Juneau, Alaska, US
Alaska’s capital is inaccessible by road, due to the rugged surrounding terrain. Set beside the deep Gastineau Channel in the state’s Southeastern panhandle, it was founded as a mining camp by Joe Juneau in 1880, and was the first Alaskan town officially established after the purchase of the territory by the United States. It was designated as the capital in 1906, after its important mining and fishing industries eclipsed the waning whaling and fur trades at the former capital Sitka. Today seasonal tourism is its second most important enterprise, after only government administration. The town receives visitors with colorful floral displays in summer, and offers an impressive range of options for experiencing its heritage and the bounty of natural attractions near by. In the mountains back of town, the huge Juneau Icefield spawns no fewer than 30 glaciers, including the mighty Mendenhall Glacier, the only glacier within a city’s limits. Juneau’s extensive limits enfold over 3,200 square miles, making the borough larger than the U.S. states of Rhode Island or Delaware. It is also the only state capital that shares a border with a foreign country (Canada). Popular adventures for visitors include flight tours by seaplane or helicopter, many including landing on glaciers; whale-watching and wildlife viewing excursions by boat; sport fishing for salmon or huge Alaskan halibut; dogsled mushing and panning for gold in sites such as Gold Creek. Hiking tours visit the Tongass National Forest, and there is also a breathtaking mountain tramway at Mt. Roberts.