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Alaska 19 day itinerary - comments/opinions, please?

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Hi, my family of 4(I, wife, son 14, daughter 12) are very active and fit. We are not much into museums, historical buildings but would love to enjoy nature, glaciers, bear, whale watching, dog sled riding, glacier cruise, flight seeing at Talkeetna, etc.

From reading through other posts on fodors, I have a 19 day plan for July/August 2018.

Please comment or give any opinion on whether it is too rushed or maybe we can cut a day in some places based on your experiences, etc. as I can still tweak things. Thank you

Day 1- arrive in Anchorage around 1:00 pm (ANC to Matansuka 2-3 hours)

Start driving toward Matansuka Glacier on Glenn Highway. Stop by Independence Mine in Palmer and Mirror Lake. Stay overnight near Matansuka Glacier area.

How much time is needed for Independence Mine in Palmer? Any other recommendations to stop on the way to Matansuka?

Day 2 - Matansuka Glacier Hike.

Can we do the Matansuka glacier hiker without guides? Or is it better with MICA or NOVA?

Stay overnight near Matansuka Glacier area. (Or we could start driving towards Talkeetna but don't want to rush Matansuka Glacier time, Thoughts?)

Day 3- Drive to Talkeetna. (Matansuka to Talkeetna 3 hours - 142 miles)

Not sure if we should stop by for a flight or river tour? Or skip and eat lunch, do some shopping? (Take Mt. McKinley flightseeing tour with glacier landing) Should we do this? Any recommendation on flight or river tour as the flight tours are a bit expensive but may be worth it?

Drive towards Healey and stay overnight. (Talkeetna to Healy 164 miles, 2 hr 46 min)

Day 3 – Denali NP – Bus to Eielson or Wonder Lake if weather is good.

Day 4 – Denali NP 2nd day?? – Bus to Wonder Lake? Is it okay to stay at Denali NP for 1 day. Just concerned about the weather? We can cut this day. Or if there are other things to do at Denali NP?

Day 5 – Healy to Valdez via Denali Hwy (SR 8). But stay overnight in Glenallen or Copper Center area (Or go all the way to Valdez, one concern is do we have time to visit Thompson Pass and Worthington Glacier, thoughts?)

(Healy to Valdez 360 miles, 7h 20min) (Healy to Copper Center 257 miles, 5 h 32 min) (Copper Center to Valdez 105 miles, 1h 52 min)


Day 6 – Copper Center to Valdez. Stop by Worthington Glacier, Thompson Pass.

Do glacier cruise here. Any recommendations? I have read mentions of visiting the Solomon Gultch Hatchery. Ice Caves kayak with Anadyr Day Trips. Columbia or Meares Glacier Cruise with Stan Stevens or Lulu Belle.)

Day 7 – Valdez night 2. Columbia glacier cruise or ?

Day 8 – Valdez night 3? Cut this day in Valdez?

Day 9 – Valdez to Whittier via ferry. Concern is ferry is not available daily. May have to drive back around! Yikes!

Stay at Girdwood overnight
Day 10 – Whittier Prince William Sound 26 Glacier cruise!! ½ day) also Byron Glacier Trail

Day 11 – Crow pass hike, conservation center, Double Musky restaurant? (do we need 3rd night)??

Day 12 - Drive Whittier to Seward night 1 (90 miles 1hr 45 min). Exit Glacier

Day 13 – Seward night 2. Take 110 mile Kenai Fjords day cruise.

Day 14 - Seward. Hike Harding Icefields?. (3rd night needed)??

Day 15 – Seward to Homer. (168 miles 3 hr 30 min) Stop by Bear Lake Weir for salmon watching, if time permits

I have read mentions of Halibut Cove, Bear watching flight, halibut fishing. Any recommendations or thoughts?

Day 16 – Homer night 2.

Day 17 – Homer Night 3. 3 nights in Homer?

Day 18 – Homer to Cooper Landing. Is it worth a night here? Or should we go straight to Anchorage for our last night (Homer to Anchorage 223 miles, 4 h 8 min) (Homer to Cooper landing 120 miles 2 h 16 min) (Cooper landing to Anc 102 miles 1 h 50 min)

Day 19 – Anchorage. Fly home.

Thank you in advance. We are excited!

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