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Need an itinerary suggestion.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Need an itinerary suggestion.

Hi Everyone,

Was fortunate enough to get some frequent flyer seats for us to go to Alaska in August. We are arriving in Anchorage on the night of August 18th and will depart Anchorage on the night of August 28th.

I'm seeking some advice because we are spending some of the time with one of my son's friends that has moved to Homer Alaska last year. I'm trying to set up an itinerary based on visiting my son's friend the Friday-Sunday of our ten day trip. This is what I'm thinking:

1. Arrive Anchorage on the evening of the 18th. Rent a car, and spend the night in a hotel, or preferably a B&B.

2. Spend Monday either in Anchorage or go to Crow Creek to do a little gold panning (on my son's list of things to do.

3. Tuesday - Head to Seward. Spend the remainder of the day on a short hiking trip or something yet to be determined.

4. Wednesday - Spend the day on a kayak trip to one of the glaciers. I'm leaning toward the Sunny Cove group for an all day trip that combines a boat trip and kayaking. Breaks the trip up for my 10 year son.

5. Thursday - Spend any remaining time in Seward and then make our way to Homer Alaska.

6. Thursday evening till Sunday - Spend time in Homer Alaska. My son gets to see his best friend. Get a chance to see Homer, including a possible fishing trip with his friend's uncle. I'm sure we'll be shown around the area by my son's friend's family.

7. Monday till departure on Thursday - Unknown

Since I'm breaking the trip in half by visiting Homer on the weekend, it leaves several days on both sides of the trip to do things. I'm trying not to do too much because what I've read on this forum. Is Denali possible/worth the short time? I could also do Seward on the back side of the trip, which would allow us Monday till Thursday to do something before going to Homer.

My wife would like to do some hiking, which I know we could do almost anywhere. I think we'll be covering the wildlife/ocean/glacier viewing on the Seward kayaking portion. I have thought about Kodiak, since we're close. Honestly though, since we will be spending about half the trip in the Homer/Seward region, I thought it might be best to take in another portion of Alaska.

Any help is appreciated. I'm assuming that everyone knows that school in Alaska starts on August 20th. Something I didn't know when I booked the flights. It's making coordinating the trip a bit tricky.

Thanks for the help,

Gary

Zionsville...
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1. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

The absolute highlight of our Alaska trip was a day trip from Anchorage, where we took a float plane (Rust's Flying Service) to Redoubt Bay Lodge to see bears. I can't say enough good things about it. If your budget can handle it, do it for your Anchorage day. It is an experience of a lifetime.

USA
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2. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

A shuttle bus into Denali is a great potential for viewing wildlife, plus the incredible landscapes. Most of us would say Denali is well-worth it! Sign your son up for the junior ranger program....fun!

To fit Denali in at the end, you would have to leave Homer Sunday, spend night in a B&B in Girdwood or Anchorage Sunday night.

Monday drive to Denali for entrance activities (dog sled demo, visitors center) & spend night B&B Healy

Tuesday shuttle bus to Eielson in Denali spend night B&B Healy

Wednesday Denali entrance activities & drive back to Anchorage to spend night

Thursday flight home

Potential views of Mt McKinley at viewpoints on the way up/back & in the park.

Perhaps read through some family trip reports that include Denali National Park :

tripadvisor.com/…41348087

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k65661…

Edited: 04 July 2013, 14:55
Lake Tahoe...
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3. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

Denali is entirely a different direction than Homer. Sinceyou will be visiting Homer, will you be staying with your son's friend's family. We had guests from outside last summer for two weeks and we never ran out of things to do. In fact we did more and saw more then we normally do and we live here. If it were me I would forget Seward and go directly to Homer.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

Thanks for all the advice from everyone. We are still trying to decide if Denali is the right thing to add onto the end of the trip. I have booked an all day kayak package with SunnyCove in Seward. We are thinking of doing a separate whale watch 1/2 day trip. Outside of visiting my son's friend and his family, we'll probably try to do some hiking and keeping it open.

I did read some of the trip reports that didn't schedule too much with kids. Considering my son's interest and need for "down time", I think that was good advice.

I'm still wrestling with the idea of going to Denali. Somehow I feel it is one of those "most do" things if your going to Alaska. My wife and I tend to be the type of travelers that don't like big "touristy" crowds and prefer to just get to know the area by trying to blend in as much as possible.

Any and all advice is welcome. Our trip is in a little over 5 weeks, so coming up quickly.

Thanks again, Gary

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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5. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

I would go to Denali - there really aren't any big tourist crowds - unless you count the railroad depot when the cruise passengers turn up. And once you get out into the park, you will really know what we mean. :)

I think denalicat gave you a great itinerary for Denali.

Edited: 10 July 2013, 03:16
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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6. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

To Denalicat,

We looked at your suggestion and have one question. If we moved your suggestion one day later, we would return to Anchorage on Thursday for our flight home that leaves at 10pm. The miles aren't terrible, but I don't Alaska roads and driving to know if I would be running any risks of missing flights. Any thoughts?

Thanks, Gary

Alberta, Canada
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7. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

I have 2 hiking ideas for you/ your wife. We did both of these in June and thought they were fabulous hikes.

While you are at Crow Creek mine in Girdwood, you can go further up the same road to Crow Creek Pass TH. The hike to the cabin- 3miles or just pass the mine plague 2.25mi . I think it took us 4 hrs rt, but we take our time and stop a lot for photos and lunch. This was my favorite hike which takes you up to great scenery into tundra.

Or for a little more strenuous hike, the Harding Icefield just N of Seward at the Exit Glacier. This is a little steeper hike over rocks at the lower part, but beautiful and great views of Exit Glacier. Wildflowers were fabulous in June! I think this also took us about 4 hrs. If your wife would like to hike, I highly recommend either of these hikes. They are both listed as somewhat difficult so be prepared!

Hope you enjoy your trip!

USA
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8. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

gp-clipper....

AK highways are 2 lane so an accident can close things down a while.

I would leave early morning & plan on afternoon activities around Anchorage, but then that's me.... I never like to cut it close to airports. My many trips to Denali, I never found heavy traffic on the Parks early morning when I would leave to drive home to Anchorage.

Hopefully those who drive Denali to a late flight will chiime in. My drive from Denali was to home in Anchorage so my view is different.

Edited: 24 July 2013, 14:28
Lake Tahoe...
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9. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

When we travel outside we like to leave for Anchorage the day before to drive the 225 miles from Homer. We park at the airport (sometimes at the hotel). We could fly out of Homer, but usually have things to do in Anchorage anyway.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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10. Re: Need an itinerary suggestion.

It's a good thing I looked at our tickets this morning. We actually leave Anchorage on Wednesday night at 10 pm and get home on Thursday the 28th. That changes everything. I'll have to leave for Denali from Homer on Sunday. I'd like to get as far as I can, but am concerned about weekend traffic returning to Anchorage. So, I'm reluctant to make a hotel reservation on Sunday night and then just see how far we can get and try to find a place to stay once we know how far we are likely to get.

Is Talkeetna too far from Denali entrance to base from? Would like to shuttle Denali on Monday and then do other activities on Tuesday? Staying in Talkeetna makes getting to Denali harder, but it keeps us closer to Anchorage for our return on Wednesday.

Thanks, Gary