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Bucket List Alaska

Philadelphia...
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Bucket List Alaska

2 semi active seniors full filling a Bucket List. First time to Alaska. Suggestions needed....... i know Alaska is huge and do not expect to see everything. We have a week and a few days. Where do we begin? Do we need a car or are the day trip tour companies sufficient. Would like to do a rail trip at some point. Looking at middle of April. Thank you for any help.

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Wasilla, Alaska
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1. Re: Bucket List Alaska

The middle of April is about a month before most of the traditional visitor activities kick off. The road into Denali National Park will still be closed and the train will not be running a full schedule.

Any chance you could delay your trip by 6 weeks to the beginning of June?

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2. Re: Bucket List Alaska

One option would be to focus on southeast alaska (Sitka, Ketchikan, Juneau, Glacier Bay National Park, Haines, Skagway, etc.). You can do this by taking a cruise or by flying and then taking a combination of ferries/seaplanes. You could easily fill your time here.

Another possibility is to head further north, fly into Anchorage, and do either a car rental (this would give you the most flexibility) or a combination of trains/buses. With your amount of time, the "average" visitor might do Denali National Park, Talkeetna (enroute to the park), Glacier View/Matanuska Glacier, then head down to Seward (train ride is beautiful from Anchorage but so is the drive around Turnagain Arm), do a full day boat trip out of Seward to Kenai Fjords National Park, and perhaps even drive further to Haines for a couple of nights. That would be a very full itinerary since you mentioned just over a week. We could pare it down a bit if necessary. Or completely change it/add some less visited areas of the state.

I listed all of the above since you didn't specifically say whether you were thinking about the Southeast vs further north/interior.

I think you'd have a much better experience overall if you could come June 1 or later or at least late May. One key thing to keep in mind is the transit bus schedule into Denali Natl Park. You can't actually drive very far into the park. So you must rely on either the shuttle buses or tour buses to take you on half or full day journeys to see scenery/wildlife and those won't even be operating in April.

Edited: 20 November 2017, 20:29
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3. Re: Bucket List Alaska

The Denali shuttles start operating May 20 as far as Toklat River at mile 53 of the 92 mile long Denali Park Road (it's essentially a dead end road that's 92 miles long). Then on June 1 shuttles operate as far as Eielson Visitor Center at mile 66, and the schedule progress until they run the entire 92 miles by around June 8.

There are also tour buses that operate: Tundra Wilderness Tour starts May 20 and Kantishna (end of highway) starts June 8. These are fully narrated and the shuttles in the above paragraph are often but not always narrated. I recommend the shuttles as they are less expensive.

But the bottom line is your trip will be incomplete if you can get very far into Denali.

Edited: 20 November 2017, 20:38
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4. Re: Bucket List Alaska

2 posts up I've got a big typo. Should have typed "Homer" and not "Haines". Haines is nowhere near Seward and you can't drive!

Anchorage, Alaska
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5. Re: Bucket List Alaska

Can you change your dates? Mid April is probably the last time-frame I'd recommend for someone to come.

Healy, Alaska
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6. Re: Bucket List Alaska

Just so you know, it isn't really spring in Alaska then - in some places it is nasty breakup weather, and in others, still winter. Southeast would probably be okay, if that is the only area of Alaska you wanted to explore. :)

Centerville, Ohio
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7. Re: Bucket List Alaska

The experts are advising a latter day for good reasons.

Fly into Ted Stevens, Rent a car, and DIY.

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: Bucket List Alaska

We were trying to avoid mosquito season. We are going to be in California in late August any chance that would be a good time to see Alaska

Healy, Alaska
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9. Re: Bucket List Alaska

In August, the mosquitoes are long gone and do realize, they vary from year to year. Sometimes you hardly notice them - all depends on where in Alaska and what you are doing. In late August, you would get beautiful fall colors in Denali park as well. That would be much better than an April trip. :)

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10. Re: Bucket List Alaska

Late August would be much better than April. Mosquitoes tend to be mainly gone the later in August you get.

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