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My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

Usa, Japan
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My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

I have friends coming to visit and I am planning some ideas. I will be curious on whether anyone woudl suggest something else in the areas I listed or tell me to skip something I included. I tried to plan a laid back, affordable trip that will give my friends a nice exposure to Alaska. We have a 5 year old, 12 year old and 4 adults!

First Night - Catching Up

- Stop at Earthquake Park – a trail that on a clear day has a nice view of Mt McKinley (the tallest mountain in North America)

- Or stop and Watch Float Planes taking off and landing on the lake across from the airport

- Kids can explore the swamp in my back yard since it will be light for close to 24 hours

Day 2 - Explore Anchorage

- Downtown Fair – Arts Fair – Nice place to get lunch has Halibut quesadillas and reindeer sausage

- Wildride Dog Show

- Ship Creek to see if the Salmon are running through \

- Walk Downtown – Shop!!

- Consider goting to one of the local attractions/museums

- Is the Earthquake experience reopening in 2008?

- Native Alaskan Heritage Center

- Imaginarium

- Zoo

- Northern Lights show

- Flattop Mountain Hike

Day 3, 4, 5 - Camp somewhere for 2 nights and let the guys fish

- Drive down the Seward Hwy

- Stop to see Beluga Whales and the Dall Sheep

- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

- Girdwood

- gold mine

- hand pulley that you take over a 100 foot gorge

- tramway that you can take to the top of the mountain

- Seward

- Sea Life Center

- Exit Glacier

- Summer Sled Dog ride (looks cheesy and a bit pricey, but thought the kids would love it)

Some of the things I am not sure are worth the time or distance:

- Hope, Whittier or Homer

- cruise - seeing the whales or the glaciers will be great, but it is all kind of pricey. I know Portage tour is here, but is it worth it?

Day 6 or 7

- After a good rest and a nice bath, head north east up the Glenn and hit some of these areas. Camp for one night

- Thunderbird Falls. Take the one-mile hike to the waterfall

- Eklutna Lake – to camp and relax

- Native Village of Eklutna Athabascan cultural tour - how is this?

- Hatcher Pass - I don't know much, but I hear it is a beautiful areal

- Matanuska Glacier

Day 8

- Spend more time in Anchorage

Manitoba, Canada
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1. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

I think you've picked some really nice things to do!

Here are a few more ideas:

Day 1 (or 2 or 8) - Hike/bike part of Tony Knowles trail

Day 2 - the Experience theatre is supposed to re-open June 1, but here's the website so you can check: http://www.alaskaexperiencetheatre.com/

- is the Northern Lights show the slideshow set to music? If so, not something I'd recommend. We saw that in Fairbanks last year and didn't care for it. Luckily I can see aurora sometimes from where I live, but people I went to the show with were from Florida and were horribly disappointed it wasn't a video. If your friends would still like to see it, be sure they are aware it is just slides (if it's the same show we saw).

Day 3 to 5 - You're at Conservation Center anyway. Especially if you don't plan on doing a cruise out of Whittier or Seward, do take in Portage Glacier. It's very reasonably priced and migh be the only chance your visitors get to see a calving glacier. Also, it might be fun for the kids to walk to nearby Byron glacier (1 hr. roundtrip from the Portage parking lot). They can actually walk on the glacier and look for iceworms.

As for a cruise....have you talked to your friends to see what their budget would be, and if they'd be interested in doing a Kenai Fjords tour or a glacier tour? Maybe send them a couple of websites so they can check things out on their own, and tell them to let you know if they'd like to include them.

When you say "let the guys fish", does that mean you and the other woman don't care to fish? If so, have you considered going off on your own for a day or two? Whether you take the kids depends on whether they'd rather fish with Dad. If the guys are fishing for salmon on Kenai River, for example, you gals could go on to Homer and tidepool, see Pratt museum, Island and Oceans visitor center, stroll through the galleries, all sorts of things that are inexpensive or free.

Cadiz, Kentucky
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2. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

" - Stop at Earthquake Park – a trail that on a clear day has a nice view of Mt McKinley (the tallest mountain in North America)

- Or stop and Watch Float Planes taking off and landing on the lake across from the airport"

I'm wondering about the "Or" since they are so close to one another, and both definitely worthwhile. I hope you include the Alaska Native Heritage Center on Day 2 - it was one of the highlights of our trip. On your route to Seward, I would definitely include the visitor center at Portage Glacier - they have some fascinating displays for all ages! IMO Hope is NOT worth the extra distance, but we really enjoyed "beachcombing" on the Homer Spit.

On the whole,I think you have a GREAT trip planned for your friends!

Usa, Japan
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3. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

I knew I would get great suggestions here. Thanks guys. I love this site for planning. I am definitely adding these suggestions to my itinerary. This is just a tentative plan and idea for my friends to tailor to their likes and budget. I live here so I will hopefully get to do everything there is to offer eventually. I did the 6 hour Kenai Fords cruise this past summer. I thought it was fabulous -- I am unsure that my friends could afford this for a family of four.

Also, has anyone with a five year old, have an opinion on the Heritage Museum? I rather feel that the five year old will be bored and interfere with his mother's ability to enjoy it. It may be that we do it anyway since we are planning a lot of the trip for his enjoyment.

Thanks for the great ieas, I really appreciate you helping me have ideas for my friends.

Cadiz, Kentucky
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4. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

I think the decision of whether or not the 5 year old would be ok with the Native Heritage Center would be something only the parents could answer. There were a couple that age when we were there and they acted absolutely fascinated by the dancing, etc., but on the other hand I know some 5 year-olds who would make the tour a nightmare!

Ward, AR
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5. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

the hiking at Matanuska glacier is very fun. the minimum age for a hike with micaguides.com is six and kid's size shoe 13. everyone will love the Sealife center. on the gold mining, definitely be well rested and not likely to get hungry soon, or you may not last long. kids might would like the musk ox farm (in Palmer, i think). has musk ox and reindeer. independence mine was closed for season when we went, but we were still able to walk up to the mine. it was interesting and might be a good space for kids to run around and explore. plus, drive was very beautiful. especially the stops to see the Little Susitna river flowing over rocks.

haines, alaska
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for Haines
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6. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

We went to visit my sister in Anchorage last summer and one of our favorite places was the Flat Top Mtn Hike......The view from there on a clear day is just incredible !!........Just make sure to either go on a weekday or to get an early start on a weekend, that parking lot fills up quickly.......Lots of families with kids.....bring binoculars, water and snax.......

Another place we enjoyed was the botanical garden in Campbell Park........flowers should really be showing off in June !!....

Cincinnati, Ohio
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7. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

I know it is expensive to do activities with a family of 4, as we had 5 this past summer. However, we purchased two tour saver books and this enabled us to do much more than we could have afforded if we didn't have the book as there are many buy one get one free.

Just a suggestion.

Usa, Japan
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8. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

Here's how it worked out. Boy were we tired, but we had an absolute blast!!

Day 1 - Arried, we drove around the lake across from the Airports to show off the float planes and then went to dinner.

Day 2 - We went to the Native Alaskan Heritage Center. The 5 year old found it fascinating. We went down to the Weekend Market and wandered around Anchorage to shop. We also went down to Ship Creek to watch the Combat Fishing.

Day 3 - We drove down to Seward. We tried to catch a boar tide, but we didn't have too much luck. We stopped at Girdwood and did the beautiful Winner Creek Trail down to the Gorge. Luckily we remembered the mosquito repellent, because it was absolutely necessary. Dad did end up carrying his son a good portion of the hike. We also stopped in a little bar in Girdwood and had an excellent meal. We finished up a drive to Seward and set up camp.

Day 4 - We took the Kenai Fords Boat Ride. We opted for the 3 hour tour due to the cost. We saw Orca, seal and sea lions. We were not luck enough to find any Humpback this time. However, I thought the time was sufficient for my taste. When we got back we went down to the Sea Life Center and got in a little Shopping. Beware of the Radio Shack Dealer in town. We asked the woman for assistance on the memory card we needed. She directed us to buy a particular adapter and assured us that it would work. We purchased it, tried it in the camera, brought it back within the hour and she would not accept a return. Luckily a photo shop further down the road, took the Radio Shack's card in exchange for what we needed and refunded us the difference.

Day 5 - We hiked up to Exit Glacier. Then we went to the Russian River to fish. This was a highlight of the trip. Even for those of us not fishing, watching the excitement of it all was a blast. I wish we had planned more time in our schedule, but most of the group didn't feel like camping again and we had the drive back to Anchorage. On the drive back we found some Dall Sheep on the side of the highway. WE stopped to watch them. The most interesting part of this is watching the people who walked right up to the sheep to take photos or stood in the middle of the highway. Either unfortunately, or disappointingly, no one got rammed or hit by a car.

Day 6 - We took a flight up to Knik Glacier. It was a beautiful day. We saw sheep, goat mountain climbers and probably more than I remember. Due to many late nights up with the sun, we grilled out and relaxed that afternoon. While we were sitting out front, the young six year old played with the dog, running around the house. It was a shocking experience when he came up to us, obviously upset, to tell us there was a horse in the back yard. A moose had walked up to my fence line and was standing there three feet from where the dog and child were playing. Scary! And after you see one, the flood gates opened and we saw a total of 9 Moose hanging around town the next two days, luckily none soo close as the first.

Day 7 - We drove up to the abandoned Gold Mine near Hatcher Pass. We hiked around and enjoyed throwing show balls at each other. This was definitely a cool thing to see. Unfortunately the road over Hatcher Pass was closed, so we didn't get to see this beautiful view. It was fun to watch the kayakers going down the river. We ended the evening with a visit to Moose Tooth for Pizza and beer.

Day 8 - We took our last half day to visit the zoo. That way everyone could check off bears off their list of animals to see. By the time we got everyone on their plane my hubbie and I were ready to conk out. That was the trip...Hope that helps everyone plan their trip.

Franklin , TX
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9. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

Enjoyed reading your trip report!

We will stay a night in Girdwood on our way south, and I was wondering about your Winner Creek hike. Did you just go as far as the gorge? And - how long did the hike to that point take?

Usa, Japan
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10. Re: My Alska itinerary - June timeframe

Sorry to reply so late. In case you or someone else still needs the information. I have done it both ways. I have parked at the Aluetian Hotel and hiked to the winner creek gorge. This last time, I parked off a dirt road and hiked in the other way. It is a bit of a hike both ways. I think it took us a couple of hours. But unfortuantely, I didn't watch the time. Coming in from the Aluetian is longer, but I thought prettier.