Attractions Beyond Walking Distance
Mendenhall Glacier Transport (tel. 907/789-5460; www.mightygreattrips.com) leads a 2 1/2-hour town and Mendenhall Glacier tour for $30, or you can ride its "Blue Glacier Express" bus for $16. Generally, it runs every half-hour both directions, from the waterfront visitor center to the glacier and back, daily 9am to 6pm in summer.
Otherwise, take a rented car or, for vigorous people, bike 24 miles out to the Mendenhall Glacier and back. I've listed these sites by distance from downtown, with directions starting from there.
What to See & Do "Out the Road"
On sunny summer weekends, Juneau families get in the car and drive "out the road" (northwest along the Glacier Hwy., as it's officially known). The views of island-stippled water from the paved two-lane highway are worth the trip, and there are also several good places to stop. To use this road guide, set your trip odometer to zero at the ferry dock (which is 14 miles from downtown Juneau).
The Auke Village Recreation Area is a mile beyond the ferry dock and is a good place for picnics and beach walks. Less than a mile farther is a Forest Service campground.
The Shrine of St. Thérèse (tel. 907/780-6112; www.shrineofsainttherese.org), 9 miles beyond the ferry dock (23 miles from downtown), rests on a tiny island reached by a foot-trail causeway. The wonderfully simple chapel of rounded beach stones, circled by markers of the 15 stations of the cross, stands peaceful and mysterious amid trees, rock, water, and the cries of the raven and eagle. Sunday liturgy services are held from June to September at 1:30pm. The shrine is part of a large retreat maintained by the Juneau Catholic Diocese, which includes a log lodge on the shore facing the island, as well as several cabins for rent as lodgings. The shrine's island is a good vantage from which to look upon Lynn Canal for marine mammals or, at low tide, to go tide pooling among the rocks. The website covers the shrine's history and gives information on the facilities, as well as a labyrinth, a columbarium, gardens, and trails at the shrine.
Eagle Beach, 14 miles beyond the ferry dock, makes a good picnic area in nice weather, when you can walk among the tall beach grass or out on the sandy tidal flats, watch the eagles, or go north along the beach to look for fossils in the rock outcroppings.
The road turns to gravel, then comes to Point Bridget State Park, 24 miles beyond the ferry dock (tel. 907/465-4563; www.alaskastateparks.org, click on "Individual Parks"). A flat 3.5-mile path leads through forest, meadow, and marsh to the shore, where you may see sea lions and possibly humpback whales. Three public-use cabins rent for $35 or $45 a night, depending on the season. The road ends 26 miles from the ferry dock at pretty Echo Cove.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.