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Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

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Dallas
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Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

My husband and I are mid 30s and are planning a trip to alaska the summer of 2014. We don't have enough time to do a full cruise tour that would include a 7 day cruise plus land tour but we are planning to do an open jaw air flight that would allow us to cut down on some of the place to place traveling so that we can see more sights. We like adventure and to see unique places. Would like to go to denali park for one or two days, see Alaska countryside , possibly do a short cruise/ferry trip and include anything else that Alaska is known for. Possible itinerary right now is to fly into Fairbanks - spend several days around that area and then head to skagway and Juneau for a few days at each and then fly out of Juneau . How should we get from Fairbanks to Skagway ? Is there a 3 day cruise/ ferry we can take from Skagway to Fairbanks?

Healy, Alaska
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1. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

So how much time do you have - number of days total? Any particular thing you are hoping to see and do? Perhaps tell us a bit why you have picked Fairbanks, Skagway & Juneau . . . thanks!

fti
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2. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

Yes more info would be good. You will need about 10 days to do what you are looking at doing and a lot of that time will be spent "in transit."

Also, I think the first thing you need to do is to look at a map. Fairbanks is land locked so you can't take any boat between SE Alaska and Fairbanks.

haines, alaska
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3. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

Wow, time for that handy, dandy map..........welcome to the forum sptravel.......

The only way to get from Fairbanks to Skagway is to fly from Fairbanks to Juneau and then ferry from Juneau to Skagway (or maybe fly on one of the small regularly scheduled planes from Juneau to Skagway)..........

Oh there is another way, but it involves a 16 hour drive from Fairbanks through the Yukon Territory, crossing a bit of British Columbia before dropping down to Skagway......doable if you had your own car maybe, but not a real practical solution if you are renting a car.......

Thanks for the chuckle, thinking about "Fairbanks by the Sea" LOL........

Edited: 24 September 2013, 02:15
anchorage, ak
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4. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

haha, being an Alaskan I thought the same thing seeing Fairbanks-Skagway being the first plan of action. I've spent a lot of time in Fairbanks, and (no offense to anyone living there) i'd say spend your money and time in Anchorage instead- where there is plenty of day trips involving things you'd see on a cruise (glaciers, etc) as well as the outdoor/animal potential. You make a trip to Denali still (although the drive is longer from Anchorage) seeing the countryside along the way, or if you're not going to hike in denali, you can still get great views of the mountain from Talkeetna. Plus, starting from Anchorage you can take the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) from just an hour south out of Whittier. It'll probably save you money flying in/out of ANC. hope this helps!

Dallas
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5. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

Thx for the input - I'm well aware that Fairbanks is no where near the water. We always plan all of our trips based on reading guided tour packages first and then making our own travel plans so that we can travel on our own time schedule. I got the Fairbanks to Juneau idea from a tour that HAL offers as a cruise tour. They start in Vancouver - take a 3 day tour up the inside passage embarking in Juneau and then taking a combination of train/bus to Dawson City and then to Fairbanks and Denali before they end the tour in Anchorage. Since most of the tours seem to use Anchorage and Vancouver only has starting/ending points we were going to eliminate those from our trip and just fly straight into Fairbanks and out of Juneau. We are using airline miles /otherwise those airline connections would be very expensive. The reason we want to go to Fairbanks is that it looked like it was the closest place to fly into to visit Denali and we also want to take a tour to the artic circle. I'm guessing 3-4 days in Denali and Fairbanks should be plenty so we wanted to add one more main stop to our trip. The part I left out is we were thinking about flying from Fairbanks to Whitehorse and then taking the train from Frasier to Skagway just to see more of the Alaska landscape, but from the comments above it sounds like the bus/train ride is a long way to Skagway so we might fly from Fairbanks to Juneau to save time. The purpose of going to Juneau and Skagway was to explore the glaciers, and enjoy that area of Alaska. Our travel style is to go non stop - see as much as possible and then rest when we get back home.

haines, alaska
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6. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

Yes, flying from Fairbanks to Whitehorse then bus/train to Skagway would be a good option......compare that flight cost to the flight cost to Juneau from Fairbanks.......it would be interesting.......it would definitely be more direct as it works with your other plans...... You would need to book with Alaska Air to Juneau as it is the only major airline that flies there.....

After Skagway it would be quite easy to catch the ferry as walk on passengers with no advance reservations........try to arrange a day running ferry to enjoy the scenery and maybe have a chance at seeing whales........

Or, if you have a few extra days you could ferry from Skagway over here to Haines, either on the AMH ferry or the Chilkat Guides fast ferry which runs several times a day during the summer.....Glacier Bay National Park is just over mountain from Haines and there are regularly scheduled flights there every day, as well as flightseeing tours to see it from the air......you could even land and stay in Glacier Bay and.then catch the AMH ferry onto Juneau from there, if you time it right.......the ferry goes to Gustavus/Glacier Bay twice a week during the summer.....

fti
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7. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

Trying to come close to replicating the HAL cruisetour you mentioned is extremely difficult. That is one of the few cruisetours I would recommend if someone is truly interested in exploring that route. The main reason that cruisetour works is because it is so hard to replicate on one's own.

It was hard for us to know you realized you couldn't use a boat to get from Fairbanks when you said, " Is there a 3 day cruise/ ferry we can take from Skagway to Fairbanks?" Cruise/ferry to me and most people means boat.

In any case, unless you had 3 weeks I would not try to split up your time like you are doing. You will be spending a lot of your time in transit and see more of Alaskan roads, planes and boats than you will of Alaska.

haines, alaska
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8. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

I have traveled the Fairbanks to Whitehorse route by road many, many times.........and if really need to devote a lot of time by having your own vehicle and the flexibility to stop often.......if you must decide between a bus tour and a direct flight, the obvious choice to me would be to fly........I have seen quite of few of those buses along the route and the folks do not look like they are enjoying spending so many hours each day on a bus.......I think you have made the best choice by planning your trip on your own.......but as FTI points out, 7 days is really not enough time to do this type trip......

Do return to this topic when you have your itinerary........you have some interesting ideas that may help others looking for this type of trip......

Lake Tahoe...
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9. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

I think you read the HAL tour description wrong. The land tour begins in Skagway and not Juneau. Your ship continues on to Seward after that. Personally, that would not be for me as you will miss Glacier Bay, one of the main reasons of including Southeast Alaska in the first place. And, most of that land portion is spent in a bus, and unless you have the front seat, you cannot see what you can see from your own (or rented) car. I guess I was never a fan of busses.

Dallas
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10. Re: Fairbanks to Juneau - need input

We have relooked at our schedule and are going to target two main "areas" to visit and would love all of your input. We are planning to start our vacation by flying straight to Fairbanks and staying 3-4 nights. While we are "inland" we plan to enjoy Denali NP 1-2 days and then explore the area directly around Fairbanks. Then we will fly from Fairbanks to Juneau and plan to spend 4-5 nights in that region to explore the "coastal" part of Alaska. Input for this part of the trip is needed - the goal is to explore a different part of Alaska from the inland Alaska. . We will then fly back to Texas from Juneau.

mombear - Here is what I think you have suggested - day ferry from Juneau to Skagway, then take the ferry from Skagway to Haines via the AMH ferry or the Chilkat Guides fast ferry. Then from Haines visit Glacier Bay National Park and then take the AMH ferry back to Juneau - is that correct? We do like the plan - How many days of my schedule should I allow for that itinerary? Should I spend time in Juneau before the ferry trip or at the end before we fly back to the lower 48?