Everything's bigger in Alaska. It's twice the size of Texas, the natural beauty is immense and prices for tourist staples are supersized, as well. That's because the cost of what you eat, drink or buy in Alaskan ports reflects the cost of getting it there. Then there are the shore excursions. Tours in Alaska tend to be more expensive than you'd find in the Caribbean because tour operators have to shoulder the costs of operating in the United States (minimum wage, insurance, etc.) and many excursions traverse long distances by bus or even plane, boat or train and include a meal (salmon bake, anyone?), all of which increase the cost.
The good news? It's definitely doable to have a memorable time without busting your vacation budget. Read on for the bargain-price -- or free! -- experiences we found in the popular ports of Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia.