If you are going to take an Alaska Cruise, then Alaska is the one cruise where you will want to get off the beaten path, and experience the “real” Alaska. Cruise lines make it simple with a variety of shore excursions that range from the extreme to excursions for the less adventurous. You will find the best Alaska shore excursions to include hiking, biking, kayaking, riding the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, and tours for the history lover interested in native culture. There is definitely something for everyone. 7+ Night Alaska Cruises On Sale at Avoya Travel – Shop Now!Here are the best Alaska Shore Excursions:
Four Glaciers by Helicopter and Dogsled Adventure
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience…. no exaggeration! Ride in a helicopter over glaciers and while landing on an actual glacier. Hop on a dogsled, and feel just like being in the Alaska Iditarod race. You will fly over the impressive Juneau Icefield, and see the Taku Glacier up close. You may also see the Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier, the floating Dead Branch Glacier or the river-like East Twin Glacier before landing on Norris Glacier, which is home to a mushing camp. Your guide will take you on a dogsled ride over the snow-covered glacier and describe the 1,000-mile Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome. From the helicopter, you may also see bears, moose, mountain goats and other wildlife. Those seeking adventure of the easy yet exhilarating variety will love this shore excursion. This is not for people who have an adversity to cold.
Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Adventure
Enjoy this zipline experience on Douglas Island as you glide over tree tops. Down below you will see the flora and fauna of a rainforest and the remains of an old gold mining operation. You will be taken up the mountain in a 4×4, geared up with a harness, gloves and a helmet, and with the direction of trained guides, and then sent to glide down a mountain on a zipline that runs between platforms attached to the tops of trees. The experience feels a lot like flying. Try this if you’re looking for a rush!
Helicopter Flightseeing and Extended Glacier Trek
On this adventure, you’ll check out the local terrain from above with a helicopter flightseeing experience. But the real action begins when you learn to climb up and rappel down glaciers using special equipment. The best part is that no experience is needed; a guide will instruct you in the use of the provided mountain gear, which includes boots, an ice ax and crampons. It’s not easy, but the experience is otherworldly. This is a great tour for those who are active and enjoy more extreme excursions. 7+ Night Alaska Cruises On Sale at Avoya Travel – Shop Now!
Wilderness River Tour
After a narrated bus ride along the Haines Scenic Byway, you’ll head to the glacially carved Chilkat River on a flat-bottom boat where you traverse a remote section of the renowned Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. The goal of the guided boat ride is to spot as many bald eagles, bears, moose and other wildlife as you can — all in their natural habitat. Enjoy lunch in a heated pavilion, and then unwind with the staff by a roaring campfire. This is a great shore excursion for the wildlife-lovers looking for a relaxing viewing platform.
Wild Arts Artist Walk: Hot Italian Glass
Walk through the city of Sitka with a guide, stopping at various art galleries and artisan retailers along the way. You can witness everything from wood-carving and ceramic work to jewelry-making and glass-blowing, before trying your hand at the ancient art of Venetian glass-blowing yourself. You’ll also have free time at the end to browse a gallery and to shop for souvenirs. This tour is ideal for anyone interested in art. It’s also great for anyone who wants to take a short excursion and still have enough time left in the day to explore Sitka on his or her own.
Salmon & Halibut Fishing
You’ll find great fishing in Sitka, and with this full-day, small-group excursion, you hit the waters in search of king, silver or chum salmon, as well as halibut. The captain will take you to known fishing spots where the salmon fishing is done by trolling with downriggers or anchoring and mooching. Halibut fishing is done by anchoring and jigging (weather permitting). You should be aware that being on a small boat on the open sea subjects you to swells and wind chop. Lunch and snacks are provided. This shore excursions is for fishermen who want to add Alaska to their portfolio. Those prone to seasickness, might want to take additional precautions, due to the sometimes rough seas.
Sitka, Raptor Center and Native Tales
Sitka is known among Alaska towns for its strong Russian and Tlingit heritage. This tour gets you to key historical points as well as the Alaska Raptor Center, where you get to view birds of prey that include bald eagles, close-up. In Sitka, you’ll also see St. Michael’s, the first Russian Orthodox cathedral in America; visit the forested Sitka National Historical Park, drive to Castle Hill, and enjoy a performance of Tlingit stories and songs in a traditional-style clan house. This excursion is for those who want to learn more about the area’s history and culture. It’s also great for kids and nature-lovers who won’t want to miss a visit to the Raptor Center.
White Pass Scenic Railway
This is a must-do tour, especially on a clear day. Take a round trip ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, a historic narrow gauge railway built into amazingly rugged and beautiful terrain some 120 years ago. It follows the same Trail of ’98 route taken in the late-19th century by a steady stream of gold prospectors looking for Yukon gold … except they amazingly did it on foot and often, in wet, muddy conditions or frigid temperatures. You travel in the comfort of old-fashioned rail cars, and the route takes you up the 2,865-foot summit of the White Pass, through tunnels and over sky-high trestles, past remote valleys and such sights as Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch — so named because so many miners lost their horses there. The train ride is appropriate for anyone who wants to see the views. There is an optional bike ride is for energetic types.
Musher’s Camp and Sled Dog Experience
Start with a 35- to 40-minute bus ride to the nearby ghost town of Dyea, which was Skagway’s biggest competition during the gold rush days. It is set within the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park as the site of a dog musher’s camp. Once there, board an all-terrain vehicle called a Unimog, which will take you up a rugged mountain road to where the mushers keep their dogs. There, you’ll be assigned to a special wheeled summertime sled, then grab a seat and prepare to have a team of eager huskies speed around a mile of twists and turns in the crisp mountain air. Your assigned musher will introduce you to the dog team, fill you in on the sport of sled-dog racing and snap some photos of you along the way. This shore excursions is for anyone who loves dogs. It doesn’t involve a lot of physical activity, so it’s also ideal for anyone who likes a bit of adventure but who’s not necessarily in the best shape.
Glacier Point Wilderness Safari
Board an expedition boat for a 60- to 70-minute ride through fjords and rainforests with an abundance of wildlife and spectacular views. Then arrive at Glacier Point, a remote beach, and set out on a short drive and hike, before boarding a 31-foot-long canoe for a paddle up to the face of Davidson Glacier. Consider this shore excursion if you’d like to see a glacier up close without spending the money on a helicopter tour.
Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour
Ride on the Aleutian Ballad, a fishing boat featured in the second season of “Deadliest Catch.” While sailing the calm, protected waters of the Inside Passage (as opposed to the more treacherous fishing ground of the Bering Sea), you’ll witness part of a day in the life of commercial fishermen, as they haul in their latest catch like Alaskan king crab, halibut, octopus, prawn and more. This shore excursion is for anyone interested in fishing or “Deadliest Catch”.
Misty Fjords by Floatplane
Misty Fjords National Monument is a must see! On this tour you will view the magnificent scenery with a bird’s-eye view from the air on a seaplane. The park encompasses nearly 2.3 million acres, where you’ll gaze upon sheer granite cliffs, imposing waterfalls, sparkling fjords and thick forests. The seaplane will also briefly land on water within the park to give you a taste of the serenity down below. This shore excursion is for those who can afford the rather steep floatplane prices for a unique perspective on the Alaskan wilderness.
Saxman Native Village
This 2.5-hour tour will take you to a village just a short ride from Ketchikan where the Tlingits welcome guests and offer a taste of their culture. After a tribal ceremonial greeting and short video program, you enter the Beaver Clan House for a song, dance and storytelling presentation. You then head to Saxman Totem Park, home to one of the largest collections of authentic totems in the world, where your guide will help explain the stories and meanings behind the poles. Poles are still created here at the Village Carving Center, with expert craftsmen passing along their skills to apprentices. Those interested in understanding native culture and learning about totem poles will benefit from this outing.
Mountain Point Snorkeling Adventure
Yep, you really can snorkel in Alaska! You’ll head to the dive shop, get outfitted head-to-toe with a wet suits thick enough to make even the most frigid waters comfortable. Once you’re geared up, you’ll head to the shallow tide pools of Mountain Point, where you’ll snorkel with your guides over kelp forests, through schools of fish and past sea stars and sea cucumbers — with ample time to ask questions. After about an hour in the water, you’ll head back to the dive shop, where a hot beverage caps a perfect day. This shore excursion is for those who are looking for something a little more active and hands-on — and who don’t mind the cold.
Icy Strait Point
ZipRider Zipline Adventure
Get an adrenaline rush on one of the largest zipline ride in the world, at 5,330 feet long and with a vertical drop of 1,330 feet. Your trip begins with a narrated bus tour through the Tlingit village of Hoonah, and then up to the launching area. You’ll be harnessed for your ride down the mountain in a seat attached to a thick cable. Check out the views if you dare to open your eyes as you literally zip a mile down the mountain at speeds of roughly 60 miles per hour. Spread your arms, and you’ll feel on top of the world. The ride takes only 1.5 minutes before your gentle, brake-activated touchdown on the beach at Icy Strait Point. This shore excursion is for those who like the rush of amusement park rides will get a thrill from this excursion. It’s not for people who are afraid of heights.
Cooking in Alaska’s Wildest Kitchen
Spend 1.5 hours learning about Alaskan seafood, local fishing and cooking techniques on this interactive foodie outing. A local fisherwoman/”wilderness chef” will lead a demo on fish filleting, then bring you outside where you can learn to grill the day’s catch over a large wood grill. While you listen and cook, nibble on salmon and halibut dishes, as well as local veggies. At the end, you’ll have newfound culinary knowledge to take home as a souvenir. This shore excursion is for foodies, fish-lovers and both novice and experienced chefs. It leaves plenty of time for further exploration in Icy Strait Point.
Whittier Glacier Cruise
This five-hour catamaran trip runs out of Whittier into the wilderness of Prince William Sound. Look out for 26 different glaciers, along with wildlife on land (like bears and mountain goats), sea (sea otters, seals, porpoises, sea lions and whales) and sky (look out for eagles and visit a bird rookery). Park ranger narration is included, as is a hot meal and a no-seasickness guarantee. This shore excursion is for nature enthusiasts who want to make every moment of their vacation count.
Kenai Fjords Cruise with Alaska SeaLife Center
This is a must-do shore excursion! This full day excursion combines two of Seward’s top attractions: a visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center, the state’s leading aquarium and an ocean wildlife rehabilitation center, along with a scenic cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park. At the SeaLife Center, get up-close views of seals, walruses, sea otters and seabirds. Then, it’s off for a five-hour, park ranger-led sailing through the national park’s Resurrection Bay, where you can view Bear Glacier and wildlife like whales and bald eagles. An all-you-can-eat salmon and prime rib lunch buffet is also included. This excursion is for animal lovers who will more than get their fill of marine wildlife on this tour. Those with motion sickness should take precautions since the Resurrection Bay waters can be a bit choppy.