Our List of Top Alaska Excursions
Alaska is one of our favorite cruise destinations. Thousands of miles of coastline, the silence of a glacial passage, and the magnificent Alaska Excursions available to see the BEST Alaska has to offer. Well, the best you can see in the short time a port visit offers! From bear walks to whale watching, and glacier visits, there is SO much to do and see the Great Land.
If you’re thinking about taking an Alaska cruise and exploring this beautiful destination, you’ll want to read our list of top Alaska excursions. This list is a combination of our personal favorites, and those recommended by our community.
You can use the quick menu about to jump to an article link about Alaska excursions in specific areas. The first stop on our Alaska excursions list Ketchikan.
Ketchikan faces the Inside Passage, a popular cruise route along Alaska’s southeastern coast. It’s known for its many totem poles, on display throughout town. Nearby Misty Fiords National Monument is a glacier-carved wonderland featuring snow-capped mountain peaks, waterfalls and salmon spawning. It’s also home to abundant wildlife including black bears, wolves and bald eagles. Ketchikan is SUCH a cute tow, as you’ll see in the first few seconds if this vlog.
Here are some excursion ideas to get you started:
Sea Cycle Tour: Designed for two people, the high-performance pontoon-style pedal boat offers hands-free operation so you can take pictures of your picturesque surroundings. This approximately three-hour tour is limited to just ten people, so you’ll have the luxury of having your guide all to yourself.
Deadliest Catch fans will LOVE the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour – 100% wheelchair and scooter accessible. See wildlife, view the wildlife tank, hear fisherman’s stories.
George Inlet Lodge Crab Feast: (book through your ship). Crab, yes crab! This excursion is SO highly loved by cruise passengers. You can do this one by boat, HOVERCRAFT (yes!) or floatplane: https://catchcrabs.com/tours/
Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show: (ask your cruise line’s shore excursion desk to price match- it’s cheaper to book direct). Not wanting to venture far from the port in Ketchikan? Traveling with kids! This is a MUST do show for newbie Alaska cruisers, and it’s reasonably priced. *HOT tip- this website also offers other combo tours:
Want to see bears? You can! For a walk through a bear sanctuary (Great tour, but pack bug repellant! You will see bears!). https://www.kawanti.com/activities/black-bear-wildlife-exploration/
How about this Rainforest Family Adventure for the whole family? We would SO love to do this on our next journey to Alaska! Enjoy a short ride to Saxman Native Village where your electric buggy is waiting. Embark on a beautiful journey to experience the beauty of a SE Alaska Rainforest, then sit around the campfire and roast marshmallows.
Alaska Excursions – Skagway
Skagway is a tiny, quaint city in southeast Alaska, set along the the Inside Passage. You’ll love the gold-rush-era buildings, now preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad runs their vintage locomotives past the steep Chilkoot trail and offers sweeping mountain views and rushing river views during its climb toward Canada.
White Pass and Yukon Route rail is a MUST in Skagway. Most people book through their ship as the train will pull right up to your specific dock! How cool is that? Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, the White Pass & Yukon Route is a marvel of engineering despite the harsh weather and challenging geography faced by thousands of railroad construction workers. See our incredible day with WPYR in this fun vlog, and watch our interview with train conductor Sica for a fun behind the scenes look at his job and life in Skagway.
Our subscribers swear by this tour! Take a small bus tour with Dyea Dave’s tours. Their buses are easily accessible and you will be given a great tour. The most popular tour is The Emerald Lake Tour, from 8am to 3pm, which stops many times for photos and once for lunch at a restaurant. You must bring your PASSPORT for our tours.
Yukon Discovery: The Yukon Discovery is a full-day, guided trip from Skagway into Canada’s Yukon Territory. Starting right outside the dock, climb north in a comfortable mini-coach, gaining almost 3,000 ft. up and over the White Pass summit and entering first British Columbia and then Yukon Territory. It’s not uncommon to see moose, caribou, sheep or bears along the remote Klondike Highway. Stopping in Carcross, Yukon provides time to visit with husky dog teams and the cute puppies as well. After lunch, continue on to Emerald Lake. pictures.
Another option for the White Pass is a rail and train combo:
Laughton Glacier Wilderness Hike and White Pass Railway Adventure gets high marks from our viewers. Your trip to the Laughton Glacier combines a scenic train ride aboard the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway with a wilderness trek to the magnificent Laughton Glacier, an adventure you won’t soon forget.
Glacier Point Wilderness Safari Tour: This 6 hour tour will Travel through rain forests and fjords while taking in some of Alaska’s most impressive scenery. The outstanding sights will range from wildflowers to expansive mountains, and eventually open up to jaw-dropping views of the Davidson Glacier. Includes a picnic lunch: https://alaska-shoreexcursions.com/skagway/glacier-point-wilderness-safari-tour
Alaska Excursions – Juneau
Juneau is one of our favorite ports of call in Alaska. There is SO much to do, so choosing can be difficult. On our last visit, we packed in a lot by choosing a “combo tour”. You can view our experience here, and the tour company we booked with is in the description of the video. It’s very easy to book your own shore excursions in Juneau, but if you opt to book through the cruise line, watch for lower prices outside the cruise line, and as your shore excursion team onboard to PRICE match your excursion.
Not sure where to start? An excellent website for researching Juneau is:
A great way to experience the Salmon Bake and Mendenhall Glacier in a combo tour. Our favorite is the “Best of Juneau” – whale watching, a trip to Mendenhall Glacier and a salmon bake:
Taku Lodge Feast & 5-Glacier Discovery. Our community loves this one and swears it is “worth the splurge!”. Seaplane access to Alaska’s famous Taku Glacier Lodge features classic aircraft, true wilderness, 5-massive glaciers, bears, dog sledding roots, seafood and exclusive glacier view dining!
Everybody loves Harv and Marv’s for whale watching. You’ll find this tour recommended all over the cruise message boards for good reason. Service is great, and the prices are fair:
Mendenhall Glacier Trek with Above and Beyond Alaska. Now that our son is getting older, this one is definitely on our dream list!
Juneau Food Tours is owned and operated by Midgi, who is a local food writer and blogger. Food is her passion! Each tasting location has been chosen especially for Juneau Food Tours guests and is enough for a filling lunch.
Whale watching with https://allenmarinetours.com is another great option, plus they offer tours in several Alaskan cities.
On a sunny day, visit Mt. Roberts: http://mountrobertstramway.com/ $35 adults, $18 kids was the price last time we visited. TIP: if it’s super foggy, skip this and visit on a sunny day for better views!
Alaska Excursions – Haines
Sweet, sweet Haines! If you’re lucky enough to visit this port stop (only a few ships call per year), you’re in for a treat. As the Visit Haines website says:
“The Alaska we all dream about: real, authentic and unashamed. Haines, Alaska is like no other destination. With fascinating history, intriguing culture, breathtaking scenery and adventure to last a lifetime, there’s no question that the time you spend when you visit Haines will be enjoyed and remembered for years to come.”
Our favorite tour in Haines- a 4X4 adventure – great for ALL ages, excellent food. Incredible views!
Rafting tours! Specializing in private and small group raft trips through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Trips depart daily May through September and are available from Haines and Skagway:
Want to explore the town and get some GREAT exercise? Rent a bicycle with Sockeye Cycle Co:
Alaska Excursions – Victoria
Incredibly walkable, and a garden paradise, charming Victoria is definitely worth getting off the ship for, even if your port visit is a short one. Victoria, capital of British Columbia, sits on the southern end of Vancouver Island. Victoria’s British colonial past shows in its Victorian architecture and charming gardens.
While I normally recommend planning set activities in port, Victoria is an exception, especially if you’re on a budget, or don’t have much time. It’s entirely possible to just take a cab to the inner harbour and walk around for a few hours to see the highlights.
Looking for more structured fun? Here are some ideas:
Whale watching with BC Whale Watching: https://bcwhalewatchingtours.com/
High Tea at the Empress Hotel: https://www.fairmont.com/empress-victoria/dining/tea-at-the-empress/
Butchart Gardens: https://www.butchartgardens.com
More Alaska Goodness- don’t miss this!
If you liked this article about Alaska excursions, you may also be interested in this CruiseTipsTV Unplugged podcast episode: Unplugged’s Quick Guide To Cruising Alaska
We’ve also put together a related video called Our Top Alaska Shore Excursions
You can watch our Juneau Vlog to get an idea for JUST how much can be packed into one day in Juneau!
Experience the incredible White Pass Rail with us – one of our FAVORITE all time experiences!
Join us for a spot of Tea at the Gatsby Mansion in Victoria, BC.
Bear watch with us in Ketchikan!