Still trying to find a good option in Ketchikan

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#1
Los Angeles
955 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
We are sailing out of Ketchikan at 4pm, so there isn't a lot of time there. I'm sure we have to be back onboard by 3:30pm at the latest.

With that said, it almost seems like a waste of a port.

I know that there is a neat salmon ladder in town, which is walking distance. We will definitely go see that.

I know that there are some gimmicky/touristy totem pole exhibits, but I really don't have a desire to see any cultural stuff set up just for tourists. In general I hate touristy gimmickry.

We are an early-40s couple with a 3-year-old. Please do NOT suggest "kiddie" activities, as we do not want that either. I am only mentioning the 3-year-old so you don't suggest physical activities that would be too difficult for him.

Would be willing to rent a car, if there's something to see. From my research thus far, it seems that you really don't see much driving around on your own, and that the superior "driving" scenery will be in the other 2 ports (Juneau and Skagway).

If I don't find something worthwhile, we will just walk off the ship, look at the salmon ladder, wander through town, and come back on board. But I'd prefer something better if possible.

We're going next week. Will be in Ketchikan on the 6th.
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#3
Redmond WA
8,148 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
I wouldn't describe Totem Bight Historical Park as gimmicky. The rainforest and sea location really add to the visit as well. And your kid is old enough to enjoy the colors and characters of the totems. But if totems don't interest you, no point in going.
http://www.experienceketchikan.com/t...in-alaska.html

In a previous post, bear watching was your focus. Rent a car or do the taxicab tour to Herring Cove at the end of your day. Later is better for bear viewing. Any towns that we visited ( DIY land) locals would also suggest places to visit in the late afternoon and evening for seeing bears.
#4
Los Angeles
955 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by mapleleaves
you mentioned the departure time but not your arrival time. How much time do you have?
7am.

But we are not all that quick in the morning, especially with the 3-year-old in tow. If there was an amazing activity that required being off the ship right at 7am, we could probably manage it, but I'd prefer not to if possible.
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#5
YVR & PDX
3,105 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Aside from lacking a kid - and since you don't want to do kid stuff that's a wash - we fit the same demographic profile as you, and also hate touristy crap.

We both enjoyed the Totem Heritage Centre very much, and even the small town museum was good value (it ain't big, but it's dirt cheap). Link to both here. Unlike Saxman etc. the totems aren't set up to be gawked at, but are being preserved & studied. We had a very interesting chat with the staff.

If you're a fan of interesting beers, walk along Front/Water to The Asylum. Vast array of local brews at the cheapest prices we found anywhere. WiFi is free, but restricted to short periods before you have to reconnect - in other words works just fine for emails/facebook etc. but prevents large up/downloads, keeping it usefully fast for all.
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#6
Los Angeles
955 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by martincath
Aside from lacking a kid - and since you don't want to do kid stuff that's a wash - we fit the same demographic profile as you, and also hate touristy crap.

We both enjoyed the Totem Heritage Centre very much, and even the small town museum was good value (it ain't big, but it's dirt cheap). Link to both here. Unlike Saxman etc. the totems aren't set up to be gawked at, but are being preserved & studied. We had a very interesting chat with the staff.

If you're a fan of interesting beers, walk along Front/Water to The Asylum. Vast array of local brews at the cheapest prices we found anywhere. WiFi is free, but restricted to short periods before you have to reconnect - in other words works just fine for emails/facebook etc. but prevents large up/downloads, keeping it usefully fast for all.
Thanks for this. Might go to the Totem Heritage Center, but is it easily walkable from the cruise terminal?

What about this: Settlers Cove Recreational Site. Everyone seems to like it on Tripadvisor.. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...a.html#REVIEWS ... Is this a good option, or will it be duplicating too much what we will see in the other two ports? Is there a bus that goes there?
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#7
Los Angeles
955 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by mapleleaves
I wouldn't describe Totem Bight Historical Park as gimmicky. The rainforest and sea location really add to the visit as well. And your kid is old enough to enjoy the colors and characters of the totems. But if totems don't interest you, no point in going.
http://www.experienceketchikan.com/t...in-alaska.html

In a previous post, bear watching was your focus. Rent a car or do the taxicab tour to Herring Cove at the end of your day. Later is better for bear viewing. Any towns that we visited ( DIY land) locals would also suggest places to visit in the late afternoon and evening for seeing bears.
Sadly since we have to be back on board by 3:30, late afternoon isn't an option for bears.
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#8
Redmond WA
8,148 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Yes, I agree, 7am is ok for a waking-up time, but too early for activities !

here's stilley's trip report with a 5 yr old .....they did the funicular then caught the taxi at 2/2:30 going to Herring Cove and Totem Bight. Salmon should be running so the fishery will be an interesting stop.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...2065527&page=2

The experienceketchikan link has the town walking map and lots of other info on things to do in Ketchikan.

Have a great trip!
#9
YVR & PDX
3,105 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by pokerpro5
Thanks for this. Might go to the Totem Heritage Center, but is it easily walkable from the cruise terminal?

What about this: Settlers Cove Recreational Site. Everyone seems to like it on Tripadvisor.. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...a.html#REVIEWS ... Is this a good option, or will it be duplicating too much what we will see in the other two ports? Is there a bus that goes there?
Google Maps works surprisingly well in SW Alaska - they even had a Streetview car drive around most of the ports. c.3/4mile walk, sidewalks, a slight hill - unless your three year old insists on walking everywhere him/herself, it won't take long to walk up.

Never visited Settlers Cove, so the Tripadvisor reviewers are going to be more helpful than I am on that one...
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#10
Red Sox Nation
32 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
We're going next month and what we considered with our 3-yr old included the duck tour and the lumberjack show (slightly hokey, but gets good reviews).

Ultimately, he's going in the kids club while DH takes 7-yr old on an ATV ride and I go bear watching with the other adults in our group.
#12
Southern California by way of Kentucky
18,069 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by chiefy_mom
We're going next month and what we considered with our 3-yr old included the duck tour and the lumberjack show (slightly hokey, but gets good reviews).

Ultimately, he's going in the kids club while DH takes 7-yr old on an ATV ride and I go bear watching with the other adults in our group.
Even though (your term not mine and we didn't think so) "hokey" your child will enjoy the Lumberjack Show...We just returned recently with a 17 month old grandson and he loved the show...he was even the one they gave the handcarved bear chair to...but no way could we take that on the flight home with us. Enjoy !!
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#13
3,752 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center is a nice stop for a couple hours. It is included in the National Parks Pass if you have one and they have a cancellation stamp for NP passport book as well.. Otherwise, I believe it was $5 pp last summer and kids free. A very nice museum with both adult and children things to do. We visited both times on our 14 day.
#14
3,752 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Another thing I do prior to any trip is contact the local visitor center in the town/area to visit. All is free and so much to look at and go through. Internet is fine, but somehow the hard copy is so much better, plus I compile a notebook for reference!
#15
3,752 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by mapleleaves
Yes, I agree, 7am is ok for a waking-up time, but too early for activities !

here's stilley's trip report with a 5 yr old .....they did the funicular then caught the taxi at 2/2:30 going to Herring Cove and Totem Bight. Salmon should be running so the fishery will be an interesting stop.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...2065527&page=2

The experienceketchikan link has the town walking map and lots of other info on things to do in Ketchikan.

Have a great trip!
and just walking Creek street you will see the salmon in Aug! We did last summer. We also kayaked back in the late 1990s and the salmon were jumping out and almost into the kayak! Many were fishing off the bridge.
#16
Issaquah, WA
3,815 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
We took the city bus out to Totem Bight park. It was quite an adventure, and we met some interesting locals along the way. We wandered the park looking at totems, but the kids mostly liked walking on the waterfront and throwing rocks in the water. Potlatch Park, right next door, is a little more touristy, but still worth a look. My husband could have spent hours in their little firearm museum.
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#17
Southern California
4,524 Posts
Joined May 2006
Do you enjoy fishing? If so, you can rent poles next to Dolly's House on Creek Street and fish for salmon from the bridge or docks right across the street. It's a fun way to spend a few hours.

We also enjoy riding the funicular up to the top of the hill and grabbing a bite at Cape Fox Lodge and then taking the walk back down Married Man's Trail.
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#18
PA
20 Posts
Joined Nov 2013
You didn't note much of what you DO enjoy. I loved Ketchikan for its touristy shops and offbeat vibes. I'd have loved another three hours just to wander on foot.

We did the Totem Cultural museum and tour with special looks. Interesting and educational, but nothing beyond the pale and I'd have enjoyed just eating a full meal in town.
#19
Los Angeles
955 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Settlers Cove looks nice, but looks far, and renting a car (especially for our short port visit) seems inconvenient.



I think we will take a look at the salmon ladder in town, then take the bus out to Totem Bight State Park.

Then we will probably stop by the Asylum and try out some of the beers (or at least my wife will, I don't really like to drink.)

Thanks for the info!
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#20
Pugetropolis
153 Posts
Joined Feb 2014
I took a flight seeing tour and that was jawdroppingly great, but not necessarily something for a little one. My wife did the Lumberjack show and enjoyed it.

I have not been to the totem poles, but from what I hear they are much more about the cultural history and significance of the poles, not touristy. Next time it's on my list :-) Totems can be fascinating and well worth a visit.

Jim