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Alaska Itinerary - Aug 05 - Advice Requested

Old Jan 13th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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Alaska Itinerary - Aug 05 - Advice Requested

Hi, everyone, we have a rough draft of our itinerary for our 9 day trip to Alaska this August. Could you give me your thoughts?

8/1: Arrive 10 p.m., pick up car (are the rental agencies still open this late at the airport?), spend night in hotel

8/2: Leisurely drive to Denali area, stay in Denali area (Ridgetop Cabins, Denali Lakeside Lodging, McKinley Creekside Cabins, Carlo Creek Cabins, or Denali Perch Cabins? Help!)

8/3: Trip into Denali on park bus (to the stop right before Wonder Lake), night somewhere in cabins

8/4: Enjoy ranger programs at Denali, do our own exploring in the area, night somewhere in the cabins

8/5: Drive south, stop at various nature locations, Portgage glacier?, stay in Girdwood? (I didn't want to drive straight through to Seward b/c everyone says how wonderful this drive is, we wanted to have time to linger)

8/6: Drive to Seward, stay in Seward (where? we'll have the coupon book so could do Hotel Seward buy one night, get one night free, but it doesn't look that great)

8/7: Northwest Fjords Tour, stay in Seward (where?)

8/8: Drive to Coopers Landing, Exit Glacier, stay at Kenai Princess in Cooper Landing (using buy one night, get one free coupon)

8/9: Drive to Homer for a day visit, stay at Kenai Princess

8/10: Drive to Anchorage early, have fun around town, fly out at 10 p.m.

The big problem I think people are going to point out is that we are driving to Homer but not staying there. I do want to do the drive b/c I've heard it's very scenic, but my husband is resistant to staying there and I am not sure why! I think we'll have plenty of fun driving around, stopping where we want to take photos, look for birds, etc., but what do you all think? Is the Kenai Princess nice? Is there enough to do on the peninsula on your own out of Cooper Landing?

Thanks for any and all insights and advice!
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 08:05 AM
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8/1: Which City??
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 09:18 AM
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Lots to comment on here, but for starters I'd agree that Homer is not appropriate as a day trip from Cooper's Landing. I don't recall exactly how far that drive was, but it wasn't short. I'd say your husband needs to get over his reluctance to stay overnight or you need to drop Homer from your itinerary entirely. Is your coupon the only reason you've opted to stay in Cooper's Landing? If it was me, I'd drop that as a stop and go straight to Homer. I don't recall there being all that much to see or do in that specific area--at least not relative to what you could be seeing/doing in Homer.

On 8/5, taking the bus back out of the park will eat up a good part of the day. I wouldn't plan on driving too much further that afternoon. Maybe stop in Talkeetna and try to squeeze in some late afternoon flightseeing over Mt. McKinley? You could overnight there or in Anchorage if you want to get a bit further down the road.
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Sorry, we fly into Anchorage.

We aren't taking a bus into Denali on 8/5. We'll be in a cabin somewhere in the Denali area, so we'll wake up that morning and drive south right away.

Thanks for the advice, look forward to more!
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 04:47 PM
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Oops, sorry about that. When you said "night somewhere in cabins" on 8/3 and 8/4, I thought you meant you were staying overnight inside the park.

Be sure you get tickets for an early shuttle into the park on 8/3. Wildlife viewing opportunties are nearly always the best first thing in the morning.
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 03:45 AM
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You may want to rethink Wonder Lake early August- significant bug problems, myself I never go that far before the end of August. Just a big problem before then that greatly impacts on my enjoyment. On 8-5 I would stay overnight in Anchorage and spend the next day driving to Seward. Exit glacier is right outside of Seward. I too agree- I would not make my plans based on coupon usage. There is little in this area outside of fishing. If that is your priority then great, otherwise consider elsewhere? Homer is NOT a day trip from Cooper Landing, it is probably a 5-6 hour round trip drive?Homer is a 2 night city. Plenty to see and do along the way and in Homer. Skip it if you can't invest the time. It is a 4 hour drive Homer- Anchorage. With any cabin lodging- be sure to look at the heating option- hopefully you won't need it, but some don't have any. It sounds like you have made some good choices.
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Old Jan 14th, 2005, 04:06 AM
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The drive down to Seward along the Turnagain Arm has incredible scenery. Once you pass Portage, it is still beautiful. When you make the turn to head to Homer it can get a little dull. You don't see the mountains anymore and then there is only occasional glimpses of the volcanos on the other side of the Cook Inlet. Just before you get to Homer, there is a spectacular view of the Spit. Homer is where we saw the most eagles. You might want to read about the Eagle Lady of Homer. You really need an overnight in Homer.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Thanks so much everyone. We are revising our itinerary and I will post later to get more feedback.

Note to BQ: Based on your comments, we are definitely not going to Wonder Lake. We'll go to the stop before, and I'm not sure what that is right now, but bugs LOVE me and bites that go away in a week on a normal person linger on me for MONTHS. I have an ant sting from Hurricane Jeane (6 months ago) that still acts up and itches. So there is no way I'm going to expose myself to a ton of bugs knowingly!
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 11:34 AM
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You can do Homer very easily on this itinerary.

You can stay 8/9 in Homer and have a long drive on the 10th -- leave by 8 and you'll be in Anchorage for lunch or drive the 75 miles from Homer to Soldotna and have an easier drive back.

The idea about skipping Cooper Landing also is a good one. Unless you are fishing or taking a float trip, you can see the highlight from the car.

I disagree that if you don't have two days, then Homer isn't worth it. If the weather's nice that drive heading down into town overlooking the spit is one of the most spectacular on this itinerary.

Plus the view across Cook Inlet to the volcanic islands are something you won't see while swatting bugs in Healy. There are some dull stretches but they start awhile after the turning toward Homer -- mostly near Sterling -- after first turning off near Tern Lake, you're near Kenai Lake and the Kenai River. Beautiful country and a great wildlife spotting area for the sharp-eyed visitor -- moose and Dall sheep.
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