Alaska has miles of gorgeous, wild territory to cover, so use Juneau as your base to explore the state. Jump start the trip with a cup of locally roasted Heritage Coffee. (In case you need an extra jolt, there’s outposts all over downtown.) Then, stroll past the many food trucks and carts on South Franklin St as you make your way to Alaskan Crepe Escape to try the Greek, with feta, hummus, artichoke, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives. Once you’re fueled up, buy a ticket for the Mount Roberts Tramway. The scenic ride up is short, but the best panoramic views are at the top, where you can see over Juneau, Gastineau Channel and the craggy Boundary Range in the distance. After exploring Mount Roberts, rest your weary soles on the deck at Tracy’s King Crab Shack while devouring a platter of their famed King Crab Legs and sipping an ice cold Alaskan Brewing Company beer.
Hop the ferry — or take a propeller plane, if you’re feeling adventurous — to spend the day in Skagway, 100 miles north of Juneau. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted at the visitor's center, an odd building covered in nearly 9,000 pieces of driftwood. From there, take in Alaska’s historic role in the Gold Rush at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and the Gold Camp Cemetery. (Another don’t-miss stop nearby is the scenic Lower Reid Falls; trust us, you’ll want the insta-shot.) Round out the afternoon on a bike tour with Sockeye Cycle, where you’ll pedal through the foggy, quaint streets of Skagway before heading back to Juneau.
The morning sets off bright and early on a catamaran cruise to Tracy Arm Fjord and Sawyer Glacier with Allen Marine Tours. The trip, which lasts five to seven hours depending on weather conditions, drifts by a rugged landscape of cobalt blue icebergs, waterfalls and jagged cliffs. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare black bear and whale sighting. After the chilly journey, pull at a stool at The Alaskan Bar, where the locals mingle with visitors over a pint and some live music.
While there are thousands of trails throughout the state, Juneau has its own set of paths worth walking. Make your way to the Gold Creek Flume, an easy network of raised wooden planks surrounded by towering cedar, fir and spruce trees. Want a real challenge? Trek up the steep Perseverance Trail, taking a break at one of the 12 bridges to look out over the waterfalls, streams and emerald green growth. All that exercise works up an appetite, so grab a bowl of chowder and watch the seaplanes take off from the waterfront deck at Alaskan Fish & Chips Company.
When in Alaska, you really can’t get enough of the glaciers. And Alaska Shore Excursions gets you up close and personal with the impressive Mendenhall Glacier. You’ll kayak across the lake, then strap on crampons (ice climbing boots) to summit the glacier and wander through the electric blue ice caves. Defrost from the day’s adventures by cozying up at The Rookery, an art gallery, restaurant and cafe trifecta in Juneau.
Just across Gastineau Channel is Douglas Island, which has a small, rustic community on one side and miles of untouched back country on the other. Take off for a five-mile jaunt up to Mt. Jumbo Trail, where you’ll be greeted with sweeping vistas of Juneau at the peak. Back at the base, hit The Island Pub for the freshly baked focaccia bread and the Alaskan Fudge Co. for a sweet, chocolatey treat (we love the Klondike Walnut).
Spend your last day fishing for salmon and halibut. You’ll even get a to-go gift, as most boats will ship the day’s catch back home for you. To get the full Alaskan experience, take refuge in one of the secluded Turner Lake Cabins in the Tongass National Forest. Light a campfire and cook the Sockeye you snagged earlier, to be enjoyed under the stars.