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Whale Watching Tours picture in Juneau
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Key Info

Details

  • Sightseeing, Tours Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.3
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    3.5
  • Facilities
    2.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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Many travelers make the trek to Alaska for two things: glaciers and whales. The latter can be a bit more elusive to spot, which is why it's best to sign up for a whale watching tour. In Juneau, North Pacific humpbacks and orcas are the two most common types of whales migrating through these calm waters. Humpbacks feed off krill and small baitfish, which Juneau's waters are chock full of. The best time to see activity in the water is during migration season (May through September). Though you may be able to spot some movement from the shore (with the help of some binoculars), you'll score a better view if you sign up for a whale watching boat tour.

There are no shortage of traveler-approved tours to choose from, each offering a different experience. If you don't want to share deck space with dozens of other tourists, consider Harv and Marv's Outback Alaska. The three-hour tours are limited to six passengers and include a complimentary stop at the Brotherhood Bridge for a view of the Mendenhall Glacier. Gastineau Guiding Company is unique in that it offers hands-on experiences that allow passengers to play a part in data collection for local university and regional science programs (collecting water and plankton samples and recording marine mammal observations, for example). Juneau Whale Watch and Adventures in Alaska are two more companies travelers recommend.

Prices can vary widely by tour, but you should expect to pay at least $100 per person for the experience, which generally lasts several hours and includes water, a snack and binoculars for use during the tour (most boats have a restroom on board). Most companies will pick you up at the cruise ship terminal before transporting you to a nearby dock to start the excursion. Check each company's website for more information on pricing and tour times.

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Four Points by Sheraton Juneau

Four Points by Sheraton Juneau ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
Silverbow Inn

Silverbow Inn ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
Westmark Baranof Hotel

Westmark Baranof Hotel ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Juneau »

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#1 Tracy Arm Fjord A "fjord" is a Nordic term meaning a narrow waterway surrounded by sharp cliffs. So while Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier steals most of the tourist traffic, the 27-mile-long Tracy Arm ... Read more » Emily Riddell / Design Pics / Getty Images

#2 Mendenhall Glacier Mendenhall Glacier welcomes more than 400,000 visitors each year, and it's easy to see why: aside from its stunning arctic beauty, the glacier is only 12 miles outside ... Read more » Dagny Willis / Getty Images

#3 Whale Watching Tours Many travelers make the trek to Alaska for two things: glaciers and whales. The latter can be a bit more elusive to spot, which is why it's best to ... Read more » samchad / Getty Images

#4 Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventures Located between downtown Juneau and its airport, the Glacier Gardens offer a glimpse into Alaska's frequently forgotten rainforest. Here, you'll ride through 50 acres of lush vegetation aboard ... Read more » EdCorey / Getty Images

#5 Mount Roberts Tramway If your time in Juneau is limited, the Mount Roberts Tramway is the easiest and fastest way to gain an appreciation for the city's beautiful natural setting. Just south ... Read more » Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau

#6 Alaska Brewing Company Travelers who visit the Alaskan Brewing Company usually want to experience something different than normal port-of-call tourist shops. And here, they get it. About 6 miles north of the cruise ... Read more » WordRidden / Flickr

Tracy Arm Fjord picture in Juneau
Mendenhall Glacier picture in Juneau
Whale Watching Tours picture in Juneau
Glacier Gardens picture in Juneau
View from Mount Roberts Tramway picture in Juneau
Alaska Brewing Company picture in Juneau
Tracy Arm Fjord picture in Juneau
Mendenhall Glacier picture in Juneau
Whale Watching Tours picture in Juneau
Glacier Gardens picture in Juneau
View from Mount Roberts Tramway picture in Juneau
Alaska Brewing Company picture in Juneau

Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier steals most of the tourist traffic, but the 27-mile-long Tracy Arm Fjord is the bigger, better and more dramatic natural gem.  Emily Riddell / Design Pics / Getty Images

Mendenhall Glacier is the only glacier in Southeast Alaska accessible by road (you can easily take a cab here). Dagny Willis / Getty Images

In Juneau, North Pacific humpbacks and orcas are the two most common types of whales migrating through these calm waters. Signing up for a tour is the best way to observe these spectacular animals. samchad / Getty Images

Located between downtown Juneau and its airport, the Glacier Gardens offer a glimpse into Alaska's frequently forgotten rainforest.  EdCorey / Getty Images

The view from the Mount Roberts Tramway, which includes the Gastineau Channel, amazes the thousands of visitors that flock to Juneau each year. Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau

Many visitors praise the brewery's sizable samples. WordRidden / Flickr

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