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Head to the Last Frontier in Juneau, Alaska

The United States is an expansive country, so it’s hard to see all of it in your lifetime. If you’re ready to leave the lower 48 behind and explore untamed territory, consider heading to Juneau, the capital of Alaska. The city is close to breathtaking natural wonders, while still offering the modern conveniences you’ve come to expect on your travels.

What to do

As The Last Frontier, Alaska has some of the last truly wild areas of the United States. This means if you’re traveling to Juneau, be prepared to go outside. A short drive away from the city center is the start of Tongass National Forest, the largest protected forest in the U.S. The area offers chances to hike and see wildlife like bears, eagles and migrating salmon, as well as opportunities to fish and stay in a cabin. Inside the forest, you can also get up close to the Mendenhall Glacier. At the visitor center, you can learn more about its formation before setting out to the photo point to get closer to its icy face. There are hiking trails around the glacier, and tour options if you want to try a guided ice walk or hitch a ride on a dog sled.

If you want to catch a glimpse of wildlife on the water, several tour companies in Juneau offer whale watching boat rides, like Juneau Whale Watch. The area’s nutrient-rich waters attract humpback whales during their annual migration, which makes it the perfect place to see the world’s largest mammals. You might also see other animals, like otters, sea lions and harbor seals, on your trek.  

When you’re visiting Alaska, take time for the Inuit, Native Americans who first called the land home. The Tongass Forest offers the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center so you and your family can learn more about Alaska’s first population. However, the forest’s vast size means that the facility is over 18 hours away from Juneau. For something in the capital, consider the Alaska State Museum. It not only covers native history, but also the state’s Russian settlers, involvement in World War II and area science.

Where to stay

When you come to Juneau, you can choose to stay in the city center or closer to nature. If you’re ready for town after a day with wildlife, the Silverbow Inn is a great option. It’s the only boutique hotel in the downtown area and it offers great access to local restaurants and amenities. When you prefer to spend the night in the lap of absolute luxury, the Baranof Downtown is right next to the waterfront. Built in the late 1930s, this historic hotel has an on-site restaurant and cocktail lounge, as well as rooms with views of the ocean.

For something a bit further off the beaten path, check out Grandma’s Feather Bed. It’s owned and operated by Best Western, so you can use or accumulate loyalty points. However, the hotel was once a cozy bed and breakfast, with rooms that all have unique character and layouts. It’s a great way to stay somewhere different while still relying on a big hotel brand.

To get away from it all, consider heading to Juneau. It has all the convenience of traveling in the lower 48 while still offering a taste of adventure in the wilderness.

This article is presented by East Hills Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.
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