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Flying into Anchorage

Fremont, California
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Flying into Anchorage

We (me, wife and adult son) are planning a trip to Alaska June 11-19.

I am about make flight reservations but I wanted to ask the forum experts first. If we fly in and out of Anchorage is it possible to cover most important things to do by using trains, boats and rental car? Or is there an advantage to flying into Anchorage and spend a few days and then take a local cruise ship down to another town and see things on the way and then fly out of a different town? I am not able to find any cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver during this time.

We appreciate your help

Venkat

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Vancouver
Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Flying into Anchorage

I would say not it is not possible under any scenario, with just 6-8 days. And in my opinion, a cruise is even more limiting.

Are you looking to do this as in next month? Have you searched pricing for rental cars, lodging etc, in the areas you're interested in visiting? Also, what are your interests? Really a week is not enough time to do much more than scratch the surface and to realize, you'll need to return for another visit.

Wasilla, Alaska
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2. Re: Flying into Anchorage

You could fly into Anchorage and out of Fairbanks after visiting Denali, but you'd be looking at a expensive one way car rental...

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Fremont, California
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3. Re: Flying into Anchorage

June 2013 in about 5 weeks time. I have not booked anything yet but when I was searching to book several hotels showed availability. Interested in seeing Glaciers, Denali, some boat rides, dog sled etc. whatever is possible.

fti
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4. Re: Flying into Anchorage

The 7-night cruises actually depart from Whittier and Seward, not Anchorage, and arrive in Vancouver. But as was said, within only about 8-9 days total you shouldn't take a cruise and try to do a land tour too. Just one or the other.

Most ;likely in your time frame you will be able to go to Seward (Kenai Fjords boat tour and other activities), Whittier (glacier tour), take your time driving along Turnagain Arm and the Girdwood area and get to Denali NP.

I would probably suggest you first head south to Turnagain Arm and Seward. On the way back north take the Prince William Sound glacier tour in Whittier and that evening continue driving north maybe to Eagle River or Wasilla. The following day drive to Denali. You need at least 2 nights at Denali NP in order to get one full day in the park. Most people who really like scenery, wildlife or hiking will spend 3 nights at Denali so they have two full days in the park. The last day you can usually drive from Denali to Anchorage and catch an evening flight back to the lower 48. There are some day flights from Anchorage to the west coast though. In that case you might need to drive back to Anchorage the day before.

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Seward
Seward
Alaska
Vancouver
Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada
Girdwood
Girdwood
Anchorage, AK
Eagle River
Eagle River
Anchorage, AK
Wasilla
Wasilla
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Fremont, California
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5. Re: Flying into Anchorage

Thanks for the timely information and this has helped me plan. I was able to get one extra day because of this. Is it practical to stay in Seward and then take a day tour of the Whittier (glacier tour) or I have to get a hotel in Whittier?

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Seward
Seward
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fti
MN
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6. Re: Flying into Anchorage

You don't want to take a day tour from Seward to Whittier - then you are driving 2 hours each way and backtracking. Why waste your precious time? Either do the Whittier tour on the way to Seward or on the way from Seward back to Anchorage.

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Seward
Seward
Alaska
Fremont, California
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7. Re: Flying into Anchorage

I just saw that on the map :-) So If I drive or take train to Seward right after I land in Anchorage about 12 noon how many nights would be needed at Seward before I head back to Whittier and do the Glacier Tour?

After the tour I would like to go direct to Anchorage stay night and head to Denali in the morning OR perhaps I can stay night at Whittier and then head directly to Denali if that gives me more time in Whittier

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Seward
Seward
Alaska
Healy, Alaska
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8. Re: Flying into Anchorage

If it were my trip, I would stay 1-2 nights in Seward, and I wouldn't stay in Whittier at all - I would do the glacier trip either on way to Seward . . . or after you are done with your time in Seward. You could stay in Anchorage or Wasilla - depends when you leave Seward. Do book your car soon and your lodging. :)

Edited: 10 May 2013, 23:03
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Seward
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Wasilla
Wasilla
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9. Re: Flying into Anchorage

I spend a good part of today reading some of the posts especially the "Alaska in 9-10 days".

I have anchored my trip by making plane reservations and rental car. I decided to fly into Anchorage and fly out of Fairbanks to avoid driving back again. So here is my itinerary and please let me know if it makes sense. I have not booked any tours yet but I have a cancellable hotel at Seward

Day 1: Arrive at Anchorage airport 12 Noon. Pick up car and drive to Seward and stay night

Day 2: KF forest and wildlife tour. Please suggest to do things after tour - Stay night

Day 3: Drive to Whittier and take the 26 Cruise. Drive to Anchorage - stay night

Day 4: Explore Anchorage all day - Please suggest things to do - stay night

Day 5: Leisurly drive to Denali - Stay night

Day 6: Denali park tour by shuttle - Stay night

Day 7: Denali park tour by shuttle#2 - stay night

Day 8: Drive to Fairbanks. Please suggest things to do - stay night

Day 9: Explore Fairbanks and surroundings. Please suggest things to do

Day 10: More explore Fairbanks and surroundings . Please suggest things to do. Depart at 10 PM

Other than the PWS glacier (in 26 Cruise) which Glaciers and where. Would like to take a train somewhere but not sure to where since I have a car for the whole trip

Once the experts on the forum say the itinerary is OK then I will make hotel reservations. I have reservation at Seward. Loooking forward to your feedback. Thank you for all your help

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Alaska
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Seward
Seward
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fti
MN
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10. Re: Flying into Anchorage

You obviously realize the extra cost of the one-way car rental and seem OK with that, so that will help you avoid some backtracking.

You seem to have a lot of time in Fairbanks. If it were me, after the Whittier cruise I would drive to Girdwood and spend TWO nights there.

So:

>>Day 2: KF forest and wildlife tour. Please suggest to do things after tour - Stay night

Do you have a link to this? I never heard of a KF "forest" tour. Be sure this tour is 6 hours or longer and then you get out of the bay. Any stop on Fox Island is just for a meal if yours includes that. I prefer to be out on the water and not in a lodge eating when on a tour like this.

>>Day 3: Drive to Whittier and take the 26 Cruise. Drive to Girdwood, spend the night.

Check and see if the private cabin at the Girdwood Aleyska Hostel is available. Small but very well laid out and a great price. Otherwise there are B&B's or hotels in Girdwood.

Day 4: Take Spencer Glacier train tour. Check the Alaska Railroad website for more info. Can also take this from Anchorage, but it is MUCH longer due to backtracking of the train and more expensive. Best to drive to Portage to board this train. Get off on the way back in Portage too.

>>Day 5: Explore Anchorage all day - Please suggest things to do - stay night

What are your interests? Native Heritage Center is worthwhile, hiking at Glen Alps, bicycle riding along the Coastal Trail, Public Lands Information Center downtown has some nice films, talks and exhibits.

>>Day 6: Leisurly drive to Denali - Stay night

Buy grocery supplies for your two nights in Denali either in Anchorage, Eagle River or Wasilla (Wasilla has a 2% sales tax).

Entrance-area activities like visitor center, sleddog demo, film at the WAC, drive first 15 miles of the park road.

>>Day 7: Denali park tour by shuttle - Stay night

>>Day 8: Denali park tour by shuttle#2 - stay night

Book both days to Wonder Lake (book in advance) and decide the day of if you go that far or turn around at Eielson. The day you hike, Eielson is a better turnaround so you have more time to hike.

>>Day 9: Drive to Fairbanks. Please suggest things to do - stay night

>>Day 10: Explore Fairbanks and surroundings. Please suggest things to do

Again, what are your interests? Check out explorefairbanks.com for activities.

>>Day 11: More explore Fairbanks and surroundings . Please suggest things to do. Depart at 10 PM

>>Other than the PWS glacier (in 26 Cruise) which Glaciers and where.

You might consider Major Marine for the PWS cruise. They have 2-for-1 coupons (see Coupon Books under Top Questions). Plus Major Marine spends more time at one glacier waiting/hoping for it to calve vs. 26 Glaciers where they point out more glaciers but spend less time at one.

There is Exit Glacier near Seward. The road to Exit Glacier should be open by then. Also, on the day from Anchorage to Denali maybe you could go to Matanuska Glacier east of Palmer. That is about a 4 hour round trip "detour" plus time on the glacier. So it would make a long day. I would stick with Exit Glacier near Seward myself.

It sounds like a great trip.

Be sure to bring rain gear - hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Edited: 12 May 2013, 04:10
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