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Alaska trip plan

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Dayton, Ohio
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Alaska trip plan

Hello, I am planning Alaska land trip for four: myself+husband and his parents, age 38-72 for about 2 weeks and we want to rent a car. I have general idea what we want to do, but struggle some with the plan. I was thinking to split our time maybe between Kenai Pennisula and Denali. Thinking about flying to and from Anchorage but would also consider two different airports: to Anchorage/Fairbanks and then from Fairbanks/Anchorage. We will have 4 nights in Healy to visit Denali NP. We want to take tour bus there, fligh-seeing around McKinley possibly with glacier landing (not sure where from - would you say Talkeetna or from Healy would it be just as good?), do some hiking, maybe sled-dog demo and I am opened to any other suggestions and any details regarding those that I mentioned. Beyond that I am thinking about Katmai National Park and/or Kenai Fjords NP for marine life and bear watching... Not sure where we would want to stay - considered Homer or Seward, but would love to avoid big crowds... I also considered visiting Wrangell St. Elias NP, but maybe it is too remote... Plus cannot do everything ;) I was thinking about strategic places to stay, not have to move around more than 3 times during those 3 weeks, and what is the smart way is to break down the drives... We are big fans of wildlife and nature not too much into museums, etc. Love outdoors! We also prefer renting a condo/house when possible to be independent and be able to make our own meal.

I know there is a lot I am asking for to take under consideration, but I would REALLY appreciate anyone who can and want help me! Greeting to other travel lovers!

fti
MN
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1. Re: Alaska trip plan

Welcome to the forum. Will your trip be for 2 weeks or 3 weeks? Initially you mention "about 2 weeks" then later you said "those 3 weeks." Big difference.

Generally spending 3-4 nights in each place is all you need (depending on interests of course). So if you have 3 weeks, you need to plan on moving about 4 times. Alaska doesn't lend itself to "basing" oneself in a place. The rare exception is when you are going for a very specific purpose. I spent 10 days in/near Denali NP last September but that is very rare for most people.

Dayton, Ohio
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2. Re: Alaska trip plan

Sorry for the confusion, 3 must have been my typo, we will start on 07/18 and plan to come back on 08/01 so it will be 2 weeks.

Denver
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3. Re: Alaska trip plan

This is a comment related to driving the Dalton. The earlier comment was about having to leave a regular rental car while using a car from a company who permits driving the Dalton and having to pay extra. Why not just fly in and out of Fairbanks, use the rental for Dalton and then rent a standard car for the rest of the trip?

Dayton, Ohio
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4. Re: Alaska trip plan

I am assuming this post should be for someone else, not me... Wrong forum???

USA
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5. Re: Alaska trip plan

Agata, Healy has a 2 bedroom, full kitchen cabin that I read of on TA:

http://healycabins.com/cabins/chalet-cabin/

reviews:

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g31007-d637934-…

Coalminer might know of others with full kitchens & 2 bedrooms, but I don't think there are many to meet that description, so you might have to grab something quickly for Healy.

Seward and Homer both have vacation rentals:

tripadvisor.com/VacationRentals-g60873-Revie…

tripadvisor.com/VacationRentals-g31009-Revie…

Edited: 26 January 2014, 16:35
Dayton, Ohio
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6. Re: Alaska trip plan

As far as Denali accommodation I am set, renting a house in Healy. Thank you though for advise!

Lake Tahoe...
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7. Re: Alaska trip plan

I don't recommend flying into Anchorage or Fairbanks and flying out of the other as there is usually a high drop off fee for those one-way rentals. As you say you are interested in Denali and Homer I would recommend not going all the way to Fairbanks, maybe 125 miles from Denali. That way you could devote more time to the Kenai Peninsula.

Don't worry about big crowds which are usually with that of cruise ship tours (even those are not really crowded).

Homer is at the end of the road on the Kenai Peninsula and lots of great things to do here. Bear watching trips to Katmai NP are available here and we did a day trip last summer out of Beluga Lake on an Otter floatplane, with great Alaskan scenery on the Alaska Peninsula.

Flight seeing trips with (or without) glacier landing are available out of Talkeetna. Another good one at Talkeetna is the jetboat ride into Devil's Canyon.

And 72-year-old youngsters can handle it!

Dayton, Ohio
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8. Re: Alaska trip plan

What town should I pick on Kenai Peninsula? Would love to take bear-watching flight tour to Katmai NP and also day cruise to Kenai Fjord NP. Not sure what else, but will have time to explore some more for sure. Any suggestions

USA
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9. Re: Alaska trip plan

Flying in & out of Anchorage prevents high drop-off fees for the rental car.

You may need the first night in Anchorage, depending on when your flight arrives.

When are your 4 nights reservations in Healy?

It is too far to drive Healy to Seward or Healy to Homer, so you will need a night in between to break up the long drive, Anchorage or Girdwood works well for that.

For Kenai Fjords day cruise, Seward is the spot.

You can take a bear viewing trip out of Homer, as K2 suggested.

It works well to go to Homer first & Seward last, since Seward back to Anchorage is the shorter drive.

A lot also depends on the time of your flight out.

Dayton, Ohio
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10. Re: Alaska trip plan

Thank you denalicat! I have done some more research and found out that I should probably fly to and from Anchorage. We would fly out a day before the reservation starts in Healy (07/18), spend a night there, get groceries and then head north. I think I gave up on flying to Fairbanks and then coming back from Anchorage at this point also because to cost of the rental car drop off fee. Also I am brainstorming if it is possible to take flight tour for bear watching in Katmai from any other location than Homer (Anchorage, Girdwood as we considered those as a stop before getting to Katmai Peninsula as suggested...) If we stay in Seward it would be too long of a drive to Homer and we are trying not to have to move again for overnight stays. Should we give up on Seward and pick more central town on Peninsula to be able to drive to Homer and Seward on the days of cruise tour and flight tour? Thanks for help! I sure appreciate it as I feel a bit overwhelmed putting this trip together...