Best Whale Watching in Juneau, Alaska: When and How to See Whales

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Midsummer is the perfect time of year to spot them

The water around Alaska is, you know, cold, and like many humans, whales like to escape the winter by traveling to warm places like Mexico or Hawaii. In the spring, however, they begin their northward migration and are therefore best seen around Alaska between May and early September.

Keep in mind, however, that Juneau is located in a large coastal rainforest and although the climate is temperate, the weather can be unpredictable. 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 Tours in Juneau

It may seem suspicious to pay a lot of money on vacation to observe an animal that may or may not be there. “Some tours offer [money back] guarantees you’ll see a whale 100% of the time,” Heist tells me, as I nod and wait for a warning about how bullshit this is. “And you really will! I worked for a whale watching company for a decade, and I think we returned the guarantee maybe twice? In 10 years. Don’t expect to get that warranty back, because you’re going to see a whale. For sure.”

Here are some of the best guided whale watching tours you can do 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 complete guide to outdoor adventures in Juneau.

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