Nestled in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, Ketchikan is a picturesque coastal town renowned for its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and thrilling outdoor activities. From awe-inspiring rainforests to pristine waters teeming with wildlife, this charming destination offers a plethora of experiences for every type of traveler. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the top things to do in Ketchikan, Alaska, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this captivating slice of paradise.
- Embark on a Misty Fjords National Monument Cruise:
A visit to Ketchikan wouldn’t be complete without exploring the magnificent Misty Fjords National Monument. Hop aboard a scenic cruise and sail through towering granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and serene fjords. Marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the untouched wilderness, spot bald eagles soaring overhead, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of marine life such as seals or orcas. This unforgettable journey will leave you in awe of Mother Nature’s masterpiece.
- Immerse Yourself in Native Alaskan Culture:
Ketchikan is home to the rich heritage of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Native American tribes. Explore the Totem Heritage Center and admire the world’s largest collection of totem poles, intricately carved with stories and symbols. Visit Saxman Native Village to witness traditional dance performances and learn about indigenous art forms. Engage with local artists at the Artists-in-Residence program, where you can witness the creation of beautiful handcrafted pieces.
- Stroll Along Historic Creek Street:
Creek Street, perched on stilts above Ketchikan Creek, is a charming historic district known for its colorful buildings and fascinating history. Once a bustling red-light district during the Prohibition era, today it houses art galleries, quaint boutiques, and captivating museums. Take a leisurely walk along the boardwalk, spot salmon swimming upstream, and absorb the unique atmosphere of this quirky and picturesque part of town.
- Go Fishing for Adventure:
Ketchikan is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, boasting world-class salmon and halibut fishing opportunities. Charter a fishing boat and embark on an angler’s dream, casting your line into the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean or pristine rivers. Experience the thrill of hooking a massive king salmon or wrestle with a mighty halibut. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice, Ketchikan offers unforgettable fishing experiences for all.
- Explore the Tongass National Forest:
As the largest national forest in the United States, the Tongass National Forest surrounds Ketchikan with its lush greenery and vibrant wildlife. Lace up your hiking boots and venture into the dense rainforest, where moss-draped trees, crystal-clear streams, and tranquil lakes await. Take a guided nature walk to learn about the region’s flora and fauna, or embark on an adrenaline-pumping zipline tour, soaring through the treetops for a bird’s-eye view of this breathtaking wilderness.
- Take a Scenic Flightseeing Tour:
For a truly awe-inspiring experience, take to the skies on a scenic flightseeing tour. Fly over glaciers, snow-capped mountains, and vast stretches of untouched wilderness. Marvel at the panoramic views of the Misty Fjords, Behm Canal, and the surrounding islands. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as bears, mountain goats, and moose as you soar through the Alaskan skies.
- Visit the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center:
Delve into the natural and cultural history of the region at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. This interactive museum offers engaging exhibits that showcase the diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and indigenous cultures of Southeast Alaska. Learn about the area’s mining heritage, explore the underwater world through a virtual aquarium, and gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of this unique corner of the world.
- Go Kayaking in the Inside Passage:
Explore the pristine waters of the Inside Passage by embarking on a kayaking adventure. Paddle through calm bays, intricate channels, and hidden coves while surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Encounter wildlife up close, including seals, sea lions, and porpoises. Kayaking allows you to connect with nature on a more intimate level, providing a serene and unforgettable experience.
- Enjoy a Fresh Seafood Feast:
Being a coastal town, Ketchikan is renowned for its delicious seafood. Treat yourself to a mouthwatering seafood feast at one of the local restaurants or seafood shacks. Indulge in succulent Alaskan king crab legs, perfectly grilled salmon, or buttery halibut. Whether you’re a seafood lover or simply looking to savor the flavors of the ocean, Ketchikan’s culinary scene will not disappoint.
- Discover Wildlife at the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary:
Head to the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, a 40-acre protected reserve, for an immersive wildlife experience. Take a guided nature walk through lush forests, keeping an eye out for bald eagles, black bears, and Sitka black-tailed deer. Learn about the intricate ecosystem of the temperate rainforest and the efforts to preserve its delicate balance. This sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to observe and appreciate Alaska’s diverse wildlife.
- Explore the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show:
For an entertaining and action-packed experience, attend the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. Watch world-class lumberjacks showcase their skills in a series of thrilling competitions, including log rolling, axe throwing, and chainsaw carving. This family-friendly show provides an exciting glimpse into the region’s timber industry and offers a dose of adrenaline-fueled fun.
Ketchikan, Alaska, is a destination that seamlessly blends natural beauty, cultural heritage, and thrilling outdoor adventures. From cruising through the Misty Fjords to immersing yourself in Native Alaskan culture and exploring the enchanting Tongass National Forest, this charming town offers an array of experiences to create memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your sense of adventure and embark on an unforgettable journey to Ketchikan, where Alaska’s wonders await your discovery.