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at the beginning of a plan...

Dallas, Texas
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at the beginning of a plan...

my husband and I - no kids - are thinking to (on the spur of the moment) buying a plane ticket to alaska and renting a car. we are coming from dallas (so juneau or anchorage). We like wildlife and roaming, We are in our fifties and fairly fit. we are ok with any marriott or $up to 150 a night. we dont need tours. what city should we fly into? drive to ...! we have read the forums. they are endless. we will buy milestone.

Juneau, Alaska
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1. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

Just FYI, it's the Milepost. 8-)

If you're coming in the summer, finding a hotel in the price range you mention might be a real challenge, although some of the bed and breakfasts might go that cheap. It's been a while since I've stayed in one during the summer though. Unfortunately the only Marriotts you'll find are in Anchorage and Fairbanks, not even one here in Juneau.

You may already know this, but a rental car will be spendy. If you really want to do a self driving tour, flying into Anchorage is your best bet. You cannot actually drive out of Juneau, but can take a car out on the state ferry system. That connects back up to the road system in both Haines and Skagway, but you also have to drive through Canada from either and I'm not sure the policy for that with rental cars rented here in Juneau. So, definitely ask if you end up deciding on Juneau.

There is lots of fun stuff to do in southeast, and one can easily utilize the ferry system to get out and around without renting a car. In terms of big wildlife though, you'd probably want to go north from Anchorage towards Denali, or east towards the Wrangells.

Hope that helps!

Edited: 20 July 2012, 08:26
Bristol, Connecticut
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2. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

How many days will you have for your trip? Check the rental car prices before you plan anything, you will probably find prices at about $100/day but could get lucky with something less expensive. For $150/night you will probably want to stick to B&Bs but you may find some hotels with lower prices. As NomeMan said there are Marriotts and Marriott properties in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Check out the trip reports from this summer and last to get some ideas on what you might be able to do. The trip reports can be found in the Top Questions on the right hand side of the Alaska Forum. Top Questions are only available on the full site so switch to full site if you are on the mobile site or app.

It will be easier to roam with a car if you fly into Anchorage but if you are willing to try the ferry and can get reservation at short notice Juneau may work for you.

Adirondack, New York
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3. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

You could fly to Juneau and then great options are Haines, Glacier Bay National Park, Sitka, Skagway, and Canada (Yukon and British Columbia). Your options are endless. You could also fly to Seattle and take the ferry from Bellingham through Inside Passage. You could stop in some town for a shorter or longer visits. You wouldn't need a car in some towns. It is almost impossible to make any definite suggestions without knowing your time frame. When and for how long?

New York
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4. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

I suggest you find out more about what each area offers before you get into any hotel recommendations. :) Your budget for a hotel is too low, for what you are looking for. Price out a rental car, now. This could be a deal breaker for you.

fti
MN
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5. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

It looks like you might have unrealistic expectations. Marriott and other chain hotels are WAY more than $150/night in the summer. As was said, check into the car rental prices. Booking this late you might be shocked at the price of a car rental ($100/day?).

You need to figure your budget and also figure out if you want to see Southeast or Southcentral Alaska.

Lots of work to do yet before you make any firm decisions.

USA
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6. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

For a last-minute trip, I would not want to deal with the logistics of reservations on the ferry system this late in the game.

I would fly into Anchorage, pick up pre-arranged rental car, tour Kenai peninsula, Denali National Park, perhaps Fairbanks & Valdez if there is time.

On the Kenai do one of the longer day cruises out of Seward for sea life.

In Denali, take a couple of shuttle (not expensive tour) buses into the park for maximizing wildlife sightings.

How much time do you have? 10 days- 2 weeks would be great. More would be super!

Edited: 20 July 2012, 20:45
USA
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7. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

And when?!

Dallas, Texas
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8. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

When: last half of August - 5-10 days

Price: we can raise the cost per night. We will use Marriott points whenever we can.

Seeing eagles is first priority

Moose and Bear after that

Does that help?

Dallas, Texas
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9. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

One more question - if you take the ferry from Seattle, do you see orcas as well?

haines, alaska
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10. Re: at the beginning of a plan...

The ferry leaves from Bellingham Washington heading north late afternoon every Friday.......you may see orcas the first day of sailing on the ferry.....

Last half of August is a good time to see eagles in all the ferry ports as they follow the salmon.......

You have a good chance of seeing bears in August here in Haines which is on the ferry route.......it takes 3.5 days for the ferry to reach Haines from Bellingham........no Marriott's in SE Alaska, though......I would also suggest you book your lodging ahead of time......"roaming" is difficult here as there are limited number of rooms in each town...........no interstate highways with motels off each off ramp........

Staying in Marriott's will limit your time as you will be stuck downtown in Anchorage or Fairbanks...........

Wherever you end up on your itinerary, I would suggest you take a full 10 days to really enjoy your trip..........