Best Alaska Cruise Shore Excursions

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!  Need to know what to pack for your Alaskan Vacation?  << Click Here >>  Here are the best Alaska Shore Excursions:

Juneau

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!

Haines

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.

Sitka

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.

Skagway

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.

Ketchikan

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.

Seward

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.

 

Avoya Travel

28 Comments

  1. Mick Krug

    You provide some great pics of things to do there in Alaska. The helicopter ride interests me as well as the cruise to see the glacier. Too cold for me to do any snorkeling in Alaska though.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I lived in Alaska for 22 years, and I never snorkeled, nor do I want to. I don’t care how much apparel they want to put on, the Alaska waters are just too darn cold for my blood. But the beauty, the wildlife, glaciers, and everything else, is truly wonderful! Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  2. eyerusalem

    I love the Ziprider I tried it few years ago and now i want to go back again. and I see that there are many fun places to visit which I don’t know about it. thank you this is good.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome. There are lots of fun shore excursions when taking an Alaska Cruise. You’ll love going back and trying new things! Thanks for visiting.

      Reply
  3. Johnny

    Wow, could not have imagined how much interesting activitys you can do in Alaska. I think the sea food cooking class looks fabulous
    and yummy. Grilling the catch of the day ove a large wood grill would be so cool. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Johnny, and it really is cool. I live there, and the seafood is probably the thing I miss the most. I certainly don’t miss the weather. However, a cruise would be different 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and reading about the best Alaska Shore excursions.

      Reply
  4. Kevin

    That really looks like a lot of fun. It sounds like there is a lot to do. This is great website. I hadn’t considered a cruise to Alaska before, but now I am!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Kevin, you will love an Alaska cruise! With the beauty, wildlife, and just the unique experience, you will be wanting to go back. Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.

      Reply
  5. Eric

    Whoa lol, I didn’t want to say wow like all the others. When you get there how much time do you average on land versus on the cruise? This talks about all the shore excursions but seems like you may not be able to get back on board the ship with everything there is to do. My favorite would probably be seeing bears while in a plane up above. But then there is the train that seems pretty nice too. I do find one thing a little funny, the beaver clan house sounds made up for tourists.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Eric, and thanks for visiting. The Beaver Clan house was not make for tourists, Alaska is just very unique. You do get all day for a shore excursion, but obviously, some last longer and if you pick an excursion that goes all day, then you can only do the one. The wildlife in Alaska is amazing, and really, whether you are flying above in a float plane, doing the glacier tour, or train….you will see wildlife…guaranteed.

      Reply
  6. Carole

    Hi Leahrae, I just found your site as I was preparing my trip for Alaska! Now it will help me a lot to make the right decision as to what to visit and things to do! Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are most welcome Carole. Are you flying to Anchorage, or going on a cruise? I can give you a couple more ideas if you are flying into Anchorage. There are a couple of things that you really do need to do! Just let me know. And thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  7. Mick Krug

    You provide a lot of nice pictures of the various sites to see on the cruise. I liked the dog sled pics. That would an experience. A lot of variety to an Alaskan Cruise which is very appealing. The glacier cruise is a must!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree Mick, the glacier cruise is interesting. I have been up close, and they are pretty amazing. Not to mention the wildlife you will see while visiting them. Thanks for stopping by and reading about the best Alaska shore excursions.

      Reply
  8. Les Trow

    Wow! Looks great. Your post is great and an Alaska cruise would be wonderful. I can’t wait till I can start planning one. Definitely on my bucket list!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is a very unique cruise with wonderful shore excursions. Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Reply
  9. Melinda

    Wow! These Alaska excursions look like so much fun. I think I’d be most interested in the dogsled ride. I love dogs!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Riding on a dog sled is kind of fun. That and seeing glacier’s up close, and all the wildlife, can’t be beat. Thanks for stopping by Melinda.

      Reply
  10. LYNNE

    Hi, Awesome collection of things to do in Alaska! I’ve been there a few times to visit family and it’s really so beautiful that you cannot miss getting out and exploring the wilderness you’re there. Don’t know if they still have it but we took a day and went panning for gold once when I was there. If you found any you got to keep it but we weren’t quite that lucky.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for reading Lynne. Yes, of course you can still pan for gold. And you are right, I don’t know that I ever got any, ever. But it is still fun trying! Alaska is beautiful, a different type of beauty that is worth while. So an Alaska Cruise is wonderful!

      Reply
  11. Colleen

    WOW! I have thought about an Alaskan cruise, but have never really looked into it. Those who have gone on an Alaskan cruise have mentioned that August is a good month to go. What months would you suggest going there? Your photos are beautiful! It seems like there’s so much more to see and do than I realized. Plus, there’s a lot of great seafood. Mmmm… Great post!!!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by Colleen and reading about the Best Alaska Cruise Shore Excursions. The only months I consider going is June, July, and August. I lived there for 22 years, and this is the only time the weather can be pleasant. And I do say can be, LOL. You would actually love an Alaska Cruise!

      Reply
  12. Linda

    So beautiful. This would be a great place to visit and great package deals to chose from. Maybe some day.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Alaska is very beautiful for sure Linda. Thanks for stopping by Beach Travel Destinations.com.

      Reply
  13. Fred

    Wow, I didn’t know that there was so much that could be done in Alaska. For me, I think that the Wilderness River Tour and the Glacier Point Safari boat rides would be my favorites. Just because all the different wildlife that can be seen. The Saxman Native Village would be something interesting to see, but I would really like to see authentic Totem poles from back in the old days that would be exciting. Very nice post.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Fred, there is so much culture and diversity in Alaska. An Alaska cruise is just so different and wonderful. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  14. Khalfish

    Hi There,

    Wow! If someone asked me if there is anything to do in Alaska my answer could have been a big No. Your post is a great eye opener for me. Now my notion of Alaska had made a 180 turn. Thanks for the post, when I hear of Alaska from now I will be visualizing a place full of exciting activities.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, there is a LOT of exciting things to do in Alaska, especially on a cruise. Take it from me…I lived there 22 years. Our family has a small airplane, boat, etc. So I lived the Alaskan life. But I am not a cold weather person, so if I went back, it would only be on a cruise LOL. Thanks for stopping by and visiting the Best Alaska Shore Excursions.

      Reply

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