Alaska Summer Trip to Kenai area

Apr 17th, 2013, 07:29 AM
  #1  
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Alaska Summer Trip to Kenai area

I will be traveling with my family this summer to Homer, Alaska for a wedding. We will have 10 nights and plan to spend the first night in Anchorage (due to arrival time) and the next 3 or 4 nights in Homer. Where to go after that? I am looking at Kenai, Cooper's Landing, Seward, with a last night at Alyeska or in Anchorage as possibilities. We will stick with the Kenai Peninsula area (as opposed to going to Denali which we will save for another trip).

Any suggestions on lodging, activities (including fishing charters), dining. I am probably the only one who will fish and one of the kids is not great on small boats so probably no cruises to glaciers for us. We love nature hikes, animals, museums/local history, art galleries and artisan crafts, and are always on the look out for terrific (or memorable) dining options.

We are good with cabins, B&Bs, hotels, and usually opt for specialty lodging (in other words we often end up at the more expensive options). I am considering a night (or 2?) at Alyeska Resort (can we get to a late morning flight from there or do we really need to stay last night in Anchorage?) Is it worth the stop in summer? Kids and DH might like the tram but I am more inclined to visit the spa.

Here's my preliminary thoughts:
Day 1: arrive Anchorage (walk around town, enjoy a nice relaxing dinner)
Day 2: long drive to Homer, with stops along the way
Day 3: Homer (Wedding)
Day 4: Homer
Day 5: Homer to Seward? or another night in Homer so I can go fishing? or somewhere in between?
Day 6: Seward
Day 7: Seward
Day 8: Seward
Day 9: Alyeska?
Day 10: Alyeska or Anchorage?
Fly home

Skip Alyeska as an overnight? Add another town (Kenai, Cooper's Landing) and have fewer days in Seward? Not really sure how to divide the towns. With the kids, it is easier to settle in for a few days rather than lots of hotel changes.

Your suggestions are appreciated.
POlson is offline  
Apr 17th, 2013, 07:58 AM
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We drove over to Soldotna and went with www.highadventureair.com for our fishing and enjoyed it. We did Seward/Kenai, Alyeska. We didn't make it to Homer. We really enjoyed the All Day Kenai Fjords Tour, but if it were to do over again(and your adventurous), I would take a smaller shuttle boat and sea-kayak the area and perhaps even spend one night there in a tent.

We loved Alyeska and wish we had stayed two nights there. We did a helicopter/glacier landing/dog sledding that was really cool in Girdwood(about 1 mile or 2 from Alyeska). Iv'e forgotten the name, but you might want to hike the creek trail there at Alyeska. Pretty unique way to cross the creek. It's in a bucket contraption thingy that you slide across on. I am blank on the name. We also hiked a glacier at the top of the tram(guided). It was just ok, views were great though. Hanggliding is very popular there.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 17th, 2013, 08:17 AM
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I think you can visit most of the Kenai from bases in Homer and Seward - day trips can be easily managed, without the hassle of breaking camp and relocating. I would probably add an additional night in Homer, and use it to go fishing, or take a day trip across Kachemak Bay to Seldovia - a cute and interesting village.

The Kenai Fjords tour mentioned above is a worthwhile thing to do in Seward, as are hikes to Exit Glacier, or, depending on when you're there, you can do a fishing trip out of Seward - there's a huge Silver Salmon derby annually that really packs 'em in, and for good reason - superb fishing on Resurrection Bay.

You might also want to consider adding one of the glacier cruises (half day) out of Whittier, which is accessed from Portage Valley, a turnoff about an hour south of Anchorage. The Whittier cruises (Philips' "26 Glacier" cruise is the most popular) visit College Inlet and offer some excellent viewing of tidewater glaciers. It's quite a different experience from the Kenai Fjords cruises (more wildlife-oriented) but also very worthwhile. You could leave Seward early in the morning and drive to Whittier (probably 90-120 min travel time) for a glacier cruise, then overnight in Girdwood or back in Anchorage.

What month are you traveling?
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 17th, 2013, 08:41 AM
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I thought the setting of Seward on the bay was just breathtaking. Humm, if the timing is right, you may want to do some fishing of the famous Kenai River for salmon. I caught a 58# king. Very exciting!

Our trip was for a few nights in Seward then a week of fishing for DH in Soldotna. Soldotna is not scenic, basically a base for fishing the Kenai. While in Seward, we did the 8 hour glacier cruise. Saw tons of whales, orcas, sea lions, puffins and glaciers. So fun. We also visited the Exit Glacier and visited the Seavey's Ididaride sled,dog kennels. Our daughter was 7 at the time and loved it all.

During the week in Soldotna, DH fished and DD and I did some little day trip to museums, churches. One evening, a group of us from the camp took a flightseeing charter over the Harding Ice Field-'another spectacular site! This was done with Talon Air.

To answer you question, maybe do a day in between for fishing. Soldotna(nothing special) or Cooper Landing(prettier). I love Seward, so 3 days seems good. I have never visited Alyeska, but it seems like a handy place to stay on the way back to Anchorage.

One thing, be prepared and bring lots of $$$. Things are expensive. Distances are deceiving. 60 miles will take twice as long as it does in the lower 48. Long dayllight hours, so lots of time to have fun but I had trouble sleeping!
MichelleY is offline  
Apr 17th, 2013, 09:34 AM
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I should have mentioned we did fly out fishing from Soldotna. We fished for scokeye--our guide did say it was a good time for Kings in the river. This was right around July 1. I think July 3, is the big race in Seward, if your there at that time.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 18th, 2013, 04:42 AM
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Thank you for your suggestions spirobulldog, MichelleY and gardyloo. I checked on the salmon derby - it is in August this year but we will be in Seward for the town's July 4th celebration. I think I will add a night in Homer. As for the cruises, it might be that we split up. DH and DD (both prone to seasickness) can take another flight or land based tour while the little guy and I adventure out on the water.

So, I'm thinking Anchorage (1 night), Homer (4 nights), Seward (3 nights) and Alyeska (2 nights). Any suggestions on lodging (other than Alyeska where I will book rooms at the resort).

My fishing is pretty amateur hour but with a good guide I have been able to catch some fish on prior outings. Usually, I am just enjoying the setting and being out on the water (stream, river, lake, boat etc).

Thanks for the input on tours etc. I will start looking into those too.
POlson is offline  
Apr 18th, 2013, 04:42 PM
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Book your Seward lodging as soon as possible if you are going to be there over July 4th. The rooms book up quickly.
LindainOhio is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 06:38 AM
  #8  
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I know....lodging has been tough to find, but mostly done. Just working on Homer. Thank you for the suggestions. I am going to start on activities, fishing, etc. next.
POlson is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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I'm pretty sure the race up the mountain isn't on the 4th. I thought it was like the 2nd or 3rd, but I'm not sure about that. It may very well be on the 4th.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 20th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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No it's always on the 4th.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 20th, 2013, 05:09 PM
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Apparently, Fourth of July or thereabouts is a good time to go....marathon mountain race (registration is closed, missed it by that much) and the town seems to throw quite a party, then Girdwood Forest Fair which my DH is thinking is his kind of celebration (No dogs, No Politics, No Religious Orders - is the rule and the slogan). And, I am lead to believe, some pretty darn good fishing. Whoohoo.
POlson is offline  
Apr 26th, 2013, 07:17 PM
  #12  
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Alright secured lodging. Now, on the drive from Anchorage to Homer - any interesting stops or recommendations for lunch?
POlson is offline  
Apr 29th, 2013, 04:25 AM
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Here's the drive on the Seward Highway--note the turnoff to Homer at Tern Lake. Lots of places to stop.

http://www.milepost.com/resources/pa...ardhwy_map.pdf

Here's the drive on the Sterling Highway to Homer

http://www.milepost.com/resources/pa...ghwy_map_1.pdf
LindainOhio is offline  
Apr 29th, 2013, 06:30 AM
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I can't give specific recs, but the drive is so beautiful!
MichelleY is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 04:19 AM
  #15  
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LindainOhio - those maps are awesome. Thanks for the advice on Tern Lake.
We are looking forward to the trip.
POlson is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 07:10 AM
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When I was in Homer, we took a boat over to Halibut Cove for dinner at the Saltry. The boat is the Danny G. I think it is a very fun experience. The Saltry has a large outdoor eating area with a big outdoor fireplace, when we were there they had live music. There is a board walk from the restaurant around the cove so after dinner we had time for a walk to several artist studios. We also saw an eagle swoop down and fly off with a poor unsuspecting duck for its own dinner.

I think Halibut Cove is a magical place- and I sure would like some more of that fresh Halibut we had there.

We tried to stop at Alyeska but the Forest Fair was going on and traffic impossible.
We spent Jul 4 in Talkneetka which was very fun and much more low keyed.
sunbum1944 is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 04:18 PM
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Hope you can post a trip report. We will be in Alaska the last 2 weeks in July. Would love to hear about your visit.

Where in Homer is the wedding?
LindainOhio is offline  
May 4th, 2013, 01:51 PM
  #18  
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sunbum - thanks for the advice about Halibut Cove. We've made our reservations. I also have my fishing set so one way or another I should get some tasty Halibut. I went with Homer Ocean Charters as they were the first ones recommended (by someone, somewhere) to have an open spot (my planning is a little late for July). I'm not super serious about fishing so hopefully it will turn out ok. Also, thanks for the tip on traffic for the Forest Fair - hopefully it won't be too bad if we are already at Alyeska.

LindaInOhio - The wedding is at a private home in Homer rather than at a hall or restaurant. I think in the Old Town area. I'll try to get my trip report posted before you go or at least some of the highlights/recs.
POlson is offline  
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