With three days to spend in the Alaskan capital, you’ll be able to tour its famous glacier, spot some local wildlife, get a feel for the local pioneer heritage of this gold-mining town, and venture farther afield into the Alaskan wilderness. Read on for how to plan the ultimate three-day trip to Juneau.
The Mendenhall Glacier, one of Alaska’s most popular attractions, lies just outside of Juneau. To get a sense for the true size of the Juneau Ice Field that feeds the glacier, start your day with a helicopter flight over the ice. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view while learning about its geology and environmental importance. Some helicopter tours include a glacier landing for a chance to walk across the ice. The Mendenhall Glacier is also one of the most accessible in Alaska. Now that you’ve seen it from above, see it from the visitor center observation deck, or get a closer look by booking a kayaking tour on Mendenhall Lake or a guided trek across the surface of the ice. After a day of icy exploration, warm up next to an open fire during a traditional Alaskan salmon bake (though the salmon is actually grilled).
Juneau is famous for its spectacular scenery and wildlife-viewing opportunities. If you’ve ever wanted to see humpback whales in the wild, this is one of the best places to do so. This morning, hop aboard a boat and head out into the waters of the Inside Passage to spot some of the 600 humpbacks who spend their summers here; sightings are practically guaranteed from April to November, and you might also spot orcas, seals, eagles, and bears as well. If you have time to spare in the afternoon, head into downtown Juneau to explore its historic streets, or go just outside of downtown for a peaceful walk through the manicured Glacier Gardens. In the evening, grab a pint at the Alaska Brewing Company’s taproom.
Now that you’ve experienced Juneau’s star attractions, take a day to get out and explore the wilder side of Alaska. Take a day trip to the remote Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area, home to the highest concentration of brown bears in the world, or grab a paddle for a day of kayaking along the wild coastline of the Inside Passage. You could also use today to partake in an Alaskan pastime—experience the thrill of dogsledding at a remote glacier camp, or venture to the waters around Prince of Wales for some of the best fishing in the state (you might even bring home some fresh salmon for dinner). Take this last evening to soak up the historic pioneering atmosphere of downtown Juneau with dinner at a local restaurant.