High summer is the ideal time of year to spot 'em
Water around Alaska is, y’know, cold, and in a similar fashion to many humans, whales like to escape the winter by traveling somewhere warm like Mexico or Hawaii. Come springtime, though, they begin their migration back up north, and thus are best viewed around Alaska between May and early September.
Keep in mind, though, that Juneau is located in a big ‘ol coastal rainforest and while the climate is temperate the weather can be unpredictable. Out on the water you’ll want to be windproof, waterproof, and warm, so invest in a good jacket and shoes, and bring sunscreen.
The best guided whale watching excursions in Juneau
It might seem suspicious to pay a whole lot of vacation bucks to watch an animal that may or may not be there. “Some tours offer [money back] guarantees that you’ll see a whale 100% of the time,” Heist tells me, as I nod and wait for a warning about how this is bullshit. “And you really will! I worked for a whale watching company for a decade, and I think we gave the guarantee back maybe, twice? In 10 years. Don’t expect to get that guarantee back, because you are gonna see a whale. For sure.”
Here are some of the best guided whale-watching tours you can take in Juneau. Excursions can all be booked through the company’s website, and sometimes through your cruise line. For more guided tours that aren’t necessarily whale-related, check out our full guide to outdoor adventures in Juneau.