How to spend your time in Juneau, Alaska

You can have an epic time in Juneau—an adventure in just 6 hours—many of our friends and guests do. But of course, the longer you stay, the more time in Juneau you’ll have at your disposal to explore and really get to know the state capital. A day gives you the chance to discover more than you think. Multiple days means you’ll see even more..!

After their migration from Hawaii, it would be a crying shame to miss the humpback whales!

Here’s what you can expect to do, if you have:

6.5 hours: The perfect day in Juneau—city exploration, glaciers AND whales!

On the Juneau City, Mendenhall Glacier & Juneau Whale Watching Combo Tour you get it all!  First off, our bus will take you out to Auke Bay Harbor where you will board one of our new, custom-made whale watching boats. You are on the water for 2 hours experiencing the wonder of the humpback whales and possibly other wildlife. The next stop – the beautiful Mendenhall Glacier; one of 38 glaciers flowing from the massive 1,500-square-mile Juneau Ice field, explore this glacial wonder from a variety of perspectives like Nugget Creek Falls and Photo Point Trail, which winds along Mendenhall Lake to an unobstructed view of the glacier’s face.

You can also visit the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center for an elevated view of the glacier as well as interactive geological exhibits explaining glacier formation. When you are finished hop aboard our Glacier Shuttle back to downtown. There we put you on our 45 minute City Tour for a narrated trip though downtown Juneau, Alaska’s Capital City, see the shopping district, the Captiol Building, and the famous Red Dog Saloon. Book the Juneau City, Mendenhall Glacier, and Juneau Whale Watching Combo Tour.

5 hours: I want glaciers AND whales (for guests in Juneau ALL day—morning to evening).

Our most popular tour is the Mendenhall Glacier & Juneau Whale Watching Combo is an enthralling opportunity to witness the graceful elegance of the humpback whales and the serene beauty of the Mendenhall Glacier. Our fleet of whale watching boats and glacier shuttles offer an ideal way to seamlessly combine two of Juneau’s favorite activities!

Upon check in, you will either be escorted to one of our shuttles for a 25 minute drive to the glacier first or to the boat harbor for whale watching. Mendenhall is the world’s only drive up glacier.  You can choose to hike to Nugget Falls (30 min rt), take the Photo Point Trail (20 min rt), look for wildlife along the Steep Creek trail, or stroll up the easy walk to the Visitor Center ($3 entrance fee).  After your time at the glacier, the driver will pick you up in our clearly marked whale watch shuttle and drive to the boat harbor to board one of our state-of-the-art whale watching vessels.

During your time on the water, you will be accompanied by a naturalist who explains the feeding habits of these magnificent creatures and identifies the many other kinds of wildlife that share these waters.  Our whale watching boats are custom made to enhance your experience – a warm heated cabin with large viewing windows, and two decks to hurry to when the captain slows after spotting whales. A bathroom is onboard.  Snacks and binoculars are also provided.

The tail of a whale is enormous: you need to see it to believe it.

3 hours: I want whales!

Look no further. Our Juneau Whale Watching Tour will give you just that. Whales! Our 3 hour whale watching adventure begins when we board a coach bus that departs downtown Juneau from the Mt. Roberts Tram parking lot. A 25 minute journey through the picturesque landscape of Southeast Alaska will take you to Auke Bay Harbor. “All aboard!” and you’re off for Alaska waters and the ultimate whale watching experience.

On our quest for whales we will also be on the lookout for bald eagles, seals, sea lions, black bear and more of Alaska’s wildlife. The star of the tour is the humpback whale, but we are always looking out for the playful orcas. Once we spot a whale the captain will slow down and allow you to go on the spacious viewing decks for a great photo opportunity. Our custom design provides unrestricted viewing from inside the cabin as well. Although the cabin is enclosed and heated we recommend you dress in layers, after all it is Alaska!

With our experienced captains and Juneau being one of the best ports for whale watching in Alaska, this tour will be an unforgettable experience. A light snack and refreshments will be provided. 

Taking a ride up to Mt. Roberts

2.5 hours: I want to explore the city AND see Mendenhall glacier.

In that case, our Juneau City & Mendenhall Glacier Combo Tour would be the perfect pick. Discover Alaska’s capital city! Nestled between stunning mountain vistas and winding waterways, the modern city of Juneau is reminiscent of the old west. From the colorful port, to the busy capitol building, to the stunning views from Douglas Island, this unique city has a surprise around every corner.  Join us for a colorful narrated tour!

The crowning point of the tour is Juneau’s natural treasure, the Mendenhall Glacier. One of 38 glaciers flowing from the massive 1,500-square-mile Juneau Ice field. At this stop you can explore this glacial wonder from a variety of perspectives like Nugget Creek Falls and Photo Point Trail, which winds along Mendenhall Lake to an unobstructed view of the glacier’s face. There you can also visit the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center for an elevated view of the glacier as well as interactive geological exhibits explaining glacier formation. 

The Salmon Hatchery

1 hour, 45 minutes: I’d like to see the city AND the Salmon Hatchery.

Jump on our Juneau City Trolley and Hatchery Tour. Explore historic downtown Juneau, Alaska’s Capitol City, from past to present on a Classic Trolley. Your driver has stories to tell, sights to show, such as the Red Dog Saloon, our dome-less Capitol Building, the Governor’s Mansion, Douglas Island with optional drop-offs at Alaska’s State Museum and, or the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery – a great site to see when the fish are spawning and especially good for families. There are touch tanks with sea life from around Juneau.

Some time to spare: I want to see Mendenhall Glacier ON SPEC.

Perfect! Our Mendenhall Glacier Shuttle allows for a last minute look at the glacier. BOOK ANY TIME, LEAVE ANY TIME, AND COME BACK ANY TIME.  The shuttle is open ended. On Mondays – the Shuttle starts at Noon; Tuesday thru Saturday the shuttle starts at 9:00 AM. Board the White “Glacier Shuttle” in front of the Mt. Roberts Tram to take the 30-minute ride to the Mendenhall Glacier. It is first come, first serve. It arrives at the top and bottom of the hour. No need to check-in with our dock representatives, the bus arrives at the top and bottom of the hour, just show your voucher.

On a busy day, we recommend that you ask one of our Dock Reps where the line is. They are located in front of the Mt. Roberts Tram. They will be holding a “Juneau Tours and Whale Watch” sign, look for a bright blue hat. The Last Shuttle usually leaves the Mendenhall Glacier between 5pm and 7pm.  Your driver will know the custom daily schedule on the day you are there.

One recommended DON’T

When all said and done, try to avoid cramming too much into your day. Primarily, you’re on vacation. For that reason alone, no one wants invite stress from an itinerary that’s full to bursting. Also, when dealing with travel via Southeast Alaska’s waterways, changes aren’t only possible, they are inevitable. Please be aware of your “all aboard” cruise ship window. Absolutely give yourself a comfortable buffer of time. Of course, we will support you in that as well.

Touching the local marine life at the Salmon Hatchery’s petting pool.