Things to Do in Juneau: Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is a unique and beautiful place with an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor activities to offer. From breathtaking glaciers and whale watching to exploring rich culture and history, Juneau has something for everyone. In this article, we will highlight some of the best things to do in Juneau that will make your trip unforgettable.
15 Best Things to Do in Juneau
- Mendenhall Glacier
One of the most popular attractions is the Mendenhall Glacier, a massive glacier that is 13.6 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. It is located just 12 miles from downtown Juneau, and you can easily get there by car or bus. The glacier is part of the Tongass National Forest and is a must-see for anyone visiting Juneau. You can take a guided tour of the glacier or explore on your own. There are hiking trails that lead to the glacier, and you can even get up close and personal with the glacier by taking a helicopter tour or kayaking around it.
- Whale Watching
This Place is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. You can see humpback whales, orcas, and other marine life in their natural habitat. There are several tour operators in Juneau that offer whale-watching tours. You can choose from a small, intimate tour or a larger group tour. The tours are led by experienced guides who will provide you with information about the whales and the surrounding area. You can also combine whale watching with other activities such as fishing or sightseeing.
- Explore the Juneau Icefield
The Icefield is a massive ice sheet that covers over 1,500 square miles of the Juneau area. It is home to several glaciers, including the Mendenhall Glacier. You can explore the icefield by taking a guided tour or hiking on your own. There are several hiking trails that lead to the glaciers, and you can also take a helicopter tour to get a bird’s eye view of the ice field.
- Visit the Alaska State Museum
The Alaska State Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the history and culture of Alaska. The museum has several exhibits that showcase Alaska’s rich history, from the Native Alaskan cultures to the gold rush era. There are also exhibits on Alaska’s wildlife and natural resources. The museum is open year-round, and admission is free.
- Take a Gold Panning Tour
This Place was once the center of the Alaska Gold Rush, and you can still experience the excitement of gold mining by taking a gold panning tour. The tours are led by experienced guides who will teach you how to pan for gold and provide you with all the necessary equipment. You can keep any gold that you find, and the tour is a great way to learn about Alaska’s gold rush history.
- Explore the Tongass National Forest
The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States, covering over 17 million acres of land. It is home to several glaciers, mountains, and wildlife, including bears, bald eagles, and salmon. You can explore the Tongass National Forest by taking a guided tour or hiking on your own. There are several hiking trails that lead to scenic vistas and waterfalls.
- Take a Helicopter Tour
A helicopter tour is a perfect way to see Juneau’s natural beauty from a different perspective. You can take a helicopter tour to see the Mendenhall Glacier, the Icefield, and other scenic locations. The tours are led by experienced pilots who will provide you with information about the area and its wildlife.
- Go Fishing
This Place is a great place to go fishing, with several rivers and streams that are home to salmon, trout, and other types of fish. You can take a guided fishing tour or rent equipment and fish on your own. Juneau is known for its salmon fishing, and you can catch several species of salmon, including the king, coho, and pink salmon. The fishing season in Juneau starts in May and runs through September, and you can catch fish in both fresh and saltwater.
- Visit the Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure
The Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure is a unique botanical garden that showcases the natural beauty of Alaska. The garden is located in the Tongass National Forest and features several unique features, including upside-down trees and a rainforest canopy. You can take a guided tour of the garden or explore on your own. The garden is open year-round, and there are several events and festivals held throughout the year.
- Learn about Tlingit Culture
The Tlingit people are one of the native Alaskan tribes that have lived in the area for thousands of years. You can learn about Tlingit culture by visiting the Alaska Native Heritage Center or taking a guided tour of Tlingit villages. The Tlingit people have a rich history and culture that is still alive and celebrated in Juneau today.
- Explore the Gastineau Channel
The Gastineau Channel is a beautiful waterway that runs through the heart of Juneau. You can explore the channel by taking a boat tour or renting a kayak. The channel is home to several species of marine life, including sea lions, porpoises, and whales. You can also see several historic buildings and landmarks along the channel, including the Governor’s Mansion and the Juneau-Douglas Bridge.
- Visit the Shrine of St. Therese
The Shrine of St. Therese is a beautiful and peaceful place located on a peninsula near Juneau. The shrine features several trails that lead to scenic views of the surrounding area and the ocean. You can also visit the chapel and meditation garden, which offer a quiet and peaceful place for reflection and prayer. The shrine is open year-round, and there are several events and retreats held throughout the year.
- Take a Glacier Bay National Park Tour
Glacier Bay National Park is a stunning park that features several glaciers, fjords, and wildlife. You can take a guided tour of the park or explore on your own. The park is home to several species of wildlife, including humpback whales, sea otters, and brown bears. You can also see several glaciers, including the famous Margerie Glacier, which is over 20 stories high.
- Visit the Alaska State Capitol Building
The Alaska State Capitol Building is a historic building located in downtown Juneau. The building features several exhibits that showcase the history and culture of Alaska, as well as the workings of the state government. You can take a guided tour of the building or explore on your own. The building is open year-round, and admission is free.
- Take a Photography Tour
This Place is a photographer’s paradise, with stunning landscapes and wildlife that offer endless opportunities for amazing photos. You can take a guided photography tour or explore on your own. There are several locations in Juneau that are perfect for photography, including the Mendenhall Glacier, the Tongass National Forest, and the Gastineau Channel. You can also combine photography with other activities, such as whale watching or hiking.
In conclusion, Juneau offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience that is filled with natural beauty, wildlife, and rich culture and history. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or photographer, Juneau has something for everyone. From exploring glaciers and whale watching to learning about Tlingit culture and visiting the Alaska State Museum, Juneau is a must-visit destination that will leave you with
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Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Juneau
Q: What is the best time to visit Juneau?
A: Juneau is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on your interests. Summer (June-August) is the busiest and most popular time to visit Juneau, as the weather is generally mild and many outdoor activities are available. However, if you are interested in winter sports or seeing the Northern Lights, visiting in the winter months (December-February) may be the best time for you.
Q: What outdoor activities are available in Juneau?
A: Juneau is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with a wide range of outdoor activities available. Some popular outdoor activities include hiking, kayaking, fishing, whale watching, and glacier tours.
Q: Can I see wildlife in Juneau?
A: Yes, Juneau is home to a wide range of wildlife, including bears, whales, sea lions, eagles, and more. Whale-watching tours and wildlife-viewing tours are popular activities in Juneau.
Q: Are there any cultural attractions in Juneau?
A: Yes, Juneau has several cultural attractions that showcase the history and culture of the region. Some popular cultural attractions include the Alaska State Museum, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and Tlingit village tours.
Q: How do I get to Juneau?
A: Juneau is only accessible by boat or plane. The Juneau International Airport offers several daily flights to and from Seattle, Anchorage, and other major cities. Additionally, there are several ferry services that connect Juneau to other cities in Southeast Alaska and British Columbia.
Q: Can I visit Glacier Bay National Park from Juneau?
A: Yes, Glacier Bay National Park is located just a few hours from Juneau and is accessible by ferry or plane. Several tour operators offer guided tours of the park, and there are also several opportunities for self-guided exploration.
Q: Is Juneau a good destination for families?
A: Yes, Juneau is a great destination for families. There are several family-friendly activities available, including hiking, whale watching, and visiting cultural attractions. Additionally, Juneau has several parks and playgrounds that are perfect for children.
Q: Are there any restaurants or cafes worth trying in Juneau?
A: Yes, Juneau has several great restaurants and cafes that offer delicious local cuisine. Some popular options include Tracy’s King Crab Shack, Rookery Cafe, and Salt. Additionally, there are several food trucks and street vendors that offer tasty snacks and meals.
Q: What is the weather like in Juneau?
A: Juneau has a temperate rainforest climate, with mild temperatures and high precipitation throughout the year. Summers are typically mild and rainy, with temperatures averaging in the 60s°F (15-20°C). Winters are cold and snowy, with temperatures averaging in the 20s°F (-5°C).
Q: Are there any hot springs in Juneau?
A: Yes, there are several hot springs located near Juneau that are worth a visit. Some popular options include the Takhini Hot Springs in nearby Yukon, Canada, and the Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks.
Q: Can I go camping in Juneau?
A: Yes, there are several camping options available in Juneau and the surrounding areas. Some popular campgrounds include the Mendenhall Lake Campground, the Eagle Beach State Recreation Area, and the Skagway Campground.
Q: Is it possible to go skiing or snowboarding in Juneau?
A: Yes, there are several ski areas located near Juneau that offer skiing and snowboarding. The Eaglecrest Ski Area is located just outside of Juneau and offers downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Q: What is the best way to explore Juneau?
A: The best way to explore Juneau depends on your interests and preferences. Walking and hiking are great ways to explore the city and its surrounding areas, while guided tours are a great option for those who want to learn more about the history and culture of the region. Additionally, renting a car or a bicycle is a great way to explore the surrounding areas at your own pace.
Q: Is it possible to see the Northern Lights in Juneau?
A: Yes, it is possible to see the Northern Lights in Juneau, but it is not guaranteed. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Juneau is during the winter months when the nights are longer and darker. Additionally, clear skies and low light pollution are necessary for optimal viewing conditions.