Update: Thanks to the forum experts, I've changed and fine-tuned my original itinerary. Replaced Anchorage with Palmer, and going to Cooper Landing instead of Homer. It’s now:
What do you think? We’re leaving in a couple weeks and want to make sure I've hit all the major points. Lodging is set, but I’d appreciate any suggestions for things on our path I might miss. Restaurant recommendations? Driving tips?
Our group is a middle-aged mom and two young boys who want to see wildlife and glaciers, and learn about Alaskan culture and history. Here’s our basic itinerary, with lists of activities I hope to include:
Day 1 - Talkeetna
Driving from Anchorage
Staying at Swiss-Alaska Inn
Stop at Eklutna
Explore Talkeetna and river
Ranger station for info about mountain climbing
Breakfast at Roadhouse?
Days 2-3 – Denali
McKinley Chalet Resort
First day: Visitor Center, Dog Kennels, hiking, Cabin Dinner Theater (2 for 1 coupon)
Second day: 7 am shuttle bus to Eilson, off and on for hiking
Day 4 – Hatcher Pass
Hatcher Pass Bed and Breakfast
Explore Independence Mine
Driving from Denali, plan to enter from Wasilla and exit toward Palmer, where we’ll be staying.
Question: I’d like to be at Independence in time for a guided tour (1:00?) What time would I have to leave Denali?
Days 5-6 – Seward
Seward Windsong Lodge
Leisurely drive from Palmer, with many stops
Native Heritage Center and lunch in Anchorage
Many viewpoints and photo opps
Portage glacier – hike to Byron
First day: 10 am Kenai Fjords glacier cruise, dinner and sightseeing in town and harbor
Second Day: Sea Life Center, Lowell Point, Exit Glacier, Drive to Cooper Landing
Day 7 – Cooper Landing
Kenai River Sportfishing Lodge
Hike to Russian River Falls
River raft float the next morning
Question: My 9 yr old is very interested in actually fishing. Don’t want to spend time and money on a charter, but I know nothing about fishing. Is there a place on the river where we could rent equipment and just get a short lesson? Or maybe we just find a nice fisherman who will let us join him for a few minutes. :-)
Day 8 – Drive back to Anchorage
Stop at Wildlife Conservation Center
Dinner at top of Alyeska tram
Return rental in Anchorage to catch midnight flight
Seems very full, but hopefully not too full. Do you think I’m timing the driving legs accurately? Not sure we'll have time for Portage Glacier on the way down, or maybe I should plan on stopping there on the way back up. (Will I have time to do a lot on drive from Palmer to Seward? Is Denali to Hatcher Pass cutting it close?)
Really appreciate all your advice and expertise!!