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Need help with Alaska Itinerary

Birmingham, Alabama
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Need help with Alaska Itinerary

I live in Alabama and planning lifetime vacation to Alaska in June for a week. My 20 yr old son will be going with me. My daughter will be doing summer intership in June in Anchorage and can see us only on a weekend. So below is my plan but need help/advice from Alaska experts

June 14 Fri- arrive Anchorage from Birmingham- check in hotel

June 15 Sat-- Rent a car, Local sightseeing, possible flattop hike trail

June 16 Sun- Would like day trip on a domed train- possible?

June 17 Mon- My son & I drive to Seward, day cruise, night stay Seward ( recommendations appreciated)

June 18 Tue- drive to Whittier, Sea kayak, drive on to Denali park with stops on the way, night stay at some lodge at entrance

June 19-21 ( need advice in planning one moderate 3-4 mile hike, whitewater rafting, stay at a wilderness lodge. Drive back to Fairbanks on Fri 21, night check in hotel in Fairbanks

June 22 - whole day Fairbanks - ICe Museum- other recommendations? Flight back to Birmingham is 9:30 Pm

Any guidance from experts is appreciated in advance.

Anissia

Wasilla, Alaska
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1. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

I think you've misjudged driving distances... Your Tuesday just can't happen. Seward to Denali is almost 400 miles. Even without stopping in Whittier, you are looking at a 10 hour drive.

You could do Whittier on June 16th on the train...

port republic
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2. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

You said LIFETIME vacation, Alask is so big and there are so many great things to do and see, is there any way to extend the trip a little longer. some people do the most basic Seward and Denali in a week but it is quite a push. I think the two things you should prioritize would be the full day kenai fiords tour from Seward and a full day of riding the shuttle into the interior of Denali.

the train to whittier is a good idea, getting in and out of whittier can be time consuming and a matter if timing because there is only 1 single lane tunnel that the cars and trains share, you can also kayak from seward. Or Skip the train, maybe spend Sunday with your daughter working your way to Whittier and stay there sunday night your daughter can hop the train back to anchorage and you are half way to seward

Birmingham, Alabama
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3. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

Thanks for input. That is kind of Gotcha I want to avoid.

- If we take train to Whittier for a day, can we manage without a car there.

- If cannot make all the way to Denali on Tuesday, how far should we plan, Any good place about 5-6 hour drive from Seward.

- For Denali, do all the activities situated at entrance? Can we spend a night at a lodge inside the park.

Birmingham, Alabama
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4. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

Bushwacker44,

Thanks for reply. I cannot extend vacation as my son has to attend summer program starting Monday 24th and my daughter got to go back to her office Monday am too.

- So If we can take Kayak at Seward, we will just plan to skip Whittier.

I said "lifetime" vacation but hope I get to go there sometime again too. I am glad I will have my kids company , they are mostly so busy with their studies, summer jobs etc.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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5. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

Okay - I am a bit confused. How many actual days do you have for Denali? Really depends on how much actual time you have - lodging inside the park is in the Kantishna area. There are many things to do at the entrance as well as in the park. www.nps.gov/dena for more park info.

Are you trying to do things with the Anchorage daughter? Why not do the Seward trip with the daugter during the weekend? I think I would do Seward/Whittier with daughter on weekend, then leave for Denali park on that Tuesday.

Flying out of Fairbanks, right? I would also consider doing the Riverboat Discovery and the museum at UAF. If you have time, walk around Creamer's Field. :)

port republic
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6. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

you don't need a car in Whittier, It's all walkable, but there is nothing to do there but to go on some excursion, Kayak, Glacier tour boat, Fishing boat, hike to the glacier above town. Don't get me wrong I love Whittier, it is a funky tiny little town in a very cool setting, But tiny is the story, half the town lives in one building, and if you spend the night, you will too.

Birmingham, Alabama
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7. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

Coalminer,

Leaving travel times, We will have 7.5 days from Saturday June 15 morning till Friday June 22 evening. We chose flying out of Fairbanks as that is close to Denali park than Anchorage as we can use time in seeing more places than driving. No Booking sdone as yet so I can change.

-We want to see Anchorage too so keep atleast a day for that. We can dedicate 3 days easy for Denali Park. Kantishna Lodge says minimum 2 nights stay needed so I ruled that out. If we take 8-hour bus tour, does it bring us back to entrance? My daughter will know if she can take off Monday only after she starts work there so I cannot plan on her being with us beyond Sunday.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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8. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

I would first check one way rental cars - they are usually pretty pricey, so that is why most folks don't do them.

Check out this lodge that is in the Kantishna area:

http://www.katair.com/skyline.html

If you are looking at the shuttle bus - plan on booking going to Wonder Lake, if you are not staying out in the Park. Yes - unless you are camping, the buses bring you back out/they are round trip.

fti
MN
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9. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

I assume the flights are already booked (what time do you arrive on 15 June?). Also, I assume you have the one-way car rental already booked. Is that correct? How about the "wilderness lodge" reference? You are talking $250/person/night at the backcountry lodge coalminer mentioned in Denali. Others in that area are more like $400/night. At the entrance you can find nice cabins or B&B's for much less than that, but you then take day trips into the park.

You can find some hike ideas in Denali if you go to the Denali NP forum, then look at the Top Questions for Denali NP. There is a category for day hikes. You can also ask the shuttle bus drivers or the park rangers for info. Also, the park offers "Discovery Hikes" which are hikes inside the park with a ranger and up to 11 people. You take an 8am shuttle bus then depending on where the hike is, you hike for 3-5 hours, then get back on the bus (either continuing further toward Eielson Visitor Center if you want or returning directly to the entrance).

If you are traveling from Seward to Denali by car, a good place to spend the night in Talkeetna or Trapper Creek. That is about a 3 hour drive from Denali NP entrance.

Birmingham, Alabama
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10. Re: Need help with Alaska Itinerary

Fti,

No reservations done as yet as I want to hash out logistics before making any bookings.

Travelling by Rental car as trains make it to harder to plan it all out.

Finalized the route Anchorage-Seward-Anchorage-Denali-Fairbanks.

Now looking for good accomodations within $150-200/room/night range. More interested in Cabin style Lodges than big hotels. Any recommendations by name? Thanks for everybody's help. I have collected lot of info.

Do I need to make DNP shuttle bus reservations or it is take it as it comes. Is there a day pass for them?