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Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

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Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

So my husband and I are planning a 8-10 day trip in July with our parents (60year old, pretty active) and our 1-year old daughter. We may be able to visit Alaska again but it will be the only time my parents will ever visit, so I want to ensure I cover most things worth visiting.

Please suggest on what I should skip or add or modify.

Day 0 - Fly into Anchorage. Rest.

Day1 - Anchorage sight-seeing. Need suggestions.

Day 2- Drive to Seward or Whittier to do a glacier catamaran cruise: Seward is 3 hours drive and Whitter is 2 hours drive from Anchorage.

Seward. Take a day cruise to see Kenai Fjords National Park Glaciers

OR

Whittier. Take this catamaran cruise to see glaciers . http://www.26glaciers.com/. around 160 $ pp.

Stay overnight at Seward or Drive back to Anchorage.

Day 3 - Take Rail (http://alaskarailroad.com/) or Drive to Denali National Park

Day 4,5 - Stay at Denali for 2 days. Tour Denali National Park using guided shuttle buses http://www.reservedenali.com/shuttles.aspx

Day 6 - Take Rail or drive back to Anchorage.Fly to Juneau

Day 7,8 - Juneau

Whale Watching - www.harvandmarvs.com/alaskawhalewatching.html 150 $ pp

Drive to or take Blue bus (Glacier Express) or white bus tour to Mendenhall Glacier 16 $ return pp

Day 9 - fly back to US

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1. Re: Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

Welcome to TA

>>Day 9 - fly back to US

I hate to break the news to you, but you will have been in the US your entire trip:-)

Are your flights already booked? Honestly I am not sure I would take all that time and expense to fly from Anchorage to Juneau just to do a whale watching tour. Personally I love Harv & Marv's and went with them for the 4th time just more than a week ago. But I would never consider flying to Juneau from Anchorage basically just for that.

And honestly, there is absolutely no way you can come even close to "cover most things worth visiting" in Alaska on one trip. I have been to Alaska 20 times and still haven't seen a lot of places worth visiting.

Why don't you concentrate your trip in Southcentral Alaska and do both the Kenai Fjords tour in Seward and try to do a private whale watch tour from Whittier with Sound Eco Adventure? Even if you just do a glacier tour in Whittier you will get a better glacier experience than you will get at Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. And with a 6 or 9 hour tour from Seward (9 hour is better, i.e. more time on the water) there is a decent chance you will see whales on that tour.

Driving to Denali will give you much more flexibility. Are you carrying a car seat with you for the infant? I am not sure how the logistics will work with an infant in Denali. Was one of the adults planning to stay near the entrance each day with the infant?

Edited: 24 May 2011, 03:02
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2. Re: Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

I agree with John that you should skip Juneau. You have all sorts of whale-watching available within easy driving distance of home off the California coast (Monterey Bay, San Francisco--check with the good people on the TA California forums for recommendations). No need to spend all that time and money fitting in Juneau.

Consider instead spending that extra money on a bear-viewing tour, for example. I don't know of any that would take the little one, but perhaps you and your folks could take turns while someone stays with baby?

Is there anything in particular your folks would like to see or do?

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3. Re: Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

I meant "fly back to Sacramento, US"....not sure how it got deleted :).

Flights are not booked yet. So we can change the plan easily.

I just listed the whale watching tour in Juneau, but that's not the only thing we were planning on doing. I just didn't list the other activities....but a cruise in glacier bay and a hike upto a glacier would be something that we would like to do.

I have seen whales and dolphins in Hawaii...but parents haven't. So we might send both of them on a whale watching trip while we take care of the baby.

Any trip that the baby cannot go on - 2 people can go and the other 2 can stay with the baby.

Yes we will be bringing a car seat and stroller.

So based on your feedback (and thank you for the input), I have the following questions:

--Where can we get the best glacier experience? Esther passage vs Inside passage? From what I have read online so far, it seems that Juneau is the best place. I would also like to skip it if I can get a comparable glacier experience (boat tour, moderate hike, walking on glacier, etc) out of Seward or Whittier.

--Which is the most scenic train route? We will be renting a car for most days (when we need it) but I want to incorporate one train journey. So we could either do Anchorage-Seward or Anchorage-Whittier or Anchorage-Denali.

-Any recommendations on cruises for glaciers?

-Any other activities that you can highly recommend based on your travel experiences?

Thank you for helping me out.

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4. Re: Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

"--Where can we get the best glacier experience? Esther passage vs Inside passage? "

But by FAR the best glacier glacier-viewing is out of Whittier (or if you have time, Childs Glacier out of Cordova, though that is rather out of the way and you'd have to fly or ferry there. It's the one tidewater glacier you can actually drive to and spend as much time as you want watching calving...everywhere else requires a boat tour).

Cruises for glaciers out of Whittier: Majormarine if you want to spend the most time near a couple of glaciers waiting for them to calve, 26 Glaciers if you want to see more scenery (still spends some time near one glacier waiting for calving).

You can do guided hikes on several glaciers on the peninsula area, (and even walk on Byron Glacier a bit for free...the little one could go on that one...take a plastic garbage bag to use as a sled!) Matanuska (2 hrs. north of Anchorage) is easy to do since it has a flat approach..the 3 hr. Ice Falls trek with MICA is the one probably your folk would like (though it depends on how active they are). Exit Glacier near Seward is a bit more difficult because you first have to hike part-way up the mountain, although Exit Glacier Guides now offers a helicopter ride to the start of the glacier hike part. So read up on both and see what looks more interesting.

Most scenic train route is Anchorage to Seward. You could do that as a day trip or an overnight, depending what else you want to see/do in Seward. Other popular activities are Kenai Fjords wildlife cruise, kayaking, SeaLife Center, sled dog tour, and the easy 1 hr hike to the face of Exit Glacier.

Bear-viewing is also a great activity, although I don't know of any that take kids as young as 1, but you can ask if interested, or else take turns again. July is a good time for the famous Brooks Falls (full day), or you can do a half-day trip to Redoubt Bay. Check Rust's for details.

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5. Re: Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

So you are suggesting I skip Juneau altogether right?

It would work just fine coz I might take an Inside Passage Cruise once the kiddo is older :).

How about Talkeetna?

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6. Re: Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

"How about Talkeetna"?

So glad you asked! Talkeetna is a quirkly little Alaskan village located between Anchorage and Denali National Park. Talkeetna is best known as the lauching off point for the climbers of Denali (Mt. McKinley). I would highly recommend a fightseeing tour around the mountain and landing on a glacier. It is truly a one of a kind experience!

http://www.talkeetnachamber.org/

http://www.talkeetnaair.com/

http://www.flyk2.com/

The train actually goes through Talkeetna on the way to/from Anchorage and Denali National Park. There is also the Hurricane Turn Train out of Talkeetna that goes on a great tour and comes back to Talkeetna.

alaskarailroad.com/OurTrains/…Default.aspx

There are great places to eat and shop and you might even get to meet Mayor Stubbs (he's a 14 year old cat)...yes, our Mayor is a cat! That gives you an idea about what a unique little town Talkeetna is!

Every weekend there is an outdoor craft market and music in the park.

Hope you get a chance to come to Talkeetna! There is something for everyone!

Enjoy Your Alaska Adventure

Andi-Owner, Talkeetna Chalet Bed & Breakfast

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7. Re: Alaska trip with parents and a 1-year old baby

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