3 of the Best Juneau Whale Watching Tours

by Oliver Stallwood  |  Published April 7, 2024

Discover the giant marine life of Juneau, Alaska’s capital, with the incredible whale watching excursions.


Juneau may be the capital city of the state of Alaska but it is anything but a concrete jungle. On the doorstep of Juneau are incredible opportunities to experience wildlife, from black bears in the forests to orcas and humpback whales in the bay. Naturally whale watching should be the first thing you think of with an excursion from Juneau – with a dramatic backdrop of mountains and glaciers there are few places as atmospheric to spot these giant marine animals. There is a whole industry in Juneau designed around whale watching and plenty of operators to choose from. Here are three of the best Juneau whale watching excursions. 

From Juneau: Whale Watching Cruise with Snacks

This is a top-rated trip and pretty good value considering it’s 3.5 hours in length. You’ll be hoping to spot humpbacks, killer whales, sea lions, porpoises and bald eagles from the comfortable, climate -controlled jet boats. Alongside the wildlife there are also panoramic views of the fjords, mountains and glaciers, as well as light snacks, water, coffee, and hot chocolate onboard. The tour is led by a knowledgeable captain and naturalist who will take you in search of whales in Favorite Channel, Stephens Passage, Lynn Canal, or Saginaw Channel. Binoculars are provided – a nice touch – and alongside the coach transfer it is in total two hours of whale watching on the water. From €121.81.

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Juneau Shore Excursion: Paddle with Whales! Kayak Adventure

A lot of whale watching tours take place onboard a large boat with a fairly big group. It’s all really comfortable but there is one way to feel a bit more in touch with the animals around you. This kayak adventure might not be for everyone but it certainly feels in tune with nature as you travel up the Inside Passage to reach rich feeding grounds for humpback whales. On the way there are views of glaciers, forest, and snow-capped mountains, with an expert guide explaining all about the habitat and local eco system. Everything is included, from bottled water and snacks to paddling and rain gear and Forest Service Permits. It’s not cheap though.From €463.58.

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Juneau Whale Watching and Salmon Bake

Yes, you read that right. On this trip not only do you get to observe whales but you’ll be enjoying a salmon bake too – can’t say fairer than that. The whale watching takes place in Auke Bay, with a naturalist on board also to point out Steller sea lions, Dall’s porpoises, bald eagles and sea birds in the area. Whale sightings are even guaranteed. Then to finish you’ll get to enjoy freshly grilled Alaska salmon in a picturesque location, part of an all-you-can-eat buffet (included), followed by roast marshmallows around a campfire. It’s a great way to meet fellow travellers too. From €224.14.

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