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Honeymoon Itinerary

Brunswick, Maine
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Honeymoon Itinerary

Hi Everyone,

My fiance and I are planning a honeymoon in Alaska for this time (late June) next year. I've been reading a lot on this board - thanks for all the fantastic information! I've come up with an itinerary that seems like it would work, but would love input on whether there is something fantastic we're missing or (on the other hand) if we're trying to do too much! Neither of us has ever been to Alaska before, so any input on either end of that spectrum would be great.

Its kinda long, so thank you in advance for reading and/or commenting!

Day 1 - Fly into Anchorage, rent a car, stay near airport

Day 2 - Drive to Talkeetna - try to take an early flightsee trip. Drive to Denali, stay outside the park somewhere

Day 3 - Take earliest shuttle to Wonder Lake, camp there

Day 4 - Hike in Denali, camp at WL

Day 5 - Hike, Shuttle to Riley - camp there so nearer the entrance

Day 6 - Drive to Anchorage. Stay there or Girdwood. (We might be able to time this so this day is Summer Solstice - I read somewhere that a bunch of people hike Flattop Mountain? Is this worth doing?)

Day 7 - Spend a day in Anchorage/Girdwood - same hotel as previous night

Day 8 - Drive to Seward - stop at Exit Glacier, hang out in town

Day 9 - Seward - do a fjords boat tour

Day 10 - Drive to Soldatna, hopefully leave for overnight bear viewing at Silver Salmon, if we can afford it! (Pretty sure I want to make this happen even if we're eating pbj the whole trip!)

Day 11 - Return, drive to Homer - stay there

Day 12 - Spend the day/night in Homer (kayaking?)

Day 13 - Drive back to Anchorage - fly out, or spend the night and fly out the next day

Thanks again!

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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1. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

Welcome to the forum. Generally I think you have a great itinerary. I am not sure what your interests are. So not knowing that, I will make the following comments that might or might not apply.

I think you might be shortchanging yourselves in Denali by only being at Wonder Lake two nights. You have one full day in the park (day 4) and Day 3 you can probably hike the McKinley Bar Trail after arriving at WL and setting up your tent (6 miles round trip from the campground and a great day hike). And be prepared for mosquitoes at Wonder Lake in June - headnet, bug dope and I love the Off Power Pad lamp.

If it were *me*, I would do the following:

Day 2 - Drive to Talkeetna - try to take an early flightsee trip. Drive to Denali, stay outside the park somewhere. Do entrance-area activities at Denali (visitor center exhibits and film, sleddog demo, film at the WAC, drive first 14 miles of the road, maybe light hiking near the entrance)

Day 3 - Take earliest shuttle (I think you mean camper bus) to Wonder Lake, camp there. I like the earlier camper buses too - better campsite selection.

Day 4 - Hike in Denali, camp at WL

Day 5 - Hike in Denali, camp at WL

Note: when inside the park and returning to Wonder Lake, try to take a SHUTTLE bus and not a CAMPER bus since the commentary on the shuttle buses is usually quite a bit better than on the camper buses.

Day 6 - take 6.30am camper bus (arrive entrance 11am) or 8am camper bus (arrive entrance 2pm) from Wonder Lake to the entrance. Shower, then drive to Anchorage or Girdwood (5-6 hours). The reason the 8am camper bus takes longer than the 6.30am bus is that the 8am bus goes through Kantishna, whereas the 6.30am bus goes direct back to the entrance. Also a good time to do laundry if needed - Riley Creek Mercantile that has showers also has washers/dryers (though not enough dryers!).

Day 7 is a nice "down" day if that is what you want, but you should be thinking of activities for the day. If you want to spend the time in Anchorage, I would stay in Anchorage and not Girdwood. But perhaps a good use of your time is to take an afternoon Prince William Sound glacier tour from Whittier.

John

Brunswick, Maine
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2. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

Thanks so much for the input - everything you said was really helpful and I know you are right about doing 3 nights at WL - our main interests are hiking and wildlife. I was a little worried about having enough gear with us to stay that long (we'd be flying in from Boston) but I just found out the the REI in Anchorage rents camping equipment, which might be the perfect solution for us.

I do have a couple of quick questions -

1. Is there anywhere you recommend staying outside Denali?

2. How different is the PWS tour from the ones out of Seward? I'm guessing less wildlife based, more glaciers?

3. How is the hiking around Wonder Lake itself? Is there enough to fill a day, or is it better to be on the shuttle everyday so there is more ground is covered?

Thanks so much again!!

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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3. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

I bring all my own camping equipment with me. That way I know the equipment, can set it up easily and it is cheaper to take it with me (though granted, I go to Alaska more than most people). In two pieces of checked luggage I can take all my clothes, hiking pole, cooler, camp stove, utensils, plate, frying pan, pot, tent, sleeping bag, ground mat and two tarps. All within the 50 pound limit per piece. Just a thought.

What type of lodging are you looking for outside the park? You could possibly stay at Riley Creek Campground at the entrance (easy to catch the camper bus from there), at a local hotel (I found a great $79 + tax rate for June 7th and June 11th) or at the hostel (only shared bunk rooms available for one night though).

Re: difference between the PWS and Kenai Fjords tours, you are exactly right. More glaciers with PWS, more marine wildlife with Kenai Fjords

In my opinon, there is really not great hiking near Wonder Lake, especially that time of year with the mosquitoes. And it is a bit wetter and more brushy near Wonder Lake than between say Eielson and Toklat. Some of my favorite hiking in the park is between Eielson and Toklat. Check the Top Questions about Denali for more day hike info.

Book your car rental 10-11 months in advance. Might be wise to book a couple of rental options depending on what you end up with flights. Normally off-airport rentals are a lot cheaper than on-airport rentals when booked that far in advance.

Glad to help (...even though I am a Yankees fan!)

Edited: 23 June 2011, 23:43
Anchorage, Alaska
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4. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

Hi & welcome to TA,

I love the city of Anchorage; but I think (especially since it's a honeymoon) for days 6 and 7 (or 7/8) drive through Anchorage and stop at Girdwood. Book a room at Alyeska and get a very good (& very overpriced) dinner at 7 Glaciers Restaurant (fantastic views, classy, etc.).

While staying in the Girdwood area you can hike Winner Creek, head to Portage/Whittier to visit Begich-Boggs Visitor Center, hike/walk to Byron Glacier, do a glacier cruise (out of Whittier - mentioned above), visit the AK Wildlife Conservation Center or head a little bit down the road and do some Class V white water rafting at Six Mile Creek.

On your last evening in Anchorage head out for another, romantic honeymoon dinner at Sacks Cafe.

Good luck & enjoy AK,

Scott

Brunswick, Maine
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5. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

Thanks again for all the advice - this is so helpful!

I will probably be back with more questions!!

Abby

Lake Tahoe...
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6. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

I bellieve you said you wanted to spend time at Homer, and the distance from Seward is about 175 miles. There would be no need to stop in Soldotna as it is only about another 75 miles or so. There are several Bear Watching tours out of here. Costs run about $625 each (cheaper if don't use credit card). Kayaking is across the bay

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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7. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

>>I will probably be back with more questions!!

It would be best if you keep future questions about the same trip right here in this thread. It helps us volunteers keep an overview of your trip and be able to see what we all said earlier. Thanks.

iowa
2 posts
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8. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

We did a similar trip last year the end of July. 1st 2 nights in anchorage. Toured girdwood, whittier& portage glacier, as well as pull offs along the highway for great photo ops. Drove up to denali-stayed 2 nights at denali bluffs and 3rd night at denali perch cabins just south of park. 1st day-era helicopter glacier landing, 2nd day-5:30 am wonder lake bus trip-sit in front on right side for great views, day3-raft denali raft trip. Stopped in talkeetna on way to kenai penin. Lots of fun shops to browse. Continued on to redfish lodge in sterling-spent 2 nights here. Went on a fishing/ bear viewing trip with high adventure air near sterling/soldotna. Absolutely loved it. Went to wolverine creek and saw several bears and cubs feeding on salmon very close to out boat. 2nd day-went on skilak lake road, hiking at russian river fall, soldotna visitor center, kenai farmer's market, kenai visitor center& museum and cptn. Cook state park. Recommend caribou burgers at buckets sports bar in soldotna! Also spent 2 nights in homer- stayed on the spit in an apartment above the sea lion art gallery. Went on a kayak trip around Yukon island with true north adventures. Wanted to do dock tour, but didn't have time. Lots of great shops, art galleries & eating places here also. Then drove to Seward for 4 nights-1 day to relax, 1 day ocean fishing, 1 day Kenai fjords NFL park cruise, 1 day at sea life center with octopus encounter & wheeled sled dog ride at seavey's I-did-a-ride. Lombardos eatery has great pizza& the bakery by the boat harbor is wonderful. Drove to anchorage and flew home late that night.

Brunswick, Maine
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35 posts
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9. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

Thanks everyone again for the input!

I'm pretty sure we want to do the bear viewing overnight (as opposed to the day trip). Its only about 200 more, and while that is a chunk of money, seems like it might be worth it for the amount of extra time you get? If anyone thinks otherwise though, would love to hear it!

A few other questions (if these should be posted elsewhere, please let me know - I wanted to try and keep all my questions in one spot as John suggested - but I know they are a little all over the place!)

1. I'm thinking about adjusting our itinerary a bit to include doing Nova's Lion's Head evening rafting trip out of Chickaloon. Has anyone done it this? Would probably do this as soon as we got to AK, and then head to Denali. Since we'll be there during the Summer Solstice, seems like it would be a cool thing to try?

2. It seems like everyone is recommending doing the glacier landing while flightseeing. Can you use the 2-for-1 coupons in the Toursaver book for this, or only for the flightseeing that doesn't include the glacier?

3. When in Denali, I'm assuming you have to book the shuttle bus tickets for everyday in the park? We'd have two days where we wouldn't have our camping gear and would just be looking to hike, so I'm assuming we would need to book the camper bus for the first and last day and the shuttle bus for the middle two days? Do I have that right?

4. Last but not least, I think we want to try kayaking at some point - are Seward and Homer equally good for this, or is one better than the other?

Thanks again for all the help - sorry these questions are so scattered. As I said, let me know if I should post in individual city forums! I don't want to mess with TA etiquette, as I am so appreciative of the advice!

Abby

Lake Tahoe...
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10. Re: Honeymoon Itinerary

Halo Bay operates out of Homer with a base camp at Katmai if you care to overnight. See www.hallobay.com. This is not an endorsement and have not gone with them.