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Family Vacation Summer 2013

Zionsville...
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Family Vacation Summer 2013

We are going to AK from June 20-July 6 with a 3 yr old and 6 yr old. They travel well, but they are still kids so we have to be careful about how much we squeeze into a day. I've read lots of books and talked to friends and this is what we are thinking.

June 20 fly to Anchorage, stay 3 nights. I'm running the Mayors Marathon on the 22nd!

June 23 drive to Seward, stay 2 nights. Want to take a Kenai Fjords Cruise and go to AK Sealife Center.

June 25 drive to Homer, stay 2 nights. Want to take a bear watching trip to Katmai NP. Looking at Sasquatch Adv Co. Is this type of trip okay for kids?? It will be a huge cost, but sounds like it will be amazing. If time and weather permits, we would also want to do a wildlife cruise thru Bay Excursions.

June 27 drive to Anchorage, spend the night.

June 28 fly to Ketchikan, stay 2 nights. Possible activities include the SE AK Discovery Center, Lumberjack Show, Duck Boat Tour.

June 30 AMH ferry to Wrangell, arrive at 1:30 PM stay 1 night. Explore the town and totem poles and petroglyphs beach.

July 1 AMH ferry to Petersburg, arrive at 1PM stay 2 nights. Explore tide pools and sand beach. Whale watching tour if weather permits.

July 3 AMH ferry (with cabin) to Juneau, arrive 5PM, stay 3 nights. We would do the walking tour through downtown and enjoy July 4th activities. I want to hike Mendenhall Glacier. The kids may like the Salmon Hatchery and State Museum.

We will rent a car in Anchorage, but won't have a car in the Southeast except for Juneau. Does this itinerary sound good? We are making this a trip of our lifetime as we don't know if we will get back, so our budget is large. I'm very excited if you can't tell. Dates were largely based on the marathon and the ferry schedule. It was hard to get kid-friendly ferry departure times, but this worked. Ferry reservations are set as are hotels for everywhere except Anchorage and Juneau. I think I will look for a large hotel with indoor pool for those cities. The kids will love some swimming time.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!

haines, alaska
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1. Re: Family Vacation Summer 2013

Try the Travelodge in Juneau......heated indoor pool and hot tub, mini fridge/microwave and all rooms are quite large.....they also have a free shuttle that will pick you up at the ferry and take you to the airport.....you are only a couple blocks from the airport there so it will be easy to pick up your rental car and it will keep you away from the downtown shops that will be busy with cruise ship passengers.......downtown Juneau is about 7 miles south of the airport, so having that rental car will really come in handy and will give you the freedom to return to your room for the kids' nap times.......get a road map from the car rental agency other places besides Mendenhall to drive to:

Drive out Basin Road from downtown to the Last Chance Gold Mining Museum......hike up a portion of the Perserverance Trail there......

Take the kids to Bullwinkle's Pizza, two locations in town.....or to one of the parks....take a picnic to Eagle Beach and let the kids explore.....drive out to Douglas Island and park at the southern most end of the main street at the parking lot and do the interpretive trail through the Treadwell Mine ruins......and since your budget is large and you will have already done your whale watching, how about a helicopter to the top of a glacier for dog sled ride ?......I know that's a lot to do in Juneau with only two full days and three nights, but you can pick and choose based on the weather and your interests......

Ohio
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2. Re: Family Vacation Summer 2013

Looks like a great trip. Your children are too young to go on a bear viewing trip. There is a trip report from last summer where a family with young children travelled to Alaska. They had a great time

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Family Vacation Summer 2013

I agree that your kids are too young for a bear adventure, especially if it entails getting out and walking to observe the bears. With the cost involved, I would wait until they are older and can appreciate the experience more. Additionally, there is a safety issue with small children as they may not be trusted to be quiet or still if a bear is nearby. If truly this is a "once in a lifetime" trip for your family, I would still say do not take the little one out on a bear adventure.

Edited: 29 January 2013, 13:25
fti
MN
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4. Re: Family Vacation Summer 2013

I third the fact that you won't be able to do a bear viewing trip with the kids.

Is the only reason you are spending 1 night in Wrangell due to the ferry schedule? I think you would be better off spending 3 nights in either Wrangell or Petersburg (Wrangell is my preference). The Stikine River jetboat tour sounded like fun when I read about it, but I didn't do it (I went to Anan Creek instead, but you are too early for that). I used Breakaway Adventures in Wrangell.

Also, I would save the whale watching tour for Juneau. 100% sightings of humpbacks when taking a tour from Juneau. You might contact Harv & Marvs about a private tour for the family (you end up paying for five people but you have the boat to yourselves). Otherwise check with Orca Enterprises.

I have never heard of Bay Excursions in Homer. Are they the operator or are they a broker? I would also look at Rainbow Tours. They do a combination Gull Island/Seldovia tour that is nice. Even got to see a humpback whale breaching multiple times the last time I took their tour.

Edited: 29 January 2013, 13:39
USA
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5. Re: Family Vacation Summer 2013

We have used Bay Excursions ( AKA Karl at XYZ ) & his rental kayaks into Halibut Cove. I recommend him all the time He dropped us at a AK cabin & picked us up exactly on time 4 days later, thus was very dependable. Small boat so it's like a private tour:

http://tinyurl.com/karlbayexcursions

Small local operator, very knowledgeable.

We've also taken th Seldovia ferry to Seldovia, a larger vessel.

You might want to access the size of the vessel if you want room for your children to roam a bit.

Edited: 29 January 2013, 17:43
Zionsville...
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6. Re: Family Vacation Summer 2013

Thank you so much for the very useful feedback. We were worried [my husband more than I admittedly] that the bear viewing trip would not be toddler-appropriate. I guess we will just have to come back when the kids are older. We figured we'd have to come back to see Denali anyway.. :)

So now I guess we have some open time in Homer. We're not really into art galleries, but it sounds like we could keep busy with the beaches and explore nature with the kids. Any thoughts on doing a fishing trip with kids [3 and 6 years old? As an Indiana person, it would be wonderful to send home some really nice halibut and salmon. We originallly thought the kids would be bored on a charter trip.

I will definitely look into the dog mushing tours on the glaciers from Juneau now that we have freed up a whole lot of budget. Our schedule on the inner passage is entirely based on the ferry schedule. We were very interested in Petersburg as my husband is Norwegian, but the one night in Wrangell was strictly because of the schedule. We are really just looking to see SE Alaska on our own and not as a part of a cruise.

I have to admit that we started planning this trip thinking it would be doable in a week or so and after research it has morphed into a 17 day $10K adventure like nothing we have ever done. Alaska has a lot of challenges, but it seems like an incredible place to experience.

thanks again!

USA
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7. Re: Family Vacation Summer 2013

The bird viewing boardwalk at Beluga Slough is nice & adjacent Bishop's beach is a nice spot for kids.

The ferry trip across to the fishing village of Seldovia may interest you. Something to research. We love Seldovia!

Center for AK Coastal Studies has stuff for kids.

Here's a lot of Homer activities:

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g31009-Activitie…

Edited: 31 January 2013, 14:33
8. Re: Family Vacation Summer 2013

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