Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024 1
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Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024

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Greetings Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the travel guide Get Lost, and welcome to the best what to do Skagway Alaska day. Skagway is one of the most interesting little towns I have ever been to because it’s so associated with the gold rush. If you’ve ever wanted to go panning for gold, meet sled dogs, or cook smores in Alaska, this is the place for you!

However, there’s more to Skagway than just the gold rush. There’s also some great places for shopping, eating, and just walking around, enjoying Alaska’s beautiful nature.

So please join me for a wonderful day exploring the best what to do Skagway Alaska day. At the end of the day, you might actually feel like you’ve traveled back in time, if only for a few hours.

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: What to Do Skagway Alaska

#1 TOP PICK

Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
SLED DOG TOUR
✔️ Go on a sled ride
✔️ Pan for gold

#2 PICK

Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024 3

YUKON TOUR
✔️ Excellent shore excursion
✔️ See amazing nature!

#3 PICK

Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024 4

ALL OTHER SKAGWAY TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

best things to do in skagway alaska

what to do Skagway Alaska day

Morning: Gold Rush Experience

Since Skagway is so associated with the gold rush, I strongly suggest doing a gold rush experience tour. Find a tour that will let you meet some sled dogs and go panning for gold. That’s exactly what I did in Skagway and I had a great time.

The company that I used only gives tours through cruise ships, so I can’t help you book your tour through them.

However you can find a very similar tour by going right here.

And just think, pretty soon you’ll be able to have an amazing time learning all about…

Three Fun Facts: Skagway Gold Rush Life

best things to do in skagway
1) Are there really sled dogs?

There absolutely are! And we get to hear their entire story. Some of these dogs have really competed in the Iditarod, the famous Alaskan sled dog race. Of course, their trainers have competed in the Iditarod too, and it’s a lot easier to understand what the trainers have to say about the race than it is to understand the sled dogs.

So first, we listened to a talk from one of the trainers who had competed in the Iditarod. It takes tons of preparation in terms of working up to the race, getting the right gear, and making sure you have enough food for the road. (Iditarod racers need to eat things like lasagna and mac and cheese to give themselves enough energy.

best things to do in skagway alaska

Then we actually got to watch the doggies race around the track. Sled dogs love to run! As soon as they were hooked up to the sled, they started yapping with excitement, eager to show off. And then…zoom! I’ve never seen a dog run so fast in my life. Good boys and girls!

best things to do in skagway alaska

Finally, we actually got to hold some sled dog puppies. They are so cute and wiggly! I couldn’t stop this little fellow from licking my face, though I admit that I didn’t try that hard.

Our guide warned us that the puppies might pee on us a little, but no one in our group complained about that, so all’s well that ends well.

best things to do in skagway alaska
2) What’s that about gold?

One reason I enjoyed going to Skagway is that we learned all about the gold rush in Alaska. It was incredibly difficult for those miners to even try to go prospecting for gold, largely because they were broke and they had to carry a massive amount of equipment with them.

Once you found an area that had gold, it was still incredibly tricky to get the gold out! We went through a tour of all the various machines that they used to get the rocks out of the river and then sift the rocks until they could find just a few nuggets of gold.

best things to do in skagway alaska

See how hard this man is working to find gold! We tried to tell him that we’re all on vacation and he didn’t need to work so hard, but he didn’t listen to us.

After we got a tour of the machines, we actually got to pan for gold ourselves. They set our pans up and we each got our own little patch of rocks to sift. They showed us how to shake the dirt and rocks so we’d be able to get the gold out oh so carefully.

I made a silly mistake and thought that we had to stop sifting after one try, so I didn’t get very much gold. However, those that did were able to turn the gold into a pretty charm (for an extra fee, of course.) And I’d rather leave the gold for the kids anyway.

best things to do in skagway alaska
3) Is lunch included?

Lunch was included on my tour, though it might not be included in yours. It was actually a really tasty spread. You get your choice of protein–I chose chicken–and lots of sides like coleslaw, potatoes, corn bread, mac and cheese, and baked beans. It was a meal big enough to fill you up for a full day of panning for gold!

We also got to sample some of their housemade root beer. I mean, it makes sense that a Gold Rush lunchroom would make their own root beer. It feels like a good things to do if you have access to a lot of wilderness, and therefore a lot of roots.

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Finally, we got to make smores around the campfire, heating our own marshmallows, while the guide told us local stories. One was about a conman named Soapy Smith who operated in Skagway. He would sell soap for a lot of money and tell people there were prizes in it, but only his friends ever won the prizes.

He was killed in a shootout in Skagway, which doesn’t sound like much fun. But at least Clark Gable played him in a movie, so that’s pretty cool.

24 Hour Tip

Those are all the secrets of this tour that I can share with you for now.

Check rates and availability by going here to find out all the rest!

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what to do Skagway Alaska day

Afternoon: Explore Skagway

Skagway is a small town, but as you can see from my photos, it is quite charming because it has still preserved the feeling of a Gold Rush community. There are a whole bunch of delightful things to do here, like shop, eat, go to the local history museum, and just walk around admiring the architecture and monuments.

There will definitely be enough to keep us occupied for an entire afternoon, no worries! I’ll point you in the right direction with…

Approximately Top 5: Best what to do Skagway Alaska day

best things to do in skagway
1) Bonanza Bar and Grill

If your tour didn’t include lunch, then I recommend stopping at Bonanza Bar and Grill for some tasty local eats. It’s right on Skagway’s main drag, and it’s super easy to get to. You can’t miss it! If you want to try some local seafood, the fish and chips are very popular, or you could do something else like wings or a burger.

If you’ve already eaten, then just do what I did and stop in for a drink. I had some refreshing Alaskan spruce ale, which is the kind of beer it’s hard for me to find back home in New York City. When cruise ships are in town, this place is always hopping, so if you sit at the bar, you might even make a friend!

best things to do in skagway
2) Visit the Skagway Museum

If you want to learn even more about Skagway, spend a good 30 minutes or so exploring the Skagway Museum. There’s a small fee to enter, but they only take cash so make sure you have some before coming. You can find tons of interesting artifacts you won’t be able to see elsewhere.

You can find a roll-a-top slot machine from the 1930s, as a reminder that Skagway used to be a wretched hive of scum and villainy. There’s photos from the movie star Mae West’s visit to Skagway. (She was famous for telling Cary Grant, “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?”) You can also find a quilt that’s entirely made out of duck necks.

My favorite thing about the museum is that so many objects were donated by residents. It really feels like a museum that belongs to the community.

best things to do in skagway alaska
3) Shopping!

Like pretty much any place that caters to tourists, Skagway is full of places to shop. However, some of the shops are more likely to have great local products than others. If you want to experience some local art, visit Alaska Artworks. I bought some lovely earrings here that were designed to look like Alaskan flowers–yes, they exist.

I also loved the shop Wild Yukon Furs. It’s run by a Canadian couple–the husband is an Indigenous trapper and his wife turns his beautiful furs into jewelry and accessories. Ordinarily I don’t buy fur, but this is sourced in a very special and environmentally friendly way, so it’s different.

The owners were actually working there when I came to visit, and it was a totally special experience. Please pop in when you are in Skagway!

best things to do in skagway
4) See the monuments

Remember, Skagway is actually part of the Klondike National Historical Park, so part of the town is landmarked. As you walk all over, you can see statues commemorating different parts of Skagway’s history.

Do you see this sad metal man with his sad metal dog? Well, they represent the hard life of any gold prospector. The Canadian government was concerned with all the impoverished men coming to Canada to look for gold, so they said you needed to have a year’s worth of food before they let you into the country.

As you can imagine, that made the packs pretty heavy, which probably explains why the metal man is so sad.

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There’s also this rock memorializing the sad tale of the SS Princess Sophia, which was lost at sea after it left Skagway back in 1918. It left no survivors except for a dog. Perhaps he is related to the sad metal dog in that statue?

best things to do in skagway

If you’re looking for a livelier bit of history, keep an eye out for these young ladies in corsets who pop their heads out of Skagway’s windows every once in a while to put on a show. Seeing this free show at the end of our day of the best what to do Skagway Alaska day was definitely worthwhile.

I think they were promoting the Days of ’98 Show with Soapy Smith, so feel free to check that out while you are in town. (I don’t think Clark Gable is playing Soapy Smith in this production, but you never know.)

best things to do in skagway alaska

what to do Skagway Alaska day

Evening: Fun on board the cruise ship

Now, as I mentioned earlier, you don’t absolutely have to see the best what to do Skagway Alaska day from a cruise ship. It’s very possible to spend the night in a hotel in Skagway. However, many of the tourists in town, myself included, were cruisers, so I’m going to assume that you’re spending the night aboard a ship like my beloved Radiance of the Seas.

best things to do in skagway alaska

Alaskan cruises can be rather expensive, so it’s nice that a three course meal in the main dining hall is included with the cruise. To be fair, I was having a couple of drinks a day, which were not included, so I’m not sure how much money I saved. That is definitely how cruises get you.

Normally, I start my meal on a cruise with a soup, but my waiter recommended the salad caprese, so that’s what I ordered. The waiter has no motive to lie to you about the dishes because they all cost the same (nothing), so his tip isn’t affected at all. The waiter just wants to keep you happy so you’ll give him a good review at the end of your cruise!

best things to do in skagway alaska

For my main course when I am cruising, I like to go with pasta dishes, which are pretty much always a safe bet. However, the waiter recommended the beef with vegetables, so that’s what I got. Steak is generally also something that Royal Caribbean does well. And look, you can see my steak was pretty pink in the middle, which is how I like it.

If you want a really good steak on your Royal Caribbean cruise, you need to book a dinner at either Chef’s Table or Chops Grille. However, those meals will cost you a little extra.

best things to do in skagway alaska

For dessert, if there is Baked Alaska, be sure to get on that! It’s a specialty of their Alaskan cruises. I haven’t seen it on the Caribbean cruises that I’ve taken.

best things to do in skagway alaska

Hopefully you’ll be lucky like we were and see a double rainbow. The perfect end to a perfect day in Skagway!

what to do Skagway Alaska day

what to do Skagway Alaska day

Where to Stay

If you are finding the best what to do Skagway Alaska day as part of a one day shore excursion, like I was on my most recent Royal Caribbean cruise out of Vancouver, then this itinerary is perfect for you.

You can check out the best deals on cruises that sail to the best what to do Skagway Alaska day like Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, click here. I loved Radiance of the Seas and would happily sail on her again.

However, if you’re spending the night in Skagway, you’ll need a convenient hotel. I recommend the Historic Skagway Inn. It has a convenient location, and they serve a tasty breakfast every morning. You really can’t do better for your time in Skagway

You can go ahead and book a room at this hotel by clicking here. If you’d rather book a room in another hotel in Skagway, just click here. This search engine will help you explore other excellent options for your day of the best what to do Skagway Alaska day

That’s the Best what to do Skagway Alaska day

What do you think are the Best what to do Skagway Alaska day? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Skagway? Any questions about anything in this post? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know!

Stella’s Top 3 Picks: What to Do Skagway Alaska

#1 TOP PICK

Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
SLED DOG TOUR
✔️ Go on a sled ride
✔️ Pan for gold

#2 PICK

Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024 3

YUKON TOUR
✔️ Excellent shore excursion
✔️ See amazing nature!

#3 PICK

Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024 4

ALL OTHER SKAGWAY TOURS
✔️ Find your favorite!
✔️ Get the best deals

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the best things to do in Skagway Alaska.

Add on the best Icy Strait Point things to do. Check out the best things to do in Sitka Alaska. Add on 24 hours in Anchorage. Experience what to do Seward Alaska. Go for the best Talkeetna AK things to do. Have fun on a what to do in Denali AK day. You can also try the most fun things to do in Fairbanks AK.

Best What to Do Skagway Alaska Day 2024 8

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