The visitors center  offers a listing of Juneau ’s many charter boat operators. All sorts of options are available, from half-day fishing and whale-watching ventures to two-week cruises around Southeast Alaska. If you want to do it on your own, rent a skiff from Panhandle Powerboats (907/789-5767, www.panhandlepowerboats.com ).
A number of companies specialize in whale-watching day trips out of Juneau, including Orca Enterprises (907/789-6801 or 888/733-6722, www.alaskawhalewatching.com ), Dolphin Whale Watching Tours (907/463-3422 or 800/719-3422, www.dolphintours.com ), and Juneau Sportfishing & Sightseeing (907/586-1887, www.juneausportfishing.com ).
Find their brochures, along with other operators, at the visitors center. Each company promotes its advantages, from speedy boats to small and personalized adventures.
I’ve found that folks with the fastest boats tend to rush out, stop briefly to see whales, and then hurry on to another spot, rather than simply enjoying the chance to see whales.
The best whale-watching is typically in Icy Strait near Glacier Bay, too far for Juneau area whale-watching boats, but an outstanding option is Adventure Bound Alaska (907/463-2509 or 800/228-3875, www.adventureboundalaska.com ), with all-day trips from Juneau  to Tracy Arm .
The Juneau Audubon Society website (www.juneau-audubon-society.org ) provides a checklist of regional birds and places to go birding.