We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
4 posts
16 reviews
Save Topic
Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

Hello. I'm trying to get info on a good itinerary for 5 days in mid/late September.

We arrive in Anchorage airport at 7:00 pm on September 13, and depart from Whittier on a cruise to Vancouver on September 18. So roughly 5 days, but we have to consider the commute to Whittier for an arrival time of 4:00 or 5:00 pm.

We are renting a car in Anchorage.

I'm trying to figure out how to do Seward, Kenai National Park and Homer in 4 1/2 days.

We are planning to do some wildlife/glaciar cruise, all day if still offered. Also, if available at that time of the year, some kayaking. Other than that, everything is still to be decided.

I would like suggestions regarding driving that late in the season, and whether doing Seward, cruise and Homer and back to Whittier by 4:00 pm in 5 days is realistic, or should can Homer.

Any info/advise will be appreciated.

USA
Level Contributor
9,465 posts
44 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

Welcome to TA-AK!

Where are you turning in your rental car?

Edited: 29 June 2013, 02:30
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
4 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

I think we are returning the car back to Anchorage because I read is too expensive to return it to Whittier. Guess we'll take a bus from Anchorage to Whittier.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,519 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

Who is "we"? It might or might not be a good idea to rent a one-way car from Anchorage to Whittier. The more people you have, the better the per-person price will be. Figure $200-$250 one way plus gas for one day.

Unfortunately many tourist type activities start to shut down by that time in September.

I am eyeing that Sep 18th cruise if the price drops enough to get myself down to the lower 48 on my way back from a trip to Denali NP.

For you, though, you might consider picking up a rental car either the evening of Sep 13 or the morning of Sep 14 (if you pick up on Sep 14, you have some off-airport options that might or might not be a better deal).

What interests you about Homer or Seward? You could easily spend 3 nights in either place and that would be my suggestion vs. trying to split your time between the two. If you took the drive to Homer from Anchorage, figure a 4 hour drive plus stops. So you arrive on Sep 14 in the afternoon. That gives you two full days for activities (Sep 15/16) before driving back to Anchorage on Sep 17 then taking the train or a shuttle from Anchorage to Whittier.

If you went to Seward, you could have a similar plan. Sep 14 to Seward. Lots to do in Seward too. Sep 15/16 you could do the Kenai Fjords tour one day, maybe kayaking or hiking the other day before returning to Anchorage Sep 17.

In either case, take your time on the way south of Anchorage on Sep 14 with lots of pullouts and activities.

Another option is to return to Girdwood the night of Sep 17. Then drop the luggage and everyone but the driver at the cruise terminal. Just the driver return to Anchorage to return the car and take a shuttle or the train to Whittier.

I checked the car rental rates and it is quite a bit more to use Avis for the entire time and drop in Whittier (about $680 for 5 days) vs. about $180 for 4 days and drop with another company back in Anchorage. I would be hard-pressed to spend $500 more just to return to Whittier. However, you did that, you would "buy" yourselves an extra day. Still probably not worth the cost, but perhaps it would be to you. You could then spend 2 nights each in Homer (Sep 14/15) and Seward (Sep 16/17). You really don't need to get to Whittier until the 4.30pm or 5.30pm tunnel. Sailaway is something like 8.30pm, which means you need to be on board by 7pm I think.

Edited: 29 June 2013, 04:19
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
4 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

Thank you FTI,

"we" is my wife and I. Both active, fit, and in our early 50s.

I'm planning to rent and return the car in Anchorage, and then bus to Whittier.

I think I'll follow your advise as follows:

Sept 13th evening rent a car in Anchorage airport and drive to ??? to spend the night (any suggestions?).

Sept 14th slow drive to Seward or Homer and stay there until the 18th.

Either stay 4 nights in one place, or split two nights on each Seward and Homer (suggestions?)

Leave the 18th early in the AM, drive to Anchorage, return the car, and bus to Whittier, trying to be there by 5:00 pm.

I'm hoping to be able to do a day cruise to see wildlife and glaciers, some hiking, and if possible kayaking around glaciers. Some bear watching would be awesome as well. I just hope we are not too late in the season to do these things.

Regards.

Edited: 01 July 2013, 14:16
fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,519 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

Check out which tours and activities are still open before booking lodging.

I would be VERY uncomfortable driving from Homer to Anchorage then taking a bus the day of your cruise departure. I guess you are a risk taker which I am not.

Also check the bus and transfer options from Anchorage to Whittier that day. Some options might not operate that late in the season.

I trust you got a great deal on the cruise. Weather can be iffy that time of year combined with less light in September often make for less than ideal cruises.

Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
4 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

We are going that late in the season because I have to combine it with a conference in Vancouver right after the cruise. So, it is our only option. Didn't get a great price on the cruise, but not too bad.

I'm not that much of a risktaker! I guess it's more a lack of knowledge, as I've never been to Alaska before.

I thought that leaving Seward at 8:00 am will bring us to Anchorage at around 12:00, and then we have 5 hours to get to Whittier. Not a good plan? You seem to know the area well, so I'll take your advise.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
15,519 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

Leaving Seward at 8am is probably fine. But your next to last post still mentioned Homer. I would never attempt it from Homer.

I might rent from Avis even if it cost more. That at least gives you an option to return in Whittier if there is a major accident on the way from Seward.

Lake Tahoe...
Level Contributor
9,260 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

Homer is around 175 miles from Seward. After Labor Day, many activities begin to shut down here. But, that is no reason not to come to Homer. BTW we have never heard of Kenai National Park. Perhaps you mean Kenai Fjords NP? Too bad you couldn't have booked an earlier cruise as Princess has some good rates. We are sailing on the Diamond August 24th and returning on the Island September 2nd. And our southbound cruise is cheaper than our return cruise.

As for lodging in Homer there are some B&Bs with good views of Kachemak Bay. When we used to visit Homer we liked Land's End Resort, which can be expensive. However, we don't visit Homer any more. As for Bear Watching tours mid-September is getting late in the season. Bald Mountain Air has a good description on their website. Alaskan Coastal studies should still be operating and is a neat trip over to Peterson Bay if you like tidepooling. We did it last year and enjoyed it. You can easily spend five days touring the Kenai Peninsula and not run out of things to do.

Edited: 02 July 2013, 17:00
9. Re: Kenai, Seward, Homer in Mid September

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 16 March 2015, 03:19