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7 Days and in need of an itinerary

florida
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7 Days and in need of an itinerary

We are feeling overwhelmed with all the options and 'warnings' about renting a car in Alaska (esp.cost wise $$). Your input would be soo appreciated....Please read on...

We are planning on booking a cruise this summer which leaves out of Seward. We fly into Anchorage and have about 7 days (we can give it more if need be in the planning stages) until cruise time. After reading on TA, we know for sure that we want to spend time in Denali. Otherwise we are open to suggestions. We love magnificent scenery, seeing animals and more animals, light hiking, boat trips. We are not interested in cities per se other than as a means to get us to where we want to go.

We would appreciate your input on an itinerary. While we can rent a car, is the train a better option for at least part of this trip? Will it be cost effective and more relaxing? But will we be giving up on some gorgeous scenery?

Thank you for any help you can offer.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: 7 Days and in need of an itinerary

Just a reminder of your other thread . . . tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k47128… and this one too tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k50258… .

Was anything in there of interest to you?

Las Vegas, Nevada
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2. Re: 7 Days and in need of an itinerary

You'll find some great itinerary suggestions by reading thru the 2011 Trip Reports ( look under the Top Questions for the link). Some of those reports are for 3-10 days in conjunction with a cruise.

And Manitoba Maple just put together a nice itinerary for kiwigirl. Just look down the page to find that thread. I'm sure you'll want to incorporate some of those suggestions in your itinerary.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, the best thing to do is .... research some more. Things will fall into place based on your interests, activitly level and the amount of time you have. Borrow some Alaska travel books from your library.

I haven't taken a train in Alaska. I prefer a car so I have the ability to stop and enjoy the scenery or wildlife when I see it. However, the train to Seward gets rave reviews for the scenery. If you rent a car you could drive north to Denali. Then perhaps along the Turnagain Arm at least to the Girdwood area to enjoy the scenery, maybe take a day cruise from Whitier, then return the car to Anch and take the train to Seward when it's time to cruise.

The drive to Girdwood is outlined in this link:

alaska.org/driving/portage-valley-whittier-s…

For other drives, look in that link under the heading Top Day Tours, then Magnificent Drives. It's a helpful site in general.

florida
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3. Re: 7 Days and in need of an itinerary

Thank you so very much for the excellent advice. Is it feasible to take a train from Anchorage to Denali as you suggested from Anc to seward? I believe (?) that within Denali we would not be able to use a car anyways. But would that mean that we would again be giving up on fantastic scenery from Anc to denali? the cost of renting a car seems to be about triple what we usually pay when traveling...about $700 for a week.

Also, it did not occur to us to go to Deanli then back to Anc to get the train to seward before the cruise...great idea. I will look into it for sure.

I guess I am concerned about the Denali part going smoothly. Do you know if it is difficult to find a place to saty? Does one stay 'in' the park itself?

Again, Thank you so much!

New England
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4. Re: 7 Days and in need of an itinerary

Having a car at Denali can certainly make things easier as you can book lodging in either Healy or Carlo Creek. Some lodgings do run shuttles to the park but then you need to schedule your time on the park shuttles around their schedule and not your own. Also, having a car at Denali does allow you to drive the first fourteen miles into the park. Doing so in the early morning or evening gives you more chances to see wildlife.

Most folks who give advice on this forum will tell you that renting a car 11 months before your trip gives you the best chance of a great rate. We have done that twice now, never paying more than 300 for 2 and a half weeks.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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5. Re: 7 Days and in need of an itinerary

yes, you could take the train to Denali. I don't find that stretch particularly fantastic, but that's my personal opinion. There are some nice places to stop long the way and wonderful views of McKinley on clear days.

As bluewaterdiva suggested there are wonderful cabins and B&B's in Healy and Carlo Creek, but you need a car to access them. If you use the train you're stuck with the options near the station.

The lodging list from the Denali Chamber:

http://www.alaskaone.com/_dcc/accommodations/

Again, if you look at the trip reports you'll find great suggestions for accomodations.

6. Re: 7 Days and in need of an itinerary

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