We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First time two week Alaska visit

essex
Level Contributor
33 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
First time two week Alaska visit

Hello

I am planning a two week trip to Alaska summer 2014 for myself, OH (50's) and son (18). So far there isn't anywhere I don't want to visit! Is it possible to combine the Anchorage/Denali/Seward part with the Juneau/Skagway part without re-mortgaging the house?!

Could anyone give recommendations for B&Bs that allow privacy for a teenage boy without costing the earth by booking 2 double rooms?

We will be arriving from London. I have seen very few postings from travellers from UK. I am wondering which flight is best stopover wise.

Also we would like to go on a whale watch/glacier view 'cruise' any ideas for the best - end July/beg August.

Many thanks everybody, I know I'll get some great help.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,545 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

I would only consider visiting SE Alaska (Juneau/Skagway) and southcentral (Anchorage/Denali) if you had 3 weeks or more. Otherwise you are spending too much time in transit and too much expense for relatively little added benefit.

What you might want to try and find is a 2-room suite of some sort. That is possible in Anchorage and Juneau but not sure about other places - it will take some research. I know I have stayed in an apartment in Homer with two bedrooms. The Denali Hostel also has a nice two-level cabin that could offer some privacy (though the toilet and shower are not in the cabin - shared, but private).

Regarding the flights, you have to figure out what you want - most likely you fly more direct and pay more, or fly less direct and pay less. That is very often the case with international flights. Generally I book based on price and using/accruing miles.

Whale watching tours are generally best out of Juneau or Gustavus, though you can do one out of Whittier into Prince William Sound (Sound Eco Adventures offers something like that with a long day tour). You have a decent chance of seeing whales on the Kenai Fjords tours, but that is no guarantee.

Perhaps if you flew to Anchorage, visited Denali, Seward and Whittier in 8 days, then flew to Juneau, then returned from Juneau (via Seattle?) to the UK you might be able to do that in 2 weeks. If it were me though, I would spend a couple of nights in Juneau then get to Gustavus and spend a couple of nights in/near Glacier Bay National Park. You will be able to get both glaciers and whales from Gustavus. The National Park day trip into Glacier Bay is excellent. Taz in Gustavus operates whale watching tours, as do several operators in Juneau. I really like Harv & Marvs in Juneau for whale watching.

haines, alaska
Destination Expert
for Haines
Level Contributor
7,090 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

I agree with FTI's suggestion of including Glacier Bay with your side trip to Juneau.......that seems to include more of what you are wanting to do than Skagway.......

Logistics would be to fly into Anchorage or Fairbanks, rent a car or take the train to Denali.....

Then fly from Anchorage or Fairbanks to Juneau........ferry or fly to Gustavus/Glacier Bay.....

http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/ Note: the ferry only goes from Juneau to Glacier Bay twice a week, so you will need to fly one way, depending on which days you are there..... http://www.gustavus.com/gethere/index.html

Then fly home from Gustavus or Juneau through Seattle - Alaska Airlines is the only commercial flight that serves this area.......

I believe there is a hostel in Juneau which might save you some money, but usually there are no bargains in the way of hotel rooms during the summer months......

Ohio
Level Contributor
268 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

It seems to me that the most economical way to do both of these areas, would be to do a cruise one week and a land trip the other week.

There are often an extra bed in some of the B&B bedrooms. Not the same as a separate bedroom for your son but you can change in the bathroom for privacy. I know there were extra beds at Hidden Creek in Girdwood and Bear Lake in Seward. Staying in cabins is also a good idea.

This would be such a wonderful trip to take with your son. Families seem to work out privacy issues--you read a lot of reports where the families enjoy renting motorhomes--even first time campers.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
40,625 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

I am not sure of all the flight options, but I know that Condor Air out of Germany flies directly to Fairbanks and Anchorage during the summer only - I have met several Europeans that have got to Alaska that way rather than traveling thru the entire eastern US before heading to Alaska. Also, I believe Icelandic Air just started flights to Alaska this past summer - so you might check and see who has the shortest flights for the best rates. :)

I will think about some of the B&B's in our area and post back. I am sure there are some out there with separate rooms. What is your nightly lodging budget?

Edited: 27 August 2013, 18:16
essex
Level Contributor
33 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

Thank you everyone for your contributions. I am looking at Gustavus now which I had not thought of before. Another place on the list! Still looking at wish list so not sure of budget except ...... as cheap as possible. My list however is getting longer and longer!

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
40,625 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

Okay - I found 3 places in Healy that offer separate bedrooms - there are many places that have more than one bed, but few that have a separate bedroom. Healy is just north of Denali Park and works well for visiting the park - these are all slightly different places, but all great places to stay.

http://www.aspenhaus.com/

http://www.denaliprimrose.com/rooms.html

http://www.alaskaone.com/ridgetop/

essex
Level Contributor
33 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

oooh thank you coalminer!

Another question, of many I expect! Which glacier 'cruise' would be best in july/august - Blackstone or College Fjord?

Wirral, United...
Level Contributor
338 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

If you are heading to Anchorage the best route from London is to Seattle direct with B A and then it is only about two & a half hours from Seattle to Anchorage.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,545 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

From Whittier I would take the glacier cruise that goes through Esther Passage. I think the 26 Glaciers cruise goes to College Fjord, the Major Marine one stops more at a glacier like Surprise Glacier. I like the Major Marine one better since it spends more time at one glacier (also waiting for it to calve) vs. trying to point out 26 glaciers, many in a distance.

I have taken the Blackstone Bay cruise twice last year in fact. It is OK, especially if on a budget since there are often 2-for-1 coupons for this tour. But chances of seeing calving are slim since they actually stop at two glaciers almost side-by-side (Blackstone and Beloit), so you are not at either one long enough to have a better chance of seeing calving.

The Juneau hostel is quite nice and VERY inexpensive. It is only $12/person/night I believe in shared bunk rooms. They have some nice public space - kitchen, dining room and living room. So you can also reduce your expenses by cooking and eating in. I have stayed there multiple times in the past and am planning on staying there again in November.

Illinois
Level Contributor
1,149 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: First time two week Alaska visit

We're doing two weeks - One week on land includes 3 nights in Denali, 3 nights near Seward, and 1 night in Girdwood prior to catching the Princess Southbound cruise from Whittier. The cruise ports in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan and includes scenic cruising through Glacier Bay NP and Hubbard Glacier. We fly into Anchorage and fly home from Vancouver. We will have a pretty full schedule, but we've also made time for rest and relaxation. Leaving September 6 - we couldn't be more excited!

You might also consider staying in cabins. Near Seward, we are staying at Drifter's Lodge in Coopers Landing. We paid around $135.00 per night - it has a small kitchenette, and sleeps 6.