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Visiting Denali

Herts England
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186 posts
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Visiting Denali

I am still working on a trip to Alaska for Auust 2013. Although I have had to cut things down owing to cost issues!!

My 15 year old daughter and I will fly from Seattle to Juneau on Aug 11th for 2 or3 nights. We want to fit in a whale watching trip (or two) and a day trip to Tracy Arm Fjord.

We will then fly to Gustavus for 2 nights at Glacier Bay and the day trip to Glacier Bay. Then fly to Anchorage for one night, catch train to Denali NP staying at McKinley Cabins for 3 nights and getting shuttle buses into tthe National Park on 2 days.

Then train back to Anchorage and fly home.

My questions are;

would just 2 nights in Juneau be sufficient or would 3 be much better to allow for whale watching on a calmer day?

As we won't have a car how will we get from our Denali hotel to the shuttle buses into the park, I am struggling to picture the layout of the area!

Thank you all for the help I was given a couple of months ago. We have decided against a cruise and are missing Seward as I think Juneau/Glacier Bay might give us similar experiences.

My plan to stay at a lodge in Denali NP has gone as simply too expensive, although not a perfect substitute I hope 2 days on the shuttle buses and staying outside the park will still allow us to experience the area. If this is simply unworkable then I might try to put a bear viewing trip back into the plan........at the moment this is missing due to cost/dates when the bears are at different locations etc

Any thoughts fom experts/ fellow travellers would be appreciated as always


Destination Expert
for Alaska
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1. Re: Visiting Denali

You definitely need three nights in Juneau if you want to do Tracy Arm and whale watching. Adventure Bound does Tracy Arm but their office staff is totally inept. Be forewarned. I suggest Harv & Marvs for whale watching.

If your only goal for Anchirage is Denali why not just fly into Fairbanks? Much closer to Denali and the train is cheaper.

Forget McKinley Creekside Cabins if you wont have a car. You need lodging with a shuttle. Look at the Denali forum Top Questions for a list of lodging in the area that have shuttles. The Denali Hostel has cabins and a shuttle. One cabin even has a full kitchen and water.

Edited: 01 December 2012, 16:22
Destination Expert
for Pompano Beach
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2. Re: Visiting Denali

My stay at Denali Bluffs in August 2012 was suitable and a shuttle was available.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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3. Re: Visiting Denali

If cost is a factor, I would elimate the flying in/out of Juneau - every flight makes the cost more expensive unless you have lots of mileage. You could see glaciers in the southcentral area of Alaska, though if you won't rent a car, that limits some of your adventures. As well, if you rent a car, many more affordable lodging options are available. If not, you will have to rely on lodgins with shuttles as mentioned. :)

Edited: 01 December 2012, 20:31
Wasilla, Alaska
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4. Re: Visiting Denali

Renting a car in Anchorage would make the Denali stuff more convenient. And flying into/out of Fairbanks would save you some time too.

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: Visiting Denali

I just drove from Florida to Alaska with my 3 kids this summer. We camped the entire time. I have vacationed a lot in southeast Alaska as well as mainland Alaska. I would definitely put my money down on the Denali part of your trip. Juneau is pretty but you can see whales on a day trip out of Homer. I would fly I to Anchorage and rent a car affordably on Hotwire.com and drive to Denali as well as to Seward and Homer. Throw a tent and some sleeping bags in your luggage and have a real Alaska experience. Campgrounds abound in Alaska and its fun and a great adventure for you and your daughter. Get a room now and then if you want. Spend your money on experiences instead of overpriced lodging. Denali is awesome and the campgrounds are beautiful. Drive your car into mile 30 and camp then pick the shuttle up at the campground. You will see every bit of what the people in the lodges are seeing and more. Have an adventurous mind, take rain gear, warm clothes and binoculars. It's big time tourist seasonso make reservations early and don't fall for the overpriced tourist traps. Have a blast!

6. Re: Visiting Denali

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