tips you can trust
Unlike a helicopter, a floatplane can land in a remote lake or fjord, turn of its engine, and let you sense nature's intense silence and solitude. They travel to various destinations. By far the best is to Misty Fjord (which is also reachable by boat tours). The area is blessed with sheer mountain cliffs, stunning waterfalls, and beautiful lakes.
This former red-light district today hosts boutiques, galleries and eateries luring tourists strolling along the boardwalk. The buildings are built over the narrow Ketchikan Creek on pilings. During the mid-summer salmon runs, you can see salmon flipping their way upstream to spawn.
Although the show is a bit hokey, there's no denying that the championship-caliber lumberjacks put on a crowd-pleasing contest in log rolling, pole climbing, and ax throwing. The show's script generates laughter, the lumberjacks' skills, applause.
Bear viewing tour
Unlike in a zoo, bears do not appear on cue. Your chances of seeing them in their wild habitat is best from late July through early September. Keep in mind my bear-viewing rule of thumb: "When salmon are gone, bears are gone."
Do it by road - or book a fly-in combined rainforest and hike tour.
The Southeast Alaska Discover Center and Dog Sled Mushing Museum have interesting exhibits.
Salmon sport river fishing
Excellent in July and August.
Get up close to wildlife and the undisturbed wilderness.
You'll find a wide assortment of totem poles in and around Ketchikan. The three best spots are the Totem Heritage Center, Totem Bight, and Saxman Totem Park. The first is in town, the others are beyond. Each offers Native Indian culture arts, crafts and presentations.
Soar through the tree tops as you sit in a harness attached to a hanging zipline.
Best 4 Alaska cruise ports to visit
Best shore excursions - overview
Helicopter tours - Ranks #1
Floatplane tours - Ranks #2
Best 3 Juneau shore excursions
Best 3 Ketchikan shore excursions
Best 3 Sitka shore excursions
Best 3 Skagway shore excursions