Friday, October 7, 2022


Ketchikan offers history, shopping, kayaking all within easy reach of Alaska Ferry dock.

Ketchikan, Alaska, harbor. (Julianne G. Crane)

Ketchikan, the southeastern most city in Alaska, is located in the midst of “the Tongass National Forest, a 17-million acre
rainforest full of lush cedar, Sitka spruce, waterfalls, and wildlife.” It si
ts at the entrance to the famed Alaska Inside Passage and has a population of about 8,000.

Notorious Creek Street, in historic Ketchikan. (Julianne G. Crane)

Technically, the only way to get to “The Salmon Capital of the World” is by sea. The city is located
on Revillagigedo Island, which is a five-minute ferry ride from the
international airport.

This Alaska town has long been a popular destination with RVers because it is a year-round port-of-call for the Alaska Marine Highway System (1-800-642-0066).

Julianne G. Crane pointing out Dolly’s

Ketchikan is best known for three things: “feisty salmon, idyllic scenery, and an incredibly rich Alaska Native culture.” … Oh, and maybe Creek Street and ‘Dolly’s House.’

During Ketchikan’s “rough-and-tumble Prohibition days, Creek Street … actually a boardwalk built over the water…was the red-light district, a hot-bed of bars and brothels. Today it is the heart of the city’s shopping and arts scene.”

Jimmy Smith walking by Dolly’s House

At the height of the Gold Rush, Ketchikan’s red-light area on Creek
Street had around 30 bordellos. Dolly’s House tells the story of those
rough and ready pioneering days — “Where both men and salmon come upstream to spawn.”

“Dolly Arthur was one of Ketchikan’s better known madams, operating from the 1930s until prostitution was outlawed in Ketchikan in the 1950s. Today her parlor and boudoir are preserved as a museum filled with memorabilia, commemorating the roaring days of the early 20th century.” —

Jimmy taking photos of travelers. (Julianne G. Crane)

Tongass Historical Museum
629 Dock St., Ketchikan, AK

This is a small city-run museum where visitors can peruse displays highlighting the town’s history. Rare artifacts and historical photographs tell the authentic tale of Ketchikan as a Native fish camp, gold and copper mining center, fishing port, timber town, cannery site, transportation hub, and lively community. Just outside the museum there is a large totem pole called “Raven Stealing the Sun.”
Admission: Adults: $3 Children 12 and under: Free. Admission is charged May through September.

For other cultural activities, including museum and historical destinations, click here.

RV Camping
Tongass National Forest offers RV camping areas.  Click here for more information.

Text and photos: Julianne G. Crane
To read more articles about the RV lifestyle by Julianne G Crane, go to

Research sources:; Holland America Cruise brochures, Tongass National Forest website; 


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