10 Best Things To Do In Juneau Alaska

10 Best Things To Do In Juneau Alaska
Juneau is a leading port of call on Alaska cruise itineraries. Alaska's capital offers an extensive array of activities, including spectacular glaciers and flightseeing trips, memorable adventure excursions, amazing wildlife, and immersive attractions. The shopping and dining options in Juneau as well.

Some of Juneau’s shore excursions can be very expensive, but access to a number of other attractions is very reasonably priced. There are plenty of great activities in Juneau to match every interest and vacation budget. It’s wise to research available options and plan ahead.

Here are ten great things to see and do if you are planning to visit Juneau on your Alaska cruise:

1. Explore Mendenhall Glacier. Located just 13 miles from the city’s downtown area, Mendenhall Glacier is Juneau’s most popular tourist attraction. This "drive-in" glacier is magnificent, and the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center offers an informative film, excellent exhibits, and majestic glacier viewing through its large windows. During your visit to Mendenhall Glacier, take the time to trek to the spectacular 377-foot-high Nugget Falls and walk along the Mendenhall Glacier nature trail. This trail can be an excellent place to see bears during the salmon spawning season. Tour operators offer multiple options for exploring Mendenhall Glacier on foot, by kayak or canoe, or via a flightseeing excursion. Rafting float trips, guided glacier hikes, and dogsledding tours are also available. While Mendenhall Glacier shore excursions are available through the cruise lines and are often combined with other experiences, several local tour operators shuttle buses that transport cruise visitors directly to the glacier on a regular basis. Taxis can be another good option as well, especially for larger groups.

2. Go Wildlife Watching. Humpback whale viewing is one of the highlights of an Alaska cruise, and the waters around Juneau are filled with these majestic creatures from April to November. Whale watching tours offer cruise passengers an additional opportunity to see whales breaching, bubble-net feeding, and more. Some tours even guarantee whale sightings. It may also be possible to see orca whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, Dall's porpoises, and other mammals on these tours. Juneau is also an excellent port for bear viewing. Admiralty Island National Monument (known as "Fortress of the Bears") has the world's largest density of brown bears and is located just a short floatplane ride away from Juneau. Tours are available to Admiralty Island's Pack Creek Bear Sanctuary from June to September.

3. Take The Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway. Located directly opposite Juneau's main cruise pier, the Goldbelt Tram provides guests with magnificent scenery, interesting nature and cultural exhibits, spectacular views, and a network of great mountaintop hiking and nature trails. The ride takes about five minutes and transports guests 1,800 feet up Mount Roberts. One ticket purchase provides unlimited rides throughout the day; however it's quite easy to spend much of the day hiking and exploring all that this area offers. Visitors enjoy exploring the attraction’s Sky Bridge and Mountain House and shopping at Raven Eagle Gifts & Gallery. The Timberline Restaurant at the upper Tram Station serves both lunch and dinner along with beautiful views.

4. Fly Over Five Glaciers To Taku Glacier Lodge. This three-hour flightseeing tour from downtown Juneau offers the best of all worlds. Guests take a 35-minute flightseeing trip on their way to serene Taku Glacier Lodge, located across from a massive glacier in a remote area of the Tongass National Forest. On the way, passengers fly over five huge glaciers flowing out from the Juneau Icefield. After landing on the water in front of Taku Glacier Lodge, there is time to explore the lodge’s beautiful grounds or do a little shopping before enjoying an amazing feast complete with all the fixings. The meal includes wild Alaskan salmon or chicken grilled over an alderwood fire, slow-cooked baked beans, coleslaw, fruit compote, herb biscuits, Taku Lodge ginger cookies, and much more. After lunch and the opportunity for a nature walk, a scenic 15-minute return floatplane trip brings guests back to Juneau.

5. Learn At The Alaska State Museum.Visiting the Alaska State Museum is another fun and inexpensive excursion in Juneau. Located at 395 Whittier Street within walking distance of the downtown cruise pier, the Alaska State Museum features many exhibits on Alaska's natural and cultural history. The exceptional museum houses a historical collection of 1,700 items and about 1,800 works of fine art. The immense natural history collection of mounted birds, animals, seashells, and fossils is a treat to see. There's an excellent museum shop here as well.

6. Visit Tracy Arm Fjord. Cruise lines typically offer small ship cruises through Alaska’s scenic Tracy Arm Wilderness Area as a shore excursion option when visiting Juneau. It’s an incredible experience, and the experience comes highly recommended by almost everyone fortunate to take this excursion – especially when the weather is clear. Guests can enjoy magnificent views of glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife, icebergs, high fjord cliffs, and much more.

7. Sample Alaska’s Seafood. While Alaska’s amazing wildlife and scenery are major draws, Juneau is also an excellent place to try some of the state’s famous seafood. Local salmon bakes are a popular excursion option. The Gold Creek Salmon Bake is a popular Juneau attraction, and it is often included on tours to Mendenhall Glacier. Guests can wander along the rainforest creek and take pictures at the Salmon Creek waterfall. Then, it’s time to sit down to an all-you-can-eat buffet meal of wild Alaska salmon grilled over an alderwood fire, chicken, baked beans, au gratin potatoes, and a variety of other sides and salads. Don’t miss roasting marshmallows over the campfire and enjoying a piece of their delicious blueberry cake. Juneau Food Tours is another good option, offering a variety of culinary food experiences. Those who are still hungering for more great seafood should head over to one of Juneau’s two Tracy's King Crab Shack locations for delectable king crab legs and Tracy’s signature crab cakes.

8. Zip Through the Trees. Juneau has several popular zipline adventures for those who crave a major adrenaline rush. On these tours, participants zip from platform to platform set high in towering trees amid the temperate rainforest. Participants must be comfortable with heights and be able to climb stairs and walk short distances. Age and weight limitations apply - check with tour providers or your shore excursions desk for more information.

9. Tour The Gardens. Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure Tours are a great choice for visitors who love nature and flowers. Located in the Tongass National Forest’s temperate rainforest habitat, Glacier Gardens is a botanical paradise filled with lovely manicured gardens and Thunder Mountain’s old-growth rainforest. Guests can enjoy panoramic views of Juneau from 580 feet above sea level, spot bald eagles, enjoy coffee or lunch at the Rainforest Café, and marvel at Glacier Gardens’ beautiful flowers.

10. See The Salmon. Located a little over two miles from downtown Juneau, DIPAC’s Macaulay Salmon Hatchery provides an excellent way for visitors to learn more about Alaska's salmon industry. The hatchery contains museum-like exhibits, displays, a huge saltwater aquarium, and a shop featuring delicious local salmon produce. During salmon spawning season, which typically runs from late June through September, visitors can see masses of adult wild salmon climbing the hatchery's outdoor ladder from Gastineau Channel. You may see bald eagles in this area during that time period as well. It’s interesting to see millions of baby salmon growing in the hatchery as well. If catching salmon and halibut is more to your liking, arrange to go sportfishing on one of Juneau's many Coast Guard licensed charter fishing boats. An Alaska state fishing license is required, and your catch can be conveniently shipped to your home by one of Juneau's fish processors.

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