I apologize for this long post. I am planning an 11-day trip to Alaska in mid-August for my husband and I. We are active, outdoors people (hiking, kayaking) and I am also into photography. We are on a bit of a budget and I’d like to combine B&B’s with camping so that we can put more money towards tours. This is our first trip to Alaska and we will be renting a car.
I’ve been doing a lot of research and we really want to do the following on our trip: hike the Harding Icefield at Exit Glacier; do the 7 hour Kenai Fjords cruise with Major Marine; go to Homer and Kachemak SP; do the flightseeing tour of Denali out of Talkeetna; go to Denali. I am planning to use the Toursaver coupon book to save money on the tours.
I would love to get some advice on what itinerary makes the most sense in order to do all of this. I know that there will be some long drives between places and I would rather keep the driving to 4-5 hours max between places. So we could definitely stop somewhere along the way and find a place to camp out in order to break up a long trip.
We are flying into Anchorage at 1am, so our first night is a wash. Here is what I’m currently thinking:
First Full Day 1 – Hang out in Anchorage, see some friends, bike the Coastal Trail (I already have Susitna Place Inn booked downtown). Overnight in Anchorage.
Day 2 – Pick up rental car at downtown office, head to Safeway or WalMart for supplies and take off for Kenai Peninsula and Seward area. I imagine that it could take the better part of a day to drive down there with all the stops and turn-offs and mini hikes we could do along the way. Overnight around Seward.
Day 3 – Exit Glacier/Harding Icefield hike, hang out in Seward in evening to eat and drink (I should note, we are going to be in Seward during the Silver Salmon Derby – does it get crazy in town then?) Overnight around Seward.
Day 4 – Full day Kenai Fjords Glacier Tour (or could alternate days with glacier hike depending on weather). Overnight around Seward.
Day 5 – Drive to Homer, possibly rent kayaks when we get there and cruise around the bay for a few hours. Overnight in Homer, possibly camping on the Spit.
Day 6 – Water taxi over to Kachemak SP, day hike there. Overnight in Homer.
Day 7 – Start heading back towards Anchorage for the trip up north to Denali. Overnight somewhere outside of Anchorage (maybe camping at Eklutna Lake?)
Day 8 – Drive to Talkeetna, do flightseeing, drive up to Denali afterwards
Day 9 – Denali (still trying to figure out if camping at Wonder Lake for 2 nights is something we want to do, or just shuttle in for 2 days and stay at campground outside park)
Day 10 – Denali (depending on whether we book Wonder Lake for camping, we could also possibly head closer to Anchorage this evening for an overnight so that we don't have a 5 hour drive before getting onto a plane for 11 hours the next day)
Day 11 – drive back to Anchorage for 8pm flight out
Is this itinerary too ambitious? I’m sure some people would suggest cutting out either Seward or Homer, but I’m trying not to. They both seem interesting in their own right and offer activities that we’d enjoy. Or should I do this in the opposite direction and start the trip heading north to Denali first, and then go to the Kenai Peninsula? Any suggestions for tweaking this itinerary, or alternative ideas?
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Feedback Wanted on 11-day Itinerary around Southcentral/Denali