The 5 Best Skagway Shore Excursions 2016

best shore excursion coverSkagway has a variety of tours to choose from, and picking the right one can be a daunting task. Think of this list like the Superlatives from high school. We’re not just giving you a Top 5 list, we’re giving you the best shore excursion for your group. Take a look at the tours below, and you’ll have a much better idea of how you should spend your time off the ship in Skagway.

Best Tour for All Ages

Grizzly Falls Ziplining Expedition

Grizzly Falls Zipline ExpeditionThis tour is the #1 rated activity on TripAdvisor, and for good reason. The setting is picturesque, the ziplines are fast, and the guides are awesome. This tour is a favorite for family reunions because it’s able to accommodate almost everyone (barring those with a severe fear of heights!). The course has seen people from 6 to 96 (not kidding!), and the guides are highly trained in safety and bad jokes. You’ll go down 9 different ziplines (plus 1 or 2 training lines if you’re a scaredy cat). The fastest one has a top speed near 40 miles per hour and the longest is over 2 football fields in length. The harnesses and guide-operated braking system on this course mean you can get crazy! If you’re up for it, the guides will teach you tricks like hanging upside-down and front flips, all while soaring above the Alaskan rainforest. The age limit is 6 and the weight limit is 50 to 265 lbs, but exceptions may be made for both. The guides’ biggest concern is safety, and they try their hardest to never turn anyone away unless it would be unsafe for that person to participate. Cost: $169 for adults, $149 for children 12 and under.

Most Scenic

Yukon Discovery

Yukon DiscoveryIf you want photos that will make your friends jealous, you want this tour. The 6-hour long tour takes you out of Skagway, through the White Pass and British Columbia and into the Yukon. Your guide will stop at several of the most scenic spots for plenty of photo opportunities. Be on the lookout for wildlife like bears and mountain goats! Get your picture taken in front of the “Welcome to Alaska” and “Welcome to the Yukon” signs for a great memory of your trip. The guides are very knowledgeable on the history and local flora and fauna of the area, so take advantage! Even if you’ve been to Skagway before, we guarantee that you’ll learn something new on this tour. Lunch from the fantastic Caribou Crossing is included, along with entrance to the great wildlife display and Mountie museum. For a little extra, you can even experience the thrill of being pulled by Alaskan huskies, some of whom competed in the Iditarod! This tour is fairly sedentary, so if you’re looking to get outside and play, this probably isn’t the one for you. But if you want the best photo stops, this is it. There is no age or weight limit. Cost: $169 with dogsled ride, $105 without

Best Glacier Experience

Glacier Point Wilderness Safari

Glacier Point Wilderness SafariExplore the Lynn Canal, Tongass National Forest and the Davidson Glacier on this 6.5 hour tour. Your trip starts off on a customized boat that will take you down the Lynn Canal past Haines. The trip takes about an hour and you land right on the beach in your own version of the invasion of Normandy. Once you’ve donned all the gear needed for the day, you’ll make your way to the Davidson Glacier in 12-person canoes. While walking on the glacier isn’t guaranteed, the guides do their best to get you up close and personal. If you do get the chance to walk on it, you’ll have plenty of time for pictures and staring in awe at the giant mass of ice. If conditions don’t allow you to walk on it, the guides will often fish chunks of the glacier out of the lake for you to look at and handle. There is a lot of time spent on boats and the nature of the tour is fairly educational, so we recommend staying away from this tour if you have children 12 or younger, though there is no technical age limit. The weight limit is 50 to 350 lbs. Cost: $219 per person

Most Historic

Bennett Lake Scenic Journey

Bennett Lake Scenic JourneyCover the entire 67.5 miles of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad on this 8 hour tour. Many people come to Skagway and hop right on the train. The downfall of the standard train trips is that they simply summit the White Pass and turn around, so you miss some of the most beautiful points that lie just beyond that. This tour takes you up into the Yukon to Emerald Lake and Carcross, with a very educated guide leading the way. WP&YR is known to provide some of the most in-depth education to its guides, so that they can pass their knowledge on to you. Both the train and bus portions of this trip are fully narrated, but you’ll have more chances to ask questions on your bus ride, where the group is much smaller. On the train, one person narrates for the entire line of cars, so it can be difficult to reach them! This small-group tour departs Skagway just once a day. And space is limited, so if you’re a history buff, it’s best to book early! There are no weight or age restrictions on this tour, though it should be noted that this particular train is not wheelchair accessible. Cost: $219 per person

Best Souvenir

Glassblowing Experience

Glassblowing ExperienceWhy take home the same t-shirt as everyone else, when you can create something that is uniquely yours? The 2 hour Glassblowing Experience at Jewell Gardens gives you time to wander around the gardens followed by an awesome demonstration from one of the master glassblowers. After the demonstration, you have to opportunity to create your own glasswork! You can choose from tons of different colors and designs, leading to a one-of-a-kind ornament or globe. You can even add gold leaf if you want. This isn’t like those “make your own pottery” places, where you end up with a wonky version of a bowl. The master glassblowers are there to help and guide you every step of the way, so you’ll definitely end up with a souvenir you can be proud of. While there is no minimum age to this tour, you are around molten glass, hot ovens and glass pieces, so we recommend it for ages 6 and up. The only slight downfall of this tour is that you need to get to Jewell Gardens on your own. But this is easily accomplished using the Smart Bus which stops in town and costs $2 per ride or $5 for all day. Cost: $105 per person

Hopefully this list helps you narrow down your Skagway tour options. But if you have any questions, or are wondering what else Skagway has to offer, shoot us an email. We’d be happy to help.

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skagway-fishingIf you have the hankering for some good fishing in Skagway, AK, look no further.

Our one and only recommendation is Captain Bernie Warchuck of Skagway Fishing Charters.

Captain Bernie Warchuck is a Certified Master USCG Captain who has been fishing the waters surrounding Skagway for over 15 years.  Having grown up in Michigan, he spent a good part of his life on the Great Lakes and fishing was always a part of his life.

He has always been an enthusiastic boater who strived to spend every available moment on the water.   These days, he stays busy providing KING SALMON CHARTERS to visitors of historical Skagway, AK.   There is no better place to spend each day than on the beautiful Taiya Inlet or Upper Lynn Canal.

The views are breathtaking and nature abounds!  Captain Bernie enjoys all of the adventures and opportunities Alaska has to offer.  He is a contributing sponsor of the Salmon in the Classroom program and an active participant in the annual Pat Moore Fishing Derby held in Skagway.

When he isn’t fishing, he spends time with his wife and grandchildren here in Skagway, AK.

If you’re looking for fishing near the Anchorage, AK area, please see this article. 

jason-lesmeister-kenai-river-guideCooper Landing Fishing with Jason’s Guide Service

Skagway, AK fishing can be good and that’s why we recommended our friends in this article. But if you’re looking for some down right awesome and exciting fishing you need to head over to Cooper Landing, Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula and hook up with Jason’s Guide Service.

Jason Lesmeister, owner of Jason’s Guide Service, has 20 years of experience as an Alaskan fishing guide, ten of them on the Kenai River, so he is well qualified to help visiting anglers shorten the necessary learning curve for a successful trip.

Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden appeal to fishermen because they bite readily, put up an aggressive fight, and are plentiful all year. Red (sockeye) salmon, silver (coho) and other salmon species migrate up the Kenai River at certain times. Sockeye salmon peak from mid-July through the first week in August. Silver salmon fishing is best from the third week of August through the end of October.

Lesmeister’s Kenai River guiding service provides all the equipment you might need, including custom built 20 foot drift boats, G. Loomis, Sage, Lamson and Shimano rods and reels, and all tackle and baits. They will also clean fish and offer other expertise necessary for a quality trip.

Ice fishing the Kenai and surrounding lakes is also outstanding and Jason’s Guide Service is one of the few serious organizations serving this type of fishing and implement the latest technology to locate the fish and keep you warm on the ice.

Jason is headquartered in Cooper Landing, Alaska, and covers the entire Kenai River resource – Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling, Skilak Lake, Kenai Lake, and the Cooper Landing Area. Fishermen are encouraged to bring their cameras so they can post photos of their catch with the others on the website’s “Braggin’ Board”. It is a good idea to make reservations for prime seasons as far in advance as possible.

For more information, visit the website and send questions via the contact form or push the handy “Push to Call” button to initiate a direct call.


Jason’s Guide Service
Mile Marker 48
Cooper Landing, AK 99572
(907) 351-3036

See our Reviews on Trip Advisor

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State’s tourism campaign in 3 Indian cities has worked.

Tourists from India seem to have found a new favorite vacation destination: Alaska.

The Anchorage tourism division, Visit Anchorage, mounted large campaigns in 2012 in key cities across India and South America, with the goal of spurring more visitors from those parts of the world to their state. The move looks like it worked, as the tourism board is reporting significant increases in the number of visitors they receive from those two regions.

Visit Anchorage credits the vast openness and quiet of Alaska as motivating factors that bring in people from Indian cities, which are loud and hugely over-populated. The organization has partnered with several local and state governments in India to promote Alaska, with campaigns still going on; the most recent was last month, from December 11-16, in Bangalore, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

Still, the Indian fever for Alaskan cold hasn’t caught on enough for the country to crack the list of top five tourist home countries. About 10% of visitors to Alaska come from outside the US and Canada, with the most frequent countries being Australia and New Zealand. The next country up in terms of how many tourists it sends to Alaska is the UK, following by Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, and South Korea.


As a result of the influx in Indian visitors, Anchorage — the most populous city in the state – has even seen an increase in the number of Indian restaurants there are in the city. Additionally, many Indians are coming not just for sightseeing, but also for specific events, such as the annual Iditarod dog-sledding race and to see the Northern Lights.

The majority of tourist who come do so on cruises, typically from Seattle or Vancouver. The majority of tourists to Alaska, regardless of home country, take cruises to get there. In 2012, around 51% of the 1.85 million people who visited the state that year came on a cruise ship.

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aurora-borealis-1513223_1280Alaska parents are nothing if not perpetual planners. We have to be. Skilled masters of calendaring everything from fishing trips to hockey tournaments, moms and dads across the 49th state know the right time to jump on a good deal, and that time is right now, thanks to last week’s release of the 2016 Permanent Fund dividend amount.

Between the end of September and early October, expect specials, discounts and incentives to buy, buy, buy.

What can you find in the way of family vacation deals for $1,000 per person?

With a bit of research, patience and a dash of impulsiveness, quite a bit. Kids have school in-service days coming up, and long holiday weekends are around the corner. Perhaps it’s time to invest in places rather than things.

*Tips: Don’t delay, especially when booking air travel out of Alaska. Be flexible with departure and return dates, as the savings can be significant. Consider visiting a destination you’ve never been; some of our favorite family memories were built on small towns, obscure drives, and local parks. And parents of Alaska school-age children need to remember that travel using the PFD airfares is blacked out over Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break.

Alaska Destinations

*Anchorage-Fairbanks, $77/one way on Alaska Airlines. Short on time or looking to show your kids Interior Alaska? A trip to Fairbanks means ample space at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum, Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Chena Hot Springs and Creamer’s Field Migratory Bird Refuge. Stay at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge and take advantage of their Alaska resident rates and a view of the Chena River. OF ALL THE PLACES TO STAY IN FAIRBANKS, WONDERING IF IT MAKES SENSE TO SINGLE OUT ONE? Pioneer Park, the former Alaskaland that many people remember, also has a wealth of special events throughout the fall and winter. Visitor information is available

*Anchorage-Juneau, $117/one way on Alaska Airlines. Alaska’s capital city offers a wealth of recreational activities year round. Rent a car and hike the trails of Eaglecrest Ski Area, or visit once the snow flies and ski this family friendly hill. Drive out to Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, part of the Tongass National Forest, and walk the Trail of Time, tracing the retreat of the glacier, which got under way in the mid-1700s. Don’t forget to explore the visitor center too, and catch a film about the glacier, the Juneau Icefield and Southeast Alaska’s rugged geology. The Alaska State Museum is also a sure bet for families now that the facility has been completely remodeled to make it more appealing to younger visitors. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. during winter hours. Admission is a mere $5 for those at least 18; everyone else is free.


Outside Destinations

*Anchorage-Seattle, $99 one way on Alaska Airlines andDelta Airlines. Make a long weekend out of this affordable airfare with a stay in Seattle and surrounding areas. Woodland Park Zoo near Seattle’s Greenlake neighborhood is an easy day trip, and the park’s ample green space is a fun way to run off any extra energy. Closer to downtown lies enormous Discovery Park, with exceptional trails and access to sandy beaches for playtime. Explore the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center, or take a guided hike from a park naturalist before munching on a picnic lunch down by the beach. Find lodging, transportation and other activities at

*Anchorage-Portland, $97.50 one way ($196 round trip) on Delta Airlines; $139 one way on Alaska Airlines.

Anchorage to Portland is $196 round trip (97.50 each way) on Delta.

The Rose City always shines, even when often-gloomy fall and winter weather drips and drops with rain. Featuring an expansive and easy to navigate light rail system, Portland is fun for kids and affordable for tight transportation budgets. There are so many things to see in this hip city; the Oregon Zoo, OMSI (science center), and Voodoo Doughnuts, but it’s the 4T Trail that always captures our interest, every time. Utilizing the “Ts” of Portland: trains, trails, trams and trolleys, the 4T provides everything kids want in an adventure. It’s an excellent all-weather, any-time-of-year glimpse into Portland’s neighborhood scene and the hundreds of parks and trails within city limits.

*Anchorage-Las Vegas, $149 one way on Alaska Airlines. Take your kids to the bright lights of Vegas, but be sure to get out of town and head toward the fascinating landscape of Nevada and Arizona. Hoover Dam, one of mankind’s biggest engineering marvels, is a short drive away. With cooler fall and winter weather, it also has fewer crowds this time of year. Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park are easy drives from Vegas too. There, young adventurers can hike and climb and learn more about the beautiful desert landscape and ancient history of this region. ( and Seeking something really different? Head toward Yucca, Arizona, and saddle up with Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch. Fall and winter are its most popular seasons, with sunny days and cool, crisp nights on the range.

Erin Kirkland is author of Alaska On the Go: exploring the 49th state with children, and publisher of AKontheGO, Alaska’s only family travel resource. Connect with her at

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