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first timer to Alaska

San Francisco...
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first timer to Alaska

Is late May to early June a good time to visit Seward and Denail?

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11. Re: first timer to Alaska

Wow! The fall color is beautiful. I want to try my luck in September then.

I am also interested in seeing the glacier. Is September a good time for that?

Estero, Florida
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12. Re: first timer to Alaska

many Alaskan activites begin the first week of June and close the first to second week of September. Denali and glaciers are good anytime from early June to early September

We prefer Late July/early August. it works for us fishing, bear viewing, and for whales.

If you have any must see things, check the tour sites for ability to make reservations. You want to go at least as far as Eilson in Denali for 2 days to get best chance for a clear day. Early June is best for clear days, imho, and it is also good because the animals are usually still down in the valley so more wildlife to see. you will see more young wildlife at that time of year too but less humpbacks out of Seward when you go out to see the glaciers there. The land based glaciers are there all the time but check to see if tours are running when you want to go.

If you are considering doing any fly out bear viewing trips, I would set my visit around that activity first..

Adirondack, New York
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13. Re: first timer to Alaska

lonatravel, instead of taking the tour you included a link to in post #8 take the shuttle. There are lots of discussions on the Denali National Park forum comparing tour buses and shuttle buses.

Read more details about the shuttle and make reservation here reservedenali.com/play/…kantishna.aspx

Anchorage, Alaska
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14. Re: first timer to Alaska

As Places mentioned, the NL are more luck than science. You increase your chances by exposing yourself to clear, dark skies.

Typical weather in Southcentral AK is May and June dryer than July and August. July & August are warmer than May an June. September starts to cool off and get a little dryer again.

"Typical" being the operative after we've just gone through a winter with snowfall records almost everywhere.

Remember, it's hard to not have a really great vacation up here.

Lake Tahoe...
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15. Re: first timer to Alaska

lona - beatiful after snow melts. Actually, our winters can be very pretty with all the snow

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16. Re: first timer to Alaska

Thanks for everyone's input.

From all the advice I gathered, the first week of July might be my best bet if Seward won't get too crowded by then.

My interested places are:

Seward & Kenai Fjords

Denali National Park

Talkeetna

Sitka

Juneau

McCarthy - Kennicott (optional)

Prince William Sound (Sea Kayaking) or Valdez

Is it practical to visit all these places in 2 weeks? I am thinking flying to Juneau, take a ferry to Sitka then fly to Anchorage from Sitka. Kennicott is a very interesting place but I can't find any trains or buses going there.

Adirondack, New York
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17. Re: first timer to Alaska

Lona, are you trying to get to all these places by public transportation? With only two weeks available I would say skip Juneau and Sitka this time and focus on Seward, Denali NP, Talkeetna, Wrangell-St Elias NP, Valdez. That is already very full itinerary. I'm not discouraging you from visiting Sitka and Juneau but with only two weeks you're trying too much. There are of course more areas to visit. If you want to fly how about going to Barrow or Anaktuvuk Pass from Fairbanks? You can add Homer and still with only two weeks you need to make some difficult choices especially if you want to use buses, trains/shuttles. No trains or buses go to Kennecott/McCarthy. If you have your own transportation you can drive to the airport in Chitina and fly from there to McCarthy or take a shuttle. You can also drive if your rental is allowed on this bumpy dirt/gravel road. If you want to travel by shuttle all the way to McCarthy from Anchorage you need to overnight in Glennallen. nps.gov/wrst/…20Kennecott-2.pdf

If you want to avoid crowds in Seward don't plan on being there July 4th. If you want to be there to celebrate and maybe run with other racers up Marathon then you should be there on July 4th.

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18. Re: first timer to Alaska

Thank you Places. Yes I try to use the public transportation only if I don't have to drive.

I am not going to Fairbanks in July but might in winter. Is it Barrow also good to visit in winter? I don't know when I will be back to south of Alaska, that is why I try to see all the best as I can. I am not quiet interested in fishing, is Homer a interesting town besides of fishing?

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19. Re: first timer to Alaska

Lonatravel, are you dead set on not renting a vehicle and instead using public transportation?

If so, I would focus upon Alaska Railroad with the train to their destinations of Talkeetna; Denali; Whittier/Prince Wm Sound; Seward/Kenai Fjords.

http://alaskarailroad.com/

You could do a flightseeing tour of Mt McKinley, even with a glacier landing, from Talkeetna. In Denali have 2 days of shuttle bus reservations to Wonder Lake. You could sea kayak with a guide & group out of Seward & take a sea life day cruise. Out of Whittier you could do a glacier day cruise.

You could also spend time in Anchorage at the Native Heritage Center, renting a bike for the coastal trail, the museum, etc.

Lake Tahoe...
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20. Re: first timer to Alaska

lonatravel - not to pick on you but I don't believe you have a clue about Alaska. When you make a statement about a train or bus to McCarthy that is the tip (prior to 1938 you could take the train). And visiting Barrow in the winter, yes people do it, but only if you llke visiting night life as that is what you will get.

Of all the places in Alaska to visit you need to learn something more. I would suggest Google searching to see if that is what you want

I gather you are from San Francisco and knowing that city it is far easier to get around with public transportation than drive your car. But, up here public transportation is almost non-existant.