Alaska Seaplane Tours: Ultimate Review & What to Expect

Touring Alaska is an extraordinary travel experience that shouldn’t be missed. There are many ways to explore the beauty and wonder of America’s Last Frontier. An excellent choice is through Alaska Seaplane Tours.

Alaska is home to unexplored wilderness including majestic glaciers, lush rainforests, mountains, and many rivers and lakes. It is also home to a vast array of wildlife, including everybody’s favorites — black and brown bears.

Marine mammals also make their home in the icy waters in and around Alaska. It’s not uncommon to see whales, sea otters, and sea lions during a flightseeing tour.

These are sights you’ll never be able to experience without a properly guided tour, which is why seaplane tours are the best way to get the most from your visit to Alaska.

So, what can you expect when you book your trip with Alaska Seaplane Tours? We have all the information you need to know below!

All About Alaska Seaplane Tours

Alaska Seaplane Tours is a family-owned business operating out of Ketchikan, Alaska. It is owned by Ryan and Loren McCue and offers travelers many options to discover the amazing sights of Alaska.

Ryan and Loren’s passion for the Alaskan wilderness is what drives them to provide you with the most awe-inspiring tour you’ll ever experience. They love showing off the beautiful scenery and wildlife through their seaplane tours.

They also love sharing their vast knowledge about the place they call home. Their top-notch narration of what you’re viewing will make your tour as wild as the wilderness and wildlife you’re seeing below.

One of the pilots you might have during your tour is owner, Ryan. He has logged over 15,000 hours Alaska Flying Time throughout the Arctic and Southeast Alaska. He is also a certified Alaskan Guide and a commercial helicopter pilot.

The company offers six different flightseeing tours, a fly-fishing excursion, as well as charter trips. Each flightseeing tour takes up to two hours. Many of the tours include shoreline excursion opportunities.

Ketchikan, Alaska – Alaska’s “First City”

Ketchikan, Alaska is located at the southern tip of the Inside Passage. It’s called the “First City,” because it’s the first city cruise travelers reach when they first enter Alaskan territory from the north.

Ketchikan is a popular departure point for flightseeing trips to Prince of Wales Island, the Misty Fjords, and wildlife/bear viewing tours. In addition, there is much to see and do within Ketchikan itself. These include a variety of shops, museums, and festivals, which are held throughout the year.

But the sight you won’t want to miss is the famous Ketchikan Totem Poles. There are over 80 scattered around the downtown area of the city, so you’ll want to make sure to bring along a good camera to take lots of pictures!

Why a Seaplane Tour Is the Best Way to Tour Alaska

Seaplane tours are basically “flightseeing” tours. Seaplane flightseeing tours allow visitors to get up close and personal with all the breathtaking sights Alaska has to offer.

From spectacular landscapes to incredible wildlife, nothing beats a tour from the air. You won’t want to miss a thing, so bringing along a pair of quality binoculars will enhance your sightseeing experience

Seaplanes are also known as floatplanes or “flying boats.” There is a difference, though.

“Flying boat” seaplanes usually take off and land on their bellies, which kind of looks like the hull of a ship. They can take off and land on water and traditional runways.

Floatplanes have floats mounted underneath the fuselage. These planes only take off and land on water. Most touring seaplanes like the ones used by Alaska Seaplane Tours are floatplanes.

Both types of planes are capable of flying into remote areas, which is why they’re great for touring purposes. Alaska Seaplane Tours use a specially designed DeHavilland Beaver Tour Seaplane. Each guest is treated to his or her own window seat, so they won’t miss a thing.

The plane also has a two-way intercom, so guests can both enjoy the entertaining narration and ask questions.

How safe is a seaplane tour?

Here’s some interesting history. The first successful seaplane flight happened in France in 1910. The Allies used seaplanes during World War II for reconnaissance missions and anti-submarine warfare.

Today, the coast guard and rescue organizations use seaplanes for search and rescue missions.

That might be a roundabout way of saying that seaplanes are quite safe. And Alaska Seaplane Tours take safety very seriously. They maintain their aircraft above FAA commercial maintenance standards.

Plus, their pilots are highly experienced in flying into the remote areas of Alaska.

Available Tours

Alaska Seaplane Tours offers many different tours to suit all your flightseeing adventure needs. All tour lengths listed include flying time. Tours available include:

Misty Fjords

Misty Fjords is a must-see while visiting Alaska. It is the largest wilderness and part of the Tongass National Forest.

On this tour, you’ll experience the beauty of the Misty Fjords National Monument. You’ll also see an amazing array of rainforests, dramatic waterfalls, and varied wildlife including moose, whales, bears, and bald eagles.

This is an opportunity to visit an area untouched by the hands of men. It’s an unforgettable experience you won’t want to miss.

  • Tour length: 90 minutes
  • Availability: Year-round

Ketchikan Bear Viewing: Bears of the Misty Fjords

No tour of Alaska would be complete without seeing a few bears. The Bears of Misty Fjords Tour gives travelers a unique opportunity to view both brown and black bears in their natural habitats in the Misty Fjords area of Alaska.

Not only is there an opportunity to see bears, but you might even see whales, sea lions, and porpoise. The tour includes a shoreline landing, where you’ll be able to step on the plane’s floats to get an even closer view of the bears’ habitat. In addition, pilots will share fun facts about the bears and their environment.

  • Tour length: 2 hours
  • Availability: May 15 through October 5

Alaska Bear Viewing: Prince of Wales Island Black Bear Viewing Tour

Prince of Wales Island is the third largest island in the United States. It’s also a place black bears like to call home.

Pilots will safely guide visitors in exploring the island during a shoreline excursion. If you happen to see a bear, you can either run (just kidding) or write about it in your travel journal.

  • Tour length: 2 hours
  • Availability: May 15 through October 5

Alaska Bear Viewing: Neets Bay Black Bear Viewing Tour

If you really want to get your black bear groove on, a tour to Neets Bay, Alaska, needs to make your list. The area is famous for its black bear population and has the highest black bear population than anywhere in North America.

The bears here love their salmon, and you just might catch one enjoying his evening meal. This tour also includes a shoreline excursion allowing guests to disembark and take photos on the plane’s floats.

  • Tour length: 1.5 hours
  • Availability: July 15 through October 5

Glacier Viewing

There’s nothing more spectacular than viewing a glacier up close. The Alaska Glacier lies deep within the rainforest of the Misty Fjords National Monument.

You’ll experience the beautiful scenery of Alaska on the way to see this hidden gem. Then you’ll embark for a shoreline excursion to get closer to the glacier itself. Make sure you have a warm jacket. It’s cold in Alaska anyway, and it’ll be even colder near a glacier!

  • Tour length: 2 hours
  • Availability: July 15 through October 5

Ultimate Ketchikan Tour

If you want to really get away and have the ultimate Alaskan experience, this might be the right tour for you.

You can choose either a seaplane or helicopter flight to tour the Misty Fjords. Then you’ll explore the Tongass Narrows in your own personal watercraft. A guide will accompany you throughout this once-in-a-lifetime excursion, and you’ll be an expert Alaskan in no time!

  • Tour length: 3 hours
  • Availability: May 1 through October 5

How to Book Your Tour

Booking a tour with Alaska Seaplane Tours is easy. Head over to their website and click on the tour you want. You’ll find detailed information about each tour, including pricing.

All tours include pick-up and drop-off at the Ketchikan Visitorโ€™s Center, which is located right on the cruise ship dock.

One thing to keep in mind with these tours is that times will vary. Wind, weather, and wildlife viewing conditions may have an impact on your experience.

Cancellations are allowed up to 14 days before your scheduled tour. A cancellation fee also applies.

Other services and tours

Alaska Seaplane Tours also offers a fly-out fishing excursion and charter trips to the U.S. Forest Service Lake Cabins.

In addition, the company offers a number of helicopter and watercraft tours through its other touring services.

Conclusion: Alaska Seaplane Tours Will Make Your Alaska Trip Unforgettable

You’ll never experience anything quite as spectacular as Alaska. And you’ll want to ensure that your trip is one you’ll remember for years to come. Their dedication to making your trip memorable makes Alaska Seaplane Tours so special.

They want you to become as passionate about Alaska as they are. And they have the stories to prove it. So, they’re more than happy to share with you!

So what are you waiting for? Pack up your suitcase and get going. Alaska is waiting!

If you’ve ever been to Alaska or toured with Alaska Seaplane Tours, we’d love to hear your experiences! Please share them below!