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Trip Itinerary Advice

Oakland County, MI
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11 posts
23 reviews
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Trip Itinerary Advice

I am starting to plan a 10-12 day self guided driving tour of Alaska (traveling in July and/or August of 2014). Traveling with me will be my wife and two elementary aged boys. We want to spend time in Denali, and want to spend time in both the interior and coastline of Alaska. Ideally, we would drive most of the trip with perhaps a short coastal cruise or train excursion mixed in. I also plan to mix in any day trips/excursions that are worthwhile. Does anyone have any advice on the following:

1. possible itineraries including best airports to fly in/out of?

2. must see attractions that are family friendly?

3. tours/excursions that are worthwhile?

4. Travel agencies that can assist with planning while allowing me to make my own decisions regarding accommodations, tours, etc.?

Anything else helpful would be appreciated, as I really don't know where to start. Alaska is on my wife's "bucket list" and I want to make it a special trip for her. Thanks for your advice and input.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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15,673 posts
31 reviews
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1. Re: Trip Itinerary Advice

From the Adak forum to the Denali forum. Actually it doesn't really matter where you post - the regulars on the forum read from the top Alaska forum and see everything (that is why k2iks saw it!).

I have a concern that you are trying to overschedule yourselves. With just 10-12 days if you want to see interior and coastal Alaska (if by coastal you mean SE Alaska) I think you are going for quantity vs. quality.

How old are the elementary aged boys? That can be 4/5 to 10/11. Big difference in ages and interests for them.

>>1. possible itineraries including best airports to fly in/out of?

Probably flying into and out of Anchorage then driving is best. If you really want to go to SE Alaska, an "open jaw" flight into one city and out of another is probably best.

>>2. must see attractions that are family friendly?

Really the only "must see" attractions are the ones YOU want to do. If someone says to me fishing is a "must do" I politely say "thank you" then move on. I am not a fisherman. But if I say hiking in Denali NP is a "must do" but you don't like hiking, who cares?

Having said that, getting deeper into Denali NP and perhaps going on a glacier cruise from Whittier and/or a Kenai Fjords NP cruise from Seward can certainly be highlights for many visitors.

>>3. tours/excursions that are worthwhile?

Lots are worthwhile. I mentioned a couple above. How about walking on a glacier? Museums? Gold panning? Native Alaska history? Hiking? Fishing?

>>4. Travel agencies that can assist with planning while allowing me to make my own decisions regarding accommodations, tours, etc.?

You can probably do a lot of the planning on your own with a bit of research and some help on this forum.

I would get both your wife as well as your kids involved with the planning.

Wasilla, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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5,880 posts
159 reviews
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2. Re: Trip Itinerary Advice

In 10-12 days you could fly into/ out of Anchorage and rent a car. Drive north to Denali National Park for a couple of days. As you come back south you could include a stop at the Matanuska Glacier. Then you could go onto the Portage/Girdwood/Whittier area and then onto Seward. This would get you "coastal" and "interior" Alaska.

Do some research on the areas I mentioned and see if there's activities there that interest you.

Oakland County, MI
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11 posts
23 reviews
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3. Re: Trip Itinerary Advice

Thanks for the reply. Boys will be 9 and 7 at the time of the trip. I wasn't planning on SE Alaska, as I thought that would be easy to do on a separate trip (possibly on the ferry) in the future. I was thinking more like Seward or Whittier as you mentioned above. We all like experiencing nature, but are not big hikers or campers. We will walk trails, etc., but have no plans to pack/camp anywhere. We all like history and museums as well. I like your ideas of getting deeper into Denali, and a cruise from Whittier and/or Seward. Maybe I should use that as a framework, and build from there.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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41,502 posts
44 reviews
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4. Re: Trip Itinerary Advice

It is often really helpful to read thru other families trip reports - that may be a great help to you in your planning. We are happy to help once you are a bit more familiar with what you want to do and where you want to go. Happy planning! :)

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
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208 reviews
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5. Re: Trip Itinerary Advice

I think the Girdwood/Portage area has some of the best Alaskan activities for kids/youths. Take a moment and review the link below which lists several of them. They're economical and fun.

http://goo.gl/lSnN2

Good luck,

Scott

6. Re: Trip Itinerary Advice

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