Looking to travel to Juneau Alaska? This capital city surrounded by untouched wilderness is becoming a travel hotspot. Here are things to do in Juneau!
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, our brother-in-law’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—here are all of our pictures of Juneau, Alaska.
Where to stay in Juneau Alaska
We found Juneau to be absolutely breathtaking. It was a much smaller city than we imagined, and nestled right along the water and the mountains. We recommend avoiding hotels and going to VRBO or AirBNB for places to stay. We stayed in two homes — one with a magnificent view of tide pools and Mendenhall glacier and the other right on the water with wildlife visible right from the deck!
When to visit Juneau Alaska
Although it doesn’t get as cold in Juneau as the rest of Alaska, it’s still pretty miserable in the winter months. We recommend visiting in July or August. The weather is warmer, you may actually see some blue sky, and the days last forever! The sun only set between after 11:00 pm when we were there!
Things to do in Juneau Alaska
There’s only one answer to this one. Get outside! Juneau is in a temperate rainforest, and many of the trees are covered in moss. This lends a certain magical feel to the entire area.
- Go hiking, kayaking, and boating as much as you can! We enjoyed Perseverance, Mount Juneau, and Mount Roberts trails.
- Ask a local about the best places to rent a kayak or find a beach.
- Go fishing! There are plenty of fishing charters that will take you to the best salmon you’ve ever tasted, not to mention much more seafood!
- If you can swing it, charter a small plane and visit Skagway or Glacier Bay National Park. Glacier Bay was absolutely stunning. And unlike any other National Park we’ve visited.
View from the porch of our house, on to Mendenhall Glacier
A hike through the rain forest near Mendenhall Glacier…
Juneau Alaska Restaurants
Juneau has some great restaurants of all types! Get away from the dockside cruise ship joints and hit these restaurants instead!
- Amalga Distillery for a perfect cocktail hour in a beautifully designed space downtown
- Devil’s Club Brewery for good bar snacks and great beer
- Barnacle Foods for locally sourced specialties like seasonings, salsa, and kelp!
- Jerry’s Meats for smoked black cod or salmon, salmon dip and jerkys
- Salt for higher end fare using locally sourced and foraged foods like mushrooms and fiddleheads
We toured Alaskan Brewing Company with a family friend, which was a treat! Their Smoked Porter is pretty brilliant.
We celebrated July 4 on the water…
Back to our little red house with a view…
My favorite part of the mornings: a slow cup of coffee with our Aeropress.
Our last day in Juneau was one of the most beautiful I’d seen. Another gorgeous hike, a short drive outside of Juneau…
And, my last chance at fishing. This time my sister’s fiancé and his dad showed me the ropes.
They each got a salmon. I was starting to feel discouraged…
It was just a little guy, but it still counts, right? (I’ll have bigger fish to fry on the next trip.)
The view from our deck on the last day was stunning.
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
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.