Alaska's capital city, Juneau, is one of the few major destinations in America with drive-up glaciers. Locals get their cars stuck four wheeling on the beach—in snow, not sand. With a population of 30,000, Juneau's ferries stay busy shuttling back and forth to the mainland, cruising the marine highway for want of a paved road connecting the city to the state. Gold brought visitors to the area in the late 19th century—now visitors bring the gold that helps keep this isolated region bustling. In addition to an array of cultural and artistic offerings, Juneau has a range of natural curiosities (like Glacier Gardens) to appease the traveler.
Around Juneau, trails lead through glaciers, up mountains and down abandoned mines. Ice-climbers can pick in on Mendenhall Glacier Trails northwest of town. In the winter, Eaglecrest Ski Area boasts thirty ski trails while the City Parks and Recreation Department guides cross-country ski tours. Point Bridget State Park is 38 miles north of Juneau but is often flush with wildlife and hiking trails when the snow melts.
Package sea-kayaking tours can be booked in Juneau. The more independent traveller can charter kayak drop-offs (for destinations further a field) and kayak rental, or shorter guided tours. Rafters or canoeists can ride the Mendenhall River, a relatively tame, albeit cold, stretch of water, down into Mendenhall Lake.
Anglers and whale watchers can try their big fish finding luck on any number of the charter boats operating out of Juneau. Or, wing it with scenic wildlife and glaciers tours in a chartered helicopter or plane- no helicopter fishing available at this time. For a closer encounter with the sea, enjoy a salmon-bake at a Juneau restaurant.
Juneau's 3,100 square mile sprawl is located south of Haines and Skagway on the Alaska Marine Highway. Flights leave regularly for the Alaskan mainland and the continental US.