Adventure Cruises in Ketchikan

Ketchikan Cruises offer the chance to discover stunning natural landscapes, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, spot diverse wildlife, learn more about the local people, dine on fresh and tasty fish, and relax as you drift through the scenic waters. With a history dating back to the 1880s and founded on the fishing industry, the city also has the claim to fame of having the biggest collection of standing totem poles in the world! Alaska’s most southeastern city, Ketchikan sits on Revillagigedo Island, one of the islands in the Alexander Archipelago. Explore the area’s many delights on adventure cruises to Ketchikan.

Things to do & see in Ketchikan

Cruises around Ketchikan are the perfect way to explore the area’s dramatic landscapes, learn about the local culture, and enjoy varied activities. Some of the best things to enjoy whilst on a Ketchikan cruise include:

Dine on Fresh Fish and Seafood - Ketchikan is proud to be known as the “Salmon Capital of the World”. Tuck into fresh and tasty locally caught fish and savor the flavor of different types of wild salmon, including Alaskan King Salmon, Chum Salmon, Pink Salmon, Red Salmon, and Sockeye Salmon. Halibut is also abundant, and you can try other local specialties such as cod, crab, and rockfish. Watch fish swimming through the waters, and perhaps take a fishing adventure cruise to catch your own dinner.

Learn about the Local Mining Industry - Ketchikan has a mining history, and you can discover old gold and copper mines as part of your Ketchikan cruise itinerary. Descend into the dark depths of the mines, see old mining equipment, and learn about life in the pits and within a mining community.

Spot an Array of Wildlife - Ketchikan wildlife encounters let you get up close and personal with a fascinating assortment of creatures. Look out for humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, and seals swimming through the waters, and see ravens, bald eagles, and other birds soaring through the skies. Deer, mountain goats, minks, bears, and wolves are among the animals that roam the land. Tongass National Forest and Behm Canal are some of the best places to see various wildlife, while Stephens Passage is terrific for whale watching.

Discover the Local Culture - Admire Ketchikan’s many standing totem poles and be enchanted at a traditional tribal house, such as Chief Shakes Tribal House in Wrangell. See native art and architecture, be entertained by cultural performances, including dancing and music, and learn more about the skills required for delicate totem pole carving.

Get the Adrenaline Pumping with Outdoor Activities - Have fun on the waters in a kayak or a skiff, or try paddleboarding. Keen hikers will be pleased, especially at Stephens Passage. Whether you prefer glacial terrain or rainforest, a Ketchikan adventure cruise provides fantastic experiences in the great outdoors.

Admire Stunning Landscapes - Small ship cruises through Ketchikan take you through picturesque and photogenic places that will leave you in awe. From the glorious Dawes Glacier at Endicott Arm, where you may be lucky enough to see ice calving away from the large block, to the Misty Fjords National Monument, with cascading waterfalls, sparkling deep blue lakes, scenic glacial valleys, and snow-topped mountains, there is a lot to feast your eyes on while onboard your Ketchikan cruise.

Top Tips for visiting Ketchikan

  • Ketchikan is a very wet destination, with rain almost all throughout the year. Make sure you pack wet weather gear.
  • Dress in layers to cope with the unpredictable weather conditions and temperatures. While you must dress for the cold, the sunny summer days can catch you off guard!
  • Take sunglasses on your Ketchikan cruise, especially if traveling in the summer.
  • Have a change of clothes to hand for after-water-based adventure activities like kayaking and paddleboarding.
  • Ketchikan offers some terrific hiking opportunities; pack suitable walking shoes/boots.
  • Try the local salmon and halibut; Ketchikan is famous for its seafood and fish.
  • Don’t forget to take your camera to capture the majesty of Dawes Glacier.
  • Pack your long-zoom lenses for the best wildlife pictures, and bring binoculars for close-up views of the local creatures.

The best time to cruise Ketchikan

The best time to visit Ketchikan is during the summer months of June to August. Temperatures are at their warmest, and you can enjoy sunny days. Summer also lets you see migrating creatures, such as humpback whales, returning to the area. On the other hand, April in Ketchikan is an ideal time to see hummingbirds returning after the winter.

If you are hoping to spot the Northern Lights from your Ketchikan cruise, plan ahead and arrange your trip for the summer.

The driest months are generally April to June, while September and October are often rainiest. Rain is common in Ketchikan, however, all throughout the year.

Where do Ketchikan cruises depart from?

You can fly to Ketchikan International Airport (KTN) and then take a short boat ride to the harbor for your Alaska adventure cruise from Ketchikan. Ferries and water taxis carry passengers to the harbor. There is no road access to Ketchikan.

Domestic flights serve Ketchikan from various airports around Alaska, including Anchorage, Craig, Coffman Cove, and Edna Bay. There are flights from several mainland US cities, including Seattle, Fresno, Eugene, Houston, Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake City. (Note that a flight change may be needed depending on your chosen route.)

Ketchikan Reviews

  • 9.5 Exceptional
  • 7 Verified Reviews
  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Mary W
  • United States United States

We really enjoyed the tours

Cruising Ketchikan in May on the Alaskan Dream

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Dean R
  • United States United States

We went on our own to a totem park which was worth seeing.

Cruising Ketchikan in August on the Wilderness Discoverer