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Shore Excursions in Alaska

By Viator, March 2014

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From the small towns of the Inside Passage to the city of Anchorage, Alaska’s ports of call offer beautiful landscapes, heritage attractions that dig into the state’s native history and, of course, access to the oh-so-Great Outdoors. The currency in Alaska is the US dollar. The language is English, and some locals speak a native language, as well.

Departure ports include the American cities of San Francisco and Seattle and the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Victoria; depending on where you depart, you may visit one or more of these cities as a regular port of call, as well.

Anchorage

Alaska’s most populous city is also the northernmost city in the United States. Ships dock in the industrial port near downtown, and it’s a quick shuttle or cab ride to attractions like the Captain Cook Monument and Alaska Heritage Museum. Get out of the city with shore excursion to a nearby glacier, gold-mining areas or Mt McKinley (by plane!).

Juneau

Juneau is the capital of Alaska and sits on the mainland on the Gastineau Channel. One of its most popular surrounding attractions is the Mendenhall Glacier, which you can experience on a shore excursion. Other outdoor activities include rafting and whale watching. Ships dock within walking distance of downtown either at South Franklin Street (large ships) or Seadrome Dock (small ships).

Ketchikan

Alaska’s southernmost port of call, Ketchikan sits in the Inside Passage and is known as the Salmon Capital of the World. Ships dock in the center of town, although on busy days, you may anchor and be tendered to shore. Shore excursions are all about the great outdoors: seaplane tours over fjords, zipline rides over the rainforest, canoeing, kayaking and off-roading.

Seward

The small town of Seward is about 125 miles (200 km) south of Anchorage and is the jumping-off point for adventures in Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s also the starting point of the historic Iditarod Trail. Ships dock at the north end of town, giving you easy access to downtown or the tour boats by shuttle or taxi. If you’re staying in town, check out the Alaska SeaLife Center to see fur seals, sea lions, otters and more.

Sitka

Cruises to Sitka anchor in the bay and tender passengers to the harbor in the downtown area. The small city, which can only be reached by sea or air, mixes Russian and Tlingit history with outdoor action. See sights like where the Russian flag was lowered and the American flag raised when Alaska was transferred to the US in the 1800s, or take a sea kayaking shore excursion to admire the area’s natural beauty.

Skagway

Skagway is the northernmost port in the Inside Passage and lies just about 10 miles from the Canadian border. It boasts a cute, frontier-style downtown and offers shore excursions to Gold Rush-era sites and Canada’s Yukon Territory. Ships dock near the bottom of Broadway, the town’s main street.

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