12 hours in Juneau – Alaska

Our day in Juneau started when the Celebrity Infinity docked at the harbor in Juneau, whilst we were enjoying breakfast.

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View as you pull into Juneau

Juneau is the state capital of Alaska.  Located on the panhandle of Alaska, it is the second largest city in the United States by area.  Juneau has a population of around 30,000. However, this increases massively in the summer months, when cruise ships dock here. Today for example, there are 3 cruise ships docked in Juneau, each carrying around 2000 passengers and 1000 crew. They have capacity to dock 6 cruise ships at once here, and are building dock for a 7th.

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Another cruise ship coming into dock

There are no roads to Juneau, so you have to get here by sea or by air. It is well served by the Alaskan Marine Highway and Alaska Airlines. It is one of the most popular cruise ship destinations in Alaska, with almost every Alaskan cruise stopping here.

After breakfast, we headed out on our pre-booked excursion to see the Mendenhall glacier, one of the main attractions of Juneau.

The town of Juneau is surround by a range of mountains upto 1,200 m high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; the Mendenhall Glacier is one of them, and  it is very popular as it is one of the few glaciers accessible by road (the other is the Lemon Creek Glacier).

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Mendenhall Glacier

The Mendenhall glacier is a 20 minute drive from the centre of Juneau. When you get there, there is a visitor centre, from which you can get great views of the glacier.

If you’re up for a little walk this will get you to the Nugget falls and a closer look at the glacier.

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Nugget falls

The Mendenhall glacier is like a frozen (very slow) moving waterfall. Unlike the Hubbard glacier we saw yesterday, this glacier is retreating quite rapidly. Not to long ago, the edge of the glacier was actually near the Nugget falls.

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Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls

There are some large chunks of ice from the glacier floating down the river.

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Broken ice floating down the river

 

There are also a lot of information boards around that explain how a glacier shapes the landscape around it.

After the glacier we headed off to an Alaskan brewery. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed inside the factory, but we could see the production line through a large window, whilst we enjoyed a number of beer samples in the tasting room.

We also came across this very interesting sign – apparently, it is illegal to be drunken person in a bar in Alaska. Who knew?

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We spent the afternoon having lunch and walking around the town and doing a spot of gift shopping.

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img_6754There were  number of interesting places around the town, such as:

The famous red dog saloon (the oldest man made tourist attraction is Juneau):

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and Mount Roberts Tramway (Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go to the top):

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and a husband daycare centre 🙂

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Then it was time for us to depart. We headed back to the ship and sailed into the sunset  – quite literally.

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Sailing into the Sunset

A few thoughts:

Juneau is by no means a big city, and compared to many other state capitals, there really isn’t much to see in town, but it makes up for this by the natural wonders that surround it. There is no doubt that this is a touristy place. It is quite hard to get a feel for the real Juneau when almost everyone you run into is a day tourist, like yourself. But, Juneau is worth staying for a few days to explore all it has to offer. It is also an excellent base for exploring other nearby destinations such as Sitka, Ketchikan and Skagaway. So, that’s what I’m going to do next time. Fly over here, stay for a few days and really get a feel for this beautiful place.

 

I’m linking this post to #citytripping with MummyTravels and WanderMum

MummyTravels

22 comments

  1. I’d love to visit Alaska one day; it’s so beautiful! But I had no idea that you couldn’t be drunk at a bar? That makes no sense! I guess one more reason to take a cruise there … get drunk on the ship not in the bar. :-/ (You’d think they wouldn’t care so long as you weren’t operating machinery/driving a vehicle.) Love the sign about husband watching. Too funny! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, we wondered about the drunk person in a bar sign too. And loved the husband day care. Unfortunately not enough time to try it out. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. So interesting to read this… I would love to see this part of the world! Thanks for sharing your experience. The Mendenhall glacier looks stunning. Judging by those signs you photographed, I have a feeling the people there have a good sense of humour. #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a really interesting part of the world. You are definitely right about the sense of humour. We didn’t meet a lot of locals but the few that we did were very friendly. Thank you for stopping by. #citytripping.

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    1. Oh wow – what a coincidence. Mendenhall glacier is great, but there’s so many glaciers to choose from in Alaska. You won’t be disappointed. Thanks for stopping by. #citytripping

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  3. Fabulous scenery although I think Juneau might be grasping at straws with its man-made tourist attractions! Although I’m sure plenty will see the appeal of the ‘day care’ centre 🙂 #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved the day care centre (and so did my husband :). There isn’t much to see or do in town other than going up the tram, but plenty of things to see outside. Thanks for stopping by.

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