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Short 5-day Alaska trip

Chicago, Illinois
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Short 5-day Alaska trip

Hi all,

First off, I know a 5-day trip is extremely short and not ideal, but that was all we could do, so please understand that. My girlfriend and I (both mid-20s) will be traveling with her mom, who is in her mid-50s. So we'd obviously like to do some active things, observe the wilds, etc, but not something extremely strenuous that the mom wouldn't be able to handle.

We will be going in late May, arriving in Anchorage on Friday night and leaving on Wednesday late at night, which leaves us 5 full days.

I've read a bit on the basic destinations, but will keep that to myself to not induce any bias and let you guys suggest. Thanks!

USA
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1. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

Welcome to TA, Boonger!

What date exactly in May, as that will make a significant difference that time of year?

Are your flights booked?

Sorry, but we all would rather hear what YOU have found interesting in your research, so don't keep that to yourself LOL. What are your interests? Your mom's? Your girlfriend's?

Wasilla, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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2. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

So you'll probably spend the first night in Anchorage after you land.

You'll want a rental car for maximum flexibility.

Five days are tight. You could do a day up to Denali, a day in Denali and then a day back to Anchorage. On day 4 head to Seward, overnight there and be back in Anchorage in time for your flight.

Denali is great, but with only 5 days it may be more driving than you want.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

It will be May 23-28. Why would that make a significant difference?

So I've heard a lot of good things about Denali, but I thought that we could maybe leave that for some other time since it will be a bit too time consuming. With that in mind, we thought that maybe just going around the Kenai-Seward-Homer area would be sufficient since they are all not too far apart and we would get to see a lot more than just spending a day in Denali.

We'd like to see various things, wildlife, glaciers, and so some activities, but I am not sure what exactly we want to do or are available for us to do just yet. So again, open to all suggestions! :)

USA
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4. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

The shuttle buses into Denali do not start until May 20th, thus the question.

Friday Anchorage overnight

Sat

Sun

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday Late flight out of Anchorage

If you do decide to do Homer & Seward, we always recommend Seward last, as that is a shorter trip to Anchorage & airport.

USA
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5. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

Here's some ideas for you all to research for things to do around Homer:

www.alaska.org/destination/homer/things-to-do

And ideas for Seward:

alaska.org/destination/seward/things-to-do

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

Thanks!

I think we will be sticking with the Kenai Peninsula then. Below is my 1st draft of the plan... could I get some input please? I am getting the activities from very standard websites, so if there is something else I should be doing in Homer or Seward, please let me know...

Also, which reservations should we be making ahead of time (hotels, car rental, cruises, tours, trips, etc.) and which, if any, do we not need prior planning and reservation for?

Friday night: Arrive late and sleep in Anchorage

Saturday: Explore Anchorage a bit and all-day drive to Homer.

Stop at Turnagain, Girdwood (tram up to mountain?), and Portage lake (glaciers?), Alaska Wildlife Conservation. Arrive in Homer in the evening and O/N.

Sunday: Homer activities (Spit?, Charter?, need recommendations)

O/N at Homer

Monday: Leave Homer for Seward, Any stops I should make? Skilak Lake Rd?

Afternoon at Seward: Sealife Center, Exit Glacier, etc.

O/N at Seward

Tuesday: Seward activities (Fjord Cruise, maybe hike mt. marathon’s easy route, etc.)

O/N at Seward.

Wednesday: Leave Seward early, to Whittier for a glacier cruise / Prince William Sound, and catch flight in Anchorage at 11pm...

How does that sound...? Ah, and where might we see: salmon, bears, whales?, considering this is late May, would that be less likely?

Lastly, is there much at the city of Kenai itself, should we skip that if theres not much?

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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7. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

Book your car today - they get very expensive in Alaska during our short tourist season.

You will want your lodging booked soon - there aren't motel 6's to find on your way . . .

Skip Kenai. :)

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

Just booked the car :). I cant really book the lodges till I cement my schedule I guess, so I'll do that ASAP. What about the Fjord cruises, can I wait till I know if the weather will be accommodating, or will they get full?

I am also starting to worry about the last day, with the 26 glacier/PWS cruise ending at 5:30 pm, will I be safe for a 11pm flight? And if I take the 6 or 9 hour Fjord cruises, will the cruise out of Whittier be redundant?

Anchorage, Alaska
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9. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

Too early to see salmon.

Bears most likely would be in Denali (I don't think anybody will be running "bear viewing" tours/flights). Stop at AK Wildlife Conservation Ctr for wildlife (see: http://www.alaskawildlife.org/ )

Whales, best bet would be day cruises out of Seward.

Glaciers, best are day cruises out of Whittier.

Hiking Marathon (easy route), still likely yo have snow on it.

With the amount of driving you are doing in a short time, don't stop in Kenai.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Short 5-day Alaska trip

After looking through more posts, from other 5-day trips throughout the years on TA, I don't really see Homer in the itinerary much. We will NOT be doing any fishing, so Homer will probably be kayaking at Gull Island, Spit, and the town itself. With this, I am doubting my previous plan and thinking if we should spend more time around Anchorage/Girdwood rather than Homer? From my initial research, Homer just seemed like a somewhat iconic place in Kenai what I should be going to...