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2 week Alaska trip in August 2016

Old Jan 13th, 2016, 11:58 AM
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2 week Alaska trip in August 2016

My husband and I will be flying into Anchorage on August the 11th and return to North Carolina on August 25th. Our flight arrives in Anchorage late evening and we depart early afternoon. We are considering renting an RV for our trip as I feel it would be so much easier unpacking once and having the leisure of staying as long as we want in certain areas. We have never been RVing, so any suggestions would help.(pros/cons) We are looking for an itinerary that would be the "must sees" of Alaska. We would really like to go to Denali, take a glacier/wildlife cruise, fish, would love to fly to Katmai Island if $$ allows, see the northern lights ( I know in August it might not happen) Recommendations of places to eat. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Sharon_Moran is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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You're all over the place. Get some focus.

Fact is, you're going to pay a lot for a little in Alaska - prices for everything are about 30-35% higher than the rest of the country (not Hawaii). That won't be fun for an RV that gets 10 miles/gallon even with the low price of oil.

There are tons of options of which absolutely none require an RV. A small RV won't give you much room. A large RV would be inconvenient on Alaska's narrow roads. The road system is not well-developed. There's a lot of off-road to the roads, which means your RV may not reach or the rental company may prohibit you.

You can't drive in Denali NP.

There are tons of wildlife/critter cruises out of Seward and Homer. There are glacier cruises out of Whittier and Seward and others. An RV is useless on a cruise.

The places you can fish are limitless.

Research and return for more.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2016, 02:41 PM
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I think you've a great start and some good questions. Here's some guidance as I'd plan the trip for me; but we're all different and feel free to change/interject when you know an idea doesn't suit you guys.

"My husband and I will be flying into Anchorage on August the 11th and return to North Carolina on August 25th. Our flight arrives in Anchorage late evening and we depart early afternoon."
- with your hopes of NLs plan any part of your trip that is north (e.g. Denali & Fairbanks for the end of your trip). I've seen some great NLs near Denali on the Labor Day weekend. There will be less dark hours nearer the 25th, but there will be 5-7 hours of real dark then; and a dark night sky is one of the things you need for a possible NL viewing.

"We are considering renting an RV for our trip as I feel it would be so much easier unpacking once and having the leisure of staying as long as we want in certain areas. We have never been RVing, so any suggestions would help.(pros/cons)"
- An RV can be nice for not unpacking/packing. If you'd rather cook for yourself, it's pretty cool too. Though it's not always easy to maneuver in a community, though that's not a big deal up here as only ANC is a relatively big city where parking an RV could be an issue.
- an important factor for me would be based on Denali and how I approach visiting Denali. When I go to Denali I'll ride the shuttle for 2 days; but I will also 'self-drive' into Savage River twice a day (in my car). The self-drive with an RV would be trickier/difficult because when you do want to drive you have to break-down camp to do so (awnings, any connections, etc.)
- the actual driving of them is not difficult if in general you are a good, conscientious driver. You just need to be a little more aware of your surroundings (not just left & right; but up and a little farther backwards too).

" We are looking for an itinerary that would be the "must sees" of Alaska. We would really like to go to Denali, take a glacier/wildlife cruise, fish, would love to fly to Katmai Island if $$ allows, see the northern lights ( I know in August it might not happen)"
- when a person is visiting AK for their first time and they have a week I like to suggest they go south to Seward and north as far as Denali.
- spend a minimum of 3 nights in Denali, 2 nights in Seward, and get another night or two in Girdwood, Talkeetna, or the Matanuska Glacier area.
- as you add days then you can add places like Fairbanks, Valdez, Homer (my favorite place in AK to visit), etc.
- Anchorage is great but the rest of AK is better, with the length of your trip plan all the other places first, if you have time for ANC, cool; but if not, you've seen the best of AK already and you shouldn't fret.


Itinerary Sample (google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/Y2Y4jy1VsEk )

Aug.12 - drive to Homer. A very scenic drive that will take all day with stops.
Aug.13 - Homer & Homer activities (fishing & many others)
*** RESTAURANT ALERT Homer has fantastic food ***
Aug.14 - drive to Seward (stop at Russian River Campground for a hike to Russian River Falls - possible salmon jumping up the falls)
Aug. 15 - Seward & Seward activities (tons of varied activities)
Aug. 16 - drive to the Girdwood/Portage/Whittier area (for more info on my 2nd favorite area in AK see: http://goo.gl/dPvuEJ )
Aug 17 - Girdwood area (great restaurants in Girdwood)
Aug 18 - Drive to the Matanuska Glacier area and do an early evening guided trek on the glacier (see: https://micaguides.com/)
Aug. 19 - drive to Fairbanks
Aug. 20 - Fairbanks and activities
Aug. 21 - drive to Denali
Aug. 22 - Denali & activities
Aug. 23 - Denali & activities
Aug. 24 - drive back to ANC stopping in Talkeetna for lunch
Aug. 25 - tour ANC in the morning (after a breakfast at Snow City Cafe & lunch at Moose's Tooth) get a reservation for Snow City

Most of these places are searchable, so do some research & see what you'll like & not like.

No bad choices in AK, you're just trading one great adventure for another.
sdpryde is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2016, 08:41 PM
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The above looks like a pretty good itinerary to me, though we didn't go everywhere mentioned. We did Anchorage for one night, Denali for two, Fairbanks for three (I'll explain that in a minute), Anchorage for one (too long to drive from Denali to Seward), Seward for three, Homer for three, and then back to Anchorage for one. That felt about right.

The reason that we stayed in Fairbanks so long was to see the Northern Lights, which I no longer believe in. We were there in September and planned to stay in Fairbanks for two nights, but stayed an extra night just to see them. We went out for THREE nights and sat under the stars until the wee hours of the morning, and never saw a thing. What hurt about that is that we were there on a night when the news reported that the aurora borealis was so active that people saw it in Chicago and Mexico! So I am now convinced that it's just something that people have made up. Not really. Anyway, there's not much to see in Fairbanks, as everyone had told us, except for the northern lights! Oh, well!

We really liked Homer. Bought the best and biggest crab legs ever at a farmer's market and cooked them! Yum!
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Old Jan 14th, 2016, 11:43 PM
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I am planning to visit to Alaska in my vacations , can you tell me that which places is famous in Alaska that we can must see that .
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Old Jan 17th, 2016, 04:31 AM
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>>We have never been RVing, so any suggestions would help.(pros/cons)
traveller1959 is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2016, 02:55 PM
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Question for Alaska experts: We're thinking ahead to a trip to Alaska which we expect to have 2 weeks or so for. I've noticed that many of the cruise ships spend a day cruising the inside passage, but cruising is not really our thing and spending a very expensive week on a ship isn't that appealing. Is it possible to do the inside passage on a day cruise (as you can do a fjord cruise in Norway)? Or do the cruise lines have some sort of oligopoly on the route so you can't get there without taking a 7+ day cruise?
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Old Jan 21st, 2016, 08:42 AM
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Mocha,

Inside Passage...
- The Inside Passage is thousands of miles of coast line. You can access small portions of the Inside Passage from many cities/towns/communities in BC and AK. Once you are north of Vancouver and/or south of Anchorage, most of these communities with access to the passage are remote and relatively difficult to access. Thus to easily access this part of the world it is typical to use Vancouver as a southern point and Whittier/Seward as a northern terminus. Cruise companies realize there is a market available and they do a profitable business. The distances, stops, supply/demand drive the cost of this type of Inside Passage access.

- It sounds as if you want a day trip on a boat, many of the communities that have a port on the Inside Passage have day trips/cruises out into their surrounding waters/coastline. You just need to search the community you are in to find what they offer.

*** You should also start your own thread/post so as to not get Sharon's thread messy ***
sdpryde is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2016, 07:27 AM
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We did the Inside Passage with a cruise ship and found the passage itsself not overwhelming.

I would rather suggest the Kenai Fjords tour from Seward. It is more scenic than the Inside Passage and you will see more wildlife.
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