Right now many people are dreaming about the bucket-list trips they'll take when we're all allowed to travel widely again. High up there for most, with its astounding natural beauty and seemingly endless activities for outdoor enthusiasts, is Juneau, Alaska.
But Alaska doesn't have to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Only a few hours from Seattle, Juneau is more accessible than you ever realized and more incredible than you ever imagined.
Where to find it
The capital of Alaska is on a southeastern tip of the state, directly below Yukon, Canada, and next to British Columbia. The coastal mountain city measures 3,255 square miles — of this, 928 square miles are made of ice cap, 704 square miles are water, and only 14 square miles are urban.
How to get there
Juneau is Alaska's closest "big" city to the Lower 48, which makes it surprisingly reachable any time of year. Charter, regional and major airlines all serve Juneau International Airport, Southeast Alaska’s air transport hub. Alaska Airlines flies to Juneau throughout the year with service from Seattle, Washington, and Anchorage. Delta Airlines flies seasonally from May to September from Seattle. Most flights are approximately two to three hours.
What's the weather like?
Southeast Alaska’s climate is moderated by the maritime environment, and is classified as Pacific Temperate Rainforest. Winter temperatures hover around freezing, while summers are cool and misty.
What to do outside
Whether by seaplane, helicopter, bike, boat, kayak, or foot, plan on exploring the stunning blue glaciers, snow-covered mountains, crystal-clear rivers, and Tongass National Forest. You can even ride a zipline above the treetops or dash across the ice on a dogsled pulled by a team of huskies. Explore Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian totem poles, and while you're out adventuring keep your eyes peeled for bears, beavers, cranes, eagles, sea lions, porpoises, herons, deer, and orca and humpback whales.
What to do inside
History abounds in Juneau, much of it connected to the 49th state's legacy and the native culture that the area was founded on. Visit the Alaska State Museum, which recently underwent a $139 million renovation, and browse an impressive collection of local artifacts, or take in a performance from the Juneau Symphony or play at Perseverance Theatre.
What to eat and drink
Fishing enthusiasts will surely be after the wild Alaskan salmon and seafood (though a license is required to catch them yourself), but if you're more into the meal part there's no shortage of fresh, local, expertly prepared cuisine. There are also several breweries to explore, including Alaskan Brewing Company, Barnaby Brewing Company, Devil's Club Brewing Company, and Forbidden Peak Brewery.
This is only a taste of what's waiting in Juneau — visit Travel Juneau for more in-depth recommendation and to begin planning your trip.