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Situated in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan is a treasure trove of raw, untamed beauty. It’s a place where crystal-clear waters meet the vast forest wilderness, offering a gateway to the majestic landscapes of the Last Frontier and the best that Southeast Alaska has to offer.
I’ve visited Ketchikan several times in my Alaska travels: as a child aboard the Alaska ferry, in 2017 before boarding my Uncruise Alaska adventure, and again in 2021 as part of my Windstar Cruises journey through the Inside Passage.
Each of these stops was relatively short – certainly this is a disservice to Ketchikan, which has a lot to offer visitors and is well worth staying for more than just a day in port. To make the most of your time in Ketchikan, you’ll want to spend a night or two.
Below you’ll find a list of the places I recommend for where to stay in Ketchikan for a few days or longer. You can use Ketchikan as a base to jump out and visit Misty Fjords, book the perfect fishing charter, or just immerse yourself in the town’s history (and the history and culture of Alaska in general!). Book one of these spots and you can rest easy – literally – knowing this part of your Alaska travel planning is done!
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the Lingít Aaní (traditional lands) of the Tlingit people. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Cape Fox Lodge
Cape Fox Lodge is one of the best hotels in Ketchikan if you want a room with a view to relax at the end of the day – and to experience Alaska Native culture during your stay. The location is beautiful, with amazing views of the woods and the waterfront community.
It’s an older property but they have done a nice job of keeping it up for the most part. The rooms are comfortable – they include a small microwave and refrigerator. They also provide shuttle service to just about everywhere in town and back when you call them. Don’t miss the chance to try their restaurant. It’s one of the best in town! (I took a cooking class with their chefs during my Windstar cruise in June 2021 and the food was awesome!)
From $160 per night (off-season) or $350 per night (peak season); book directly online.
Inn at Creek Street
The Inn at Creek Street is another one of the top hotels for where to stay in Ketchikan. In all honesty, it’s tough to imagine a better location to spend a few days. The iconic views of the harbor and trestle bridge from the Preacher’s House living room as the sun is rising or falling feed your soul. Waking in the morning with these views certainly helps get ready for the day.
Location-wise, it’s perfect for everything (fishing expeditions, whale watching), and the essential parts of town are within walking distance. The hotel also provides free rides around town to facilitate shopping trips and/or shuttle rides from the airport ferry.
Location, location, location; that’s the Gilmore Hotel’s best asset. It’s within easy walking distance of so many wonderful little shops, and right across the street from the dock and visitor’s center. The hotel is housed in an old building –but the 1920s throw-back vibe and history it has is what makes the stay here unique.
Also, they have done an amazing job keeping it up and adding fun touches to the room. There is no elevator, so if stairs are an issue for you, you may want to stay elsewhere. They do have people that will carry your bags up to your room for you though. It also has an excellent restaurant (Annabelle’s) right next door – try the Halibut fish and chips if you haven’t had it elsewhere on your Alaska trip yet!
The Landing Hotel
The Landing Hotel is a great place to stay in Ketchikan if you want easy access to the airport along with a base to explore without a car.
The rooms are simple, but provide a great place to decompress, watch tv, and shower during your trip. Bear in mind that the rooms in the section are older but clean and good enough. The rooms in the separate building are newer and better – they have a microwave, a coffee machine, a bar fridge, and tea, coffee, sugar, and creamer.
Since it is a bit far away from downtown, they offer a fantastic shuttle service. They provide rides anywhere in town with no questions and no concerns. They have set times for WalMart, but other than that, they run from 6am to 10 pm and go anywhere in town.
The Ketch Inn
Nestled along the Tongass Narrows, The Ketch is a quaint little inn with a magnificent restaurant. The hotel has a perfect location, just far enough away from town so you don’t feel like you’re staying downtown but close enough that you can get downtown very quickly to enjoy the nightlife.
Many rooms are located right on the water, so the views from the balcony are very nice – you can see many eagles and otters hanging around the beach. The staff is also among the nicest you’ll find in Ketchikan. They love their guests and go above and beyond. Plus, they know the area very well and give great tips and ideas for travel experiences.
Bonus: Waterfall Resort Alaska
Photo courtesy of Waterfall Resort Alaska
Waterfall Resort is one of the best hotels in the Ketchikan area – especially (or perhaps only) if you love fishing. With a history of over 30 years, Waterfall Resort has fantastic fishing expeditions. They arrange everything, from the location to the guides, who work hard to ensure that you go home with fish.
It is pricey but if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind fishing adventure Waterfall is worth the cost. The hotel has super clean rooms, with everything you need plus an amazing view! They also have cabins, all conveniently located at the dock. The property also has the Lagoon Saloon, where they serve breakfasts and dinners. And, it’s a fun place to unwind before dinner after spending hours on the water trying to catch your keep.
From $4,710 for a 3-day/2-night stay in 2023; book directly online.
Have any questions about where to stay in Ketchikan, either these properties or others you’re considering? Let me know in the comments below!