Assistance planning 8 days Alaska trip

Old Jul 9th, 2007, 04:24 AM
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Assistance planning 8 days Alaska trip

Dear Fodorites,

A young couple planning 8 days trip to Alaska. I know this wonderland deserves much longer trip, but thatīs all we have

I want to visit Denali, Seward, Homer and Anchorage, this is what I have in mind:

Day 0 - Arr. Anchorage at night (by plane)
Day 1 - Dep. Anchorage to Denali (by train)
Day 2 - Tourism in Denali National Park
Day 3 - Dep. Denali to Seward (by plane/bus)
Day 4 - Tourism in Seward
Day 5 - Dep. Seward to Homer (by rental car)
Day 6 - Tourism in Homer
Day 7 - Dep. Homer to Anchorage (by car)
Day 8 - Tourism in Anchorage
Day 9 - Dep. Anchorage (by plane)

Any suggestion about transportation/hotels is more than welcome. No backpack, no 7 stars hotels, medium-high range.

josechino is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 05:16 AM
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There is no such thing as a 7 star hotel in Alaska. Even a 5 star is pushing it, and that's in Anchorage.
Alaska is a wonderful place--it will truly be a trip of a lifetime for you.
While in Seward, be sure to go on a day cruise. You can get cruises of all time lengths from 2.5 hours to 8+ hours. Although the Sea Life Center is small, it's great and I wouldn't miss it. Homer is also wonderful.
While on the Kenai Penninsula, be sure to visit Exit Glacier.
egret is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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When are you coming? Suggest reservations as this is high season.
First night suggest you stay downtown as that is where the train leaves from.
Bus from Denali to Seward - not sure why you would fly unless that is part of your reservation.
Day charter in Seward - absolute must.
Homer - fun town and if you have time head over to Seldovia.
Bring rain gear and dress warmly (layering with no cotton) as many of the excursions you will do are outside.
Bring binoculars and if taking pictures, make sure to bring a telephoto lens for camera.
Driving distances are deceiving as you do lots of stops along way for scenery. Plus, they are two lane roads mostly.
Here's a good starting point -
Also, check out other posts for Homer, Seward and Anchorage - lots of good stuff there.
tigerman99515 is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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With only 8 days, it's a shame to spend almost 2 full days traveling to and from Denali. North of Anchorage the scenery gets a little boring except for stopping at places like Independence Mine and Talkeetna. I don't think you can fly to Seward but you could look into a commuter flight between Anchorage and Kenai (the town) or Homer. Kenai is about halfway between Seward and Homer. Not sure about car rentals there, however. The commuter flight is pretty ordinary. The airport is tiny. But the downside is you miss the fabulous scenery driving between Anchorage and Seward. It might make more sense to rent a car in Anchorage so you don't miss the scenery. About 5 hours from Anchorage to Homer. Seward is on the other side of the mountains from Homer so you have to backtrack north a bit then south thru Soldotna (next to Kenai) to Homer. Seward to Homer is about 3 hours. You will probably want to stay in nice b&bs but some have a more than one night minimum. Check (do a search) past posts for lodging accomodations.
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Old Jul 9th, 2007, 07:37 PM
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We did an 8 day trip to the same areas you are planning. We went in Sept and started from Anchorage, went south to Homer & Seward, and then north to Denali before flying out of Anchorage on the last day. We rented a car for only about $275 for the week with unlimited miles. Stayed at decent hotels and had a great time.

Here is a link to a trip report I posted when we got back. It might help you with some ideas of what is possible. I also have a bunch of website links I could provide you if you like. Just let me know your e-mail address.

Have fun,

link =
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Old Jul 10th, 2007, 06:28 AM
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Frankly, this is a very tight timeframe, and in my opinion, you do NOT have the time for the train. I strongly suggest you consider a round trip Anchorage rental car. You also have not considered the delays or construction you are bound to encounter.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2007, 06:53 AM
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I just returned from Alaska, and went to all of those places except Homer. You have such limited time that you should consider limiting your destinations -- otherwise you will spend your entire trip traveling. I would skip Homer, and also sacrifice the day of "Tourism in Anchorage" (I spent a few hours wandering around the city, and while nice, it was not a "highlight"). I'd add at least one day to Denali, and another day in Seward if you plan to take a cruise into Kenai Fjords NP (which is a "must see").
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 05:00 AM
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I tried to respond to the e-mail you sent me but it got sent back as not deliverable. So I have copied it and posted in here.

You are going at a great time of the year. The tourist crowds should be winding down and the autumn colors should be starting in Denali.

We found it best to rent a car at the Anchorage airport. Having a rental car gave us a lot of flexibilty on where we went and when we decide to go. We got to Anchorage late Saturday evening Sept 3rd and started our adventure on Sunday. We stayed at a Marriott Courtyard Hotel near the airport that night our flight arrived.

I would recommend heading south towards Homer first. It will take about 5 hours from Anchorage if you stop along the way to take pictures and enjoy the views. We took a one day bearing viewing trip on Monday from Homer to Katmai National Park and Preserve. It is expensive, about $550 per person, but it was the highlight of our trip. All of the bear pictures you saw on my trip report were from that one day.

We spent 2 nights in Homer (Sunday & Monday). On tuesday we drove to the town of Cooper Landing and spent 2 nights there. This town is small but is located very close the main highway heading back north and is only 1 1/2 hours from Seward. We spent Tuesday driving and sight-seeing from Homer to Cooper Lnading and took a rafting trip in Cooper Landing in the afternoon. On Wed we went to Seward and Exit Glacier for the day. Then on Thursday mornig we headed north to Denali. That drive took about 7-8 hours and we stopped along the way many times. We spent Thursday and Friday nights just outside Denali and then spent Saturday night about 2 hours south of Denali just north of a town called Talkeetna.

Talkeetna is a neat little town to visit. You won't spend more than a few hours, but the views of Mt. McKinley can be great from here if the clouds are not covering the top of the mountain.We did this so we would not have so far to drive on Sunday to get back to Anchorage for our evening flight.

On our last day we were able to get back to Anchorage with enough time to visit the Heritage and Cultural Center, the Sunday Market, and walked around downtown Anchorage to have dinner before our 9PM flight back to Chicago.

I strongly suggest you get an Alaska Tour Saver book coupon book - there may be some for sale on the Fodors board by people that bought thema dn have already used the coupons they want. Just make sure the coupons you want are still available. Here is a link for the book so you can see what coupons it brings.

Also think about buying a magazine/book called the MilePost. It is a mile by mile roadmap of Alaska with all sorts of information about hotels, attractions, places to eat, and all kinds of information. If you are goign to rent a car and drive it is worth having this book. I got mine on

Here is a link
We were able to get some two for one deals at the Princess Cruise Lines resorts. These are 4 star hotels for a reasonable prices with the coupons.

Here are some other websites you might find useful.

Let me know if you have any other questions I can help with. I got a lot of good information from people at the Fodor's site so I feel it only right that I help others like people helped me.
jfmkem is offline  
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