Alaska with kids?

Nov 10th, 2001, 06:36 PM
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Alaska with kids?

We are thinking about taking a trip to Alaska next July. We have 3 boys, 9,11 & 13. Does anyone have an opinion about driving, cruising or activities that they would like? They are not too interested in "educational" activities. Any ideas and comments are appreciated. If you suggest cruising, please let me know what cruise line is good for children. We have never been on a cruise before. Thanks for your help!
Nov 10th, 2001, 09:08 PM
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I did a cruise this August up to Alaska and although it was wonderful I would much rather take the time to drive. You can get a ferry I think from Washington State somewhere which will take you up to one of the coastal towns - you can take the car on this - from there you can drive from Skagway up through the Yukon and into Alaska proper.
On the cruise ships there is never enought time to see everything you would like to and although they are very enjoyable I would have loved to have gone to Denalli National Park. Depending on where you live of course would depend on whether you went that way or up through Edmonton, Alberta and through to the Yukon.
Beautiful country!!
Nov 10th, 2001, 10:18 PM
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Information on the ferry can be found at the Alaska Dept. of Transportation's website at

If you're thinking about taking a car (which will be necessary if you intend to go beyond the southeast Alaska panhandle, unless you use one of the "cross-gulf" ferry sailings,) you should start serious planning now, and consider booking space ASAP.

There are many options for visiting Alaska with your kids. What do they like to do? Obvious choices are wildlife viewing in national parks, fishing and camping - maybe a "fly-in" stay at a tent camp or isolated lake in the bush? - whale watching in Prince William Sound, seeing Russian churches and Native cultures? Gold panning? Glacier hikes? Add a side trip to Dawson City in the Yukon and see the Klondike country - still producing gold and great stories... the list can be long. Start with
Happy planning!
Nov 11th, 2001, 03:58 AM
Donna F
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We took the ferry from Bellingham WA to Skagway last summer. You get on Friday night and get off late Monday afternoon. There were about 6 short educational programs each day but it looked like the kids mostly hung around one observation area, played board games and visited with each other. The drive from Skagway to Anchorage is approx 800 miles and pretty desolate in between areas of beautiful scenery. The advice to do things like panning for gold is good. Kids that age need to be active. We didn't take a day trip on Glacier Bay but that looked good. You should make sure to have several pairs of binnoculars. If you like fishing, check into a guest license. The drive from Anchorage to Seward is breathtaking and you can stop at Alyeska Resort and take a tram ride to the top where there will still be snow. Get The Milepost magazine and see what would interest your family. BTW the cabins on the ferry are small, the largest 4 single bunks. It probably won't be warm enough for swimming and don't expect to find hotels/motels with pools.
Nov 11th, 2001, 05:00 AM
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Driving would be great, but I don't know about doing it with three children. At least on a cruise they have special children's programs and there will be other children to help entertain yours.
Nov 11th, 2001, 01:30 PM
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We did a similar trip 3 years ago with our daughters ages 11 and 14. took the Holland American cruise from Vancouver to Seward, rented a car and drove around the Kenai Peninsula for a week, then flew out of Anchorage after a day there.
It was a great vacation. HAL had great kids groups on the ship. They did crafts, games, tours, movie nights, and even had the disco to themselves one evening. although you're only in the ports for a while, we found it to be plenty of time as the towns were pretty small. We just walked around and went into local museums or took little hikes, except in Juneau, where we took a helicopter up to the glacier. (got the tickets OFF the ship, where we saved almost 50%). We took the ship's bus from Seward to Anchorage (the driver gave us a great tour along the way)then rented a van at the airport. We chose the kenai over driving to Denali for two reasons: less traffic, and more opportunities to explore on our own. Plus, the odds of actually seeing Denali are rather slim. We really enjoyed the Exit Glacier, the back road that runs through the national park in the middle of the Peninusla, and Homer. Got a license and a shovel at the supermarket and went clamming, fishing, explored the beaches in the middle of the night, and really enjoyed the museum in Homer that has the oil spill exhibit (skip the new one in Seward.. it was part of Exxon's punishment and we felt ripped off there). We even had a great time at the movie theatre in has a corrugated roof and concrete floors, but lots of atmosphere free refills on the already cheap snacks.
On the way back to Anchorage, we took the little train over Portage glacier to the prince william sound. it was too rainy to take a boat trip once there, so we just turned around and came back. Saw our one and only bear on that train, so it was a huge success with us!
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