Ketchikan is a regular stop on cruise-ship and ferry routes, but Alaska Airlines also flies in from Seattle and other Pacific Northwest locations. If you're traveling out of the town on the highway in either direction, you won't go far before you run out of road. The North Tongass Highway ends about 18 miles from downtown, at Settler's Cove Campground. The South Tongass Highway terminates at a power plant about 13 miles from town. Side roads soon end at campgrounds and at trailheads, viewing points, lakes, boat-launching ramps, and private property.

Ketchikan has three bus routes that serve the city and outlying areas. In addition, during the cruise-ship season (May to September) there is a local shuttle bus operating a circular route from Berth 4 and including stops at Eagle Park, Southeast Discovery Center, Creek Street, Totem Heritage Center, Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery, and Ketchikan Historic Museum. The shuttle service is free.

Arriving at the airport, visitors can take the local Gateway Borough Ferry ($5). This is a vehicle and walk-on ferry that crosses the Tongass Passage, taking about 10 minutes. Ketchikan also has a water taxi that runs from the airport and will drop off visitors at the various marinas or piers along the waterfront (cost varies).