Skagway Cruise Guide: 7 Essential Tips for Your Alaska Adventure!

Most Alaska cruises will include the port of Skagway.  Here are 7 Essential Tips for your Alaska Adventure before your Cruise.

Skagway, Alaska, is a gem tucked away in the scenic Inside Passage, offering a blend of stunning natural beauty and rich history. If you’re planning to visit Skagway by cruise ship.  There are a few crucial things you should know to make the most of your trip. From top attractions to travel tips, here’s your guide to 7 tips navigating this quaint and quirky port.

4th July on Broadway, Skagway, Alaska.

1. Visit the Gold Rush History

Skagway’s history is deeply entrenched in the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1890s, where it served as a gateway for many prospectors. To get a feel for the Gold Rush era, a visit to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is a must. You can explore restored 19th-century buildings and learn about the adventurers who surged through this area. Don’t miss the chance to walk along Broadway Street with its wooden sidewalks and historic false-front buildings, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Visit the Skagway Museum which highlighted C on the Skagway map which is a short walk up Broadway from your ship.  Full of interesting Gold Rush artifacts, historical records & photos Adults $2 Children $1 Open: Seasonal.  Click on this link to reach more details about Skagway Port and what is walkable from where your ship docks.  Click here and download a PDF of the Skagway map.

Fabulous view of Broadway, Skagway Alaska. 

2. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway is a Must-Do

The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway offers breathtaking views as it winds through mountains, gorges, and waterfalls. This narrow-gauge railroad was originally built to transport Gold Rush prospectors and has now become a can’t-miss scenic journey for visitors. Opt for a round-trip ticket which will bring you back to Skagway after a few hours of stunning scenery that’s absolutely worth the cost.

3. Prepare for Variable Weather can change in Skagway

Skagway’s weather can be quite unpredictable. Even if you visit in the summer, temperatures can range widely and rain is always a possibility. Make sure to pack layers—think breathable, waterproof outerwear and comfortable walking shoes. The weather can change quickly, so it’s better to be prepared for anything!
As you can see by the above pictures you can get a dark, cloudy, rainy morning but a super hot summer afternoon.  so my advice is to wear layers, even down to a thin T-shirt and if you can those water proof trousers that you can zip and make a pair of shorts because honestly, it can get so hot.  The weather has caught us out so many times.  

4. Explore Beyond the Port

While Skagway is charming, the real beauty lies in its surrounding natural landscapes. Consider booking excursions like a helicopter tour to Glacier Point or a hike in the nearby Chilkoot Trail, where you can immerse yourself in the untouched Alaskan wilderness. These tours can be booked through your cruise line or local operators in town.  I lived in Skagway for a summer and after work we used to take the bikes up to a fantastic vantage point and take a fabulous picture of the Skagway Valley. 

Sockeye Cycle Co - Skagway - Bike rentals and tours

Contact Sockeye Cycle So – Bicycle Day Tours, and Rental.  Their store is located on the map but here is a link to their website Alaska Bicycle Tours Rentals Sales & Service – Sockeye Cycle they have locations in Haines and Skagway.

5. Try Local Delicacies top tip

Alaska is famous for its seafood, and Skagway offers some of the freshest you’ll find. Be sure to try some local favorites like Alaskan salmon, halibut, and King Crab. For a quick bite, the Skagway Brewing Company offers not only great food but also a selection of craft beers brewed using local ingredients like spruce tips.  They also have the best popcorn, you won’t be able to resist you will smell it all over the town.  Also, visit Broadway Jewelry & Gifts they have some fantastic rubs, marinates and delicious seasoning for dips.  Also located on the Skagway Map.

6. Respect the Skagway Culture and Environment

Skagway may be a small town, but it’s rich in culture and tradition. Be respectful of local customs and mindful of the environment during your visit. Participate in cultural tours or talks to learn more about the Tlingit, the indigenous people of the region. Also, always stick to marked trails and dispose of waste properly to keep this beautiful spot pristine.
There are two hiking trails, you can easily do Lower Dewey in half a day or Upper Dewey in a day if you leave early, such a spectacular hike go with a group or even a guided tour.   Check out my Blog on Affordable Alaska Cruise Excursions: Budget-Friendly & Free.

Hike to Lower Dewey, Skagway Alaska.

7. Plan and Book Early your Tours in Skagway before your cruise

Skagway is a popular stop for cruise ships, especially during the peak season from May to September. Popular excursions like the White Pass Railway can sell out quickly. It’s wise to book your tours and activities well in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. Additionally, booking early can sometimes snag you a discount.

Westmark Hotel, Skagway

If there are several big ships in port it can get overwhelming with cues for the free shuttle bus, or to get a coffee.  If you go to the hotel Westmark Inn they have a cafe and bar downstairs no one really thinks to go in there.  They have comfy seats and you can watch the world go by then get onboard the ship once the cue (lines for my American cruisers) has gone down.

Bonus Tip: Stay Connected

If you are from the US no problem you can use your Mobile plan to stay connected but if you are from abroad then Wi-Fi in Skagway can be hit or miss.  When the cruise ships dock, the small town’s infrastructure can be overwhelmed. If staying connected is important, consider purchasing an internet package on your cruise ship, or plan to disconnect and enjoy the escape from digital life for a day.
Or just nip into Westmark Hotel and ask if you can use their Wi-Fi of course make sure you buy a coffee/drink or a snack then you can get on their free wi-fi with no problem.

Wrapping It Up for Your Visit to Skagway, Alaska.

Visiting Skagway by cruise ship is an experience filled with adventure, history, and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re railroading up mountains, tasting the freshest seafood, or stepping back into the days of the Gold Rush. Skagway promises an unforgettable journey. Remember these tips, plan ahead, and get ready to explore one of Alaska’s most captivating destinations.