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Worth it to go to Anchorage?

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Worth it to go to Anchorage?


I will be going on a cruise that departs from Vancouver and arrives in Whittier in June of this year.

My husband and i are trying to figure out whether we should fly straight back home after the cruise (out of Anchorage) or if it's worth spending a day or two in Anchorage or a nearby park first. If we did spend a day, what would be the top things to see/do, and would we need to rent a car to get around? As background, we tend to like outdoorsy activities and seeing historic sites - less into shopping and dining.

Any advice would be much appreciated.



Adirondack, New York
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1. Re: Worth it to go to Anchorage?

If you have only two days go to Independence Mine in the Hatcher Pass area. Get yourself from Whittier to Anchorage and rent a car there. There is lots of history and all outdoor you can imagine. In August 2011 we spent 2 weeks around that area and still did not hike on all available trails. We stayed in a great cabin near Hatcher Pass and had a full kitchen because we prefer not to eat out too often. I don't know about shopping. I'm not a shopper. With such limited time I don't recommend staying in Anchorage which is a great town, IMO, and has a lot to offer. If you have three days you can rent a car and go to spectacular Denali NP. There are other options available.

Cadiz, Kentucky
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2. Re: Worth it to go to Anchorage?

With only one day in Anchorage, my pick would be a trip to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and it would be very easy to spend half a day there. I'm not sure there would be a way there other than renting a car. My second pick would be a drive down to the turnagain arm with lots of stops along the way..

Anchorage, Alaska
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3. Re: Worth it to go to Anchorage?

IMO Anchorage is well worth a day or two. There are a ton of really great activities: hiking, museums, fishing, dining, arts/crafts, scenery all within the city.

Here's just one of a zillion ways to think about it:

1 extra day = Anchorage

2 extra days = Girdwood/Portage area, Anchorage

3 extra days = Denali or Kenai (south of ANC) & maybe a few hrs in ANC

5 extra days = Denali & Kenai & a few hrs in ANC

AK is huge and if you're here just for a little while, I wouldn't suggest any where too far away (like Denali). If you give yourself 2 days (w/ a car) you can see some really phenomenal AK things.

By going south to the Girdwood Portage area, you are only driving about 90 minutes south of ANC yet you'd get to see the amazing views of Turnagain Arm, Portage & Byron Glaciers, hike to Byron Glacier &/or Winner Creek, visit the AK Wildlife Conservation Ctr, & more.

Anchorage has miles and miles of hiking (actually "multi-use") trails, great native cultural museums, restaurants, beautiful scenery and more.

I can recommend a ton of fun activities in the city. Oh by the way, as great as Anchorage is, the rest of the state is pretty much better!!!

Good luck,


ps - if you can only stay an extra day, Anchorage is worth it. If you can stay longer, you won't be sorry

Manitoba, Canada
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4. Re: Worth it to go to Anchorage?

When in June? And what do you mean by "outdoorsy"?

How about hiking or climbing a glacier? Whitewater rafting? Kayaking in front of a calving glacier (that's expensive though), or just kayaking? What about fishing? Wildlife cruise?

If you just meant hiking, Scott can give you a whole bunch of ideas for that.

The scenery during the hour's drive south of Anchorage is worth it, even if you go no farther.

Chugiak, Alaska
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5. Re: Worth it to go to Anchorage?

I second Scott's recommendations. If you can spare the time, you might as well enjoy Alaska while you are here since it's not cheap to get here. What you see on the cruise will be mightily different from what you can see in Southcentral and in the Interior (Denali). They are worlds apart and only seeing one piece of Alaska is missing a lot.

Lake Tahoe...
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6. Re: Worth it to go to Anchorage?

From history of vacations most amounted to something like two weeks. With your cruise of a week it would well be worth your time to spend another week in our state.

John (ex-Californian of 50 years)

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7. Re: Worth it to go to Anchorage?

Thanks all for the ideas! If we can get more time off from work, we'll certainly look into the areas recommended by Scott.

If we can't, it still sounds like a day or two in Anchorage would be worth it.

8. Re: Worth it to go to Anchorage?

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