Juneau, Alaska Travel Guide

In Travel

Looking to travel to Juneau, Alaska? This capital city surrounded by untouched wilderness is becoming a travel hot spot. Here are things to do in Juneau!

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Alaska…stole my heart. Last month, Alex and I took an epic trip to Alaska as part of a family vacation; my sister and her fiancé flew in from Burma and my parents from Minnesota. We met in Juneau, my sister’s fiancé’s hometown, and spent time with his parents. Having locals as tour guides was fabulous, and is hands down my favorite way to explore a place. The houses we rented were both true gems, and the scenery — well, you’ll just have to take a look. Hiking, fishing, bird-watching, drinking coffee, spotting whales, flying over towering mountain peaks, meandering in quiet rain forests — we couldn’t have asked for more. Hold onto your hats.

Related: 8 Secrets: How to Take Better Pictures on Vacation

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Our first house in Juneau

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Day 1 – we embark on a fishing trip with gear from our rental house and my sister’s fiancé Evan as our guide. My #1 bucket list item is to “catch a fish and eat it”, and I’m ready for this trip to fulfill my dream. (I’m a city girl through and through, so this is a big deal.)

 Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Mainly I caught leaves and seaweed, and tangled the line. But it was beautiful.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks  Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau is in a temperate rain forest, and many of the trees are covered in moss.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

View from the porch of our house, on to Mendenhall Glacier

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

We’re at it again, this time me and my dad. No dice. But we had precious father-daughter time, which has been few and far between after I moved away from home.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Glad our rental house had rubber boots! They are all the rage in Juneau, men and women alike.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

A hike through the rain forest near Mendenhall Glacier…

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Spontaneous selfie! It’s not often we’re all on the same continent.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

My sis and me…

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Another gorgeous hike outside of Juneau…

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

The food was fabulous! Our favorites were The Rookery and Salt (below). Below is truffle fries, quinoa and beet salad, ensalada caprese, halibut ceviche, and a house salad with crispy chickpeas.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

We toured Alaskan Brewing Company with a family friend, which was a treat! Their Smoked Porter is pretty brilliant.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple CooksJuneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

After trips to Skagway and Glacier Bay (which we’ll share soon), we settled into a second house in Juneau.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

We celebrated July 4 on the water…

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Back to our little red house with a view…

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

My favorite part of the mornings: a slow cup of coffee with our Aeropress.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple CooksJuneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks  Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Our last day in Juneau was one of the most beautiful I’d seen. Another gorgeous hike, a short drive outside of Juneau…

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

And, my last chance at fishing. This time my sister’s fiancé and his dad showed me the ropes.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

They each got a salmon. I was starting to feel discouraged…

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Until…

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

It was just a little guy, but it still counts, right? (I’ll have bigger fish to fry on the next trip.)

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

The view from our deck on the last day was stunning.

Juneau, Alaska | A Couple Cooks

I can’t wait to return to this magical part of the country. Thanks to my parents for arranging everything, to my sister for coming home, and for her fiancé’s parents for being the best tour guides we could imagine. Let us know if you have any questions about Juneau! We can provide links to the houses we rented if that is helpful.

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.

22 Comments

  • Reply
    Michelle
    July 28, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    STUNNING photos! This post definitely makes me want to visit Alaska again for real – not just on a cruise trip excursion!

  • Reply
    kristie {birch and wild}
    July 29, 2015 at 12:45 am

    This looks like an incredible trip! I can’t wait to go to Alaska!

  • Reply
    Kathryn @ The Scratch Artist
    July 29, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Wow! What a beautiful story told through photos. I have never wanted to go to Alaska but now I do! Thank you for sharing and documenting your time so beautifully.

  • Reply
    Heather
    July 29, 2015 at 9:31 am

    These pictures are incredible!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Quam
    July 29, 2015 at 10:27 am

    What an amazing trip! Alaska looks gorgeous! I’ve definitely added it to my travel list now!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    July 29, 2015 at 10:47 am

    What gorgeous photos and such a special family trip. So glad the story ended well with you catching a fish. ;-)

  • Reply
    Amy
    July 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I just love the photos! Beautiful country. Thank you for the great narration and helpful information. I’ve put Juneau on my bucket list now, thanks to you!

  • Reply
    Susan
    July 29, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Such beautiful pictures!! Alaska has been on my travel list for a long time. So glad you got the chance to experience it and spend quality time with family!

  • Reply
    Emily | Gather & Dine
    July 29, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    So nice be to able to get a glimpse of your adventures! Your photos are always breathtaking! So so lovely.

  • Reply
    Chris
    July 29, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    You are lovely people! So glad the trip was wonderful. I will add Juneau to my ever-growing list!

  • Reply
    Chris
    July 29, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Fantastic photos. Great post.

  • Reply
    Dani | salt sugar and i
    July 29, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    it looks beautiful!!

  • Reply
    Jessie Snyder | Faring Well
    July 30, 2015 at 10:01 am

    This post is almost too much to handle! SO much beauty. I just loved following along while you were on this adventure. What a great experience! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

  • Reply
    Aysegul
    July 30, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    These photos are so stunning. They made me want to go there and enjoy the cool weather.

  • Reply
    Borislava
    August 4, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Guys, you are awesome! Love your blog and cannot wait to explore it, I am new in blogging but hopefully some day I am going to have a decent blog as well! And in addition, I just spent a year in Alaska and all I can say is Love that place!

    All the best in your future endeavors and I am going to stop by time to time at your place ;)

    Regards,
    LulaB

  • Reply
    Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    August 5, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    So fun and beautiful! Looks like you guys had some great family time. Also, if you’re fans of the Aeropress, you should check out the podcast Totally Beverages and Sometimes Hot Sauce (if you haven’t already), because they talk about that coffee contraption all the time.

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 6, 2015 at 8:26 am

      We’ll have to check out this pod — Aeropress is truly the greatest of all my coffee contraptions :)

  • Reply
    Gail R.
    August 5, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I love that you told the story of your spectacular Alaskan adventure through your beautiful photos! I have been to Juneau myself a few times and it is not only breathtaking but so peaceful and just magical to be out in nature up there and some of the cleanest and clearest air I have ever experienced! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Sara
    August 12, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Awesome post! I actually live in Juneau and this was a beautiful representation of our town. Summertime is the best time to visit. and it looks like you came on all the right days, vitamin D galore.

    I love the views out North Douglas way. Good to know such nice homes are for rent here.

    Glad you had a good time here :)

  • Reply
    kasey
    August 14, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    was your second house in auke bay? i recognized the marinas (my grandparents live on the bay) and one of the boats you took a picture of, the easy spirit, is actually my grandparents’ boat!

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 14, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      Yes! So funny. Tell your grandparents that they had the most beautiful boat in the harbor! I loved it :-)

  • Reply
    jacqui
    June 16, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Was in Alaska in 2012 Juneau is beautiful. Always was fascinated with Alaska. I’m from the beautiful island of Barbados

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