We are going to Alaska next August and will be spending 2-3 full days in Haines; we will be flying in and out of the area. On one day we want to just drive around Haines, go lake kayaking, relax and similar.
Option A for the remaining two days was:
Day 1: Drive Haines highway to Lake Kathleen, make lots of stops to hike, etc...
Day 2: Take Ferry to Skagway. While in Skagway either take train to Whitepass and back, or rent a car and drive to Emerald Lake. Train is simpler, but renting a car gives us more solitude (no crowds) and flexibility
This has the advantage that we stay in the same place all 4 nights. Disadvantage is that we have to adhere to the ferry schedule (last ferry back is 6pm) and either have 2 cars rented one day or pay for train. Also, each day we have to backtrack back to our starting point. Looked into car ferry and can't fit their schedule into ours.
Spend 1-2 days driving from Haines to Skagway (assuming we can rent our Avis car in Haines & return it in Skagway). This has the advantage that there is no backtracking, but we will be changing hotels each night which is always a hassle. But, another advantage is we have the option of covering everything in one day (leaving it open for other adventures either in this area or elsewhere on our itinerary), or spending two days (staying night in Whitehorse) and also seeing some of Skagway.
What are the highlights on the route, vista points, hikes, general tourist attractions, interesting towns?
Can this be done in one day and see a decent amount of the sights?