short, your time in Tongass National Forest will be nothing short of extraordinary. Get ready to be amazed and let your inner explorer run wild!

ziplining in ketchikan
ziplining in ketchikan

11. Fly Through the Rainforest

Get ready to unleash your inner Tarzan or Jane on this exhilarating rainforest canopy zipline escapade!

This high-flying adventure takes you soaring through the lush Alaskan rainforest, where you’ll experience breathtaking views and heart-pumping thrills.

The expert guides will ensure your safety and fun as you swing, zip, and laugh your way from tree to tree.

Embrace the child within and enjoy an unforgettable day in nature’s playground!

12. Dolly’s House Museum

As you explore Ketchikan, don’t miss out on an intriguing piece of history at Dolly’s House Museum.

Nestled within the famous red light district, this attraction transports you back in time, offering a glimpse into the life of Dolly Arthur, Ketchikan’s most well-known madam.

Step onto the wooden sidewalks of Creek Street and make your way to this lovingly preserved house.

You’ll be amazed by the authentic artifacts and personal belongings on display, telling the story of Dolly’s fascinating life and the adventurous spirit of Ketchikan.

13. Go Off-Roading

Rev your engines, adventure-seekers, this off-road tour is calling your name.

Buckle up and navigate the rugged terrain of Ketchikan’s backcountry in a sporty, 4-wheel-drive UTV.

Traverse muddy trails, splash through puddles, and climb steep inclines, all while surrounded by the pristine Alaskan wilderness.

The experienced guides will lead the way, sharing insider knowledge and ensuring your safety.

Totem Bight Park and Ketchikan City Tour
Totem Bight Park and Ketchikan City Tour Photo by Viator

14. Totem Bight State Historical Park

Unleash your inner history buff at the mesmerizing Totem Bight State Historical Park.

Wander through enchanting trails, marvel at the grandiose totem poles, and learn about the fascinating Tlingit and Haida cultures.

Nestled within a lush Alaskan rainforest, this captivating park offers you a chance to travel back in time and embrace the rich heritage of the native people of Alaska.

15. Take a Private Sightseeing Tour

Discover Ketchikan’s Alaskan wonders with a tailor-made tour for you and your squad of up to ten!

With a trusty guide by your side, enjoy the best of Alaska’s breathtaking sights, from the fascinating Salmon Hatchery to the picturesque Herring Cove, cascading waterfalls, and enchanting Totem Parks.

Don’t miss the chance to spot bears (seasonally, of course) and delve into the rich Indigenous cultures of Southeast Asia.

Get ready to be wowed as you embark on this fun-filled, awe-inspiring journey, all with a sprinkle of laughter and a dash of comradeship!

16. Misty Fjords Seaplane Tour

Ready to spread your wings and fly like a bird? For an extra pinch of adventure, try a flightseeing tour over the majestic Misty Fjords National Monument.

Glide across serene waters, snap jaw-dropping photos of towering cliffs, and feel the exhilaration of touching down on a pristine mountain lake. Up, up, and away on the most incredible journey of your life!

seaplane tour in ketchikan
seaplane tour in ketchikan

17. Hop Aboard a Commercial Fishing Boat

Hold onto your hats, because this 3-hour journey will take you through the magnificent waters surrounding Ketchikan.

Hop aboard the Aleutian Ballad, a genuine crab-fishing vessel, and be part of a daring crew that braves the choppy Alaskan waters.

Witness the excitement of hauling in gigantic king crabs and get up close with fascinating marine life like octopuses and prawns.

This is your chance to live your very own “Deadliest Catch” adventure – without the danger, of course!

By the time you return to shore, you’ll be brimming with stories of your Alaskan adventure to share with friends and family.

18. Go Sport Fishing

Cast a line and reel in the big one on a thrilling Ketchikan sport fishing expedition.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first-timer, this Alaskan adventure is perfect for everyone.

Join a knowledgeable captain and crew as you chase after scrumptious salmon and hefty halibut in the bountiful waters of Alaska.

You’ll have a whale of a time as you learn new techniques, swap fish tales, and maybe even land yourself a trophy catch.

19. Explore the City on a Bus Tour

Hop on the Ketchikan All-In-One bus tour and buckle up for a whirlwind ride.

With friendly, informative guides, you’ll uncover hidden gems, admire colorful architecture, and learn fascinating tidbits about this charming coastal town.

No need to pinch yourself – this delightful bus tour is real, and it’s calling your name!

E bike tour Ketchikan Alaska
E bike tour photo by Viator

20. Bike Through a Rainforest

Hop on an electric bike and explore the lush rainforest of Ketchikan on this eco-friendly tour.

Pedal your way through vibrant greenery and witness the enchanting beauty of Alaskan wildlife.

Don’t worry about breaking a sweat; your trusty e-bike will make it a breeze.

So, strap on your helmet and get ready to embrace the great outdoors like never before!

21. Go Kayaking Around Eagle Island

Paddle your way through pristine Alaskan waters as you embark on a kayaking tour around the majestic Eagle Island.

Feel the gentle sea breeze and marvel at the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles soaring above and sea lions splashing nearby.

Can’t kayak? No problem! Expert guides are here to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all skill levels.

22. Ride a Cable Car Trolley

All aboard the charming cable car trolley! Discover Ketchikan’s hidden gems as you embark on this unique sightseeing adventure.

Sit back and relax as the trolley whisks you away to the most picturesque locations this quaint Alaskan town has to offer. From historic sites to awe-inspiring natural wonders, this tour has it all.

Wave to friendly locals and capture Insta-worthy photos to remember your unforgettable journey.

Essential Tips for Cruisers

Are you ready to explore Ketchikan from your cruise ship? Here are some essential tips to help you make the most of your time in port:

  • Book your shore excursions in advance to ensure availability and save money.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Ketchikan is known for its rain, so bring a raincoat or umbrella and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Don’t forget your camera! Ketchikan is a photographer’s paradise with stunning scenery and wildlife.
  • Try the local cuisine. Ketchikan is famous for its fresh seafood, so be sure to sample some halibut or salmon while you’re in port.
  • Take some time to explore the town on foot. Ketchikan is a charming and walkable town with plenty of shops and galleries to browse.
  • Respect the local culture. Ketchikan is home to the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribes, and their art and traditions are an important part of the town’s identity.

Appropriate Attire & Gear

The weather in Ketchikan can be unpredictable, so it’s best to come prepared for rain, wind, and cool temperatures.

Make sure to bring a waterproof jacket, comfortable walking shoes, and warm layers. Additionally, if you plan on going on a hike or nature walk, don’t forget to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

For those planning on going fishing or kayaking, it’s recommended to bring a change of clothes and a towel, as you may get wet.

When visiting local museums or cultural sites, it’s important to dress respectfully. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or offensive graphics.

Best Time to Visit Ketchikan

The best time to visit Ketchikan is during the late spring-summer months, between May and September. During this time, the weather is mild, and the days are long, giving you plenty of time to explore all that Ketchikan has to offer.

During the summer months, the weather is warm enough to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and kayaking.

It’s also the best time to see bears, eagles, and other wildlife in their natural habitat!

While the summer is the best time to visit Ketchikan, it’s important to remember that this is also the busiest time of year.

If you’re looking for a quieter experience, you may want to consider visiting in the shoulder season, between April and May or September and October. During this time, the crowds are smaller, and the prices are generally lower.

Final Thoughts

Well, folks, we hope we’ve convinced you that Ketchikan is the ultimate destination for adventure seekers, nature enthusiasts, and culture vultures alike!

From kayaking with wildlife to exploring the rich history of the Tlingit people, there truly is something for everyone in this charming coastal town. But don’t just take our word for it – you’ve got to experience it for yourself!

And if you’re ready to dive deeper into the wonders of Alaska, be sure to check out our article on the ultimate Alaska itinerary.