Alaska Shore Excursions For Your Alaska Cruise
If you're cruising to Alaska, the most important part of the experience is what you do in each port of call.
And, you may not know, that you don't have to book your excursions through the cruise line! In fact, you can work directly with the local operators in each port to put together the ideal vacation for you.
Below are the companies and experiences we recommend for each port. If you're looking for private or small-group excursions, we have a great list for that too.
Juneau View All
Come on this 1 ½‑hour tour outside Juneau, and you’ll get a big appreciation for prospectors who arrived here more than 100 years ago: This water is seriously cold. But this quick stroll into Alaska’s gold-fever-influenced past offers a fun history lesson, as well as a pleasantly short turn at panning in that icy water yourself — with a guarantee that you’ll score a little gold to take home. Alaska Travel Adventures’ Historic Gold Mining & ...more
Glacierview Sea Kayaking with Alaska Travel Adventures offers the opportunity to kayak through Auke Bay while enjoying views of Mendenhall Glacier. You’ll also have the opportunity to see wildlife like whales, sea lions, seals, and bald eagles. Kayaking offers a much more intimate and quiet experience than other boat tours; at the same time, it is perfect for travelers who want an adventure. And even if you’ve never paddled a kayak before, a ...more
Go with Wings Airways and you’ll take off from Juneau in a 10-passenger DeHavilland Otter floatplane and get a lush view of the city as well as the surrounding mountains and ice fields. Opt for a 40-minute flight seeing tour, or book the “Flight and Feast Tour,” which takes you to dine at a 1920’s lodge.
Get a serving of history along with a classic Alaskan feast. The Gold Creek Salmon Bake, a two-hour experience out of Juneau, has been running for more than 30 years. It’s a great meal and an Alaskan tradition. You’re dispatched from your hotel and brought to a corner of the Southeast Alaska rainforest, which saw lots of activity during Alaska’s Gold Rush.
Northstar Helicopters operates out of Juneau and caters to all styles of exploration. The curious glacier observer can simply fly to the glacier and snap photographs from flat or rolling terrain. You can also choose to hike on the glacier itself. If you’re very adventurous, you can even learn how to climb on the ice walls. No matter which option you choose, NorthStar Helicopters will guide you all the way, making sure you get the most out of this ...more
Tucked inside the lush Tongass National Forest, discover an Alaskan botanical garden unlike anywhere else in the world. A 2012 Reader’s Digest poll chose Glacier Gardens out of thousands of entries as the Most Interesting Landmark in America! Vibrant hanging gardens spill from 15-foot-tall upside down tree “Flower Towers” and elegantly designed landscapes compliment the natural beauty of the rainforest. Explore these unique gardens on a guided ...more
Take a scenic cruise and kayak through gorgeous surroundings as magnificent whales pierce the surface of the water on this six-hour expedition from Juneau. Your destination is the Channel Islands, the whales’ annual feeding ground — and your guides will assess where the most whale activity has been happening.
Juneau’s glaciers produce nutrient-dense waters making the waters a prime feeding ground for humpback whales. Alaska Tales’ boats are intimate (49 passengers max), and they’re super-fast, so you’ll get out to see the whales in no time. You also have the option of adding a stop at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center prior to your whale watching tour.
Pack Creek Bear Tours offers fully guided adventures to Admiralty Island or Chichagof Island, each home to more than 1,500 brown bears! After a beautiful 20- or 25-minute floatplane ride, you’ll land on a remote beach. Take a short walk to the bear-viewing area, where you can watch these magnificent creatures for hours in their natural environment.
Feel the truly unique thrill of walking on an ancient glacier. This unforgettable experience begins with a canoe trip to the glacier, where you’ll don crampons and explore the gorgeous blue ice…no experience required!
Take a spin through Juneau on a fun bike tour. It’s a great way to explore Alaska’s capital city, with lots of scenery and history along the way. Choose from one of several options. There’s a bike and brew tour, which includes seeing the Mendenhall Glacier as well as a tasting of Alaskan beers. Or ride your bike out to Douglas Island for a tram ride, 1,800 feet up Mt. Roberts for some spectacular views. Or custom design your own great bike trip ...more
Canoe across a lake to Mendenhall Glacier glacier, Keeping an eye out for arctic terns, mountain goats, and icebergs floating in the water. Then, land on the glacier beach and walk about a mile alongside the glacier, exploring as you go — there may even be ice caves to check out.
Plenty of whale tours let you watch the orcas and humpbacks as they breach and spout from the water — but not many also let you eavesdrop on the big mammals’ conversations. This 3.5‑hour tour out of Juneau is equipped with an amplified hydrophone system; listen to the whales underwater while enjoying the lush rainforest views. Onboard the North Star — a 48-passenger jet boat with large windows, an outside viewing deck, and a comfortable inside ...more
Hop on a TEMSCO helicopter for an Alaskan adventure combining aviation, sled dogs and massive glaciers. Get an amazing view of the gorgeous landscape surrounding Juneau, and then ride along as an energetic team of huskies tours you around the ancient, snow-packed Mendenhall glacier.
Take a five-minute ride from the cruise ship pier to the Mountain House,1,800′ up Mount Roberts, where the Chilkat Mountains, the Gastineau Channel, downtown Juneau, Douglas Island, and Admiralty Island spread out before you. Visit the gift shop, restaurant, live bald eagle display, and nature center. Check out the wildlife viewing platforms and follow the self-guided trail marked by Native totemic carvings for access to upper alpine hiking ...more
A tour aboard a TEMSCO helicopter offers beautiful views of Alaska’s Capital City, and up-close exploration of Mendenhall, one of the state’s most accessible glaciers. Look out on alpine lakes, moraines, and crevasses before you land and check out the Juneau Icefield for yourself.
The focus of the 3.5‑hour Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip is great views of the namesake glacier, which is 1.5 miles wide, 150 feet high, and the most famous part of the massive Juneau Icefield that even John Muir once raved about. Glide along the iceberg-studded lake and scope out the glacier, getting up-close views of hanging glaciers and towering peaks. Keep an eye out for birds nesting in the rocky cliffs, as well as otters, seals, black ...more
Sitka View All
Book your shore excursions independently. See our top recommended tours
Begin in downtown Sitka, where you’ll take a motorized, rigid-hull inflatable on a 15- to 20-minute ride across beautiful Sitka Sound, with the massive volcano Mt. Edgecumbe providing a dramatic backdrop. Look for marine wildlife on your way to a unique float house in a small, protected bay where you’ll kayak across shimmering water.
You’ll look eagles in the eye at this raptor rehab and education center on the edge of Tongass National Forest. You’ll get a close-up look at a snowy owl, American kestrel, peregrine falcon, great-horned owl, red-tailed hawk, and even the tiny northern saw-whet owl.
In the coastal Southeast Alaskan town of Sitka, marine wildlife typically plays out on a big scenic backdrop. At Sitka’s unique Science Center, you’ll find a salmon hatchery and aquarium. Wildlife fans get an up-close look at the marine creatures that make this part of Alaska so special.
Skagway View All
Dog sledding on a glacier is the ultimate blend of Alaskan adventure, as you also get there by helicopter! Board a TEMSCO flight that whisks you thousands of feet above sea level to the Denver glacier and a dog mushing camp hidden away on a snow field, where Alaskan sled dogs will greet you energetically, ready to take you on the ride of your life.
Taking a TEMSCO helicopter tour shows off the Gold Rush lands around Skagway in a new light, revealing gorgeous, glacier-filled valleys, tumbling waterfalls and peak after icy peak at the north end of the Juneau Icefield. Then land on a remote glacier for an exciting guided journey on ice that was formed thousands of years ago!
Skagway may be a quaint small town, but it offers a big lens into the Alaska frontier. This tour operator — run by a certified Naturalist for the state of Alaska — offers a friendly and fascinating way to explore some surprising depths of the Alaska wilderness. Options include private tours ranging from 5 to 7 hours that explores the sights of British Columbia and the Yukon
Take the train out of Skagway to some of Alaska’s best hiking. Not just any train, though, but a Gold Rush-era, narrow-gauge train that winds through gorgeous scenery and drops you off at the trailhead. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad winds through stunning scenery on its way to drop you off on hiking trails that offer waterfall, mountain, and glacier views. It’s a fun way to gear up for a day or two of great hiking. The train is an ...more
Walk the fine line between folklore and gold fever. The Liarsville Camp, near Skagway, was originally named after journalists who came here during the Klondike Gold Rush and cooked up all manner of tall tales. The event begins with an all-you-can-eat feast in the forest. Then explore the old trail camp and finish off your day with a visit the Fancy Goods store. You can also have your picture taken with one of the dance hall girls or the camp’s ...more
Ketchikan View All
From cruise ship excursions to all-day fishing trips, Ketchikan’s Finest Fishing Charters provides top-notch equipment and a customized approach to make your trip an adventure to remember. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and be ready for a fishing experience like no other!
Experience kayaking in Alaska the way it should be — away from the crowds — with these unique Ketchikan paddling tours that make you feel like a true explorer. Your small group (usually just 4 people) will board the company’s comfortable boat and set off from the Ketchikan cruise-ship dock, leaving the big ships and the crowds behind. Choose from a 3‑hour tour, or 5‑hour kayak and hike tour.
Ketchikan is known as the “salmon capital of the world,” and this uniquely personal tour is your chance to angle for these iconic Alaskan fish — as well as huge halibut. You’ll board an intimate fishing boat — complete with top-quality fishing and rain gear, as well as heaters, snacks, and beverages — close to the Ketchikan cruise terminal. And, since this is a private charter, it will be only your group on board!
Paddle all around a shimmering lake, looking for wildlife on the shore and reveling in the spectacular mountain views that surround you. Then stop off at a shoreline camp to enjoy a snack over an open fire. When you’re finished, you’ll go on a short walk through a dramatic old-growth forest.
Explore the gorgeous, dynamic scenery and wildlife around Ketchikan by getting out on the water in a low-impact Zodiac — an authentically Alaskan way to travel! Every expedition is different as there’s flexibility for some spontaneity. You can spend extra time in a place if there’s a magical, National Geographic-type moment happening!
Board a rigid-hull inflatable boat for a 20-minute ride out to a secluded island. Weave through a series of small islands with massive cliffs that rise hundreds of feet out of the ocean, check out active bald eagle nests and look for sea lions and seabird rookeries along the way. Once at the island, you’ll climb out on the beach, break out into smaller groups, and set off on a stunning hike on a boardwalk that snakes through the rainforest. ...more
Drive your own jeep along private logging roads that wind up into the mountains, on your way to an alpine lake. Paddle across the shimmering lake to a shoreline camp for a delicious snack over an open fire. Enjoy some storytelling, then go on a short nature walk through a beautiful old-growth forest.
Baranof Fishing Excursions offers classic Alaska fishing experiences from their private marina in downtown Ketchikan. They provide everything you need from rubber boots to expert guides, for an extraordinary fishing adventure!
Don a wetsuit, mask, fins and snorkel and get an up-close look at the unique sea creatures of the 49th state: urchins, sea stars, crabs, sea cucumbers, and…what’s that…a humpback whale swimming nearby?! This is the magic of snorkeling in Alaska — a singular experience that you can only do in the waters around Ketchikan. No experience? No problem.
Haines View All
Tour operators that will work with your itinerary while visiting Haines by cruise ship
With bald eagles, bears, and gorgeous scenery, as well as fascinating culture and history, these tours out of Skagway and Haines offer an up-close experience with insights from knowledgeable local guides. There are several options, including wildlife and nature tours that focuses on finding and learning about wildlife, a photography tour where you get the chance to enhance your photography skills, rafting, and some fun sightseeing tours ...more
Drive yourself on this guided off-road ATV tour in Haines and experience pristine wilderness, unforgettable views, and a delicious meal! And at the top, 1,500 feet above sea level, you’ll take in the sweeping vista of shimmering Chilkoot Lake, set in the stunning Chilkoot Valley.
Guided sea kayaking in Alaska’s Southeast opens up the magical world of water-based touring. Glide through a marine environment with gorgeous views in every direction, and many opportunities to spot wildlife – from eagles and salmon to bears, whales and sea lions. Options include day tours for busy schedules and multi-day immersions, all under the expert guidance of naturalists who help you understand the complex workings of a unique and amazing ...more
Hoonah / Icy Strait View All
You’ll be surrounded in one of the largest summer populations of humpback whales found in Alaska with Glacier Wind Charter’s small group tours. Keep an eye out for other wildlife, like eagles, sea lions, seals, sea otters. You may even see coastal brown bears, eating plants along the shore.