Alaska itinerary help

Old Aug 2nd, 2011, 05:32 AM
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Alaska itinerary help

Hi everyone, my husband and I are going to Alaska for a week and would really appreciate some help:

We land in the evening and have an entire day free, before driving to Denali on day 3 and staying there for 2 nights. We've already booked the Wonder Lake Bus. Then we are booked for 3 nights in Kenai Princess Lodge from where we would like to explore the South Central region. Would love to see the fjords, glaciers and possibly squeeze in sea kayaking too.

This is what our itinerary looks like right now:

1- Arrive in Anchorage
2- Free day - thinking of renting bikes and going on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail - any other suggestions?
3- Drive to Denali - can we do something on the way there?
4- Day in Denali - Wonder Lake Tour
5- Half a day more in Denali - drive to Coopers Landing
6- Free day
7- Free day
8- 5pm flight from Anchorage

Would be great to know what you recommend we do on day 2 and from day 6-8, without being super rushed. I assume day 5 would be spent in driving. Is it ok to be based at the Kenai Princess Lodge to explore the South Central region? Also great to get recommendation for particular tours or companies we should go with. Plan to buy the Alaska Tour Saver too.

Thanks
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Old Aug 2nd, 2011, 07:17 AM
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you could stop for lunch in Talkeetna- very cute little town - the West Rib is a great place to eat with outdoor dining where Stubs the cat hangs out and they have the largest hamburgers you have ever seen. There are a couple of other good restaurants as well.

In Denali we did the park tour and a tour of a dog sled place owned by Jeff King 4 times winner of the Iditarad - Husky Homestead. He puts on a very interesting presentation and you get to hold the puppies.

We spent 2 days in Homer which we really enjoyed

Its a beautiful state - you will enjoy.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2011, 08:51 AM
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What is it that you want to do on the Kenai Peninsula? The Kenai Princess lodge is sorta in the middle of everything, and yet an hour from anything. Personally, I wouldn't choose to stay there unless I was planning to go salmon fishing on the river. It does not seem convenient to the things you want to do (glaciers, kayaking).

We spent 2 nights in Seward so we could take the all-day Kenai Fjords tour and visit Exit glacier. you could also kayak from here. we spent 1 night in Girdwood to sight see in that area (there are lots of things, we didn't do that much...you take the Alyeska tram, hike somewhere in the Chugach, visit Crow Creek mine for gold panning, visit the Alaska Wildlife refuge).

So I recommend not putting the cart before the horse...before you commit to the Kenai princess lodge, decide what you want to see or do, and then pick the location which makes the most sense.

I totally recommend the 9 hour cruise with Kenai Fjords. It was a highlight of our trip.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Thank you both for your great suggestions. I am also increasingly realizing that the princess lodge is not well located for our interest and we would end up driving A LOT more.

Did any of you use the Alaska Tour Saver coupons? And any thoughts on whether the Fjord tour is better that the 26 Glacier one or likes of that one
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 11:49 AM
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If Homer interests you, we stayed at the Alaska Suites- very nice cabins overlooking the bay with beautiful mountains in the background -
Homer is a cute place with plenty to do to keep you busy for a couple of days- my favorite thing was taking a ferry to Halibut Cove and dining at the Saltry - reservations required - it is a beautiful place
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 12:03 PM
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I didn't use the TourSaver, because they didn't have coupons for the tours I was going on. For example, they had a coupon for the shorter Kenai Fjords tour, not the 9 hour one I wanted.

We did not take the Prince William sound tour, but here is my understanding ...the 26 Glacier tour is, obviously, all about the glaciers. The glacier viewing on the Kenai Fjords tour is less impressive, but there is a lot more in the way of marine wildlife...whales, orca, otters, eagles, puffins, plus we spotted mountain goats and a bear on land. So I think you could do both if it suited you, or pick one based on what else you are doing. I think they are both very good from everything I have read. We chose Kenai Fjords, because we were also doing a big ship cruise going into Glacier Bay and College Fjord.

We also loved Homer, but I'm not sure if it fits in with so much else you are doing. It is a great place for fishing and kayaking. We did a halibut fishing charter that ranks amongst our favorite activities of the whole trip.

If you'd like to see our pictures, and specific about where we stayed and restaurants and the like, please feel free to check out my blog http://north2alaska-chinacat.blogspot.com/. I took a zillion pictures on the Kenai Fjords tour...so maybe that will tempt you a bit
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 12:34 PM
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You may have underestimated driving distances and driving times. If you want to go north to Denali and then south to the Kenai Penninsula, this is how I would do it:

1- Arrive in Anchorage
2- Free day - thinking of renting bikes and going on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Alaska Native Heritage Center
3- Drive to Denali - Lunch in Talkeetna, as already mentioned
4- Day in Denali - Wonder Lake Tour
5- Depart Denali in early AM - drive to Seward
6- Seward - Kenai Fjords tour
7- Seward - Exit Glacier, Alaska SeaLife Center
8- Depart Seward early AM, stop to see Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Girdwood, 5pm flight from Anchorage

_____________________________________________
Vic's travels: http://my.flightmemory.com/vogilvie
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Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 01:37 PM
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The Wild Life Conservation center has 2 orphaned grizzlies that are very fun to watch - they do daily feeding demonstrations which are pretty funny to watch as the demonstrator will create difficult situations and the bears have to figure out how to get at the food which they successfully do. We spent quite awhile just watching their antics- they are going to be moved to a zoo in Sweden in the future.
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Old Aug 5th, 2011, 10:59 AM
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Thank you so much for your responses Sunbum, orland and chinacat. They are so helpful. I think getting to homer will be stretching ourselves to much and so will go with your suggestions in Seward. We are still undecided between the fjords and glaciers. Currently sitting at snow city cafe waiting for breakfast!
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 10:17 AM
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Hi everyone, we are back from a super trip...we finally ended up doing the following...the drives weren't bad at all...we loved the scenic routes...

1- Arrive in Anchorage
2- Anchorage - breakfast at snow city cafe, stocked up on groceries, rented bikes and rode Tony Knowles Coastal Trail...grabbed dinner downtown and stopped for a drink at Chilkoot Charlie
3- Drive to Denali - We drove straight through and reached in about 4 hours or so. Ate at the Salmon bake, which is a pretty good place to grab a bite. Rested and then headed into Denali for a few hikes from the Visitors Centre
4- Day in Denali - Wonder Lake Tour - came back from Eilson because it started snowing! But saw quite a bit of wildlife coming in and out of the Park. Sitting for 6-7 hours was tiring!
5- Departed from Denali in the morning, stopped for Lunch (we had problems getting gas and so got delayed) at Talkeetna - which I would say is a must-do. Lovely little town. Stayed o/n in Cooper Landing at Kenai Princess Lodge - we thought we would move out as everyone mentioned its inconvenient location, but the property was soo good that we decided a 45min drive to Seward was worth it.
6- Seward - Kenai Fjords 7.5 hours tour with Major Marines. It was a lovely day, lots of marine life.
7- Seward - Exit Glacier, walked around Seward, then came back to the Lodge, took our books and spent the evening reading next to the river. The lodge has a trail going down to the Kenai river.
8- Went on the Russian Falls trail - about a 5 mile hike, could see the Salmon jumping upstream...was cool. Came back and head out to the airport.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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Thanks so much for reporting back. I would love to visit Alaska--someday I may be able to talk my husband into it.
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