Welcome to Ketchikan
This frontier outpost on the southern tip of Alaska’s Inside Passage panhandle is known as the salmon capital of the world. It’s not a surprise considering fishing was the only game in town for much Ketchikan’s history. Today, it’s the first port of call for excursions into the Tongass National Forest, the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, Misty Fjords National Monument, and Ward Cove. It makes a terrific base to explore the state’s unspoiled wilderness with a jeep or ATV tour of the rainforest or float down its waterways on a fishing boat, Zodiac, kayak, or canoe. For a view from above, take a zipline tour or go flightseeing with the eagles by floatplane or helicopter (an ideal way to see bears). The arrival of commercial fishing led to a boom in Ketchikan’s population in the first half of the 20th century, and the town’s Creek Street red-light district and Dolly’s House—a preserved brothel—offer a unique peek into its history. Going back even further, the native Tlingit people were fishing these waters. Ketchikan has the largest collection of standing Tlingit totem poles in the world, which can be found at Saxman Totem Park, Totem Bight State Park, the Totem Heritage Center, and Potlatch Park. Learn more about the history and culture of these people at the Tongass Historical Museum, and end your visit with a Bering Sea crab feast.