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Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

Seattle, Washington
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Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

My husband and I will be flying in to Fairbanks very late on Friday, Jun 19th and leaving in the late afternoon on Wednesday, Jun 24th. We are seasoned travelers and think nothing of packing two weeks of sightseeing into a couple days. We also like going to weird, off-the-beaten-path kind of places but considering we don't have a lot of time we may need to focus on a "must see" list.

Here's the itinerary we are thinking about, but would appreciate ideas and feedback:

June 20 - Drive to the Arctic Circle, probably up to Gobbler's Knob. I know there's nothing to see other than a simple road sign, but it's just something we want to do.

June 21 - Hang around Fairbanks and go to the Midnight Sun Festival. Take a trip out to Chena Hot Springs and have a drink in the Ice Museum, maybe visit the dog kennels (we own Siberian Huskies).

June 22 - Morning in Fairbanks (gold mine? dog musher museum? need advice), then drive to Denali in the afternoon and stay at McKinley Chalet Resort.

June 23 - Denali Park. Take the shuttle to Eielson Visitor Center and back.

June 24 - Drive back to Fairbanks and fly out in the afternoon.

Destination Expert
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1. Re: Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

Welcome to the forum. Your initial comments had me wondering what itinerary you might have (Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks and Valdez in 4 days!). But your itinerary basically looks good. Some comments:

1. You need to rent a car from a local company in Fairbanks in order to drive to the Arctic Circle. And you need to be at least somewhat skilled in fixing flat tires and making car repairs in case something goes wrong. You can't call AAA :-). You might consider going with a company like Northern Alaska instead - they have either an all-road version or a fly-drive version. I would like to do the fly-drive version some day.

2. Find your lodging for Fairbanks NOW. The summer solstice is like a holiday in Fairbanks.

3. When in Denali, consider taking an early shuttle bus. The "odds" favor more wildlife sightings early or late in the day but you really never know. But also, taking an early shuttle will allow you to get off the bus and do some walking or light hiking. The bus driver this morning strongly encouraged the bus riders to get off for a while and catch another bus. I was very encouraged that the bus driver said that. And guess what? Probably 5-8 people got off the bus at the turnaround point.


Fairbanks, Alaska
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2. Re: Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

The drive to the Arctic Circle will be problematic with a normal rental car place. They wont let you take their cars up the Haul Rd. As previous poster said, get the specialized vehicle made to go to those locations.

Along with the Solstice Festival, make sure to go to the Midnight Sun Baseball game. Even if you are not a baseball fan, it is so much fun. Everyone has a great time.



Since the Goldpanners are the farthest north baseball club on the face of the earth, where in summer the sun rarely stops shining, the team annually takes advantage of its unique geographic location by staging the patented Midnight Sun Baseball Game.

With Fairbanks a mere 160 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the sun is just beginning to set in the north as the game gets under way and, at its conclusion some three hours later, the sun begins to rise again - also in the north.

It is a phenomenon ever so rare.

Each June 20, 21, 22, each equal in time as the longest day of the year (with a full 24 hours of daylight in the vast Tanana Valley), the Panners begin their widely acclaimed contest at 10:30 p.m. The game continues straight through the hour of midnight and often lasts as late as 2 a.m.

Never once has artificial lighting been used for this unique event, and never has the game been postponed or delayed because of darkness.

The "high noon at midnight" classic, as best can be determined, originated in Fairbanks in 1906. Every year since it has become a ritual to play the game on the solstice.


June 22, I recomend going on the Riverboat Discovery. It's a couple of hours and gives a nice look and description of the Interior.


You can also go check out the Yukon Quest office in the log cabin down town (used to be the visitor's center)

And yes, you need to book now. Solstice is a very active time for us.

Have a great time and make sure to come back here and tell us all about it.

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3. Re: Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

Another option for the 22nd is to head down to Denali and do some of the entrance activities: dog sled demo, walk at Savage River Loop to which you can drive your vehicle, visitors' center, science center, etc.

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

Thanks for the help - my travel arrangements are now booked, including a car that is haul-road approved. :)

BTW, do I need to buy tickets for the baseball game far in advance, or is it okay to buy once we get up there?

If anyone has other recommendations I'd love to hear them!

Fairbanks, Alaska
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5. Re: Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

You PROBABLY will be able to get them when you get here. Just go a bit early. Have a great time on the Haul Road.

Wheatland, Wyoming
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6. Re: Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

The Dalton Highway is not a bad drive, not the horror so many claim. Most of it is paved through to Coldfoot(but there are some good potholes).

Get a Milepost Guide at a store in Fairbanks. Fred Meyer or WalMart have them (along with the best souvenir prices). The Milepost will tell you what you are seeing as you travel and give info on businesses and attractions on the road and in town.

I might suggest a drive to Chatanika instead of Chena Hot Springs. The springs are 56 miles one way and flat, Chatanika is at 29 mile Steese Highway going over Cleary Summit. Better scenery, the Chatanika Lodge(actual gold dredge across the road) and the Old F.E. Goldcamp are good stops with much hospitality and great food. They should also have rooms at a really good rate for this area.

In Fairbanks the best spots are the El Dorado Gold Mine, the Riverboat Discovery, the Alaska Salmon Bake/Pioneer Park and the UAF Museum.

There is a lot to see, a short time to do it. Get the Milepost first thing and lay out your route and locations. It is possible to see and do much in a short time if organized. Have a great time.

We are flying 2 grandkids in for 6 weeks on June 27 and we will be doing all the "tourist " things with them. They are still fun to do.

7. Re: Jun 20-24: Need itinerary help!

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