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Itinerary and a few questions

Michigan
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Itinerary and a few questions

Our trip is planned for July 3-12, 2008. We have two children, ages 17 and 15. Here is our itinerary so far. We considered adding Denali, but decided to limit our trip to Anchorage and the Kenai peninsula so we don't feel rushed driving from destination to destination. We want to see wildlife, hike, and have some more activity, but we also want to keep stress to a minimum. We have two "major" activites planned, a glacier kayak trip and a fishing trip, and looking for lower-cost activites beyond that. However, we don't necessarily have to fill every minute....We have family in Anchorage, so wanted to spend a couple of days there with them.

Arrive late July 3 (10:15pm). Stay with relatives in Anchorage through July 6. They should give us an idea of things to do in the Anchorage area over the 4th of July weekend. On the 6th, drive to Seward, stopping at sights along the way. (Suggestions?). Stay at Bear Paw Lodge in Seward for three nights. On the 7th, all day watertaxi/kayak trip planned to Aiklik Bay. 8th, visit SeaLife Center, Exit Glacier. On the 9th, drive to Soldotna, stopping at sights along way (ideas?). Stay at Aspen Hotel in Soldotna. Salmon Fishing trip on Kenai River (deciding between fullday and halfday) on the 10th. After fishing, drive to Homer. No lodging reserved yet. Stay in Homer two nights. Is it reasonable to make it back to Anchorage on the 12th for our 4:30 pm flight?

I'd like to get some opinions on our itinerary, and suggestions for things to do on our driving days and in Homer, good restaurants at all locations, etc. Is our plan too sparce? Too much time in Anchorage? I see some others' plans so jammed packed with stuff!

Manitoba, Canada
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1. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

Some people like a busy itinerary, some prefer more leisure time. Totally up to you which you'd like to have.

Lots to keep you busy in the Anchorage area for a couple of days, and I imagine your relatives will have a few things planned for you to enjoy.

Anything special you and your kids would like to do?

On the drive to Seward (alaska.org/driving/turnagain-arm-drive.htm), popular stops are Beluga Pt. (ask your relatives to figure out the tides for you; you might get to see the white whales). Potter Marsh might be worth a stop too if you like birds. Wildlife Conservation Center for rescued moose, bears, foxes, eagle, etc. Portage Visitor Center, maybe the 1 hr. boat tour to the face of the glacier. From that parking lot you can do an hour round-trip easy hike to Byron Glacier to walk on the glacier and look for iceworms. Girdwood has the tram (if the weather is clear), plus Crow Creek Mine.

Lots of nice hikes: Kenai Peninsula hiking trails: alaskaoutdoorjournal.com/Activities/Hiking/h…

Trails in and around Anchorage: http://www.anchorage.net/651.cfm

Maybe instead of the 2nd night in Homer, drive up to Cooper Landing to overnight, maybe hike along Russian River or do a wildlife river float that evening or the next morning before driving back to Anchorage (about 2.5 hrs. to the airport).

Things to do in Homer would include Pratt Museum, Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, fish from the shore of the spit, maybe take the Danny J to Halibut Cove (the afternoon trip includes a short wildlife tour), hiking (get a tide table, some trails are not passable at high tide), tidepooling along the beach after high tide, maybe a guided hike or Creatures of the Dock tour (www.akcoastalstudies.org/naturetours.htm), more info: http://www.akms.com/fishing.html.

See how easy it is to jam-pack your schedule? LOL!

New York
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2. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

with your priority for wildlife, you would see far more with a Kenai fjords boat tour. I've seen the kayak trips at Aiklik, maybe some harbor seals, ok area. Not sure if your transport there will offer you any wildlife sightseeing and stops??? I would inquire.

jenette
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3. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

Hi trailrun

Not sure if you've already booked your trips but with a family, I would look into Kayakers Cove as a kayaking option. $20/night/person to stay there and $20/kayak/day on the days you kayak (not all days are good kayaking days in Seward...). There is also hiking and tide pooling. So a night or two there will get you out of town and on the water. The boat trip there ($55 each) definitely offers wildlife viewing and that area is rich in wildlife if you do go kayaking.

J

USA
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4. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

On the 9th, here's an idea on way to Soldotna since you want to see wildlife & hike.

alaskaoutdoorjournal.com/Fishing/russian2red…

Turn onto the Sterling Hwy.

Go through Cooper Landing (Gwin's has the world's best smoked salmon chowder & it's cheap!).

At Mile 52.5 of Sterling Hwy. turn south (left) into Russian River Campground. The 1st salmon run will still be going on, so there may be a line of campers trying to get into the campground.

Ask at the ranger gatehouse for a parking pass for Russian Lakes Trailhead parking lot. There are 2 trailhead parking lots, one on each side of the campground road a little less than a mile from the gatehouse.

There is an easy 2 mile hike up to the Russian River Falls. After 1 1/2 miles, there is a bridge. Don't cross the bridge. That goes to Russian Lakes. Instead go straight about 1/4 mile (you'll see a hanging glacier in the distance) to a platform overlook over the Russian River Falls. We often see brown bears down below at the falls fishing for salmon as they come up stream & through a weir.

Even if you miss the brown bears it's fun to watch all the salmon. Salmon fishing is not allowed from the platform, but is allowed downstream a short walk.

Just remember to walk together & make noise in brown bear country! A lot of people hike up to the falls with cameras to wait for the bears so you will have human company.

Michigan
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5. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

Thanks to all of you for your responses!

We already booked our lodging and kayak trip in Seward. I think we will get what we are looking for, as long as the weather cooperates! I think this trip will be more personal than being on a big boat, and we were told that our trip route can be adjusted depending on weather and where the wildlife is. I think we'll be OK.

Great ideas for some stops along the way to Seward, ...We'll be sure to check those out.

And the hike near the Russian River sounds great!

Still trying to decide about Homer and if it's worth it to go there for one night. I have to find out when our fishing trip will wrap up and how much time we will have in Homer that night. I am thinking that I don't want to leave that drive from Homer to Anchorage all for the last day. Cooper Landing sounds like a good idea, but if we explore that area on the 9th (on the way to Soldotna), then maybe we won't want to be there on the 11th.

Michigan
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6. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

Do you have any recomendations for lodging in Cooper Landing or nearby? Since it would be our last night in Alaska and we have a long trip home through the night, I would like to find a real comfortable place to sleep. I'd pay a little more if it was worth it.

Thanks!

Also, in Homer, better to be up on the hill or on the Spit? I found a cottage available on the hill and have an inquiry in for Lands' End.

Ward, AR
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7. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

from what i've read, they say the spit can get pretty crowded. if you want a little more quiet and less crowded area, you may want to choose the other one. don't mean to take away from Land's End of course. had really good breakfast there. just something to consider.

USA
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8. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

I love Honey's Place- have to book it ahead of time of course. It has plenty of room for a whole family. It is secluded on the spit with millions of eagles.

http://www.honeysbeachhouse.com/

Santa Monica, CA
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9. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

It'll take about five hours to drive back to Anchorage from Homer. More I suppose on a summer weekend so leave yourself plenty of time. You will get stuck behind an RV or slowpoke every few miles.

Make sure you take the kids to the Anchorage Museum in downtown, Anchorage. It was a fantastic museum

(art plus history) and wasn't a ripoff like so many places in Alaska. $8 for adults and $1 off with AAA card.

10. Re: Itinerary and a few questions

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