My husband and I are planning a 2 week trip to Alaska with my parents in June 2014 for my dad’s 70th birthday. We are quite fit and outdoorsy and my parents (both 70 then) are reasonably fit for their age. We have never been to Alaska before and my parents are flying in from India June to do this with us. FYI, we enjoy nature, hiking and sightseeing and would like to focus on wildlife viewing, glacier cruise, whale watching tours and adventure activities. My parents will be happy to explore the area if my husband and I decide to go on long hikes or go kayaking. We are not interested in fishing.
I have spent many hours researching TA forums and have come up with a tentative itinerary. We will by flying in and out of Anchorage where we will rent a SUV for the road trip.
We are considering travelling either June 21-July 6 or June 28-July 13. In your experience- is any one set of dates better than the other? We couldn’t decide which dates would be better (considering weather/ various boat excursions/ wildlife viewing and bear sighting…)?
Day 1: Arrive in Anchorage. Depending on the time we can either crash in a hotel or pick up the rental car, buy groceries and other supplies and head towards Girdwood.
Day 2 Girdwood: Visit Wildlife Conservation center Crow Creek Gold Mine, easy hike -Winner creek maybe
Day 3: Should we spend another day in Girdwood doing any/all of these: Bryon Glacier, Potter Marsh, Beluga Point, Portage Glacier? Or will be doing similar activities elsewhere?
Day 4 & 5: Drive to Whittier: Whale watching (Sound Eco) and Glacier Cruise (Major Marine), Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Day 6 and 7: Drive to Seward: Kenai Fjords National park tour (which tour company should we book the excursion with?) Exit Glacier, Harding Ice Field hike, Kayaking, Alaska Sea life center, Ididaride or Godwin Glacier sled dog tour
Day 8, 9 and 10: Homer? We are not interested in fishing.
Should we instead go to Silver Salmon Creek for bear watching?
OR Drive to Matanushke Glacier, ice trek with MICA guides, airboat to icebergs.
Day 11 and 12: Drive to Denali. Shuttle to wonder lake on both days, do short hikes, picnic in the park. We plan on staying in Healy over night.
Day 13: Drive to Talkeetna for a flightseeing trip
Is this too ambitious? Are we staying at any one place for too long? I am not sure that this is the best route- I would appreciate any suggested changes. Also, please recommend hikes/excursions/activities that we can include or skip. Is there a best glacier cruise or whale watching trip? Where should we go to view bears?
I hope to book our flights and a rental car by the end of this week. How quickly do I need to book all the excursions? Also, 3 of us are vegetarian. Is it difficult to find vegetarian food in Alaska?
I appreciate any help I can get planning this trip and thanks for all the information on the forums! I have used TA in the past extensively to plan trips to Toronto, Niagara, Barcelona and Chicago. Thank you all.