Things to do in Juneau, Alaska

Our most recommended things to do in Juneau, Alaska

Juneau: Whale Watching and Wildlife Cruise with Local Guide

1. Juneau: Whale Watching and Wildlife Cruise with Local Guide

Head out on a wildlife adventure in Juneau on a whale watching cruise. Glide over the ocean in search of these marvellous creatures, taking in the impressive surrounding coastal landscape as you sip on drinks and tuck into snacks onboard. Begin your adventure in downtown Juneau at the central cruise ship terminal. Enjoy a narrated and scenic drive to the small boat harbor, where you meet your captain and crew. Board your state-of-the-art whale watching boat, built specifically for this purpose. After a short safety briefing, embark on a search for whales and other wildlife off the coast of Alaska. As your boat navigates protected ocean waterways and channels, ride in comfort with multiple viewing decks and restrooms onboard. As you search for whales, learn about the area's flora and fauna from your local guide. Once whales are spotted, view the animals from a safe distance with plenty of photo opportunities. Marvel at their majestic beauty as they glide smoothly through the water, hopefully seeing a whale breach out of the ocean or slap its tale on the surface. Keep a lookout for other water wildlife along the way, including seals, sea lions, eagles, and more. Once you've soaked up this natural landscape, return back to the boat harbor where your driver will bring you back to downtown Juneau.

Juneau: Humpback Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier

2. Juneau: Humpback Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier

Seamlessly combine two of Juneau's favorite activities on this whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier tour. Marvel at majestic humpback whales in the company of a naturalist guide, and select from a range of trails to discover Mendenhall Glacier, the world's only drive-up glacier. Upon check-in, you will either be escorted to one of the shuttles for a narrated 25-minute drive to the glacier, or to the boat harbor for whale watching.  On the glacier section of the tour, choose to hike to Nugget Falls, take the Photo Point Trail, look for wildlife along the Steep Creek trail, or stroll up the easy walk to the Visitor Center. Take your time at the glacier with flexible shuttles back to town every 30 minutes. During your time on the water whale watching, listen to your naturalist guide explain the feeding habits of these magnificent creatures and identify the many other kinds of wildlife that share these waters.  Enjoy an enhanced experience on a custom-built boat with a warm heated cabin with large viewing windows, and two decks to hurry to when the captain slows after spotting the whales. There is a bathroom onboard and snacks are also provided.

Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Tour

3. Juneau: Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Tour

Meet your guide at the cruise ship docks to start off this adventure. Hop in the van and listen to live commentary while driving through Juneau into the Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the United States.  Once at the lake you'll have a meet and greet with the second guide who helps you put on the gear. You receive a rain jacket, rain pants, and rain boots. Along with everything needed to stay safe, including but not limited to paddling gloves, life jackets, helmets, trekking poles, and dry bags.  Your guides go over safety and paddling instructions before stepping into the canoe. This journey across the lake is a team effort, so it is not necessary to have paddling experience.  Mendenhall Lake is a glacier-fed lake that is surrounded by mountains and the famous Nugget Falls. The wind coming off the Mendenhall Glacier will officially welcome you to the Alaska wilderness.  Once the canoe is docked on the beach, there's time for a quick break before starting the hike to the glacier. During the hike, you can learn about the history of the area and listen to all the information your guides can share. Enjoy quiet moments to soak in the calmness of Alaska.  Once arriving on the rocky shore next to the glacier, follow your guides on an exploration trek around the rocky moraine to view the glacier up close.  The professional guides are in the wild every day and thrive on showing off what nature has to offer. One of the most unique aspects of the trip is that the glacial environment is in a constant state of movement and change, meaning no one tour is the same as the next. After your hike back to the canoes, be sure to soak in your last moments with the Mendenhall Glacier as the group paddles back to the shore.  Once arrived your guides will provide a hot beverage while you take off the gear. After a short drive back to the cruise ships, you will walk away with memories of Alaska that you will never forget.

Juneau: Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour

4. Juneau: Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour

Come face to face with the famous Mendenhall Glacier on this once in a lifetime Alaskan adventure. Meet your guide at the Mt.Robert's Tram building near the cruise pier. Your guide will take you on a scenic tour by minivan to the Tongass National Forest where you can gaze upon the stunning Mendenhall Glacier. This small group canoe tour takes you past icebergs, waterfalls, and steep cliffs once carved by ice. Paddle up close to the face of this 3,000-year-old glacier, 13 miles long of ice, half a mile wide and up to 1,800 feet deep. This is Alaska's most visited glacier! The paddle time is around two hours from start to finish, providing plenty of time to take advantage of capturing the memory through scenic photos. You will be equipped with top quality gear including rain pants, rain jackets, waterproof boots, and everything else you will need to ensure your comfort and safety. You'll get a dry bag filled with bottled water and snacks, to be used to store personal belongings while canoeing. Please note this is canoe tour only and does not include hiking on a glacier. Throughout the day you are offered snacks and beverages.

From Juneau: Whale Watching Cruise with Refreshments

5. From Juneau: Whale Watching Cruise with Refreshments

Go in search of whales with a naturalist guide on a day trip from Juneau. Hop onboard a boat and get binoculars to spot other wildlife such as sea lions, bald eagles, and black bears. Enjoy a light snack, water, coffee, and hot chocolate onboard. Depart from downtown Juneau on a bus driven by a local tour guide through a scenic route to Auke Bay, where you board a comfortable jet boat. Be led by a captain and naturalist on an unforgettable search for whales in Favorite Channel, Stephens Passage, Lynn Canal, or Saginaw Channel. Binoculars are provided so you can see the humpbacks, killer whales, Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, bald eagles, black bears, and towering mountains better. With the growing abundance of whales in the area and their comfort with small boats, you are bound to see many. This tour includes transfers between downtown and Auke Bay and two hours on the water. Included in the price of the tour are onboard refreshments including bottled water, coffee, hot chocolate, and a small snack of locally caught Alaskan salmon spread on a fresh bagel.

Juneau: City Highlights Tour

6. Juneau: City Highlights Tour

Begin the tour on a comfortable minibus for a scenic ride past the State Capitol Building, the Governor's House, and the Russian Orthodox Church. Make a stop at the Alaska State Museum where you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Alaskan culture and gain an appreciation for its rich and diverse history. Continue to Douglas Island for gorgeous views and photos of the Juneau coastline and Gastineau Channel. From there you will make a stop at the Macaulay Hatchery, commonly referred to as "DIPAC" by the locals. Learn about the salmon industry, observe various marine life, and watch the salmon run up the ladder, depending on the time of the year. Conclude your tour with a stop at the 50-acre Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure in the Tongass National Forest. Walk through this award-winning botanical garden and admire the flower towers as your guide fills you in on this region's varied ecosystem. Your tour will end near "Deckhand Dave's", the latest go-to food option in Juneau. Receive a voucher for a free serving of the signature rock-fish tacos. This new venue only serves locally caught fish in a fantastic creative way.

Juneau: Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier Day Trip

7. Juneau: Whale Watching and Mendenhall Glacier Day Trip

This half-day adventure is a combination of the two of the best experiences in Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier by bus and an experience watching whales by boat. The tour starts with a scenic ride through the historic town of Juneau on the way to the Mendenhall Glacier. Here you will enjoy a 45 minute visit to explore the area on your own. A short walk from the bus and you will have picturesque views of the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier towering mountain peaks. As you explore on your own, you will have access to walking trails, waterfalls, and an indoor visitor’s center with glacier exhibits. During salmon spawning season, you may also catch a glimpse of a bear fishing for salmon on the elevated walkways. At the conclusion of the time at the glacier, your driver and guide will meet you to continue on to the whale watching harbor for the second part of this excursion. On the next adventure, you will participate in the search for whales and other animals living in the ocean waters around Juneau. You are guaranteed to see a whale as these waters are the highest populated area for humpback whales during the summer months. Your captain and crew will make sure you are comfortable for the exciting journey ahead. Your boat has a heated cabin, outdoor viewing decks, and a marine restroom onboard for your comfort on this journey. You will be surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges in the distance as your boat navigates the water. The crew will interpret the sites and animals you see along the way. Aside from whales, you might also see eagles, sea lions, seals, or other water wildlife while while on this adventure. For the safety of the animals, your crew will always keep a regulated distance from the animals while allowing you spectacular views of these creatures in the wild. This is an Alaskan adventure you cannot miss! Once the boat returns to the boat harbor, your driver will greet you and take you on another scenic ride back to downtown Juneau.

Juneau: Whale Watching Cruise with Snacks and Beverages

8. Juneau: Whale Watching Cruise with Snacks and Beverages

Explore the Alaskan coast on this sightseeing cruise from Juneau. Admire glaciers and lighthouses as you search for a variety of local wildlife. Keep cozy with the heated cabin and bathroom. Relax with complementary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Board the ship at the meeting point in Juneau and venture off to explore the rugged Alaskan shoreline. Be on the lookout to see a variety of local sea life like humpback whales, killer whales, Dall porpoises, harbor porpoises, harbor seals and Steller sea lions. Listen as your naturalist guide provides a facinating look into the lives of the majestic creatures that you see. Observe the habitats of bald eagles and try to spot their nests. Search for seagulls, surf scoters, oyster catchers, and harlequin ducks. Capture pictures of the Point Retreat Lighthouse and Sentinel Lighthouse. Return to the starting point of your cruise at the end of your tour.

Juneau: Rainforest Photo Safari on a Segway

9. Juneau: Rainforest Photo Safari on a Segway

Meet your guide at the cruise ship docks in Juneau and then head out on a brief, six-mile transfer to the tour starting point. A short training session helps you get acquainted with your Segway, and learn how it responds to your body language. After the briefing you’ll be given safety equipment and your own Segway. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you get the hang of it and how fun it is to ride.  As you set out, you will immediately encounter views of the majestic Mendenhall Glacier. Cruise along the coastline and make several stops for photos while you take in the pristine waters of Lynn Canal, part of the Inside Passage. Because you are on a Segway, you will have the opportunity to intimately interact with nature. Listen for eagle calls in flight, the waves lapping the shoreline, and maybe even spot the occasional humpback whale. As an added adventure, hop off your Segway and walk a seven-minute trail to a secluded beach to enjoy locally sourced snacks. Immerse yourself in the Tongas National Forest, a temperate rainforest and the largest National Forest in the US. Continue on to snap incredible photos while witnessing panoramic views with your fellow travelers. Throughout the journey, your guide will teach you about the diverse native flora and fauna. Don’t miss this extraordinary experience to discover one of Alaska's most exceptional settings.

Juneau: Sentinel Lighthouse and Whale Watching Cruise

10. Juneau: Sentinel Lighthouse and Whale Watching Cruise

Cruise to the Sentinel Island Lighthouse and search for humpback and orca whales on this cruise from Juneau. Snack on locally produced Alaskan fudge, granola bars (or similar), and caribou sausage sticks. Relax with beverages like coffee, tea, and water.  Be picked up from the meeting point in a comfortable van and listen to  facinating commentary as you ride to Auke Bay (Don D. Statter Harbor). Meet your captain and crew. Board the ship and venture off to explore the rugged Alaskan shoreline. Relax in a heated cabin with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy outside viewing areas while watching for wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of local sea life like humpback whales, killer whales, Dall porpoises, harbor porpoises, harbor seals, and Steller sea lions. Sail through Alaska's Inside Passage and learn about whales and the history of Alaska's lighthouses. Once humpbacks are spotted the captain will maneuver the vessel into position for the best photo opportunity possible. Arrive at Sentinel Island and disembark the ship for a short walk on a scenic boardwalk with photo opportunities along the way. View Lynn Canal, (one of the longest and deepest fjords in the world) and the surrounding islands and waterways. Immerse yourself in history as you approach the Sentinel Lighthouse and think of the maritime history that goes back to its construction in 1902. Visualize the isolated life of a lighthouse keeper. Pursue a shop with commemorative lighthouse pins, t-shirts, caps, and sweatshirts that are available for purchase with proceeds benefiting ongoing lighthouse restoration. Climb the lighthouse tower, inspect the beacon, and look out at Lynn Canal. Return to the boat for a scenic ride to Yankee Cove to meet up with a driver that will take you on a trip to the Brotherhood Bridge viewpoint where you can see the Mendenhall Glacier (weather permitting). Head back to the ship and return to your meeting point in Juneau.

Top sights in Juneau, Alaska

Other Sightseeing Options in Juneau, Alaska

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What people are saying about Juneau, Alaska

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 132 reviews

Great tour, cheaper than booking with a cruise ship excursions. Seen two groups of humpback whales and a couple hundred sea lions on an island. Even got a short side trip to see Mendenhall Glacier on the bus. Guides Maryna, Danny and Greg were great and informative on the different wildlife we seen. Would book with Alaska Tales again.

Trip was amazing seen whales in abundance and close up. Skipper and Naturalist on board as well as bus driver transporting us to the boat went and above beyond to ensure we had a great trip. This was truly a bucket list experience. Highly recommend.

There be whales captain! and Beyond the end of Sept. Great crew - entertaining and informative. highly recommended (and 40% cheaper than cruise scheduled whale watching excursions)

Friendly staff who knew where to find the whales. Even though it was a rainy and foggy day, it did not rain on our whale watching. Highlight of our trip to Alaska!

Great people ,excellent boat , Faultless .Thank you