Exploring Alaska on a cruise is a dream come true for many people. The state’s natural beauty, rich heritage, and otherworldly sights make it a memorable cruise destination. Port cities like Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Skagway are fascinating places to explore. While on the cruise, you’ll likely have some excursion options offered by the ship or by local tour companies. These include trips to nearby historical parks, wildlife observation, and cultural sights. With so many options, it can be tricky to narrow down your choices. To help you out, here are a few of our favorite excursion options from Alaskan cruise ports.
#1 Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip
An exciting excursion that you can take from Juneau is a Mendenhall Glacier float trip. This white water rafting experience will give you memories to last a lifetime. The total journey is about three and a half hours. Along the way, you’ll experience class II and III rapids as you traverse along Mendenhall Glacier. There is beautiful mountainous scenery and plentiful wildlife throughout the trip. Most tours also include Alaskan-style snacks and beverages. It’s a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and stay active during your port stop.
#2 Flightseeing Over Juneau Icefield
Most cities have sightseeing, but Alaska has “flightseeing.” Adrenaline junkies will love this opportunity to see the Juneau Icefields from a bird’s eye perspective. It’s a very convenient excursion because the floatplane you will be using for this tour takes off right from the cruise ship terminal. The sights that you will see will take your breath away. You’ll pass over rivers, oceans, forests, waterfalls, and endless wildlife. Of course, the main attraction is the five impressive glaciers in the ice field.
#3 Totem Bight State Historical Park
History buffs will love visiting Totem Bight State Historical Park during their cruise stop. This landmark is ideal for travelers docking at Ketchikan. Not only are the mountain and water views breathtaking, but the historical significance of this place is fascinating. At this destination, you’ll stroll through lush rainforests while learning about local Haida and Tlingit culture. The main draw at this park is the perfectly preserved totem poles. These “silent storytellers” are still used to tell stories and keep traditions alive.
#4 Whale Watching in Sitka
If you stop off at Sitka, it’s well worth it to go whale and marine life watching. Sitka is one of the most picturesque spots in the state (hard to believe because Alaska is so beautiful) and perfect for this activity. Whale-watching tours typically last about two hours and offer endless opportunities to see marine life. Some animals you can anticipate seeing are otters, seals, sea lions, birds, and whales. A local guide leads these tours and will take you to the best viewing spots.
#5 White Pass & Yukon Route Train
The White Pass and Yukon Railway is an excellent excursion for people of all ages. This journey starts in Skagway and travels through pristine forests and natural landscapes. The total trip lasts about two-and-a-half hours and hits an elevation of over 2,800 feet. Some trips stay within Alaska, but others venture into Yukon Territory in Canada, and you would need a passport. The breathtaking views of the glaciers and mountains make this trip well worth it.
Need help planning your Alaskan cruise getaway? Accessible Cruise & Travel – Dream Vacations can help!