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Suggestions for Alaska Shore excursions—Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan

Cruising Carol55

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We don't know your interests, physical ability or budget so it's pretty hard to make suggestions .....


There are free and low cost options at every port.  ie in Ketchikan you can do a bear watch excursion by small aircraft for a few hundred dollars, Or,  you can ride the public bus for $2 to visit Totem Bight Park, OR for $0 you can pick up a map from the visitor center and do a free walking tour.   Just takes a little research to find the options at each port. 


There are hundreds of trip reports at the top of the Alaska forum.  Many are detailed photo journals with information on sights, activities, excursions, DIY options, and the vendors used.  Read thru them to get ideas on what sights and activities appeal to YOU.  


Also, each port has a web site to promote tourism and local vendors.  Most of the sights have a visitor information guide that you can download.  Web sites are in this link: 


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Alaska is such a great place. We did our 1st trip this last May - 16 day cruise and land tour booked DIY. For us, it was such a magical place and we were mostly about scenery. When we go back, we may spend more time walking the towns. We spent a lot of cash because we thought it would be our only trip to the big state. We're in our late 60s. Most of the trip reports at the top of the forum have great reviews of the excursions. As for the 3 towns you mentioned, we did a half day whale watch, van tour with train ride, and flightseeing. My report is at


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Juneau - rent a car from Avis - walking distance from port.  Drive to Mendenhaul park.  walk around on own, see the glacier, etc.  then drive to town, have a nice dinner on the docks, go see the famous whale statue if you like.


Skagway - rent a car from Affordable Car - have them leave it at the port for you.  Drive up (need passports) to Canada / Yukon Territory (note, there is only one street to drive on - you would have to try to get lost - there are no turns).  stop along the way, beautiful.  Go up to Caraboo crossing, play with the sled dogs, go for a ride, have lunch, petting zoo, museum.  this is the same place the trains go from the cruise line - you will have hours there, they will have under an hour.  recommend making reservations here in advance, and also, note the added hour change in timezones from cruise port.  lots of wild life along the way, including bears right on the side of road.


Ketchican - walk the town, go to the first showing of the lumberjack show (buy tickets ahead of time, line up early for better seat selection).  


In my opinion, souvenirs in Alaska were inexpensive everywhere, but Ketchincan had the lowest prices overall.


we have a family on 4-6 on Alaska cruises, and the rental car options keep costs WAY down, and allow us to take our time.

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On 11/9/2019 at 10:37 AM, Cruising Carol55 said:

Finally booked our Alaska Cruise!  The list of shore excursions is overwhelming and very expensive!!  Any suggestions would be helpful!  

Budget?  Interest? Physical ability?   Sense of adventure?


It's Alaska, you'll find things as cheap as walking the town and shopping, to crazy expensive like flying in to see the bears fishing for salmon or dog sledding / helicopters, for the more adventurous 4x4, ziplinging, or kayaking etc. etc.    

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With the amount of time we'll be staying in port, I was thinking about booking non cruise ship excursions.  Like Harv and Marv's out of Juneau that has gotten great reviews on other sites for whale watching and is much less pricey than the cruise-sanctioned excursions.

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Determine your MUST DO/EXPERIENCE item (eg for us it was being up close to a glacier so we booked the boat to Tracy arm Fjord from the side of the ship). Then we filled in with other experiences - dog sled camp in Skagway and salmon fishing from Ketchikan. Next time our big excursion will be a helicopter to a glacier, then we we will fill in with almost free stuff like walking the towns of Skagway and Ketchikan - red light district, funicular to scenic overview, salmon ladders, that kind of touring.

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