Our second port of call was Juneau – the only US capital not accessible by land! While there are a few federal buildings in town, Juneau has maintained most of its original gold rush architecture heritage and the historic district is filled with colorful buildings and houses.
Visiting Vancouver & A 49th State Alaska Adventure
- Vancouver: Rosewood Hotel Georgia
- Vancouver: Excursions & Dining, including Grand City Tour, Salmon Hatchery, Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Alaska: Holland America Line and the Noordam Ship
- Alaska: Ketchikan Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Juneau Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Skagway Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Glacier Bay Experience
- Alaska: Anchorage Glass Dome Train, Accommodations, Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Denali McKinley Explorer, Accommodations, Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Fairbanks Accommodations, Excursions & Dining
Arriving in Juneau
We were scheduled to be in port today from 10AM to 10PM, but were docked and cleared to disembark around 8AM. We excitedly headed off just about that time to walk the downtown historic district and find some local breakfast!
Heritage Coffee Roasting Co.
We found a delightful local coffee shop, Heritage, for breakfast. They are known for their espresso, which was wonderful. Honey and I split a delicious breakfast melt sandwich, while the boys chose scones and croissants.
Dog Sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier
Our main event for the day – also known as the biggest splurge ever, the thing we were most anticipating for the trip AND our unanimous most memorable excursion – was dog sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier! All ten of us participated and will never, ever forget the experience.
Our epic adventure started with a guide picking us up right at port to take us to the heli hq. Once there, we did a quick safety briefing and then were suited up in glacier boots (provided as part of the tour). We were escorted out to the heli pad where our party of 10 was transported in two helicopters.
We took about a 30 minute ride over the stunning mountains. Our first glimpse at the Mendenhall Glacier was unforgettable.
Our pilot expertly landed us right at the musher camp. It was surpisingly warm on the glacier and we were all just giddy with excitement. We were divided up between three mushers to learn about their jobs, training and dog teams. The small groups of just four were intimate and afforded us lots of 1:1 time to learn, ask questions and, most importantly, snuggle dogs. The mushers and dogs live up here on the glacier all summer in dog houses and raised tents. It was impressive! (And hard to imagine!)
Our musher saddled up the dogs and gave is details how to choose dogs, how to pick a lead and organize the line, and how to operate the sled and team with commands. We each had a turn “driving” as the musher on back. In between, we stopped to ask questions and visit with the dogs.
After our mushing experience, we headed back to the camp for these pups. We gave them all more hugs and scratches and saw a lot of the personalities come out.
There was one new puppy in camp and we ALL loved the baby! Look at these smiles!
Our time on the glacier was over when we saw our helicopters coming back to retrieve us.
This experience was one of the best things we’ve ever done… anywhere. It was absolutely sensational and something we will always remember. If you do ONE thing in Alaska, I urge you to consider this. CeeCee was able to participate and enjoy at age 6 and my parents were equally as comfortable at 71. I know that we will look back on this day as one of the best of days for the rest of our lives.
I booked this experience through my Glass Slipper Concierge contacts and am happy to arrange for my Alaska clients! Just email me for more info!
Deckhand Dave’s and Alaskan Crepe Escape
Our driver from the musher camp offered to drop us anywhere we liked in town, so we chose a lunch spot we’d had our eye on. This charming outdoor dining area is home to two local places we were excited to try – Deckhand Dave’s and Alaskan Crepe Escape. These are casual food truck style eateries where you order in a line and find a place to sit from a variety of open and covered bar stools, community tables and picnic tables. There is a third bar area for beer as well.
We got our lunch food from Deckhand Dave’s – serving the most amazing tacos with fresh, local caught fish! Afterwards, we enjoyed dessert crepes from Alaskan Crepe Escape. They were equally as delicious and I highly recommend both.
Unplugged Adventures Interactive Jeep Tour
With 8 more hours left in port, we made a spur of the moment decision to make the most of what might be our one day ever in Juneau. :-) We popped back on the ship to change clothes (it had warmed up significantly throughout the morning) and were back off in no time at all. It was a gorgeous day and we were riding high so we hit the Unplugged Adventures kiosk and rented us a Jeep! I had a client do this two weeks before and sent me back a rave review so it seemed a sure bet.
We had them take the top down, set up our touring plan and we were off!
You get unlimited use of the vehicle and digital guide and can spend as much time as you want exploring Juneau’s various sites and sounds. , and tack on or skip as many locations as you want. An amazing digital audio and visual guide previews various recommended points of interest, photo opportunities and even quiet places for a picnic or respite. You can skip any places you aren’t interested in or take a detour on your own if fancy strikes. The self-guided Jeep tours are all inclusive and include the vehicle, ipad tour guide/gps, insurance, mileage, fuel, gold mining equipment, bear spray, car seats, etc. There are two- and four- door Jeeps available with an assortment of soft and hard tops. Our vehicle was pristine and also had plenty of chargers for our phones, which we appreciated after having been gone all day already.
We made quite a few stops in our afternoon / evening. Highlights included the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. It was really need to get this perspective of the glacier after having spent our morning flying over it and mushing on it.
The National Shrine of Saint Therese was stunning.
Eagle Beach had no eagles but the boys loved running and exploring untethered, especially after so many days of planned tours, hotel rooms and being on the ship.
We hiked to a place to pan for gold, but struck out. Regardless, these are images of my boys I never want to forget. Nature, quiet, beauty, grace.
Just driving and exploring on our own was
Like my own client had said, this was a great excursion and not too expensive compared to most in Alaska. There was something really special about striking out on our own, just the four of us, after having been with larger groups for a good deal of time up until this afternoon. If you definitely want to do this, I recommend booking in advance. We were pretty fly by the seat of our pants, and it all worked out, but you would run the risk of them not having any Jeeps left if you want until day of.
As far as the rest of the family, Sister ended up booking a rather last minute whale watching cruise which they all loved. My parents took the rest of the day after lunch to walk around town and then relax on the ship.
We made the most of our day in Juneau and left with no regrets! Next stop: Skagway!
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DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED