Things to do / Travel Guide
Juneau & Alaska Panhandle Tourist Attractions
Featuring the most unique and picturesque capital city in the U.S., the Alaskan panhandle is unlike anywhere else in the country. The spectacular scenery of fjords, glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, and lush forests is quite accessible and loaded with tourist attractions. A wide range of hiking options provides visitors with ample opportunity to observe the abundant wildlife. Many towns preserve the native local culture, replete with miners, lumberjacks, and fishermen.
Alaska Panhandle Vacation Spots
Mention to your friends that you'll be visiting the Alaska Panhandle and they'll probably imagine you standing in an icy no-mans-land with nothing to do. Show them your list of vacation spots, though, and they'll start to get a clearer picture of the paradisiacal getaway you're headed to.
Start your vacation out by riding one of the most vertical tramways in the world at Mount Roberts Tramway. The tram leaves from Juneau and then shoots up to a 2,000 foot summit in just six minutes. Up top you'll get to take in stunning views of the Alaska Panhandle. In the multi-million dollar mountaintop complex you'll find a theater, restaurant, nature center, and gift shop.
Another must-experience adventure in the Alaska Panhandle is the Inside Passage cruise around the Panhandle. Glaciers, forests, and crystal clear water comprise the Panhandle scenery, known for being some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole world. The cruise brings tourists to small cultural towns and to nearby national parks.
People often forget that Alaska isn't always cold and snowy. There are a lovely few months during the summer and because of Alaska's ideal location, there's plenty of coastline and therefore, plenty of snorkeling and scuba diving! Some popular spots to scope out the wondrous underwater include Benjamin Island, Barlow Cove, and Douglas Island. You'll also see orcas and sea lions frolicking in the water.
Juneau, Alaska Vacation Spots
Juneau, Alaska's capital city, offers visitors of the Alaskan landscape and scenery an opportunity to experience a little city life as well. Here you can visit Alaska's only professional arts theater, the Perseverance Theatre, as well as enjoy cultural celebrations such as the Alaska Folk Festival and the Juneau Jazz and Classics festival. Explore downtown Juneau where you'll find municipal buildings and parks with the stunning backdrop of the Alaskan Panhandle.
In fact, just 12 miles from downtown Juneau rests one of the most famous glaciers in Alaska, the Mendenhall Glacier. Located in the Mendenhall Valley, this glacier allows for up close and personal tours. You can take a cruise tour around the glacier or hire a guide to take you along the glacier's paved trails. You can also go whitewater rafting in the Mendenhall River. The whole Mendenhall Valley is an excellent vacation spot with nice towns and gorgeous scenery everywhere you look.
Too cold to go climbing outdoors in the Mendenhall Valley? Visit the Rock Dump indoor climbing wall to brush up on your climbing skills so when the sun comes back out you can conquer some of the area's (outdoor) mountains.
Other fun Juneau vacation spots include a visit to the Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure (one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the country), the Eaglecrest Ski Area (some of the most beautiful skiing in the state), the Alaskan Brewing Company (delicious beer), and the Gastineau Salmon Hatchery which offers a unique tour of a local hatchery. These stops along the Juneau landscape will provide you and your family with a well-rounded, fun, and beautiful picture of the Alaskan capital. A visit to the Alaska State Museum may also be in order to complete your all-Alaskan trip.
Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau Tourist Attractions
In Skagway you'll find the famous White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Aboard this historic railroad you'll encounter sites and landmarks made famous by the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. In 20 minutes, you and your family will climb about 3000 feet on the rail's narrow gauge, through tunnels, and over bridges. The scenery you'll see during the ride will take your breath away.
Heading to Ketchikan after your stop in Skagway? Your trip to Alaska would be incomplete without a visit to one of Alaska's most famed tourist attractions: the Alaskan fjords. In Ketchikan you can visit the Misty Fjords National Monument and be awarded with the fjord experience and with a lot of fun!
Juneau & Alaska Panhandle Getaways Planner
There are two ways to visit the Panhandle, by boat and by boat. A weeklong cruise is affordable and usually stops at three ports of call. Alternatively, you can avoid the crowds by planning your own ferry route. Once you arrive at the Panhandle you'll enjoy your getaway without needing a car. Just hop on and off your cruise ship or ferry to different stops on your itinerary.
Tourist Attractions and Highlights in Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, Alaska Panhandle