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kat80 Jan 14th, 2006 05:17 PM

Honeymoon in Alaska- Need help
 
We are trying to plan our honeymoon for July 2006 and we are deciding between Hawaii and Alaska and we live in California. I am wondering if it is possible to do 7 to 9 days in Alaska on a budget of $7000 or less. Is Alaska a good place to visit in July? We love to hike and be outdoors and still want to make the trip romantic as it is our honeymoon. Also, we would love to see some glaciers. Is it easy to get around Alaska on our own or should we go through a travel agent? Is it possible to go to Alaska and avoid the more touristy areas? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

BudgetQueen Jan 15th, 2006 01:53 AM

Yes easy to do within your budget and forget a travel agent. Most do not know Alaska and will only get you at best into some big hotel and not know anything about all the great stuff at destinations and in between.

Best would be for you to decide if you want a cruise 7 day leaving out of Vancouver is just excellent for scenery and time in 3 ports. I think HAL has one of the best itineraries with their double glacier sailings of Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm.

If you want interior Alaska, I suggest round trip Anchorage. then cover the Denali Park area and Kenai Peninsula with a rental car. As a suggestion- overnight in Anchorage, then to Talkeetna with plenty of stops- Eagle River Nature Center, Hatcher Pass, MICA guides for some glacier trekking. Denali Park 2 nights, Take the Park SHUTTLE bus to Fish Creek www.nps.gov/dena back to Anchorage, overnight again, PWS glacier boat tour out of Whittier, continue to Seward, overnight Kenai Fjords boat tour, see Seward. Homer 2 nights, back to Anchoage. This is just a sample, you may want the Valdez area instead of Homer? Consider staying in some nice- private B&B's ask about this. Consider purchasing www.toursaver.com for McKinley flightseeing out of Talkeetna, boat tours out of Whittier and Seward. Plenty else to consider, not useful if you are on a cruise.

Pat2003 Jan 15th, 2006 06:03 AM

You got the best possible suggested itinerary for interior of Alaska from Budget Queen. I agree with her about no need for a travel agent, read posts here and you will learn how to go about making all arrangements. Remember, you will need to book your accommodations very soon. My vote goes to Homer and day trip to watch bears with Emerald Air Service. Ask the owner of this comany about a wedding he performed on one of their trips. To me, Alaska is one of the most romantic places on earth.

Budget Queen listed many activities after staying overnight in Anchorage and before going to Talkeetna. I don't think it is possible to do them all, you would have to decide what appeals to you the most. I would chose Hatcher Pass because of views and hiking. July is a great time to visit Alaska.

sylvia3 Jan 15th, 2006 08:30 AM

Don't cruise, get a car. Drive to Denali, Seward, etc. If you love to hike and do outdoor things, save the cruising for your 20th anniversary; you have way more than enough $$ to see lots more than only 9 days in Alaska in style (as much style as you can get outside of Anchorage). I honeymooned in Alaska; I wouldn't have given up the freedom of seeing things for myself for scheduled and organized stops for anything! Go and have an adventure, and enjoy. (However, if your idea of a honeymoon is lolling on a gorgeous beach rubbing sunscreen into your hubby's shoulders and drinking tropical drinks, go to Hawaii.)

sylvia3 Jan 15th, 2006 08:32 AM

p.s. Driving into Valdez, past the walls of water running down the rocks, and then seeing awesome glacial/alpine scenery, is not to be missed! (But then, Maui is nothing to sneeze at...)

Postal Jan 15th, 2006 08:24 PM

Don't do any Alaska plans without an edition of The Milepost, a book which describes (as you can guess) every road in Alaska from milepost to milepost.

Both Hawaii and Alaska are beautiful so it's a tough choice. If you want to avoid tourists, Alaska is the place. It was the best trip I ever made in my life and I would love to go back.

visormom Jan 15th, 2006 08:37 PM

Been to both...Maui more relaxing..laid back, an occasional snorkel or sailboat ride...But Alaska was jampacked with activities..NO REST Forget about trying Denali and the Seward area unless you take a flight which is very popular and common in Alaska. I'm from Texas, and I thought circumventing our state was difficult..well....If you choose Hawaii..it's Maui hands down...If you choose Alaska, do your research and decide whether you want to spend your days on the water (AWESOME...glaciers/wildlife)or the Nat'l Park. Don't kill yourself packing too much into a weekish. Just do what we are doing...plan another trip back to see what you didn't the first time. By the way, we based out of Girdwood..Aleyska Resort.We went to Whittier, Seward, dogsleding on the glacier, riverrafting, hiking, charter on PWS...Fodor's book is all you need..Hope you have a wonderful honeymoon...Congratulations!!!

My verdict: Maui for Honeymoon...Alaska with the kids...:)

hilda Jan 16th, 2006 03:26 AM

I would suggest cruising so you can relax and unwind. You can take ship excursions in port for adventure. The driving tour is wonderful but ask yourselves if 7-9 days of driving might be too stressful for a honeymoon. Or fly to Anchorage for the cruise 1-2 days early and do some driving on your own.

Pat2003 Jan 16th, 2006 05:59 AM

<Fodor's book is all you need>
I disagree. For anyone who is planning to drive in Alaska The Milepost is the must. Further, 9 days is a nice time to spend in interior of Alaska as long as you make smart choices without trying to see too much. We visited Alaska many times and on each trip we see new things, visit different places, hike on new trails.
During 9 days you may take many hikes, see amazing scenery but you can have plenty of time to relax. Just make smart choices when designing your itinerary. Because you love hiking driving in Alaska will give you more opportunities to hike on spectacular trails. Whatever you decide you won't need a travel agent to plan your trip to Alaska.

BudgetQueen Jan 16th, 2006 05:59 AM

If you are considering interior Alaska travel, THE MILEPOST is a necessary reference, but don't purchase it until the new editions come out in March. In the meantime, see if your library has a copy and take a look.

busgirl Jan 16th, 2006 06:10 PM

Hi, I live in Wasilla AK, about an hours drive north of Anchorage. If you were going to go to Alaska, July is definately the month to do it - namely, 22 hours of sunshine (and 2 hours of dusk). The weather is high 60s to mid 70s, and everyone is energized because of all of the sunlight. Though prices are higher in the summer, if you book ahead of time you can get some good deals. For example, Alyeska (Girdwood) is a down time (they are a ski resort) and its great there. Homer is not to be missed for its beauty. Wasilla is a great jump off spot for Anchorage and Talkeetna without the prices. Also great fishing, and don't forget the Great Bear Brewing Company! Anyway, summer is my favorite. If you elect this area, drop me a line and I'll give you my expert :) advice.

Pat2003 Jan 17th, 2006 03:24 AM

busgirl, the weather in July is not always in high 60s to mid 70s. There were times when we had 50 degrees in July and rain but the most important thing is to be prepared for any king of weather, dress in layers, bring rain gear and be flexible. Alaska is amazing.

dfrostnh Jan 17th, 2006 10:40 AM

Busgirl makes some good points. Splitting time between two places and avoid a lot of driving is a good idea. Wasilla is nice but I loved our stay at Alaska Garden Gate B&B in Palmer. Karen has a nice website. You could opt to have private breakfasts but it's fun talking with the other guests. We also had her cater a luncheon for us. Maybe an afternoon in Anchorage for sight seeing and dinner. After a few days of easy hiking and exploring I would head south for an overnight in Seward with a Kenai Fjords boat trip and then two nights in Homer. I like the restaurants in Homer plus the Spit is amazing. The flowers in Alaska are beautiful. By July the flowering baskets are really gorgeous. You can easily drive on your own. Expect typical big city/suburban traffic in the Anchorage area but as you get further out you might not see much traffic at all. I agree, you don't need a travel agent. A short flightseeing ride would be nice. We had a short ride over a glacier near Homer with Smokey Bay. If you can afford a longer flight like one out of Talkeetna that would be super. Expect gas prices to be similar to the lower 48 but we thought car rentals were very expensive. Budget Queen has given good tips on car rentals before. We used an old clunker. There's no need for an expensive SUV. Bring rain gear in case of rain. We forgot sunscreen and I got quite a sunburn in late June and it was hotter in Fairbanks than it was in Miami! Bring everything except a bathing suit and a winter jacket. I think the only time I felt it was touristy was when a cruise ship was in port and the streets (i.e. Skagway) were crowded. I would take Busgirl up on her offer for a local's advice esp if she knows some good trails.

BayouGal Jan 17th, 2006 12:03 PM

If you choose the interior of Alaska (as opposed to cruising Alaska), I highly recommend spending some time in Homer. Breathtaking scenery, tons of outdoor activities--from going bear viewing, to kayaking, to halibut fishing, etc, etc. Alaskan Suites cabins are upscale, killer view, grills on private porch for some of the halibut and/or salmon you caught, and great hosts. Also there are some all-inclusive and other wilderness lodges across the bay from Homer (only accessible by boat and maybe air). Definitely do the Northwestern Fjords boat tour out of Seward, and flightseeing over Denali (McKinley). Check out the lodging options within Denali National Park. Great for a honeymoon. If you are really, really adventurous, there is a cabin up on the range only accessible by air (ski plane landing)--contact air services out of Talkeetna for more info(and someone of this board may know more about it than I do.) We saw it from our summit flight over Denali.

Also, consider an overnight kayaking trip out of Seward or Valdez. We did an overnight kayak trip in the Blackstone Bay area as recommended by repete, an expert on this board. LOTS of glaciers, icebergs, beauty, etc. Search "Blackstone Bay Kayaking" for many operators with varying prices and lengths of trips.

Also, you might want to check out Winterlake and Redoubt Bay Lodges.

You could have an incredible honeymoon in Alaska with research and some help from all the experts on this board.

Regardless of what you choose, have a wonderful honeymoon!


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