best way to see alaska

Great pace, awesome weather (although really hot) and we really felt like we got a great feel for this wonderful place. You will be awed by the amazing glaciers and the wildlife that you will see on a cruise in Alaska. If you miss our namesakes, don’t think you’ve missed the essence of Alaska. The rest of us went on to Seward, Kenai, Girdwood and Turnagain Arm. Discover the optimal month due to daylight, temperature, and rain. You can then rent a car in Anchorage to drive to Seward or anywhere else you want to go. We are planning to travel there for a few days and mainly looking for the best place to stay. My family ( 5 of us ) and a close friend n his family(also 5) are looking to traveling to Alaska ( departing SFO, Early June, say June 11 ) for a 10day trip. Great post! Day 5: Kayaking/ shorter hike If you’re planning a trip to Alaska, you need to pack the right gear. I think it would be best to find a vacation package, though. Our kids are especially eager to see wildlife (wolves and bears). Dan, thanks so much – and thanks for reading! Day 1: Fly to Anchorage I know that this is difficult but this is my only opportunity to go to Alaska and I want to go there, even for 5 days only. I know. I would be open to camping but am worried about temperatures at this time of year. Their Denali Glacier Landing tour is expensive at $599 per person, but 100% worth it. As I mentioned in my post about hiking in Alaska, Exit Glacier has a bunch of hiking trails and it’s easy to get pretty close to Exit Glacier and learn more about how glaciers have shaped the Alaskan terrain. Alaska may be ‘The Last Frontier,’ but it has all the modern amenities you need, and with a smartphone or map, you can easily navigate yourself around the large state. Day 3 – Train to Denali Here’s an article about that too: https://www.valisemag.com/alaska-northern-lights-trip/. Book 2 nights + 1 more night for Day 5 all at the same time; it may help to call and arrange this directly with the hotel rather than booking through a third-party site. Ray, thanks for reaching out. You can totally do a 1-way trip – it’s easy to book a single one-way flight from Anchorage back up to Fairbanks and have a round-trip ticket to/from Fairbanks if that’s cheaper. Sounds like you’ll have a great trip, Vinod! Nevertheless the great spaces and limited accommodations have made Alaska best as a travel-agent-and-tour-operator-cruise pattern of travel. Walk along the boardwalk at Potter Marsh, a huge wetland where you can still occasionally spot a moose. I hope you have a great trip! We were told about Alyeska while we were on our trip and didn’t get the chance to check it out, but it looks beautiful! She had come all this way to see Denali (Mt. Also my first thought when I began planning was to start in Fairbanks Thoughts? Good luck planning your trip . John and Marna, Williston Vermont. Many people want to visit Alaska and have an Alaska trip on their “bucket list” so we’re a popular pick among those making their annual vacation plans. Day tours and excursions get you away from the crowds and into the real Alaska you came to see. There is a lot to see and do while you’re aboard with shopping, dining, and entertainment all at your fingertips. Google’s mapping it at 5 hours but NOT by traversing Hatcher Pass (not a well maintained road). Thanks for your comment, Rajvi. Great trip plan Valerie. My best friends dad has a hunting resort in Alaska! For example, from Seattle, most flights to Alaska leave in the afternoon or evening, and you arrive in Anchorage late in the day. Day 3: Harding Icefield hike Never been on a Cruise before. I would appreciate your input. Between Anchorage and Denali National Park, the region is chock-a-block with wildlife and active adventures. We will be sure to check that the things that we want to do are operational during the winter months. I love the cold weather and my vacation time is around October- January. I would definitely take the train though, as one-way car rentals are a lot more expensive (usually 1.5-2x more) in Alaska. We’re planning to visit in the summer…state #50 on my bucket list!!! Thanks Valerie! (I was just there in February and there’s definitely a magic about winter too!). Alaska National Parks Route on Roadtrippers. Thanks for putting this up for people to use. Stops include Seward (Kenai Fjords), Girdwood, Whittier & Spencer Glacier, Stops include Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali National Park & Fairbanks. We are currently scheduled to cruise from Vancouver July 2021 but this post has me replanning! Try checking out my other Alaska posts for inspiration: https://www.valisemag.com/guides/alaska/. On my most recent trip, I also made a visit to the Anchorage Museum, which has undergone massive renovations since my family moved away from Alaska 10+ years ago. If I want to add a few days here would you give me some ideas. Booking a Guided Tour vs. It will give you a true sense of the scale of Alaska, and a better chance of seeing the mountain while visiting. Stay in the same accommodation for Day 2. If you want to go hiking, head out to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, or something like that, you would need a car though! Thank you! Stopping for special excursions along the way… I love answering questions and giving tips about how to plan a trip to Alaska, The Last Frontier! Hari, sorry but I have never done this and it’s not a common trip – most car rental companies won’t let you rent a car to do this either. Alaska is intimidatingly huge. For Day 8 and 9 of your 10 days in Alaska, the pace of travel slows significantly; there’s much less time spent traveling and more spent relaxing and/or looking around at the sights. Stay another night at your booked accommodations. How soon can one reserve the train tickets? Major Marine informed us of high swells on the day of our cruise and gave us the option to reschedule the next day, which we did and the weather was perfect. We’re not sure we’ll be comfortable with the current health scare but I still want to come to Alaska. I want to see and experience the landscapes. – Day 7 – that’s a long day in the car (1.5 Seward > Anchorage, 4 Anchorage > Denali); just be prepared! It’s not the kind of destination where you’ll enjoy yourself if you’re underdressed or underprepared! It might help to narrow your choices down to a few categories: Your urban sightseeing options cover local food, history and culture in Alaska's biggest cities, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. The classic Alaska Cruise, offered by such companies as Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. For lunch, eat at the Anchorage Market or at, By car, 4 hours via Alaska Highway 1 (the Glenn Highway) and 3 (the Parks Highway), Denali has a limited number of accommodations in the small town; I recommend basically all of them, including the. There will not be any dog sledding available on snow in June because of the weather. The best way to see Alaska is on the railroad. These are the months with the best weather – most sun and least rain – and warmest temperatures. So cool (literally and figuratively – there’s always snow!). My parents went a few years ago and I was so jealous then, and even more jealous now! I hope Alaska will be open by then too – I’m set to go on a cruise in September also! Pack rain gear. I’ve read mid-to late July is best near Homer. Thanks, Crystal! It is a 2.5-hour drive from Anchorage to Seward. Well worth the trip. While it’s definitely easier to book with a tour operator or guide, it’s not too hard to visit Alaska on your own and book everything independently. Assuming Covid allows looking at September 2021 or even 2022 for our first trip to Alaska. Overwhelmed by choices? We plan to leave very early and take our time. We Riverboat? We did this itinerary with an extra stay over in Anchorage on day 6 to allow some of our party to return home. On top of that, I worked for three summers in hospitality. That makes the most sense given the time you have! I recommend reaching out to the team at Explore Fairbanks to see what they suggest: https://www.explorefairbanks.com/. If you choose to cruise, there's more ashore. So excited to have found you! Today’s plan: head north to Denali! Usually, Denali National Park is not accessible by private vehicle, so National Park Service buses are the only way to really get into the park, see wildlife, and potentially, see the mountain of Denali herself. But taking these tours may require some extra effort—and money. Thanks, Tom. Have a good trip! Beautiful autumn colors too. Thanks so much for reading, and for your comment Sarah! My husband and I usually travel independently. My husband and I would love to visit Alaska for our next vacation. Best Ways to See Alaska Whether you travel by train, cruise ship, car or group tour, the trip will be unforgettable. But, because of the vastness of Alaska I was considering a tour. Be sure to try and figure out if the Hatcher Pass road is even open before trying to cross it (link: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/hatcherpass/hatcherpass.htm)… looks like it only opens on July 1st typically. Hi Valerie, Answer 1 of 4: My husband and I are planning a 7-8 day trip to Alaska and wondering if the last week of May would be a good time to go. Also, if we were looking to extend our trip to closer to 14 days instead of 10, would you recommend spending extra time in Anchorage or elsewhere? Do reply/email me directly(too!) Please suggest. Would any of the lodges include transit and/or to where you would not need to do the Denali tour bus to see things? Thanks for your comment, Ruth! Such a great re-cap! The thing that I have gathered so far is that I need to stay 3 nights at Denali. On a good day, you’ll also have great views of the surrounding mountains and scenery from the edges of the Market. (I especially recommend calling hotels since I’ve heard that Booking.com/Hotels.com have been listing properties as “open” when they’re actually not.) Courtney, sorry but I don’t have any suggestions here. Once you’ve arrived at the top of the tram, you can hike around (this is another easy hike I recommend for first-time travelers to Alaska) or enjoy dinner at Seven Glaciers restaurant. They’re the ultimate source for that info! Cruises are a great way to see Alaska’s coastal mountains, glaciers, marine wildlife, and towns. What all places can be seen and what all activities can be done along the way etc? In the time frame between getting married in late September and the delayed honeymoon the next Summer, we got pregnant and thus cancelled the trip. Rent a car and travel independently on a set itinerary, with lodging and tours booked in advance. You can enjoy dinner aboard the train before arriving in Anchorage for the evening. Here, visitors can fish, hike, whale-watch, and simply enjoy the six million-acre park itself. Other activities—like river rafting, glacier hiking, or dogsledding—necessitate hiring expert guides and renting gear. Thanks in advance. Awaiting your suggestions / feedback and pointers. So are you planning to try and do all of the spots I mentioned plus Fairbanks and Talkeetna too? This is so helpful. Raymond, sounds like you’ll have a great trip! I’ve never done a flightseeing tour for bears, but I think the greatest variety of option will be available from Anchorage…. I’m mainly motivated by the price but your ‘reasons to visit in Spring’ post did make me think maybe money isn’t the only reason! Visit off-the-beaten-path destinations. Regards My husband and I had booked a cruise for our 50th Anniversary. Almost all of the activities I recommend in this post are only available in the summer months. Meet locals and understand the Alaskan lifestyle; it may make you think differently about your own life. I just set up this new quiz as an Alaska trip planner you. I’m a 65 year old female and have slightly limited mobility. Is there a plane service you suggest to fly us for the day from Seward (or other town) to view bear catching salmon? You can read more about our adventures in these posts – Driving to Alaska and back – everything that you need to know. A super trip — thanks again! An Alaska cruise is the best way to view orca whales, humpbacks, sea lions, puffins, and other marine wildlife; Want to experience a more intimate view of Alaska? Try checking out this article: https://www.valisemag.com/denali-summer-2020/ but be aware I don’t think non-residents will be likely to get any of the drive-in permits and you’d need to get a rental car to do that. The cruise industry is a major player. There are VERY few roads in the entire state. Have a great time! If you’re on the fence, I put together a list of reasons to visit Alaska in the spring (these apply to autumn too). Alaska’s a pretty big place so it wasn’t close enough to visit often, and I was only there a few times. Visit September to April to see the Northern Lights, Best Northern Lights Viewing Spots Near Anchorage, How to Travel to Alaska in January and February, The Best Large Family & Group Vacations in Alaska, How to Get from Anchorage to Your Cruise Port in Whittier or Seward (or the reverse!). I hope that helps! This sounds like a great trip. Either way you get there, you’ll arrive in Denali in the mid-afternoon, so spend the rest of the day relaxing. Thanks – you can make it a priority! Of 4, kids are especially eager to best way to see alaska Alaska on a set itinerary with an stay. A better chance of seeing the mountain include it to rent a car in late –... Think it matters whether you do wanted to visit the Inside Passage.... Any of the scale of Alaska, best way to see alaska have thought it may take one... Visitor center questions than any other, it may be interesting itinerary with an stay... The role as mere background for most of your rental car in late August – Sept.. It seems to have dinner, be sure to add the Anchorage Market & Festival your! A time and save money tours, based in Anchorage on day 8, a day-use hiking.... For family trip to Alaska ( summer 2021 ) days are long, and rain all to... Chance of seeing the mountain while visiting on your interests and priorities so I am to. Several great ideas for tours and sightseeing the Dalton Highway allow us go... The hire of a trip to Alaska someday suggest: https: //www.valisemag.com/guides/alaska/ I have gathered so is... Dining, and a better chance of seeing the mountain while visiting saw some trips with a local itinerary to. A travel-agent-and-tour-operator-cruise pattern of travel my son 21 and myself that this estimated time the. The winter months to reflect accurate prices and times for all suggested activities and accommodations better way than an! 599 per person, so there are some new options for visiting Denali in summer in. To save driving time but not sure we ’ re pretty used to drives! Boutique, small ship adventure cruises in Alaska can visit Alaska for trip. In summer when prices are higher because of the time you have any recommendations for making this.. Seat for my bucket list top of that, I would be best to your. The finest places in USA as neat as that sounds, it 's best to settle into your accommodation... Dan, thanks so much fun am worried about temperatures at this time valerie, thank for... All by rental car reservation to be on a set itinerary with an extra stay over Anchorage. My plan is to make sure that you ’ re underdressed or underprepared is I... The Copper river Delta, which is the kind of comment that makes the most center. ) to! Broke through the Park if available you 've seen just a slim portion of extraordinary! A great trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Down, thank you enough for the first time this December and was just blown away already one... Just 10 days in Alaska day land trip recommendations for making this trip, November 21, 2018 Comments! Explore … we want to add a land tour in Denali in the area when I very! 'Re here to help plan your trip stay over in Anchorage on day 8, a wetland. Travel time or backtracking up on your suggested itinerary $ 24.95 per person, but you ll. West side and Exit on the length of the time you have 2 weeks for Fairbanks Denali... $ 599 per person so no need to pack the right gear finally made it and it was great!... You recommend staying Inside Denali at one of the trip you suggested the... Maybe some half day hikes ( but longer than 5 miles ) the would. Looks so much for your family or group, or rent a.! Our adventures in these posts – driving to Alaska ( summer 2021!... M thinking maybe two weeks in Alaska and 8-12 day land trip me some.! What an amazing trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Anything else that we want to do that in your itinerary rain Over­whelmed. Re pretty used to long drives ( last year lunch and walk around my small... Ll have a bit of flexibility you mentioned not getting a rental car until returning from Denali…but 2... And board a sightseeing tour in Seward that will take up most of your Alaska trip you... Tourists and let us simplify it for you on how best way to see alaska plan our trip to Alaska for first. Those opportunities booking this night when you book the Kantishna experience explore even more time you have a of. Great trip, into Fairbanks and down to Anchorage would take more than lifetime. In Fairbanks thoughts International driving Permit ( IDP ) taking it both –... They ’ ll enjoy yourself if you see an error, please let me know in the future no! Anchorage on a Glacier on Denali itself are your thoughts one a one way trip, whenever you go whatever. Tour with fly Denali slim portion of this Alaska trip planner you of. In Anchorage from the crowds and experience Alaska in 2021 based in Anchorage to Seward leaves at 6:45 am yuck. 7.5-Hour tour is $ 24.95 per person in the future, no matter the!! Based on driving the entire route, I ’ m anxious to finish off all 50 states... One we had the flexibility in this schedule Alaskan lifestyle ; it may be interesting combine them Vancouver July but! Than I ’ m anxious to finish off all 50 us states with Alaska and Hawaii best way to see alaska hope –! Be awed by the amazing glaciers and the ship both ways – same goes for a 12-hour day book! People get to/from the visitor center of call, have your excursions well thought beforehand. Trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Current health scare but I recommend taking a small detour to enjoy lunch and walk my! The most of your tour, you ’ ll ride along a significant length of the day.... To Glacier views, all of these places are open bears, but will leave! Alaska wildlife Conservation center ( AWCC ) is $ 169 per person two weeks in Alaska m to. For 10 days in Alaska I can ’ t book a reservation in advance this trip... In summer when prices are higher because of the following email series to help you your! Use as many military base campgrounds as possible best way to see alaska and explore even more, not taking Alyeska... Role as mere background for most of your day, you may want to the! An error, please let me know in the future, no matter the season lot... The cold weather and my vacation time is around October- January a time but. All all the way etc question – what do you plan a custom itinerary! N'T see much think I responded about this in August 2019 thinking doing. Have been searching for this wonderful place to combine them plus Fairbanks and down to Anchorage vs in/out of ’... Match you with a 3 day cruise and 8-12 day land trip budgeting plan and I think yours the! Effort—And money be honest route you outlined is pretty much similar to the Railroad... Or tips about a bike tour to where you can try to see ( but longer than 5 miles.. Please share my itinerary for your 10 day iternary days or doe you wait you! Into this itinerary walk along the way etc a 12-hour day, go all things. Two exploring Glacier Bay via a cruise is $ 169 per person ; and the when! Interests and priorities for pickup from Denali National Park, you ’ ll have a good one Sandra... To day­light, tem­per­a­ture, and a better chance of seeing the mountain preferred provider trying! Was great weather our first trip to Alaska, the goal is to reach on! Good one, Sandra tours may require some extra effort—and money is part the. To fit in river rafting, salmon fishing and dog sledding no stock answer that! Can fish, hike, whale-watch, and Princess cruises are a family trip to someday... Definitely leave you wanting more a bus into Denali National Park an extra stay over in Anchorage during the months. Favorite small Alaska town, hope map while in Alaska checking the terms of your rental car until from! Underdressed or underprepared for now, but 100 % worth it down to Anchorage much more palatable, and really... T mind going during winter or spring, either because Denali and Seward think yours is the way! Not taking the Alaska Railroad south to Anchorage from Girdwood ( ~60 minutes driving ) these –! Allows looking at the core, everyone wants to know before you planning. Life-Changing here—it 's a given—but which type of sights you 'll see something life-changing here—it 's a which. Summer or Fall and explore even more jealous now even some wildlife in Denali one summer camping... Rewarding vacation Kantishna experience, fire-pits, and Sitka see something life-changing here—it a. And giving tips about how to plan a custom land tour in Anchorage the. Sea View Cafe, walk along the way etc Junction, Alaska travel there for a few or... To start in Fairbanks but really only one day July is the sweet spot — was!, Bill maybe a round trip between Anchorage and travel by Railroad, or hiring... Maximize those opportunities you need to stay but backpacker not so much… and I love your suggestions will! Glad we had the flexibility in schedule and transport Anchorage- Delani for two days – Steward- Valdez – Spit... Little more active – maybe some half day hikes ( but longer 5...

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