Juneau shore excursions inevitably prove a highlight of any cruise along the Alaskan shoreline. Juneau is Alaska’s capital city, but it’s hardy a heady and difficult city; only around 30,000 people live here, making it small compared with other state capitals in the US. Instead of offering bright lights and loud streets, then, shore excursions in Juneau are all about small-town delights and rugged wilderness adventure. Whichever type of excursion you choose, it’s hard to go wrong in Juneau.
Featured Cruise Line
Holland America Line features 31 CruiseTour itineraries in 2010 exploring Alaska and the Yukon Territory. CruiseTours range from to 10 to 20 days and combine Inside Passage sailing with in-depth land tours designed to highlight the best of the Land of the Midnight Sun. more >>
Of the more sedate Juneau shore excursions, the ones that take in the city’s downtown area before journeying to the nearby Mendenhall Glacier often prove the most popular. There’s not a whole lot to see in the city itself, but downtown Juneau is a genuinely nice place to spend time, offering a mix of shops, restaurants, and pleasant coffee shops. The state capitol building is also to be found close to here; it’s worth a look, especially if you’re into Art Deco buildings. Shore excursions in Juneau tend to pass the capitol building as they make their way up to the glacier.
The Mendenhall Glacier is probably Juneau’s standout attraction, and as such it’s included on the itinerary of many of the shore excursions that take place here. A massive, twelve-mile long sheet of ice that eventually plunges into a crystal-clear fresh water lake, the glacier offers all types of fun. For those on the tranquil downtown-and-glacier excursions, a walk around the ice sheet is a great way to end a pleasingly laid-back day. Other Juneau shore excursions that head here take a slightly more exertive approach; hiking trails weave their way around the forests that border the Mendenhall Glacier, allowing groups to tone their leg muscles while exploring this beautiful example of nature in her full glory.
Juneau is, of course, an out-and-about type of place, and consequently many of the shore excursions in Juneau take advantage of the area’s immense landscape. Dog sledding is a popular activity here, as is canoeing, and tourists who want to indulge in either are well provided for, thanks both to the official cruise line excursions, and the many tours by local independent companies.
Another incredibly enjoyable excursion involves a boat, the Alaskan sea, a fishing rod, and more salmon than you can shake a stick at. Juneau’s waters teem with massive king salmon, and consequently sportfishing is high on the agenda of most who visit. Cruise lines such as Holland America line inevitably supply their cruisers with at least one fishing-related shore excursion, and taking advantage of it is probably advisable, as you’ll rarely get to fish creatures of the deep that are this big anywhere else in the world.
Thanks to Juneau’s relatively isolated location, flying is a frequent pursuit here, as the city is all but cut off in terms of road transportation. Thus, the city is considered a hub of so-called flightseeing tours; these trips take you up and around and even over the mountains that skirt Juneau, providing a joyously memorable perspective on the breathtaking Alaskan countryside.