Alaska, known as the last frontier state, has been settled for quite some time, but there is still plenty to discover—especially in the capital city of Juneau, where glaciers, wildlife, gold, and mountains are all waiting for exploration. Located in the panhandle of Southeast Alaska, the city is home to just over 30,000 residents year-round, but it sees nearly one million visitors every summer, when stores and museums are open, tour companies are operating, and the weather is at its best. Although it’s not technically an island, Juneau is isolated from the rest of Alaska’s mainland by waterways and rugged terrain, making it accessible only by plane, cruise ships, and local ferries, not cars.
Once you arrive, learn more about the city’s history with a visit to one or more of the local museums. Visit the Alaska State Museum, Juneau-Douglas City Museum, or the Last Chance Mining Museum and Historical Park. The mining museum is just outside the city center in the woods, requiring a beautiful nature hike to get there. If you’re intrigued by what you learn, schedule a gold-panning excursion of your own.