I recently polled parents on the AKontheGO Facebook page, asking “Have you visited Alaska’s capital city with your kids?” Participants were asked to respond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and if they chose, to give a reason for their answer.
Juneau, Alaska — capital, popular cruise ship destination, and home to around 32,000 residents. It’s one of only two United States capital cities without road access (the other is located in — of course — Honolulu, Hawaii), which means visitors have a long and often expensive trek to explore the legislative processes and structures making up the heartbeat of state governance.
But back to the survey. A few hundred people responded, with far more AKontheGO readers saying ‘No.’ Most said it was expensive (and it certainly can be; a round-trip trip from Anchorage during the summer months is at least $600/pp). But also, a good number said they just didn’t think there was any reason to go; as in, “I don’t think there’s anything to do in Juneau.”
Introducing children to the heart of state government is always a good idea, and in the Lower 48, many kids will hop aboard a school bus and drive to the capital with their classmates as a field trip opportunity. It’s not so easy here. Some years ago, a few parents told me, they were able to travel for free as high school graduates thanks to the foresight of the now-defunct MarkAir. These days, there’s a lot less support, but those with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan can utilize around 14,000 miles/pp to fly to and from Juneau; or take advantage of the February “Constituent Fares” Alaska Airlines offers (which are modest savings, but a savings nonetheless).
But what do families do once they get there?
I’ve gathered some of my favorite year-round posts about Juneau in this newsletter edition (since it’s obviously cheaper to visit during the school year), along with a heart-tug post to help you perhaps think differently about the beautiful Southeast Alaska region.
Happy Thanksgiving — and really, we have a lot to be thankful for in Alaska. We really do.