Help needed with Alaska trip

Old Jun 6th, 2003, 06:52 PM
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Help needed with Alaska trip

I have airfare on hold to arrive late July 24 in Anchorage and fly home around midnight on Aug.1. So we only have 8 nights and 8 full days. I have reserved a car for the 8 days. However, I am really at a loss as what we can accomplish in the eight days. In reading a good many of the postings, many people said to skip Denali. We have two children, 12 and 16. I am thinking we would like to stay in B&B's with two rooms or a family suite. We would rather see glaciers and marine wildlife as we have been on other vacations and seen moose and elk. However, I would like to see some bears, and a float trip for $2100 for the four of us is a bit much. So, does anyone know if we can have a good chance of seeing bears if we do not go to Denali and only stay south of Anchorage? Any help or suggested iternary would be greatly appreciated. I know I am late getting started but with kid's schedules we were limited in planning and timing.
Reda is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2003, 02:51 AM
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If bears are your number one request, you either have to go to Denali or spend a lot of money going to somewhere like Katmai N.P.

We never saw bears anywhere else in mid July.

I agree with staying south of Anchorage for 8 days.
Connie is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2003, 03:21 AM
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In Seward, we stayed at the Harborview Inn in their apartments. They are seperate from the hotel and are right accross the street from the water. They were very nice, especially the interior. In Seward, your you could take your children on a boat cruise. (If you don't want a long cruise because of their ages, take the Renown tour that is 2.5 hours. It was a charming tour and we saw mountain goat, otters, and got up close and personal with killer whales. They would also enjoy the Sea Life Center.
A little ways from Seward is Exit Glacier, which is an easy half-mile hike and is really worth it. There is also the Iditerod Center in that same location. You could also take the train out of Anchorage for some exursions. Don't discount Anchorage for things to do. There is the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the zoo, and what is supposed to be a pretty good trolly tour. Also, if your looking for a place to eat in Seward that is wonderful but reasonable, try Christos.
It is down one of the streets accross from the Sea Life Center, is an elegant Italian restaurant with great food and reasonable prices.
Whatever you do, I hope you have a great time.
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 03:55 AM
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We saw black bears in the dumpsters near Alyeska resort. The tram ride to the top and views were great. Fun to stand in the snow at the top when it's August. It's on the way between Anchorage and Seward. Plan to stop often to enjoy the view. The silver salmon were running up Bird Creek early August. You can watch the fishermen from the bridge on the Seward Highway. The Iditarod Museum in Wasilla is about an hour north of Anchorage. One of the Reddington grandchildren had puppies you could hold. You could also take a wheel sled ride. Your children might enjoy talking to a young musher. I used to make our son read a book about the area we were visiting. The biography of Joe Reddington, Father of the Iditarod, is good reading and shows you what Alaska was like in the 50s. It's hard to imagine that people spent their first winter in tents.
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Old Jun 7th, 2003, 04:42 AM
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I went to Anchorage area with great hope of seeing alot of bears but, was a little disappointed that I didn't see as much wildlife as I hoped . We did go to Denali but, only saw a bear in the distance. I agree to skip Denali.
The best areas for us were around Seward and Homer because of the vast beauty. I enjoyed Exit Glacier and hiking to the Harding Icefield in the Seward area. Then taking cruise around the Kenai Peninsula where we saw sea lions and different types of birds.I didn't see whales like I wanted.We saw glaciers calving on this trip and that was terrific.
In Homer we went deep sea fishing for Halibut and cruised to Halibut Cove for dinner/shopping. We loved both these areas. If I do it again, I'll try Kodiak Island to see bears and make a trip to Cordova which you would have to take the Alaska Marine HWY to get to those areas. I'm afraid that to see Grizzly bears, you are going to have to pay to actually go and see them catching salmon in their natural habitat(I prefer over garbage cans).I agree that these trips are pricy and were too much for us when we went.
In the future if you want to see alot of bears, you might want to consider a trip to Juneau. Drive from Seattle through Canada(Sea to Sky Hwy.) and take the marine system along the inside passage to Juneau. We saw more bears along the Canadian Hwys. than I have ever seen. We also, traveled to Hyder Alaska where we saw Grizzlies fishing for Salmon constantly in the streams there for no cost at all. We just happen to stumble on to Hyder. I have never seen anyone recommend it in any travel books or on any forums but, it was one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken because of amount of bears we saw and the unique opportunity of seeing them fishing for Salmon. It's a wonderful sight to behold.I hope you have a wonderful trip , Alaska is such a beautiful state whether you see bears or not.

Trisha is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2003, 04:36 AM
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You aren't likely to see bears without a tour, be aware there are different types, black bears, interior browns (Denali Park) and coastal browns- salmon eaters. Myself- I wouldn't miss Denali Park- the people who claim it isn't worth it most likely did not get far into the park- most never are even aware there are 2 different tours, and several shuttle stops. It is the best wildlife bargain in Alaska, my min. distance in is via the shuttle to Eielson mile 66, the longest tour goes to mile 53. I also disagree with any Kenai Fjords boat tour of less than 6 hours- you don't get out of the bay. For any significant wildlife viewing a and glacier- you need the longer trip. Kenai fjords and Major Marine offer good tours- a major consideration- take seasickness precautions- I have seen sick passengers EVERY trip and always the ones at the dock who claim they never get sick. Very rough sailing in parts. You need to be agressive with your lodging now. Family suites are going to be rare and 2 rooms may not be an option either at this late date in season. 8 days is doable, a necessary referenc is The MILEPOST, try your library. My advice- if bears are your priority- ( I would make that salmon brown bears) skimp somewhere else and go on the tour. Several operators out of Anchorage to choose from, also out of Soldothna.
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Old Jun 8th, 2003, 05:04 AM
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Just north of Anchorage are the Iditerod Headquaters where you can take the dog sled ride mentioned previously. Not too far away is the Musk Ox Farm, another interesting, unique attraction.
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Old Jun 8th, 2003, 01:34 PM
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We went all the way to Eilson and I'm glad we did but we won't go back.

Reda has very little time and going to Denali takes 3 days from Anchorage. IMO, there is prettier scenery elsewhere.

As I said in my previous post, if your primary desire is to see bears (cheaply), Denali is the place to go.
Connie is offline  
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