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Need help with planning a trip to Alaska

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Need help with planning a trip to Alaska


I am planning a trip with my wife and daughter(16) to Alaska in Aug (10 - 23). I need some help in figuring out if I should stay in and around Anchorage and visit the areas near Anchorage (Denali, Seeward, Kenai, Faribanks etc..) or should I include a trip to Juneau also. What are the things to do around Juneau? How may days should I keep for visiting the Anchorage area and how many days for Juneau? Or should I skip Juneau?

I also want information about tours which I should plan on taking:

Glacier tours: Any recommendations? from where?

Whale watching/Wildlife tours

Train tours

Denali tours: Recommendations of places to stay in Denali

Fairbanks: What is there to see in Fairbanks and places to stay

Seeward: Planning to take a train from Anchorage to Seeward and stay there for one night? Is that enough or should I plan to stay two nights?

Not sure about things to do in and around Juneau so need help here.

Is renting a car a good options? I have heard that there are a lot of restrictions on where you can drive.

Is the coupon book useful?

I would appreciate any help.


Wasilla, Alaska
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1. Re: Need help with planning a trip to Alaska

I don't think you'll have time to hit Juneau. Plus, have you looked at the expense of airfare from Anchorage to Juneau? It's not cheap.

Most of us on these forums would recommend renting a car. There are a few restrictions on where you can drive. Not "a lot".

Most people fly into Anchorage and then travel south to Seward for a couple of days. You could do this part by rail. You can do a Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise, kayaking, Exit Glacier or hike the Harding Ice Field.

You can then travel north to Denail Park. A rental car is a good idea here for flexibility in lodging and dining. A couple of days on the shuttle buses into the park is a great way to see wildlife. And then after returning to Anchorage, you should have time for a drive to Whittier for a Prince William Sound glacier cruise.

You'll find most of your questions have been asked and answered many, many times on these forums. Give the other threads a read.

Chugiak, Alaska
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2. Re: Need help with planning a trip to Alaska

I think if you did a stop in Juneau on your way back to Chicago, you could fit it in fine. You'd have to fly from there to Seattle and then Seattle to Chicago rather than a direct Anchorage to ORD flight, but I think you have time to do south-central and Juneau. You may well have to skip Fairbanks to manage it, though. And personally, I would rather go to Juneau and do a whale day cruise.

Also, based on other people coming up during the high season and only planning a month out, you may want to start off by figuring out where you want to go and then before making anything but a rough schedule, see when you can get lodging at location. If you can only find something decent in Seward for say the 11th and 12th, then that makes it an easy decision to start your trip by heading south from Anchorage. Also, get a car booked now (to make sure you can get one for the days you want it) and keep checking back and checkin various companies to get a better price (it's going to be high, likely more than $80/day, but still cheaper than the train for three people other than maybe the trip to Seward from Anchorage).

Here's a great nine day trip report that you could follow along the same routes and have a great trip and tack on two days in Juneau at the end with your extra days.


Here are some options for staying near Denali:


In Seward I like the Alaska Saltwater Lodge and their sister the Dairy Hill Inn. The Anchorage Grand is good for when you get in or are heading out as well as some nice B&Bs near downtown (Oscar Glll, Copper Whale Susitna Place).

' I have heard that there are a lot of restrictions on where you can drive.'

There aren't many restrictions- just no driving on a couple rock roads, but you likely wouldn't be going down any of them anyway. I have yet to be on them after living here over five years.

Whether to stay in Seward two night- depends on what you want to do. If only the Kenai Fjords day cruise, then no. If you also want to hike up to the Harding Icefield one day, then definitely. There's plenty to do in Seward- check out some options that might interest you (going on a hike on the glacier, going to the Sea Life Center, going on a kayak tour, going hiking, going fishing) and then decide how many nights.

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3. Re: Need help with planning a trip to Alaska

Thanks for the information. I did check and the tickets from ANC-JNU are really expensive (~$400/pp). Will keep checking to see if that fare drops.

Besides, Seaward (2 nighs) and Denali (2 nights) how many nights should I plan to stay in Anchorage? One day would be for a trip to Whitter and Prince William Sound Glacier.

If I skip Juneau then I guess I can include going to Fairbanks from Denali.

Are there any What watching opportunities in the Anchorage/Seaward area or are they primarily aroun Juneau?

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4. Re: Need help with planning a trip to Alaska

In my several trips to Alaska, I've spent about 1 night in Anchorage. It you need to stay in that area, stay in Girdwood, a beautiful ski resort about 1 to 1.5 hours away.

Anchorage, Alaska
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5. Re: Need help with planning a trip to Alaska


Renting a car is a must.

You can have a wonderful AK ecperience in ANC, but save this for maybe your 3rd trip to AK and see the rest of AK first.

6. Re: Need help with planning a trip to Alaska

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