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Holiday to Alaska in May

London, United...
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Holiday to Alaska in May

We have just booked some flights to Alaska, arriving in Anchorage on the 9th May and leaving on the 23rd May 2013. We are two adults. We would like to visit the following destinations:

1.Kenai Peninsula

2. Kodiac Island

3. The Aleutian Islands

We are happy to hire a car.

We want to do hiking and adventure activities.

We would like to stay in nice accommodation, preferably wilderness lodges.

We have several questions:

1. The guidebooks say that May is a good time to travel to Alaska even though it is the shoulder season, however, we are having problems finding good accommodation that is open in May. Is this going to be an issue.

2. Is it best to get the ferry to Kodiac Island, how long does it take and does it make sense to take the car?

3. Can you do a day trip to the Aleutian islands or do you have to stay over. How is the best way to get to the Aleutian islands.

Many thanks

Catherine and Adam

USA
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1. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

Welcome to TA, Catherine & Adam!

You are coming to Alaska shoulder season, but there is still plenty to see & do in May, in my humble opinion.

On the Kenai peninsula, Seward & Homer are both beautiful towns on bays. At first I thought you would be too early for the recommended 6 hour or longer day cruises out to see sea life, but I see just checking one of many local operators in Seward that day cruises start May 11!

http://www.majormarine.com/schedule/

Glacier day cruises out of Whittier on the Kenai also start May 11:

http://www.phillipscruises.com/rates.htm

But it would be most helpful if you tell us your interests and why you chose the Kenai, Kodiak & the Aleutians.

Edited: 03 March 2013, 15:50
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2. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

Where are you having trouble finding lodging?

fti
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3. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

Welcome to the forum.

>>2. Is it best to get the ferry to Kodiac Island, how long does it take and does it make sense to take the car?

Check ferryalaska.com for this info. Takes longer and probably not much cheaper than flying. What your really need to decide is WHY you are going to Kodiak. Bears are not really visible that time of year. Do you just want to say "been there, done that" or do you have something specific you are looking to do/see on Kodiak?

>>3. Can you do a day trip to the Aleutian islands or do you have to stay over. How is the best way to get to the Aleutian islands.

Same questions here. Why the Aleutian Islands? And also where on the Aleutians? They are hundreds of miles long so you need to pick and choose where. Have you realized how long it takes to get there? I doubt it, since if you did, you wouldn't be asking about a day trip. No offense, but I think you need to do a bit more research as to what you really want out of the trip and the distances involved.

Lake Tahoe...
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4. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

You mention a desire to see the Aleutian Islands and I believe the Tustumena will have begun their Aleutian Chain run to Dutch Harbor (Unalaska Island). The ferry runs every other week beginning at Homer and passing through Kodiak (with a layover of six hours or so). You can bring a car, but suggest no due to the cost. At Dutch Harbor would suggest leaving the ferry and overnight for a few days. You can rent a car there and stay at the Grand Aleutian Hotel. Then fly to Anchorage. If the ferry run is of interest then fly from Achorage to Homer initially and take taxi to the ferry terminal. After returning to Anchorage, rent a car and drive back down to see the Kenai Peninsula. The ferry run is not the usual tourist thing but more for Alaskans. You will port at some interesting unvisited places, but no time to spend any time.

Edited: 03 March 2013, 16:42
haines, alaska
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5. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

Great information, Homerjohn.......how long does the ferry take from Homer to Dutch Harbor ?.......

Anchorage, Alaska
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6. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

Have you looked at a map of Alaska to see:

- how big it is?

- where the places you want to visit actually are?

- understand our limited transportation systems to get to these places?

London, United...
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7. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

Many thanks for your responses. We are at the early stages of our research as to what is feasible given the time of year. The 3 areas listed - Kenai, Kodiak and the Aleutians- have been recommended to us as stunning areas.

For kenai, the glaciers are the attraction. For Kodiak, it is the wildlife.

Given the scale of the area, we recognise that we can't do all of these, but we are trying to scope the trip and select those areas where we can enjoy hiking and kayaking. Not a case of "been there seen it", so Alaskans please don't take offence!

The Aleutians are the "wildcard"- recommended as an amazing range of islands where we could devote a chunk of time- not a day trip!- but we were looking for suggestions (thanks k2iks) as to whether one of two islands might be worthwhile spending a few days on, or whether we would be wasting our time given the size of the range and should focus on either kenai or kodiak.

Anyhow, we've got plenty more reading to do but your comments are really helpful in framing our trip.

Lake Tahoe...
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8. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

Well, if you want to visit one of the islands, understand that you may have to stay awhile as the ferry runs every other week (i.e. stops there once every 14 days). Accommodations may be extremely limit as it is out of normal tourist area. I don't remember exactly how long a trip it is but may take two nights at least. The islands are sort of bleak.

Haven't you considered Denali NP? Glaciers are at places other than the Kenai Peninsula (Whittier, Seward, and Homer). Such as Matanuska Glacier along the Glenn Hwy

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

The Tustumena ("Tusty") takes around 4 1/2 days to go from Homer to Unalaska (aka Dutch Harbor.) I don't know if there's a May sailing, but even if there was I wouldn't take it unless it was truly a "bucket list" item and one was an experienced big-water sailor. And I definitely wouldn't take it both ways; port calls are brief (and sometimes in the middle of the night) and while the Tusty is a stout little boat, spending 9 days on it would get a bit... confining. (You also have to get to and from Homer or Kodiak too, not easy or cheap.)

The chain is indeed gorgeous; I love it out there (worked and traveled all over the region) but it's very remote and given the OP's plans I don't think it probably would be the best use of their time.

May is also too early for Denali National Park, so what I'd suggest to the OP is to do some research about a two-part visit. Think about flying to Seattle and taking the Alaska ferry from Bellingham, WA to Juneau. In May the weather will be okay, the scenery great, and they can visit some of the coastal communities in SE Alaska en route.

Then visit Juneau for a couple of days, then fly to Anchorage for the Southcentral Alaska part of the trip. Visit the Kenai Peninsula, maybe take a flightseeing trip toward Denali or over Prince William Sound, go for some walks in the Kenai or in the Chugach mountains outside Anchorage.

That would show some of the diversity of the state without the expense and difficulties presented by heading off into the bush at a less-than-ideal time of year, or bouncing along the ocean in the Tusty.

London, United...
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10. Re: Holiday to Alaska in May

Many thanks ibgardyloo and k2iks- really helpful and much appreciated.