I’m starting to plan a trip to Alaska in late July/early August, for a family of 4, our two children aged 14 and 11. We plan to aside 10 days for the trip. We’re most interested in wildlife (land and sea), seeing glaciers, Denali, and something coastal. If it were not too difficult, also to see the Northern lights. We are less interested in cities. We would most enjoy an independent, self guided tour for most of it, but are open to suggestions for boating tours or Alaskan Railroad or flightviewing. We love to hike, as we did in Yellowstone, but would not consider ourselves as serious hikers.
I’ve always planned my own trips and enjoy doing the research but I need help with this one especially getting around between places like Anchorage/Seward/Denali. We will probably rent a car for part of the trip and I'm confused how to manage getting a car/drop off between all the different areas, especially if part of the trip involves railroad. We would enjoy scenic drives but prefer not to spend all day driving either.
I would appreciate your recommendations for
1) 10 day itinerary including Denali, glaciers, wildlife viewing sea and land, possibily including northern lights
2) Practical booking tips for transportation.
3) Is it Ok to hike independently in Denali, or is it really best to do a guided tour?