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need help

Chattanooga...
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need help

For teh second time I am planning my first trip to alaska a year from now. My first attempt never happened.

Heres where I need help. I am not sure wheither I want a cruise, to rent a rv and do it just me and my wife OR if I want a cruise plus land tour. I dont know where to start my planning. Do anyone have tips, suggestions, websites, etc? I want to see denali for sure and my wife wants to pan for gold and we MUST see a glacier at least once.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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1. Re: need help

I guess the first question would be how much time do you have?? What time of activities do you enjoy and hope to do?? That might help us more in helping you. :)

Chattanooga...
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2. Re: need help

we are looking for 10 to 15 days or so.

we are outdorsy people, love to hike, but we enjoy doing anything, we have went to a coin show once and dont know anything about coins but enjoyed it, we are open to anything.

Kiawah Island...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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3. Re: need help

You might want to look at the cruises and land tour packages. You will certainly get a variety of locations and meet all three of your requirements, easily. $$$ can be a big factor in what you decide to do.

With 2 weeks, you ought to be able to do a cruise and land tour easily. Then after that you'd have an idea of what is where and maybe go back for another trip and do the RV thing, after you know more about AK overall.

Have fun planning!

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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4. Re: need help

You might read some trip reports from folks who have done both . . . I do recommend RV's for people either traveling with kids or those who have a hard time scheduling where they will be . . . but you have over a year to plan. With the cost of gas, renting an RV will not be cheaper than staying at hotels/B&B's. Usually that averages out about the same, it is more about your own preferences.

As the other poster mentioned, you could do a short cruise and then do your own land tour.

As far as websites, this one is the best! :)

You would need to figure out the time of year (my favorite is mid-June to mid July OR late August/early September) . . . and then it would be easy to suggest the other things you would like help with . . . like glaciers to see (Seward for Exit glacier or the Matanuska glacier on the Glenn Hwy for starters), Denali for at least 2-3 days, etc.

Cadiz, Kentucky
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5. Re: need help

We did the cruise followed by a land tour in an RV. I'd DEFINITELY do it that way again. With an RV you don't have to depend on someone else's schedule, and there are plenty of places to pull it over in AK so that - other than Denali - we didn't even have reservations. I posted a review after we returned, if you're interested. We had 3 weeks, but may be you can get a few ideas from this. We saw Denali, lots of glaciers, and panned for gold.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k14973…

Manitoba, Canada
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6. Re: need help

I'd also suggest a cruise plus a 1 week self-directed RV landtour, though my preference is to do the cruise at the end so after bustling around on my landtour, I can relax more on the trip home. SE Alaska (the cruise) is very different from what you'll see in the rest of the state. But it depends on what you'd like to see and do, whether a 2 week landtour would be better for you.

Many places to pan for gold, either the "touristy" places where you are guaranteed a few flakes (and that's enough for most of us), or else places like Crow Creek Mine, Hope, and Independence Mine where you can go out on your own and try your luck. Might not find anything, but you'll have a more "authentic" experience (lots of old-time goldpanners didn't find anything either, lol).

And of course at Fairbanks there are the tours for Gold Dredge No. 8 and El Dorado Goldmine (plus places you can pan on your own). Perhaps your wife might enjoy one of those tours. I did both, and they were different, but both interesting.

With 7 or 8 days (the longer the better), you could easily spend a couple in Denali (taking a shuttle deep into the park to hopefully see wildlife, see the visitor center displays & film, try whitewater rafting, see the free Ranger sled dog demo, dinner theatre). Fairbanks is just a 2 hr. drive north of Denali, and I'd suggest you spend 1.5 to 2 days there (gold mine tour, Pipeline, U. of Alaska Museum, Riverboat Discovery).

Depending where your ship arrives/leaves (will be either Seward or Whittier), you could take a Kenai Fjords wildlife tour out of Seward which includes time at a calving glacier, or take an afternoon glacier tour out of Whittier to really enjoy seeing/hearing glaciers (my favorite thing to do!) but not likely to see as much wildlife. If you go on a cruise, for sure you'll see at least one glacier, but not as up-close and personal as the boat tours unless you take the very expensive Cruise West; otherwise, I'd suggest one of the 2 boat tours I mentioned (or even both).

Read cjnky's trip report to give you an idea of what is available. Then talk things over with your wife, and come back here when you've made a few decisions. We'll be happy to help you plan your trip.

And I whole-heartedly agree with Coalminer: this is the best overall trip-planning website I've ever found!

Chattanooga...
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7. Re: need help

lol when I asked for websites i mean cruise websites, rv rental places, tour places etc.

I appreciate everyones suggestions.

8. Re: need help

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