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Things to do in Ketchikan

Things to do in  Ketchikan

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.

Top attractions in Ketchikan for Spring

#1
Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest

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Encompassing some 17 million acres (70,000 square kilometers of Southeast Alaska, the Tongass National Forest is the largest forest in the US and the world’s largest temperate rain forest. Named after the Tongass clan of the Tlingit Indians, the park is home to the Alaskan capital (Juneau as well as the Mendenhall Glacier.More
#2
Misty Fjords National Monument

Misty Fjords National Monument

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Just 22 miles (35 kilometers) outside of Ketchikan lies the vast and remote Misty Fjords National Monument—a collection of sea cliffs, deep-cut fjords, glacial valleys, thick rainforests, and roaring waterfalls. Accessible only by boat or floatplane, Misty Fjords is an outdoor playground for hikers, kayakers, and day cruisers.More
#3
Saxman Native Village

Saxman Native Village

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Saxman Native Village celebrates all things Alaskan and Tlingit—totem poles, folklore and dance, lumberjack exploits, and woodcarvers. The native village introduces visitors to the customs and culture of Alaska’s indigenous inhabitants and features the largest collection of totems you’re likely to see.More
#4
Totem Bight State Historical Park

Totem Bight State Historical Park

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Totem Bight State Historical Park protects and displays 14 intricate totem poles, sourced from abandoned native villages and restored to their original splendor. Each tells a unique story of Tlingit and Haida carvers, offering insight into Ketchikan’s rich Native Alaskan heritage. There is also an onsite replica Native village with a Clan House.More
#5
Creek Street

Creek Street

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During Alaska’s pioneering days, every gold rush town had a red light district; in Ketchikan, it was Creek Street. Prostitution wasn’t outlawed here until 1954, and it was legal as long as business wasn’t transacted on dry land. This explains why Creek Street isn’t a street at all, but an elevated boardwalk built on wooden pilings above Ketchikan Creek.More
#6
Guard Island Lighthouse

Guard Island Lighthouse

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The historic Guard Island Lighthouse lit up for the first time on September 15, 1924. The original 34-foot wooden structure was particularly important during the Klondike Gold Rush as it aided in shipping along the Southeast Alaska Inside Passage. Today, it’s known for its historical significance, peaceful beauty, and abundance of seals.More
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Inside Passage

Inside Passage

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Extending from Washington’s Puget Sound, along the shores of British Columbia and into the Gulf of Alaska, the spectacular Inside Passage is a highlight of any trip to Alaska. Bays, beaches, peninsulas, fjords, glaciers, rivers, coastal towns, snow-capped mountains, and over 1,000 islands make the region an adventurer’s paradise.More
#8
Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

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Delve into wildlife, scenery, and history at the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary—a one-stop-shop for Alaska’s natural wonders. Set in the temperate rainforest, the sanctuary is home to lush forests, a salmon spawning stream, historic sawmill, and a totem pole park. Raised boardwalks offer the chance to view black bears, eagles, and more.More
#9
Totem Heritage Center

Totem Heritage Center

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Ketchikan’s Totem Heritage Center displays the largest collection of unrestored 19th-century totem poles in Alaska, collected from abandoned Tlingit and Haida villages throughout the region. Baskets, masks, carvings, regalia, and historic photographs of old villages where the poles were found round out the excellent collection.More
#10
Dolly's House Museum

Dolly's House Museum

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At the height of its gold rush, Ketchikan’s red light district on Creek Street operated around 30 bordellos. Dolly Arthur was one of Ketchikan’s better-known madams before prostitution was outlawed; today her parlor and boudoir are preserved as a museum filled with memorabilia commemorating the roaring days of the early twentieth century.More
#11
Tongass Historical Museum

Tongass Historical Museum

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The history, art, and culture of Ketchikan and Southeast Alaska are preserved and promoted by the Tongass Historical Museum in Ketchikan. The permanent collection includes Native Alaskan artifacts and tools, historical items from Ketchikan’s fishing industry, and an excellent selection of photographic material.More
#12
Southeast Alaska Discovery Center

Southeast Alaska Discovery Center

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The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center provides visitors with an introduction to the history and culture of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Rangers offer interpretation, while a theater screens films on cultural history. Facilities also include a re-created native fishing village and a trail through the temperate rainforest.More
#13
Port of Ketchikan

Port of Ketchikan

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If you’re sailing north from Seattle or Vancouver, the Port of Ketchikan on Revillagigedo Island will likely be your first port of call. The former salmon fishery and so-called "Salmon Capital of the World" offers visitors a real taste of Alaska’s frontier personality and cultural heritage, and serves as the gateway to Alaska's Inside Passage.More
#14
Ward Cove

Ward Cove

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Ward Cove is a bay located in Alexander Archipelago in southern Alaska, just a few miles outside British Columbia in Canada. The Ward Cove stream empties into the head of the cove, making it the outlet to many lakes found on Revillagigedo Island. Its rapid and relatively straight-coursed current made it an excellent location for a pulp mill back in the 1940s, when the paper industry was flourishing. It was used to process the timber from the Tongass National Forest into wood pulp. The industry’s decline, however, led to the definitive closing of the mill in 1997, which is now being converted into a boatyard for the Alaska Marine highway.Ward Cove is the name of a settlement in the unincorporated community of Ketchikan Gateway Borough. The area is not for the urbanites and the bustle aficionados; at just 57 inhabitants, Ward Cove should be thought of more like a retreat, an ode to nature. It is a fisher’s paradise! A number of tour operators based in Ketchikan will be happy to take visitors on an exploratory journey on the Alaskan waters. Another local attraction is the Totem Bight State Historical Park, located just north of Ward Cove. A National Register of Historic Places, it showcases a collection of 15 delicate totem poles and a recreation of what would have been a typical clanhouse at the time of settling, in the early 1900s.More

Top activities in Ketchikan

Ketchikan All In One

Ketchikan All In One

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$94.00
Ketchikan Duck Tour

Ketchikan Duck Tour

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$69.00
Misty Fjords Flight Tour

Misty Fjords Flight Tour

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$325.00
Misty Fjords Seaplane Tour

Misty Fjords Seaplane Tour

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$389.00
Ketchikan Electric Bike and Rain Forest Hike Ecotour
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Rainforest Zip, Skybridge & Rappel Adventure in Ketchikan, AK
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Ketchikan Kayak Eco-Tour
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Ketchikan Kayak Eco-Tour

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$149.00
Ketchikan 4 in 1

Ketchikan 4 in 1

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$92.00
Orcas Cove Sea Kayaking
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Orcas Cove Sea Kayaking

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$169.00
Ketchikan Exclusive Private Group Tour (Price up to 11 Passengers)
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Alaska Ocean Wilderness Expedition
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Recent reviews from experiences in Ketchikan

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Exceeded all our expectations
Jennifer_C, May 2022
Ketchikan All In One
Amazing way to see all of beautiful Ketchikan and s bonus was the sunshine.
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great kayaking experience
Roman_D, Jun 2021
Ketchikan Kayak Eco-Tour
it was a good opportunity to see some of the Alaskan marine life.
star-5
Fantastic tour
nicolejay9, Aug 2019
Ketchikan All In One
Got to see so much of Ketchikan in 2.
star-5
Fun excursion in Ketchikan
JODY_M, Aug 2019
Ketchikan Electric Bike and Rain Forest Hike Ecotour
The hike was pleasant with lots to see and learn from our excellent guide Austin.
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A fun way to visit Ketchikan. These...
logan.joyce, Sep 2016
Ketchikan Duck Tour
A fun way to visit Ketchikan.
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It was a fun and informative activity...
Ian M, May 2016
Ketchikan Duck Tour
However, Ketchikan is known for its rainfall, so we covered our options.
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Fun and very informative tour. The...
J.D., Aug 2017
Totem Bight and Ketchikan City Tour
I would like to have had a longer tour of Ketchikan to see more of the historical sites.
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Ketchikan Settlers Pass State Park ride
jULIE_J, Sep 2021
Ketchikan Electric Bike and Rain Forest Hike Ecotour
Great way to see Ketchikan!!
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Whale watching
Joe_L, Aug 2021
Whale Watching & Wildlife Viewing Excursion
First we were surprised to see we were the only people on board.
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Truly an Experience of a Lifetime
Michele_B, Jul 2021
Ketchikan 4 in 1
This tour provider is committed to opening up Ketchikan to visitors, and the experience will stick with me for a lifetime.
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Great Experience
angela_l, May 2019
Ketchikan All In One
We travel to Ketchikan expecting to see Bears.
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Fun and informative!
Karen_P, Jul 2019
Ketchikan Pub Crawl
My husband and I were debating whether or not to get a tour to see Misty Fjords during our cruise stop, but the bot reviews were mediocre and the float planes just had some major crashes in the weeks prior to our cruise date, so we opted to keep our feet in the ground!
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Good tour. There isn't much to see but...
Kevin B, Jul 2016
Ketchikan Duck Tour
There isn't much to see but the guide and driver did their best to show us what Ketchikan has to offer.
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Don't miss booking this Tandem Kayaking...
Fredda F, Jun 2017
Ketchikan Kayak Eco-Tour
Ketchikan is the rain capital of Alaska, rainfall avg,200 a year.
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We were unable to complete our tour...
Ludy G, Jun 2017
Misty Fjords National Monument Floatplane Tour
Ketchikan has the highest rainfall for the entire state of Alaska which I was not aware of when I booked but I will say that this is a 'class act' outfit.
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Ruth, our guide, was warm and...
Patty S, Sep 2017
Private 4-Hour Ketchikan City Tour
Would highly recommend hiring a guide and car to see the town.
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Backdoor to Ketchikan
Raydenne_H, Aug 2018
Ketchikan All In One
Local guide Mike took us to main attractions in Ketchikan plus his favorite spots or so it seemed.
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Loved this shore excursion. The tour...
George, Aug 2015
Ketchikan Jeep and Canoe Safari
Then when in the canoe, got to see the beautiful scenery Ketchikan has to offer and had the opportunity to enjoy the stories and facts of Alaska then had the chance to taste the chowder and salmon, which was awesome.
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The Ketchikan you don't Know
David_P, Aug 2018
Ketchikan All In One
Best way to see Ketchikan, history, sights, and sounds you won't find in town.
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Great Way To See Ketchikan!!!!
Glenn_L, Jul 2018
Ketchikan Electric Bike and Rain Forest Hike Ecotour
The rain forest hike is AMAZING and gives you the opportunity to see various wildlife/marine animals.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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