Updated: Nov 12, 2022
Juneau is unique among American cities in that it can only be reached by boat or plane, and it has something to offer for every type of traveler! Here are my handpicked not-to-miss 5 excursions!
1. Helicopter and Dog Sled Tour Running from the second week in May through the first week of August, this tour is something you’ll never forget and talk about for years to come. Your journey starts on a 15-20 minute helicopter flight over glacier-carved mountains, each with its own personality. As you land on 10- 18 feet of snow on Herbert Glacier, you’ll hear the dogs barking their welcome. Take some time to chat with the mushers and hear their unique personal accounts of the Iditarod backcountry experiences. And if you want to drive the sled, you will be given instructions on stopping and using the brakes. You will set out on a 1 1/2 to 2-mile loop and will be able to stop for photos, and if you wish, change places with your companion. You’re going to spend an hour on the snow, and it’s an hour you’re never going to forget!
2. Flightseeing, Kayaking, and Bears, Oh my! No trip to Alaska is complete without an unforgettable day of flightseeing and wildlife kayaking into the “Fortress of the Bears” on Admiralty Island! Two world-class wildlife viewing destinations (Pack Creek and Windfall Harbor) provide protected habitat for brown bears, while giving tourists the opportunity to view and photograph wildlife up-close. The island is aptly named Fortress of the Bears as there are perhaps 1,500 brown bears, giving it one of the highest bear densities anywhere on earth. As you paddle along the shoreline, you’ll notice the abundance of eagles. Bear Viewing at Pack Creek: Kayaking from Windfall Island to Pack Creek is about 2 miles round trip. There are two primary bear viewing areas at Pack Creek. The most accessible is a short hike to a sandy spit of land right at the mouth of the creek. A bit more challenging is a beautiful one-mile trail that leads through an old-growth forest to a viewing tower that has room for eight people. This is a perfect spot to watch bears as they pass directly below you. Brown Bear Viewing at Windfall Harbor: Within a few miles of Pack Creek is Windfall Harbor’s bear sanctuary, which is about 5 mile round kayaking trip from Staunch Point back to Windfall Harbor. Clearly this is one of the most scenic padding tours Juneau has to offer! You will kayak along Admiralty’s rugged coastline in search of bear, while keeping watch in the ocean waters for marine wildlife. Windfall Harbor is much more remote and rough than Pack creek because ones you get there, there are no designated wildlife viewing structures. You are in true bear country and the guides have some hidden spots to pull your kayaks on shore for scenic breaks and bear watching. This is really one of the Southeast Alaskan gemstones!
3. Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier Now, before I tell you about this amazing tour, look at the top picture closely and you’ll see the tiny dots of people walking on Mendenhall Glacier. I just wanted to give you a visual of how massive this iceberg really is! Now…on to the incredible and wonderful things you’ll experience! A short drive through Juneau ends at Auke Bay where you’ll board a boat for an afternoon of up-close and personal with nature! Your experienced guides know the waters well and you’ll have an opportunity to see humpback and orca whales, sea lions, porpoises, harbor seals, bald eagles, and more! You’ll also learn about Alaskan life, and the habits of these amazing animals! You’ll have time to explore the glacier, enjoy Overlook Point at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center, and don’t forget to take lots of photos!
4. Alpine Zip Line! When you think of Alaska, does the word rainforest ever pop into your head? Tongass National Forest is just that! The area offers a landscape of old growth trees that are over 400 years old and if you’re lucky, you may even see local wildlife. The zip line is unique in that it has 10 Alaskan themed platforms. On the final platform, you will land in a new, distinctively designed tree-house. As an added bonus, you’ll get to cross many brooks and streams on a suspension bridge (no worries, you’re clipped in from above and there are handrails). You’ll be brought back to the lodge where you can buy a locally brewed beer or fresh lemonade to drink while enjoying the video presentation of your adventure. Photos are also available for purchase!
5. Pub Crawl and Tasting Tour What better way to connect with your destination than through award-winning restaurants and local pubs? This 3-hour tour is going to leave you wanting for nothing. The guides are full of fun facts, stories, and history of the city. Enjoy tasty dishes such as fish tacos and King Crab bisque, made with the freshest locally-caught fish and seafood. Visit restaurants for an eye-opening taste of Juneau's unexpected culinary scene. Stop in historic pubs to try the best bar fare, including local classics, hog wings (Alaska’s version of the chicken wing) and super tots. Belly up to several bars to enjoy local brews and relax with exceptionally made cocktails.
Interested in exploring these options? We can help! Just contact us here and we will customize the perfect way for you to Visit Juneau Alaska.