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Independent travel thru inside passage

Massachusetts
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Independent travel thru inside passage

I have come to the conclusion that I'll enjoy my vacation to Alaska better by not being on a large cruise ship. I now need help with logistics. I plan on flying in to Juneau at the end of June for 10 days with my mother (66), 3 children (7, 9, 11) and husband. The Silverbow Inn looks like a decent place to stay but does anyone have a better idea?

Also can anyone recommend a feasible itinerary using the AMHS?

I hope to go to Skagway and Petersburg as well and do not necessarily need to fly back out of Juneau. Should I trade out Petersburg for Glacier Bay National Park? The kayaking sounds incredible there. Our kids are excellent travelers (the lucky ducks were in Guatamala a couple of years ago) so they will not be a problem.

Thank you for any and all advice.

Skagway, Alaska
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1. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

Hi snd welcome to adventure,

I do not know the Silverbow Inn so maybe someone from Juneau can help with that one. Also, Glacier Bay would have to be a side trip' which is best booked out of Juneau, since the AMH does not go into GB.

The good news is that you might consider taking a trip on the ferry to come up to Skagway and catching the one which goes thru Sitka, southbound and then travel all of the way back down to Bellingham with stops in Petersburg,Wrangel, Ketchikan and all of that lovely scenery along the way, just like the cruisees get to see!

Consider a stateroom for a couple of you and let the kids camp out on the solarium deck in their sleeping bags. Most kids consider this high adventure and it would be quite safe if one adult could rotate duty on the deck with the kids! That way you could arrange to fly home out of Seattle and save some airfare!

Also, this way you can stay overnite at some of the stops and there is no penalty for taking the next ferry. Check with the AMHS to see if this is feasible. DD

Massachusetts
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2. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

Dbigfoot - Thank you for the quick reply. Given I only have 10 days there, I thought that stopping at 3 and at the most 4 towns would be sufficient. There seems to be a bunch of things to do and I want to relax and appreciate them all rather than being on the ferry the whole time. So does anyone have a suggestion of the must see towns?

I thought I'd make a day trip to Glacier Bay from Skagway after doing the Whitepass and maybe some horseback riding. Is that possible or should I book that portion out of Juneau? Also any advice on the Days of '98 show? We may have been to something similar at the OK Corral in AZ and it wasn't exactly child friendly....Thanks again!

Skagway, Alaska
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3. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

Glacier Bay is best booked out of Juneau.

The Days of 98 Show is one of our local treasures....(continuous show for many years) and if you are worried about the kids, let me say that they are subject to much more raunch in an evening of TV than this show. It is more of a spoof than any risque! I think that you will love it!

You will also love the Whitepass RR. Wait to book this while you are here and then you can take it at the most optimum time for weather and also sometimes they give a little discount on the 430 train if you book at the station! Happy travels and we will help with your plans, if we can. DD

haines, alaska
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4. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

I have not stayed at the Silverbow but have stayed at the Extended Stay Suites near the airport.......they have a small indoor pool and hot tub that the kids may enjoy and complimentary breakfast (basically continental with a waffle maker)......

One thing to ask wherever you intend to stay is if they have a free shuttle from the airport or ferry terminal.....downtown Juneau is about 7 miles from the airport and about 11 miles from the ferry....

Another very nice place to stay is Grandma's Feather Bed......Very nice rooms and free (anything on the menu) hot breakfast.....

Both of the above have free shuttle service with scheduled downtown routes as well.......

Here is one itenerary that you may be interested in......

Fly into Juneau (stay 2 or 3 nights)

Take AMH Ferry to Haines (stay 4 or 5 nights).....

While here in Haines you could:

1. fly to Glacier Bay (I believe they also have a fly and stay one night at the lodge package)......

2. Take Chilkat Guides Ferry from Haines to Skagway (runs round trip several times a day and you can include the train trip along with the round trip boat trip for about $100 ea total (adult fair).....

3. Rent bikes and ride along the quiet streets that border both the Chilkat River and the Lynn Canal

4. Rent a car and drive to Chilkoot State Park for fishing and bear viewing.

5. Drive out to the Eagle Preserve. Although thousands of eagles congregate here in the winter, you are sure to see a few in the summer.......Last summer I was reeling in a salmon and one swooped down and grabbed it....after a little tug of war, I released "his" salmon and turned it over to him.....

6. Take a rafting or jet boat tour on the upper Chilkat River.

7. Kids would absolutely love Steve Kroschel's animal park. He trains animals for movies and has made his home into a wild animal park. Very educational, lots of information and up close encounters for photo ops. He pays special attention to children.....my grandkids loved it.

8. Watch the Chilkat Dancers at Fort Seward. Great show for all and only $10.

Then after Juneau, Haines, Glacier Bay and Skagway you could take the marine ferry to Sitka stay there 2 more nights and fly home from there (Alaska Airlines south from Juneau, usually stops at Sitka on the way to Juneau).....

Massachusetts
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5. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

Thank you so much, mombear - this is exactly what I was looking for![

haines, alaska
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6. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

Mawondering

Oops I meant to say Alaska Air stops in Sitka on the way from Juneau to SEATTLE, no need to return to Juneau from Sitka....

Glad to see that my information is helpful to you.....

Traveling is a wonderful investment in a child's education.......they are truly "lucky ducks"......enjoy your travels !

Massachusetts
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7. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

Hi - I would love anyone's feedback on this itinerary. I am locked into my flights into and out of Juneau. I'm using frequent flyer miles and there is no availability to change my flights. With that said -

Day 1 - fly into Juneau. arrive around 1pm

Day 2 - leave at 8am and fly into Sitka. The Alaska Marine Ferry leaves at 3:30 to go up to Haines. I am disappointed to not spend more time in SItka but I don't see away around it given flight and ferry schedules.

Day 3 - arrive in Haines at 7:30am. *****Any ideas of what to do so early in the morning?****** Should we rent a car for a couple of days? Would like to see the Bald Eagle Preserve and maybe see Steve Kroschel's Park.

Day 4 - 4 hour river raft w/ Chilkat Guides. Watch Chilkat dancers.

Day 5 - Chilkat Guides Ferry from Haines to Skagway to do the train. ***I think the ferry runs at 6:30am, 11am and 5pm. Does anyone have an opinion as tho which ferry we should take up?*****

Day 6- fly to Glacier Bay and overnite at Glacier Bay Lodge

Day 7- ***Wondering whether we should sea kayak for a day around the Beradslee Islands or wait to do Tracy Arm out of Juneau.**** ferry back to Juneau

Day 8 - tour the AJ Gold Mine. check out Mendenhall

glacier.

Day 9 - considering a flightseeing/dogsled trip. ***Is this a huge tourist trip and really a once in a lifetime experence?*** Need to check my budget first. I think I've saved a ton by using frequent flyer miles and forgoing the big cruise ship.

Day 10 - fly out of Juneau Phew

Any changes or recommendations would be SO welcome! Thanks in advance.

haines, alaska
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8. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

Yes I would suggest you rent a car while in Haines......The Captain's Choice Motel rents cars......that will give you the most flexibility........Ask them to pick you up at the ferry the morning you arrive........then while you wait to check into your room you could take a self-guided walking tour of Fort Seward or check out our library (voted the best small town library in America !).......Definitely stop by the visitors center to find out the times for the raft trip and the animal park........The visitors center also has copies of all the menus of the restaurants in town....great way to preview prices and food choices.........

When you go to Skagway, try to take the earliest ferry there and the latest one back.....that will optimize your time in Skagway......

One thing about your itenerary puzzles me though.......flying to Sitka just to turn around and take the ferry out again in the afternoon ?......

If there is something specific that you want to see there, you may really be cutting it too short......That being said, the return trip on the ferry from Sitka back to Juneau and then on to Haines is incredible.....We saw many whales on that same trip a couple of years ago........

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9. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

Mombear -

The reason for the whacky Juneau/Sitka itinerary was the airlines inability to reroute my reservation because I was using frequent flyer miles. With 4 hours left until my reservation expired, I finally spoke to the right person who was able to reroute me. It's all about connecting to the right person sometimes, eh? Needless to say, I am quite happy with what I believe is the perfect itinerary. (I now have about 26 hours in Sitka rather than 6).

Regarding Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay - I read an old posting where someone felt each place was different enough and to go to both. Are there any thought on that? I'm no longer certain that I need to go to Glacier Bay.

Thanks for any advice -

haines, alaska
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10. Re: Independent travel thru inside passage

I'm so glad you will get to spend more time in Sitka........Be sure to walk through the Totem Park......it's very inspiring.....even if it's rainy, you must do it..........We have only been to Glacier Bay and really enjoyed the cruise there.......maybe someone who has done both can help you with deciding which to do........now you have the hard part done and I bet you are getting excited about your trip.....are you packed yet ??