Juneau Shore Excursions: Top Must-Do Activities for Your Alaskan Cruise

Juneau Alaska


The nippy Alaskan wind fills your lungs as you set foot in Juneau. The capital city is surrounded by mountains and forests, and the whole place pulses with life. That’s because it combines its rich gold rush history with a thriving modern culture. Here, glaciers slide across the landscape, while whales swim in the open water, promising mesmerizing encounters with nature.
But there’s more to this city than meets the eye. There’s something here for every traveler. If you’re all about history, then get ready to dive deep into what used to be a gold mining hotspot.
You’ll also visit historic sites and gaze at some of Alaska’s best-preserved totem poles — relics of its indigenous cultures.
Nature enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either: you can hike on trails that overlook glaciers, kayak through serene fjords, or spot breaching humpback whales in their thousands.
That said, if thrills aren’t really your thing don’t worry — there are plenty of other things to keep you busy here too.

Juneau walkway
photo credit Viliame Kaulotu

Foodies are sure to find their new favourite dishes thanks to Juneau’s vibrant culinary scene — which includes fresh-caught seafood and local brews that will leave your taste buds tingling for hours afterward.
Then there are the galleries showcasing stunning Alaskan artwork; shops selling unique souvenirs; locally crafted treasures that make great gifts… We could go on forever about what makes this place special.
Whether you want heart-pounding excitement or just somewhere calm and beautiful where you can relax and rejuvenate yourself, Juneau has got it all. It promises an unforgettable experience for everyone who visits — so get ready to explore it all and create memories that will last a lifetime!

Top Shore Excursions in Juneau

First things first, you’ll want to check your arrival and departure times for the port of Juneau. Keep in mind that some cruise lines dock in the afternoon and depart at different times depending on traffic.
During peak season, anywhere from six to seven ships can be seen docked with one being anchored in midwaters as well. Be sure to check these details before booking your cruise because tendering can be a lengthy process. The cruise staff will make sure it runs smoothly though!
Luckily, most ships dock right in town, but a few are at a different dock called AJ Dock which is about a 15-minute walk away. No need to fret though, as the cruise company provides free shuttle service to town.

Mount Roberts Tramway

As soon as you step off your ship, feel free to walk straight to the information center where you can grab a city map and begin planning your day.
If Mount Roberts Tram happens to be on your shore excursion list, don’t worry about buying tickets online ahead of time because you can get them here instead where you pick up your map.
This way it will also save you from having to carry extra paper all day long if you plan on hitting other sites before boarding the tram anyway! The tram ride takes five minutes one-way and offers a spectacular view of all of Juneau once reaching the top of the mountain.

View from Mount Roberts

If only hiking up there is what you’re interested in doing, head straight to this counter and grab their trail map so that you can quickly get started on it without having those waiting behind you lose patience while purchasing two separate tickets in two separate lines for two separate locations- say that three times fast lol!
Just make sure that your shoes or boots are sturdy and comfortable enough for trails or else they may have an unpleasant experience halfway through due to blisters or sore arches – we wouldn’t want them angrily blaming us when they return ha-ha 🙂
When the Gold Belt Tram arrives in the rain forest with its 200-foot-high trees, hikers can hike up into the sub-alpine meadow awash in brightly colored flowers. Wildlife viewing platforms give you a view of incredible scenery and colorful flora. I could only do half of that this trail this is one of the hardest trails to complete.
If you are not a good hiker then don’t worry, we got you covered! Watch Seeing Daylight, a short award-winning film on Tlingit history and culture. Shown in the Chilkat theatre. It’s complimentary or if you want to enjoy a panoramic view grab beer and enjoy some Alaskan delicacies in Bar and grill.

The Mendenhall Glacier

The next best thing to do in Juneau is MENDENHALL GLACIER. Getting there from the port is very easy, it’s about 13 miles away and there are several transportation options available.
The cheapest option is public transportation but that will add another one mile to your hike, or you’ll have to factor in the cost of a taxi or rideshare if you don’t want to walk.

photo credit 12019/pixabay

At Mendenhall Glacier, snap epic photos from the visitor center viewing platform. Hike the easy trails for up-close looks or challenge yourself with the East Glacier Trail.
Kayak on Mendenhall Lake for a chilling (literally!) adventure amidst icebergs. Explore the fascinating exhibits and learn about the glacier’s retreat. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for bald eagles soaring overhead!

Juneau whale watching

The next top-rated excursion in Juneau is WHALE WATCHING. If your ship docks in the afternoon I would suggest scheduling this excursion at another port where you have all day since this one takes up so much time (up to 5 hours)
I’ve only done it once and had only seen two after waiting for hours as these gentle giants don’t have fixed working hours lol!

Juneau whale watching
photo credit Jhon Natoli

But you can see some of them from sailing ships where I had seen them many times swimming freely(it will be very far from the ship) when I was standing, taking some fresh air on open deck before my shift was about to start and you don’t have to pay for that so if you want to try your luck make sure to be present on any open deck when the ship is sailing, preferably on the top deck as you will have 360o view.

Amazing facts about HUMPBACK WHALES
Humpback whales boast amazing acrobatics! They launch themselves out of water with breaches, and whack their giant tails, creating thunderous sounds.
Their songs, sung by males, are complex and last for hours, traveling vast distances underwater. Imagine singing a love song heard miles away! Believe it or not, these giants travel on epic journeys, migrating up to 5,000 miles between feeding grounds and warm breeding waters.

Juneau Icefield Helocopter Tour

One of the top-rated excursion is JUNEAU ICEFIELD HELICOPTER TOUR I had never had a chance to do one because it won’t fit my pockets, but I heard a lot of good comments about this excursion from the cruise guests in the conversation with them and they said it is one of the best shore excursions in Juneau they ever had. This tour has excellent reviews from cruisers.

Photo credit Google Photos

However, you must be very cautious while booking because you must consider the weather. Do check the cancellation policy if you are booking this in advance, or the best option is to book once you disembark from the ship, you will find lined-up shore excursion kiosks on the walkway outside the port.

You can bargain for price as well if you have a big group of people. This tour takes around 3 hours one hour will be spent on Glacier with a guided tour+ 30 minutes travelling on helicopter + 30 minutes preflight safety briefing – This should be on your bucket list.

Zipline Adventure

Now, let’s talk about the JUNEAU ALPINE ZIPLINE ADVENTURE, which was my favorite. We were lucky enough to have this excursion organized for us at a discounted price because we were part of the crew.
It took about 4 hours. This adventure starts with a drive up to the Eagle Crest Ski Area, on Douglas Island. which, in the summer, serves as a zipline course. While traveling from downtown to the zipline base and summer ski lodge, your driver will narrate and offer historical information.

There, you will run into amiable personnel who will give you your safety briefings and outfit you with all the gear you need. Before taking to this Zipline across the Tongass National Forest’s treetops, you’ll have a trial run to make sure you’re comfortable!

photo credit google photos

After each zipline, you’ll land on a treehouse platform where you’ll have plenty of time to utilize your camera to snap the greatest shots of the surrounding landscape.
Savor some delectable blueberry tea.

The staff will answer any questions you may have about the area and give you history and stories about what you are seeing while your guide narrates everything to you.
This trip offers a lot of exciting thrills, the ziplines being only one of them. You will cross a suspension bridge at the end of the excursion, which offers views of a salmon spawning stream below.

Both adults and children can participate in this exercise. You’ll have extra time in the ski lodge at the end of the adventure to unwind with a snack and a slideshow of all the day’s pictures. There are souvenirs and local beer to buy in the shop. Those of all ages will cherish this excursion!

“Footsteps in Juneau: A Walking Tour”

Juneau’s piers are easily accessible to walkers, and you can spend your day in town wandering through its streets. The park is also close by and has a pavilion where you can try local food vendors.

The Alaska State Museum

A visit to The Alaska State Museum will give you a sense of what cultural materials from the people of the Northwest Coast (Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian), the Athabascan cultures of Interior Alaska, the Inupiaq of the North Coast, and the Yup’ik of southwest Alaska look like as they are all on exhibit here.
Artifacts from the state’s Russian colonial eras, state and political history, fine art (including contemporary art), natural history, industry, and trades will also be seen.

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum

The Juneau-Douglas City Museum takes visitors on guided walking tours that focus on local history, art, and culture. The museum also houses exhibits featuring highlights from its collections.

The whale Sculpture.

The Alaska Whale Sculpture is built at the waterfront of Juneau. It was created to celebrate 50 years of statehood in 2009. The life-size bronze humpback whale breaches out of the water.
Visitors will find an infinity pool topped with fountains at the sculpture’s base along with incredible views across the Gastineau Channel toward Douglas Island off in the distance. You can sit around or just enjoy Nature sitting near a small park adjacent to the sculpture.

Juneau whale sculpture
photo credit edb3_16/pixabay

Shopping In Juneau

“Set out on a shopping expedition in Juneau, where hidden gems from the area are waiting to be discovered. Discover wearable art at The Alaskan Shirt Factory, created with care and imbued with the essence of the Last Frontier.

Their shirts—which range from fleece to flannel—capture the untamed nature of Alaska. Remember to pick up gifts made by the local people to mark the occasion, such as beautifully carved totems or hand-painted jewelry.

Juneau’s shopping environment guarantees a true flavor of Alaskan workmanship and culture, whether you’re looking for fine jewelry, a warm fur coat, or unique trinkets to make your memories last a lifetime.”


Juneau’s port of call is a mix of nature and excitement. You’ll find yourself exploring glaciers and going whale watching, among other things. The capital city of Alaska, Juneau, is full of adventure for everyone to indulge in.

And I mean it when I say there’s something for everybody! Whether you’re hiking through forests or eating seafood until you can’t eat anymore, or flying through the air on a zipline tour, you will make unforgettable memories here. With its unique charm and abundant opportunities for exploration, this place is sure to leave a mark!

What are some must-see attractions in Juneau?

The breathtaking Mendenhall Glacier, the state capitol building, and the Mount Roberts Tramway, which provides sweeping vistas of the city and surrounding countryside, are just a few of Juneau’s must-see sights.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Juneau?

There is a lot for outdoor enthusiasts to do in Juneau, including kayaking in the crystal-clear waters of Auke Bay, going on wildlife excursions to see whales, eagles, and bears, and climbing beautiful paths like the Perseverance Trail and the Mount Roberts Trail.

How can I best explore Juneau on a budget?

Budget-conscious tourists can enjoy free or inexpensive things to do in Juneau, like exploring the downtown shops and galleries, hiking the many trails with breathtaking views, and taking a peek at the history of the city by visiting the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

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