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Alaska Feb/Mar 14

Birmingham, United...
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Alaska Feb/Mar 14

I shall be going to Alaska on 19th February and would like to spend one month there (although this is flexible) and have a budget of up to £3,000 excluding the one way flight to Anchorage. After the trip, I shall be going to Vancouver.

My initial plan was to do a trip around Alaska that starts and ends in Anchorage and then fly to Vancouver. However, I am wondering whether it would be better / possible to make my way down SE Alaska via ferry and into Canada this way?

I want to see as much as possible and would like to choose the best route that means I don't backtrack or waste money.

Thanks for your thoughts.

USA
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1. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

Welcome to TA-AK! It helps us help you if you can keep all your questions now here in your 1 thread.

This time frame is of course still winter. March 1-2 in Anchorage/Willow are the starts of the Iditarod sled dog race to Nome, a magnificent experience. However, lodging for that weekend is important.

We only use the ferry system in summer, so I'll leave your main question to others with winter ferry experience.

haines, alaska
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2. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

You would need to fly from Anchorage to Juneau, Sitka or Ketchikan in order to catch the ferry......winter ferry schedules so not run nearly as frequently during the winter months......Also note that they are sometimes canceled due to weather or mechanical problems, so you would need to allow enough time in your travel plans to be flexible......

fti
MN
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3. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

I would try to go to the Iditarod ceremonial start/restart mentioned. Maybe also go to Fairbanks for the Ice Art Championships and Denali the last weekend of February for the winter carnival.

Anchorage, Alaska
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4. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

I also highly recommend the Iditarod! There's the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage on March 1 and the "Re-start" as they call it (the actual start of the race) is in Willow on March 2, it's really an awesome experience getting to watch the teams head out on thier LONG journey north.

The Ice Art in Fairbanks gets another vote too, while in Fairbanks the Chena Hot Springs resort is a nice place to stay for a night or two, you may get a chance to see the Northern Lights while soaking in the outdoor hot springs.

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5. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

There's also the Fur Rondy festival in Anchorage when you arrive with ice carvings & lots of wild events like the running of the reindeer, world championship sled dog races, etc Feb. 21-March2:

http://www.furrondy.net

"Rondy... rendezvous, come on!"

Sorry, can't think of Fur Rondy without singing the ad song LOL.

Edited: 04 January 2014, 22:08
USA
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6. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

There's also the AK railroad WInter Train from Anchorage on Saturdays to Fairbanks, returning on Sundays.

Birmingham, United...
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7. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

Thanks for the tips!

I would like to experience Fur Rendezvous and the Iditarod but if I am coming on 19th Feb, 10+ days seems a long time in Anchorage.

Are you able to suggest any trips I can do so that I can return to Anchorage in time for Fur Rondy? Or do you think I would be better off coming a week later?

Thanks very much!

Chugiak, Alaska
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8. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

If you've got a month for Alaska in the Winter (and you are coming up at a good time), then yes, you can find plenty of things to do in Anchorage during Fur Rondy. There's an entire week of events and those events run into some of the Iditarod events like the musher's dinner on the Thursday night before the race (27th)

Check out the actual Fur Rondy schedule and you'll see how many options you have: furrondy.net/images/stories/2014_events/2014…

And that's just besides the normal Anchorage things there are to do in the Winter. We've got a list somewhere...

I would spend that week around here, maybe take an overnight trip to Seward in the middle of the week, but be aware, many things are shut down up here in the Winter, especially in the smaller towns. You could go down to Girdwood and go skiing at Alyeska (ski resort) as a good day trip if that's something you are into. There's dog sledding down in Seward, but you can do that near Denali National Park and in Fairbanks as well.

The tough part is going to be doing Rondy things one weekend, doing Iditarod things the next weekend and still managing to grab the train up to Fairbanks on a Saturday (the only day it goes north). I think a week in the Anchorage area from when you arrive until the Monday after the Iditarod start would be easy to find enough to do.

March 3- 7th (Monday- Friday) you could head down south, stay at Alyeska/Girdwood for a day and a night, then keep heading to Seward. Stay there a night or two - check out the Sea Life Center (the Encounter tours are awesome), go dog sledding with the Seaveys out to Exit Glacier, etc. Then, head back up to Anchorage. Grab the train on Saturday the 8th and stay up in Fairbanks for at least a few nights to give yourself some good chances to see the Northern Lights.

While I personally think there are better places to stay, Chena Hot Springs offers a lot of things to do, so you could spend a couple day trips out there doing some of their winter activities, or see about finding a place around Fairbanks that does snow machine tours. I personally think that'd be a lot of fun. You could then fly from Fairbanks to Juneau (through Anchorage) and have some time to check out some of the Southeast before heading down on the ferry. You'd just have to work the ferry schedule around that.

I'd rent a car in Anchorage and then another one in Fairbanks, but definitely wouldn't waste my time driving from Anchorage to F'banks in the Winter. The train is a great way to see scenery and actually enjoy seeing the mountains in the snow rather than having to concentrate on driving through them.

9. Re: Alaska Feb/Mar 14

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