15 Amazing Excursions in Alaska (Must-do Tours!)
With awe-inspiring glaciers, incredible wildlife, and some of the kindest locals I have ever met, Alaska is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
The thing about visiting Alaska, however, is that the state is way bigger – and more remote – than most people realize.
A lot of the most interesting places are only accessible by plane or boat, which makes planning a trip here a bit more daunting than your average destination. There is just a lot of thorough planning that goes into the perfect vacation to the 49th state – especially if you visit in winter or go solo as I did.
This is why Alaska is one of the few places where I think booking tours is actually necessary – and definitely worth it. There are so many amazing things to see and do here, and a good tour will help you make the most of your trip.
To help you decide on the ones that make sense for your itinerary, I’ve put together a list of what I believe to be the best tours in Alaska, based on my own experiences as well as those of other travelers I know and trust.
In this guide, you will find the best tours to take in Alaska.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning, I get a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. This helps me to keep the blog running with free travel content (:
Best companies to book tours in Alaska
The reason is simple: both websites offer a great selection of tours at a very competitive price, they’re both easy to use, and most importantly, I’ve never had any issues with either company (unlike some other tour companies I’ve used in the past).
I also like that you can often find discounts for Viator and Get Your Guide if you book in advance.
The best Alaska tours to take this year
|Name||Duration||Leaves from||Check availability|
|Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier||4.5 hours||Juneau||See prices|
|Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay Half-Day Wildlife Cruise||4 hours||Seward||See prices|
|Wilderness, Wildlife, Glacier Experience, add upgrade to Portage Glacier Cruise||6 hours||Anchorage||See prices|
|Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks||12 to 14 hours||Fairbanks||See prices|
|Alaska Helicopter Tour with Glacier Landing - 60 mins - ANCHORAGE AREA||1 hour||Anchorage||See prices|
|Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure Tour||5.5 hours||Juneau||See prices|
|Anchorage Trolley's Deluxe City Tour||1.5 hours||Anchorage||See prices|
|Ketchikan All In One||2.5 hours||Ketchikan||See prices|
|Mahoney Lake Off-Road UTV Tour||4 hours||Ketchikan||See prices|
|Fairbanks Snowmobile Adventure from North Pole||1 hour||Fairbanks||See prices|
|Alaska Helicopter and Glacier Dogsled Tour ||1.5 hours||Anchorage||See prices|
|Prince William Sound Glacier Tour||5 hours||Whittier||See prices|
|Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour from Ketchikan||3 hours||Ketchikan||See prices|
|Denali Experience Flightseeing Tour ||1.5||Talkeetna||See prices|
|Skagway Shore Excursion: Yukon Discovery Tour||6 hours||Skagway||See prices|
Keep reading for detailed information on each tour.
Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of Juneau’s most impressive natural wonders, stretching over 13 miles (21 kilometers).
On this half-day tour, enjoy spectacular views of the glacier from the viewing platforms and walkways, and learn more about the mighty glacier at the Visitor Center.
Then, set sail on a thrilling whale-watching cruise along the coast and look out for humpback whales, as well as other wildlife such as bald eagles and blue heron.
Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay Half-Day Wildlife Cruise
Treat yourself to an abundance of wildlife viewing with this 4-hour Kenai Fjords cruise in Resurrection Bay from Seward (read: 24 Epic Things To Do In Seward, Alaska).
Travel 55 miles (round-trip) along a rugged coastline and snap plenty of memorable photos as you sail past Bear Glacier.
Sail close to sea lion colonies and seabird rookeries, and keep your eyes peeled for whales, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, eagles, and mountain goats.
Wilderness, Wildlife, Glacier Experience
Get out of the city and deeper into the Alaskan wilderness than is typical on a sightseeing tour.
This tour takes you to Chugach National Forest, Beluga Point, Portage Glacier, and more to spot brown bears, wolves, bison, and belugas.
Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks
Go far off the beaten track on this small-group tour that takes you along one of the world’s most isolated roads.
Travel into the Alaskan wilderness along the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to the edge of the Arctic Circle. On the way back, keep your eyes peeled for the Northern Lights.
Alaska Helicopter Tour with Glacier Landing – 60 mins
Go on an outdoor adventure in Alaska with this small-group helicopter tour with a glacier landing. Take off on a scenic flight and admire views of the Knik River, Great Gorge, and Whiteout Glacier.
Land directly on the glacier and get the experience of drinking glacial water. Set out on a guided glacier hike before the return flight. Keep an eye out for wildlife like moose, bears, and mountain goats.
Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure Tour
Explore Mendenhall Glacier on this exclusive adventure tour into the Alaskan Wilderness.
Your expert guides will lead you on a journey across Mendenhall Lake where you will paddle together with a small group past icebergs, giant waterfalls, and wildlife.
On your way to the ice, you will be surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of mountain peaks nestled in the Tongass National Forest.
Upon landing the canoe at a remote beach site, your guides will safely lead you on an interpretive hike around the rocky surfaces located directly in front of the glacier. Here you will discover the magnificent ice features up close.
Views of specific glacial features like Ice Caves and Moulins cannot be guaranteed due to the nature of the constantly moving ice.
Anchorage Trolley’s Deluxe City Tour
Hop aboard a red trolley in downtown Anchorage during this deluxe city tour, focused on local culture and history.
See top landmarks including Earthquake Park, Lake Hood Harbor, and the Alaska Railroad Depot. Get off the trolley at designated photo stops and ask your guide questions to learn more.
Watch seaplanes land on Lake Hood and keep an eye out for wildlife like moose during the tour.
Ketchikan All In One
Ketchikan is one of Alaska’s most visited cruise ports, renowned for its salmon fishing, wildlife, and indigenous heritage.
On this tour, take in all the highlights with a local guide. See the famous salmon ladder, admire the traditional totem poles at the Saxman Native Village, enjoy whale-watching from Rotary Beach, and look out for seals, eagles, and bears at Herring Cove.
Mahoney Lake Off-Road UTV Tour
Get ready to rev things up a notch and jump behind the wheel of a UTV, on this off-road safari! Explore the mountainous trails of the George Inlet Fjords and the hidden beauty of the Tongass National Forest en route to Mahoney Lake.
The path has several stops along the way to soak up the magnificent scenery and wildlife viewing. This tour includes a delicious campfire lunch.
Fairbanks Snowmobile Adventure from North Pole
Speed through winter landscapes on this snowmobile adventure in North Pole.
Follow an expert guide into the Chena Lakes Recreation area on remote mountain trails leading you across frozen lakes and rivers, and keep an eye out for wildlife.
Then, park the snowmobile and wind down your adrenaline with a warm beverage, along with some snacks.
Alaska Helicopter and Glacier Dogsled Tour
Discover the beautiful scenery of North Anchorage during this 90-minute helicopter and dogsled tour.
Soar over the Church Range and Knik Glacier in a helicopter as you make your way to the Troublesome Glacier. Here, a team of 40 sled dogs is waiting to transport you across the glacier for a true Alaskan experience.
Keep an eye out for native animals such as moose and mountain goats throughout your tour.
Prince William Sound Glacier Tour
Get up-close views of glaciers within the Prince William Sound on this scenic cruise from Whittier.
Stable Phillips Cruises catamarans and the calm waters of the Prince William Sound combine to create a pleasant nausea-free cruising experience.
This makes the trip an ideal choice for first-time cruisers who want to see glaciers without worrying about getting seasick.
Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour from Ketchikan
If you’re a fan of the Discovery Channel’s hit TV show ‘Deadliest Catch,’ you saw the Aleutian Ballad, a commercial fishing boat, escape a rogue wave in the Bering Sea.
On this fisherman’s tour from Ketchikan, hop aboard the Aleutian Ballad and navigate through the tranquil, protected waterways of the Inside Passage with a seasoned fishing crew, and marvel at the variety of marine creatures caught in barrel pots and hauled up on deck. Touch some of the catch, take photos, and listen to entertaining sea lore.
Denali Experience Flightseeing Tour from Talkeetna
View Denali from the air on this small-group flight over the Alaskan wilderness.
Soar over rivers, valleys, and glaciers, and experience landing and walking on a glacier, with the optional glacier landing.
Skagway Shore Excursion: Yukon Discovery Tour
Make the most of your time on land with this shore excursion of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Go through White Pass to the Carcross Desert, Emerald Lake, and Caribou Crossing, visit a dog mushing camp, and look for wildlife such as bears, moose, and caribou.
Wrap-up: Best tours in Alaska
That’s a wrap! I hope this resource helps you to better organize what tours you will be including in your trip. Happy travels! (: