Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   Alaska & Pacific NW Itinerary - opinions please (

KEC May 5th, 2003 06:03 AM

Alaska & Pacific NW Itinerary - opinions please
My husband and I (29 years old) are planning a trip to Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington this summer. I am fine-tuning the itinerary, and would like some input.

Arrive in Anchorage June 22 @ 1 pm

Day 1 : Anchorage

Day 2 : Train to Seward (arrive @ 10:45 am)
Rent Car & drive to Homer

Day 3 : Homer

Day 4 : Drive back to Seward

Day 5 : Seward (Kenai Fjords)

Day 6: Depart for cruise @ 9 pm

Days 6 - 12: Cruise

Days 13& 14: Vancouver

Day 15: Victoria

Day 16: Olympic NP

Days 17&18: Seattle

Day 19: Fly home

I am most confused about the 5-6 days in Alaska prior to the cruise. We will spend the first night in Anchorage, and would like to spend the other 4 nights on the Kenai Peninsula. We thought that it would be a good idea to split the time between Seward and Homer, but I wasn't able to find a car rental from Anchorage to drop off in Seward before the cruise. That's why I thought it might make sense to take the train to Seward & rent a car from there (roundtrip).

Any suggestions would be welcome:)


Gardyloo May 5th, 2003 06:21 AM

I think I responded to your similar post yesterday, but let me make another suggestion.

First, if you're cruising from Seward to Vancouver, understand that you'll be seeing a fair amount of coastal mountain scenery for the duration of the cruise, along with tidewater glaciers and all that.

While the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound areas are not the same as SE Alaska and the Inside Passage, there are enough similarities that you might think about going the other way from Anchorage and seeing some of interior, rather than coastal Alaska during your trip.

Thus, on day 2, rent a car and head up to Denali National Park, about a 5 or 6 hour drive from Anchorage. Overnight in one of the numerous places near the park entrance and visitor center. The next morning, take the park shuttle bus as far as you want into the park (no private cars allowed) for wildlife viewing and snapshots, and maybe (maybe not) a killer view of Denali. Back to the park entrance that night. (It takes a whole day to go all the way in and out.)

On day 4, drive back to Anchorage, with various stops etc. possible. Lose the car. Early on Day 5, take the (early, early AM) train to Seward and then a half-day cruise through the Kenai Fjords, or just hang out overnight and take the Fjords tour the day of your departure, when not being in downtown Seward might have its advantages while the incoming folks go through their drill.

You'll see dry land scenery and beasts in Denali, and you'll see the Kenai Fjords, then you'll get the great coastal scenery off the ship. This will be a broader introduction into Alaska than spending the whole time on the Kenai.

KEC May 5th, 2003 06:35 AM

Gardyloo, thank you for replying to my posts. You seem to know a lot about Alaska, and I appreciate your insight!

I wasn't even considering the fact that the Kenai Peninsula scenery might be similar to that of the cruise itinerary. I had read on this site that lots of people prefer Kenai rather than Denali. I will look into your suggestions.

More ideas/opinions would be great!


KEC May 5th, 2003 07:08 AM

I just thought of another possible idea...

Day 1: Rent car from Anch. airport & drive toward Denali. Overnight near park

Day 2: All day tour of Denali

Day 3: Drive to Anch., drop car, overnight

Day 4: Train to Seward

Day 5: Kenai Fjords

Day 6: Depart for cruise

I am trying to decide if this would be too much for Day 1...we are flying 1st class (for the first, and probably last, time!), so we shouldn't be too stressed when we get off the plane!

Otherwise, it looks like our hotel nights would be:

1 - Anchorage
2 - near Denali
3 - near Denali
4 - Anchorage
6 - Seward


Gardyloo May 5th, 2003 08:01 AM

No, if you can manage the drive after arriving, it's a fine idea. Remember too that you're arriving on the longest day of the year, so it won't get dark around Denali much at all; sunset will be around 11:30 PM or so, and sunrise the following morning around 4 or 4:30 AM.

Deborah May 5th, 2003 09:01 AM

This itinerary is a bit similar to one I did a couple of years agao. It will be fine. Don't take the tour shuttle into the park, take the park shuttle, much cheaper and without the crappy boxed lunch. I stayed at the Denali Bluffs when I was there and I liked the hotel. The Holiday Inn downtown is a few blocks away from the train station so it's very convenient. Enjoy your trip. You will love Alaska.

KEC May 5th, 2003 09:33 AM

OK, so I am going to look into doing Denali (2 nights), Anchorage (1 night), and Seward (2 nights).

Any hotel recommendations? Especially for the Denali part, since I am not sure where to stay there. I have to do more research! Back to the drawing board!


Deborah May 5th, 2003 09:37 AM

Anchorage: Holiday Inn or Spring Hill Suites (not downtown, but nice)
Denali: Denali Bluffs
Seward: Windsong Lodge

jaydreb5 May 5th, 2003 09:50 AM

I would second the Denali Bluffs.

KEC May 6th, 2003 08:28 AM

Hi again,
I am waiting to hear back about reservations for the Alaska part of the trip:

Day 1- Denali
Day 2- Denali (reserved 6:00 am shuttle)
Day 3- Anchorage (Marriott using points)
Day 4- Seward (reserved train from Anc)
Day 5- Seward
Day 6- Leave for cruise

Now I am looking for suggestions for the other end of the trip. So far, this is what I have come up with:

Option 1:

Day 1- Vancouver (cruise arrives 7am)
Day 2- Vancouver
Day 3- Victoria
Day 4- Seattle
Day 5- Seattle
Day 6- Seattle

Option 2:
1- Vancouver
2- Victoria
3- Olympic NP
4- Olympic NP
5- Seattle
6- Seattle

Option 3:
1- Vancouver
2- Vancouver
3- Victoria
4- Island (don't know which one)???
5- Seattle
6- Seattle

Any suggestions? Thanks to everyone!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:58 PM.