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Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

Michigan
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Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

We are taking a quick trip to Anchorage flying in on July 2 and out on the 7th.

Please help with itinery! We love to go-go-go on vacation, so we are good with long days!

----July 2nd - arrive 5ish and check into anchorage hotel. (midtown?)

----July 3rd - take a glacier cruise of some sort. I saw one cruise that is 9 hours in PWS and you are supposed to see 26 glaciers. (sound ok?) - then stay the night in anchorage again?

----July 4th - 1/2 day fishing trip thru akfisherman's choice. I think in the upper Susitna River OR Talkeetna - not really sure where it will be. Would like to then head to Denali - but not sure where to book a hotel at!

----July 5th - Something in Denali - same hotel

----July 6th - Sightseeing in Denali- head back to Anchorage

----July 7th - leave early morning.

Suggestions welcome! Thanks in advance!

fti
MN
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1. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

Welcome to the forum.

Honestly, I really hate replying to people like you who like to "go, go, go" because usually no matter what we say, the poster doesn't usually care and does what they want anyway. Multiple regular posters discouraged another poster from adding Homer to their itinerary for example (just too much in 8 or 9 days). But they insisted, and are trying to fit into a half day what really will only be a full day tour. But I couldn't resist responding anyway. Plus, your itinerary sounds more reasonable!

For July 3, I prefer the Major Marine Surprise Glacier trip. They spend more time at one glacier waiting for it to calve than the 26 Glacier tour that is rather hurried trying to point out 26 glaciers. Also, recently there was a 2-for-1 coupon for the Major Marine tour (search the forum for KTUU or Major Marine to try and find it).

Can you post a link to the akfishermanschoice tour you are looking at? In any case, it looks like you will be starting in Houston, Willow or Talkeetna based on the "driving directions" they post. If your fishing tour is finished by the afternoon I would then drive to Denali. If it is not finished until the evening, the drive to Denali could be 4 hours plus construction stops, so it could be a very long day. I would find out before you pay a deposit exactly what you are buying for the fishing trip. I would want to know where we are fishing (at least which couple of options), what type of fishing, which kind(s) of fish, catch and release or not, etc, etc. I don't book tours unless I know what I am buying.

What kind of lodging are you looking for near Denali? You can check the Denali Chamber website but one of our local experts can also help you. Can you expound on who is "we" and what you are looking for in your lodging (amenities, price range, etc)? Also, don't just say "medium price" since medium is $50 to one person and $500 to another. A specific dollar range is best. Also if "we" includes kids, what are their ages?

For July 5th you really need to book a shuttle bus into the park. I suggest you book to Wonder Lake but you can always get off earlier at Eielson and turn around. If you don't take a shuttle bus into the park, you need to reconsider going to Denali at all - the best things to see are nowhere near the entrance. Yes, it sounds like a long day on a converted school bus. But in reality the time goes very fast. Plus, you can get off the bus to hike on the tundra, which is a great experience.

July 6 you can explore the entrance area - visitor center film and exhibits, WAC film, sleddog demo, maybe drive the first 15 miles of the road, Mt. Healy Overlook hike, rafting, etc. Be on the road by early to mid afternoon at the latest. Normally it is a 5 hour drive, but there will be more construction delays next summer than usual. Plus, if you want to stop for photos if Mt. McKinley is out, etc. it will take longer.

Be at the airport 2 hours before departure for your check in and car rental return.

Michigan
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2. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

Thank you very much for responding... even if we are the go-go-go types! lol

We are myself & husband and 18 year old son. We will be sharing a room (2 doubles) so as to not need 2 rooms and save some $$.. I am not sure what you get for hotel for the money. I found the hotels in Anchorage to be expensive! I guess around $150-$200 would be reasonable in the Denali area, but I am not sure if that is do-able. Hotels.com did not really have much, but I am not sure what city to type in. I will look at the Denali Chamber website.

Not stuck on the fishing trip with that specific provider - but found the link on this site and it sounded more reasonably priced at $120 for 1/2 day fishing than a lot of the other much more expensive trips. My son really wants to fish while we are there, and is willing to fish for whatever is hot at that time of year. I called them earlier today, but have not heard back since it is only 8AM there now. This is the site.

akfishermanschoice.com/Alaska-River-Fishing.…

I appreciate the feedback on the glaciers! The one you suggest is much more reasonably priced so we will probably do that one!

Where could we do 4-wheeler tour? Can we do that in Denali? Maybe on the 6th. Any providers you suggest? where would we book a shuttle bus into the park for Denali?

Sorry for all the questions!

We each got to choose 1 thing to do so I want to make sure we have it covered. The Denali bus would be a bonus!

me - glaciers

hubby - 4 wheelers

son - fishing

Lake Tahoe...
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3. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

Don't forget July 4 is a Friday making a long weekend for the locals here

Wasilla, Alaska
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4. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

I'm not familiar with the fishing charter you mentioned. I am familiar with Pat at iFishAlaska and I know he's excellent at what he does: www.ifishalaska.com/salmon-fishing-prices/

For ATV's at Denali: http://www.denaliatv.com/

For Denali buses: www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/shuttles.htm

Your plan is definitely aggressive, but it looks doable. Enjoy!

fti
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5. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

Note that the ATV tours at Denali do not go into the actual park. You stay on the outskirts of the park.

Healy, Alaska
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6. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

Look beyond hotels - cabins, B&B's, etc. Many of those work better for a family anyhow. check the Denali chamber page and I am happy to help make recommendations.

I would book the shuttle bus for one, if not two days. You might look into doing a raft trip - I would bet your 18 yr old would love that - I always recommend Denali Outdoor center for that activity. :)

Michigan
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7. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

Thanks for all the tips! I think we will do:

-----July 2 - stay in Anchorge

-----July 3 - Surprise Glacier with majormarine.com - Then drive to Deschka landing or whittier for hotel room

-----July 4 - do fishing with ifishalaska - 5:30 AM trip - Then drive to Denali - Need Lodging --CAN't seem to find lodging available without calling everyone in the list. Nothing on hotels.com - any idea on what city I should type in for the hotels/B&Bs? It is much easier than calling or emailing everyone.

----July 5 - do the shuttle bus tour --- need lodging around Denali

----July 6 - Try to get the ATV trip - drive to Anchorage for hotel

--- July 7 - fly home.

Wasilla, Alaska
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8. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

"Then drive to Deschka landing or whittier for hotel room"

Huh? I don't believe there's any lodging near Deska Landing, and there's only one place in Whittier.

If you are trying to stay north of Anchorage, Wasilla would be your best bet. Pioneer Ridge B&B has a great view. http://www.pioneerridge.com/

I've heard good things about both of these places in Healy: www.alaskabba.com/cities/display-city-21.php

Duluth, Minnesota
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9. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

I would advise you to pass on fishermans choice. Sorry, we can't really go into specifics on here, but i'd look elsewhere. Perhaps the recommendation you were given on this thread by AStafford.

Edited: 03 March 2014, 22:38
Michigan
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10. Re: Alaskan newbie - quick trip to Anchorage

Thank you for all your help! I think I have most worked! Couldn't have done it without you!

1 night anchorage - Aspen Suites - Surprise glacier cruise with major marine!

1 night - Deshka Landing Lodge - (deshka.com) recommended by Pat from ifishalaska. - morning fishing

2 nights Denali Lakeview Inn - 1 day tour on bus plus ATV tour next day (haven't booked either of these yet.

1 night Anchorage - Faifield Inn - leave next morning

I mixed up Whittier (the place we are taking cruise from) with Wasilla (near the fishing) in my earlier post, but there are cabins at Deshka Landing.

I did book ifishalaska instead of fisherman's choice. They did not even call or write back! Thanks for the warning!

About the bus - Do you get a chance to get off it? Should we do the tour or the shuttle? I am not sure what we would do on our own with the shuttle.

Edited: 07 March 2014, 09:13