Help with itinerary for trip to Alaska

May 22nd, 2006, 04:15 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 27
Help with itinerary for trip to Alaska

I am planning a visit to Alaska for the last week in August and the first two weeks of September, 2006. We are 4 adults (just over 50 yrs of age) traveling from our home in Israel to Alaska. We already have tickets to Juneau with a return from Anchorage. OK, what should we absolutely see in between?
It might help to know that we love walking, but are not quite up for overnight back packing. We are more the bed and breakfast crowd. Fill our days with activities, but give us a comfortable night to recover. We want to kayak, raft and see wild life.
Any suggestions will be appreciated.
So far our itinerary is planned to include:
Juneau and Mendenhall glacier, Tracy Arm, Skagway and a drive up to White Pass and horseback riding at Emerald Lake, Anchorage, Denali, Homer, Whittier. Where should we do sea kayaking? Where whale watching? Where bear watching?
Any suggestions will be most greatfully appreciated.
George L.
georgel is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 05:05 AM
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Hi George, do search here on this forum under Alaska and you will find tons of information.

Make your reservations ASAP, there are going to be many B&Bs already fully booked, although it is already the end of the season.
IMHO you are trying to fit too many things in two-week itinerary. I would dismiss Whittier as an overnight destination. Include Seward instead.

Bear watching from Homer. Do your search here under bear watching or click on my name. Reading those posts will help you to chose a specific company. I posted many times our personal experiences. Check this website to get lots of information on bear tours You should e-mail them and ask any questions you have. Try to include Homer first in your itinerary if you are going to go bear watching. It gets very windy in Katmai around mid-September and this is why day trips are often canceled. First week in September is a glorious time to visit Katmai National Park.

Whale watching from Homer too but I don't know how it is in September. Check and e-mail them. I included in a couple posts here our experience on one trip with Rainbow Tours but it wasn't in September. I think September is too late for whale watching they should be on the way to Hawaii. I think with your limited time I would skip Denali if you are going to go to Katmai National Park and Preserve for bear watching. I feel terrible about tell you to skip Denali but your time is very limited.
To do sea kayaking from Whittier you need to stay maybe in Girdwood, Seward or Anchorage.

How are you planning to get from Juneau to Anchorage? You already know there is no road connection, right?

Be prepared for any kind of weather and that may include some snow.
Pat2003 is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 05:12 AM
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George, I reread your post and I see you are coming for three weeks not two. My mistake. Include Denali!! I got to run now but will post some other ideas for you if you are interested.
Pat2003 is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 07:34 AM
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Dear Pat,
I am greatful. Thanks for your suggestions. I am reading the posts like crazy.
georgel is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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If you decide to spend two weeks in the interior of Alaska here are some suggestions and possible itinerary

Anchorage 2 nights (hiking, museums, Botanical Garden, Farmer's Market)

Denali 2 nights (touring the park along the road on a scheduled bus, maybe stop for a hike or two)

Talkeetna 1 night (flightseeing)

Girdwood 1 night (hiking, tramway for dinner at the Seven Glacier restaurant)

Homer (bear watching, trip to Halibut Cove, Pratt Museum, bird watching, beach walking at low tide, Wynn's Nature Center, kayaking across the bay on Glacier lake) 3 nights

Seward 2 nights (cruise)

Valdez (before getting on a ferry stop at Portage Glacier, ferry from Whittier, hiking, museums, kayaking) 2 nights

Sheep Mountain (on the way visiting Worthington Glacier, hiking on Matanuska Glacier with crampons)1 night

Palmer 1 night (to visit and hike around Hatcher Pass)
Back to Anchorage.

As you see here is no backpacking involved, every night you would come to your B&B.
Pat2003 is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 10:31 AM
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George, in my first post I gave you a wrong link, here is a correct one
Pat2003 is offline  
May 23rd, 2006, 03:26 AM
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Whale watching out of Homer is NOT a given, far superior is going out of Juneau, so I suggest perhaps contact for a great tour.

For bears, definately consider going out of Homer, but also look at overnight trips, more is better. Go to Wonder Lake via the Park shuttle in Denali Park.
Rafting is good on the Nenana near Denali Park, crappy out of Juneau.

I would strongly suggest you consider Seward- fantastic for varied wildlife and a close up glacier view. Consider the Northwestern Fjords tour, my preference of all of them.

Here is a sample of wildlife from my trip last year going in the same timeframe.

I would also suggest you may want to consider at least one flight, Alaska from the air is awesome!!
BudgetQueen is offline  
May 24th, 2006, 01:49 AM
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Thanks so much for your suggestions. You have both been a great help.
Seems that while September is a good time with regard to less crowds, it tends to be less than ideal for seeing wildlife or even finding things open. Also weather might be a bigger problem. Anyway, that is when we can come, so i am just hoping for the best.
georgel is offline  
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