10 Things to do in Alaska On a Budget

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Alaska on a budget

10 Things to do in Alaska On a Budget

The Alaska cruise season is finally back, and from what we are seeing it’s going to be one of the best cruise seasons ever. If you’ve never visited the icy wonders of America’s last frontier, now’s the time to consider it. You may have heard that cruising Alaska can be an expensive endeavor. While this can be true, there are ways to visit this wonderland without breaking the bank. This week on the CruiseTipsTV Unplugged podcast we are sharing 10 things to do on a budget when cruising Alaska. 

Alaska on a budget Mendenhall Glacier
Sheri at Mendenhall Glacier – Nugget Falls

Juneau: 

  1. Head to Mendenhall Glacier, and hike to nugget falls. 
  2. Visit the Red Dog Saloon- open year round for lunch and dinner. Try a duck fart, a glacier margarita or the house made Miner’s scratch hard lemonade made with titos vodka. Kids ARE allowed with adults. Food: wings, nachos, burgers & sandwiches, reindeer sausage sandwich, alaska style chowder with clams and salmon, and of course, pizza!
Sheri at Red Dog Saloon

Founded during Juneau’s mining era, the Saloon has been in operation for decades. According to Wikipedia, for a time, “Ragtime Hattie” played the piano in white gloves and a silver dollar halter top. Later, in territorial days, the owners would often meet the tour boats at the docks with a mule that wore a sign saying, “follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon.”

The saloon hosted an episode of The Ed Sullivan Show just after Alaska became a state.[1]

  1. Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts – Mountain views, nature trail, tram

Mt. Roberts Tram rising above the cruise ship docks in Juneau

Enjoy impressive views of Juneau and Gastineau Channel from atop Mount Juneau or Mount Roberts

Or you can take the Mount Roberts Tramway, a 5-minute ride ending with a fantastic view and a shorter optional hike (Alpine Loop Trail) at 1,760 feet.

It can be hiked too, but it’s LONG, not recommended when cruising:

The three-mile out and back Mount Juneau climb is a local favorite, with steep slopes and multiple creek crossings. A similar trail takes you 4.5 miles (and a 3800-foot elevation gain) to the summit of Mount Roberts. Watch for grouse, marmots, and black bear on the way.

Skagway: 

  1. Walk the town & shop!
  2. Go to Skagway Brewing Co for some food and a Spruce Tip Blonde Ale
  3. If the White Pass Rail is too pricey, look for a white pass bus tour, or rent a car
  4. Watch the salmon run at Pullen Creek

Cost: FREE!

The Pullen Creek Stream Walk is an interpretive trail designed to provide visitors with easy access to popular natural and historic locations in and around Pullen Creek and Pullen Pond. It is wheelchair accessible and leads to the Railroad Dock. The size of the salmon run in Skagway varies yearly. The vast majority of the run is made up of pink salmon, which run every other year. 

Ketchikan:

  1. Walk the town and shop
  2. Visit one of the totem parks
Alaska on a budget Ketchikan Totem Park
Ketchikan Totem Park
  1. Take the Duck tour

Get acquainted with Ketchikan on a 90-minute tour on an amphibian vehicle that goes on land and water. Take a tour of the harbor, going through Tongass Narrows and then pass through the city of Ketchikan, stopping often to marvel at the beauty of it all, including the many totem poles. 1.5-hour tour of Ketchikan with an amphibian vehicle Cruise through the Tongass Narrows, your guide explaining the history and geology of the area Driver around the beautiful town of Ketchikan and learn the history of the town from the guide.

Listen to more CruiseTipsTV Unplugged here.

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Sheri and her family are California based cruise content creators focused on providing practical tips and advice to new and seasoned cruisers. CruiseTipsTV’s audience enjoys following Sheri and her family as they travel the world by ship creating travel films. Sheri has visited destinations like Japan, Mexico, Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean, and has experienced 33 cruises on 6 cruise lines. She was named one of Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 10 Travel Influencers Changing How We Vacation in 2018 and 2019. Sheri has been quoted in the New York Times, CNBC, Forbes, Prevention, and Business Innovator Radio. Her YouTube Channel, CruiseTipsTV has over 87,000 subscribers and 17 million views.