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Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

Txfam6
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Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

We like to go where other people don't go on vacation. The kids are 21, 18, 15 and 13. We are keenly interested in wildlife and marine wildlife. Due to the large size of our family, we usually rent a vacation home. I'm having a hard time deciding where to look for a rental since we want to experience whales and Denali. We have no interest in cruising since we enjoy solitude. Our lodging budget is about $2000 for the entire trip. We expect to rent a car and would appreciate suggestions for the best deal. I would appreciate suggestions about where to go to see whales and marine life and where to stay near Denali. Thanks!

Manitoba, Canada
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1. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

What kind of budget do you have for the whale-watching? Because there are no guaranteed whale-watching tours in that part of Alaska. Your best chances would be Sound Eco Adventures out of Whittier *IF* he will take you (he retired this year and is doing only very limited professional photography tours next year): www.soundecoadventure.com/photography.html . Otherwise, the next best chance would be Saltwater Lodge's small boat tour out of Seward: alaskasaltwaterlodge.com/alaska_whale_watchi… . Both those tours almost always find whales....but not every time. The tours that do find humpbacks 100% of the time are out of Juneau, but you don't generally see much other wildlife.

USA
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2. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

Welcome, Txfam! How much time will you all have in Alaska?

Txfam6
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3. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

We would expect to pay in the vicinity of 100-150 per person based on previous whale watching trips off Vancouver Island. Is that reasonable for Alaska?

Txfam6
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4. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

We usually plan for 7-10 day trips depending on the expense.

fti
MN
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5. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

Your lodging budget is $2,000 for the entire time, but you haven't told us if that "entire time" is 5 nights or 25 nights.

Also, please try to get out of your mind the concept of "basing" yourself somewhere and taking day trips. That just doesn't work well in Alaska. For example, if you want to see whales, as Manitoba Maple said, you need to go to Seward or Whittier and if you want to go to Denali, that is up to a 6-12 hour drive from Whittier and Seward (depending on a lot of factors). Best is to move at least once. Also, there are some good apartment-type rentals available in both Seward and Homer and even in between. I have been looking at some of those for a trip for myself in late May/early June, albeit our group of 5 is now down to 2 :-).

Txfam6
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6. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

"We usually plan for 7-10 day trips depending on the expense."

fti
MN
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7. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

We were typing at the same time :-).

I think you can get 7-10 days of lodging for about $2K. It will take pouring through the various places' websites and/or asking here on the forum. coalminer for example has some great ideas for near Denali NP if you post what you are interested in - kitchen? breakfast? cabin? apartment? etc.

Bristol, Connecticut
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8. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

You may benefit from one of the coupon books if you plan on doing any tours or maybe some lodging but don't plan around the coupons. You should really look at what the car rental will cost you if that is a factor. For a mini van you may be looking at over $1000.00/wk. If you find a good deal two smaller cars may be more reasonable and give you some flexibility.

fti is correct about "basing" yourself somewhere, it is very difficult to do a trip like that in Alaska. I would try to shoot for a 10 day trip, the longer you stay the more you will see. You will probably be able to see and do the things you have listed by visiting the Kenai Peninsula (Seward) and Denali with an over night in between. The over night could be in Girwood if you plan to do a small cruise out of Whittier. There are also smaller more personal cruises from Seward and I would recommend one of these also. Maybe even some kayaking.

Edited: 17 December 2011, 00:24
Lake Tahoe...
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9. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

The term authentic concerns me. Exactly, what do you mean by that? What ever vehicle you pick will have to be big enough for six people plus your luggage. A car will not cut it.

The $2000 is that just your budget for accommodations only. The cost of getting to Alaska will be costly for six people, unless you drive up with your own vehicle and that will take a lot of time.

Whale sitings probably will not be guarenteed out of Seward. We did one mid-May and all we met were the resident orcas. The same goes for Denali or the Northern Lights.

fti
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10. Re: Family of 6 looking for authentic Alaska experi in late June

k2iks, both the "authentic" Aaska and the "enjoy solitude" comments concern me. Hard to get solitude in Alaska unless you get off the beaten path. With my keen interest in hiking, I often find solitude in Alaska, but most people don't even get off the bus in Denali NP, much less get off the road there.