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Last minute trip to Alaska

Sioux Falls, South...
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Last minute trip to Alaska

My husband, our 22 year old son and I will be visiting relatives in Anchorage August 15-August 27. We will be arriving late morning on the 15th. Our son can only be with us until the morning of the 22nd because he will be starting a seasonal job on Esther Island at a salmon hatchery. We would like to see and do as much as we can with him during the 6 days we have together. Any suggestions for an itinerary? Also an itinerary for the following 5 days after our son reports to his job? Our interests are salmon and halibut fishing, nature oriented activities, visit any well known landmarks such as Mt. McKinley, view glaciers, and any other neat things to do or see. (Limited budget)

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1. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

Are you planning to stay only in Anchorage with your relatives and see Alaska?

If not, then consider this itinerary.

August 15-22 visit Seward and Homer. Do research here on TA under these two places. If you visit Seward as day trips these are going to be very long days. You cannot visit Homer on a day trip.

August 22-27 visit Denali NP, Talkeetna, Hatcher Pass, Independence Mine, Matanuska Glacier. Read posts and decide what appeals to you. You cannot visit all these places during one trip. It all depends on your interests. What are your nature oriented activities? Almost everything in Alaska is about nature oriented activities. You cannot visit Denali on a day trip from Anchorage. You can switch these activities around. Again, it all depends on your and your son's priorities.

To go to all or some of these places you have to leave Anchorage behind and rent a car or RV. You can definitely visit Girdwood, Hatcher Pass, Matanuska Glacier, take a glacier tour of PWS from Whittier as day trips. It all depends on your budget. If you rent a car you should make lodging reservations. What is your daily budget for lodging?

If you like hiking Anchorage, Eagle River, Girdwood, Palmer deliver plenty of hiking trails. If you want canoe go to Eklutna Lake. It is an easy and short drive from Anchorage. Eklutna Lake has canoe and bike rental. There is $5.00 fee parking which you pay at the kiosk. In Anchorage you can rent bikes and bike on attractive trail. The Alaska State Fair in Palmer starts on August 23rd. There are special trains from Anchorage to Palmer taking participants to the fair. Google the Alaska State Fair.

Have with you $5.00 bills as you need to pay parking fees at the trailheads. The same goes for the Independence Mine.

Here is a link to things to do and see in and around Anchorage. tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60880-c65022/Anchora…

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fti
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2. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

Welcome to the forum.

First of all secure a car rental now.

Secondly can you explain what "limited budget" means to you in dollar terms. Is this per person or total? Includes flights or not? One main area you can save on is lodging. Are you willing to forgo a private bathroom? Stay in hostels or other similar lodging?

Sioux Falls, South...
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3. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

Thank you for your input. We will be renting a car and staying in hotels and or camping with our son at the beginning of the trip and probably staying in in Anchorage the last couple of days and doing day trips. Wish we would've had more time for planning this trip! :o) Would like to keep our lodging budget under $150 a day. (We are not fussy about lodging as we will only be sleeping and showering there.) When I asked our son what nature oriented activites he had in mind, he said salmon/halibut fishing, viewing glaciers and wildlife, and hiking. He would also like to go to Denali NP, Seward and Homer areas. I realize that is a lot to fit in the week we have with him but we do not mind putting in long days since this will probably be a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Alaska.

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Seward
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4. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

Early in the season we met some people at the end of the Homer Spit who had driven down from Anchorage, just for the day.But, it is definitely not something I would consider doing, over 450 miles round trip

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5. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

You can do it! But not a minute to lose!

I would make reservations for Denali first. There are a lot of B&Bs in Healy but you will need to get to work & jump on one. Or you said camping. Will you have access to tents, 3 sleeping bags, sleeping pads, etc.?

I would spend 3 nights in Denali area with 2 reserved shuttle buses (not tour) into the park to Wonder Lake. The first day if the mountain is out, go to Wonder Lake. If not, get off at Eielson visitor center to hike. The second shuttle to WL is your back-up to hope for a clear day the 2nd day. Denali is a hiker's dream.

Then my recommendation is to chose either Seward or Homer for the rest of your short time with your son. I would chose Seward & take a combo fishing/wildlife cruise out & hike Exit glacier or maybe even adjacent Harding ice field trail if you are up to it.

First, secure that rental car! Then decide camping or lodging or what combination. You'll have to get on lodging right away!

Edited: 12 August 2012, 17:11
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Seward
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Adirondack, New York
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6. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

You cannot visit Denali, Seward and Homer if your son has only 6 days available. If he needs to get to Esther Island on 22nd he probably has to stay in Anchorage the night of 21st which gives you all less time for travel to various places. It all depends how he is getting to the fish hatchery. Is his transfer through Cordova, Whittier or a private sailing and from where?

After arrival on August 15th you could all go to Denali for a couple of nights. Book the shuttle and not a tour bus for two consecutive days. www.reservedenali.com

After Denali you could stay 1 night somewhere in the Palmer/Wasilla/Matanuska/area. Then continue to Seward or Homer for 2-3 nights. Seward would be my choice. Then it all depends where and what time he needs to be in the morning of 22nd. You can drop him off on the 22nd and then continue with your touring. It’s impossible to make specific suggestions without knowing more details. For example, what time are you arriving in Anchorage on 15th?

On your arrival on 15th are you visiting with your family in Anchorage first or do you start your touring right after arrival? Are you renting a car right after you arrive and in the airport? Where and what time do you have to be in the morning of 22nd?

Your lodging depends on availability but don’t count on too many choices unless there is cancellation at the last minute. You should take whatever motels, hotels, b&bs are available.

Edited: 12 August 2012, 17:21
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Cordova
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Sioux Falls, South...
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7. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

Thank you for your input. Our son is flying to Cordova from Anchorage around 8 a.m. on the 22nd. We arrive in Anchorage around 11 a.m. on the 15th. We will spend the first night in Anchorage with our relatives and start touring the next day and will be renting a car right away.

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Cordova
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8. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

So you have the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th & 20th & need to return to Anchorage on the 21st.

That gives you 5 nights out & 2 travel days.

What did you decide about camping or lodging? You only have 3 days!

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Adirondack, New York
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9. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

August 15. --Arrive in Anchorage. Get your rental car and spend a day with your family

August 16 --Leave as early morning as possible for Seward. Fishing and visit to Exit Glacier

August 17 --Kenai Fjords NP. Take the longest possible cruise

August 18 --Leave very early for Denali NP

August 19 and 20 --Shuttles to the park

August 21 --Start your drive to Anchorage with several stops on the way

Edited: 13 August 2012, 15:12
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Seward
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10. Re: Last minute trip to Alaska

Sorry to be a kill-joy but I really think with such few days, you need to either go south (Seward) or north (Denali), taking in what's along the way in either of those directions.

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