People cruise to Ketchikan by the thousands every year, and once you go, you will understand why they do. From the vibrant wildlife and pristine natural beauty, to the historical significance of the Native American totem poles, there are so many things to do in Ketchikan that it may just become your new favorite spot in Southeast Alaska. To get you started, here are 4 reasons why you should take a cruise to Ketchikan this summer.
Take a Walk Down the Historic Creek Street
Any cruise to Ketchikan wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the aptly named Creek Street, a historic boardwalk that, like much of Ketchikan, was built over the water because it was simply too impractical to blast away the rocky hills around the creek. A former Red Light District, today it is a much more family-friendly destination as a home to many local shops and galleries, and is one of the first things to do in Ketchikan that many cruisers will want to check out. Here you can get a taste of the local culture at galleries and museums, pick up a souvenir or two at one of the shops, or just enjoy the natural beauty of the wildlife that resides here.
Cruise to Ketchikan for the Totem poles
Of all the things to do in Ketchikan while you are at port, probably the most culturally significant of them is to check out the many Native American totem poles that are littered throughout the town. There are over 80 poles of varying shapes and sizes to see, so you won’t be able to go very far without seeing another one. You can take a walking tour, where you’ll see a few along the way, or you can head to the Totem Heritage Center to see some more delicate pieces that are preserved with climate controlled protections. With so many to see, you could even make a game of it, and try to find as many of them as you can!
Visit the Great American Lumberjack Show
While Ketchikan itself is known primarily for fishing and tourism, Southeast Alaska as a whole has a long and storied history when it comes to logging. This physically demanding industry requires feats of great strength and agility, and the Great American Lumberjack Show pays homage to workers and the craft that shaped this great region. It is made up of 12 athletic events that world-class champion athletes compete in, with seven-pound axes, razor sharp saws, climbing gaffs, and chainsaws. The show is one hour long with 3-5 showings per day. It is located about a mile from where your cruise to Ketchikan takes port, and is easily one of the most exciting things to do in Ketchikan that you’ll find.
Cruise to Ketchikan for the Wildlife and Nature
If there’s one thing you can expect from a visit to an Alaskan fishing town, it’s some truly inspiring wildlife, and Ketchikan is no exception. Fish, birds, bears, and more await, offering many more things to do in Ketchikan for nature lovers.
In the water: In the summer months, salmon gather by the thousands to spawn upstream, and can sometimes be seen in such great numbers that they completely block out the bottom of the creek. Unsurprisingly, Ketchikan is world-renowned for its fishing and you can expect to find fishing excursions on any cruise to Ketchikan. Kayaking is another great way to see the area, and if you are lucky enough, you might even be able to see some whales out on the water.
In the air: Seaplane and helicopter tours are another great way to admire the natural splendor of Alaska (so long as you aren’t afraid of heights!). The tour guides who operate these services are experts in the area, and are a great resource for learning more about the wildlife. If you want to get your chance to see some bears, the Anan Wildlife Observatory is only accessible by plane, so you’ll have to brave the skies to get there!
On the land: If you’re reluctant to see things from the sky, there are still plenty of things to do in Ketchikan that will let you see some wildlife without leaving the safety of solid ground. There are plenty of hiking trails around here, such as Rainbird Hiking Trail and Carlanna Lake Trail to name some popular options. To get a glimpse of some bears, take a drive to Herring Cove, where they feast on the salmon that spawn here from mid-June to through early September.
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