If you have a vehicle, the 40-mile drive north from Juneau  provides a wonderful escape. Twenty-three miles out is a quaint Catholic chapel built in 1939, the Shrine of St. Therese (907/780-6112, www.shrineofsainttherese.org ). The cobblestone chapel is hidden away on a small bucolic wooded island connected to the mainland by a 400-foot causeway. Named for Alaska’s patron saint, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the chapel is open all the time, with Sunday service at 1 p.m.
To the right as you face the shrine is the columbarium and gardens, with concentric circles of stones forming a cross. This is a wonderful quiet place to soak up the scenery, listen for humpback whales, or try your hand at fishing for salmon from the shore. The trail to Peterson Lake is nearby, and cabins are available for rent.
Eagle Beach (at Mile 28, parking $5) is a popular day-use area with picnic tables and panoramic vistas of the snowcapped Chilkat Range. Pull out your binoculars to look for whales in Lynn Canal. Stop at Point Bridget State Park (Mile 38) for a pleasant hike. The road ends at scenic Echo Cove, a launching point for boats and kayaks.