Need help on 4.5 day itinery in Alaska

Old May 21st, 2004, 12:51 AM
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Need help on 4.5 day itinery in Alaska

Hi,

Need help from Alaska visitors. We are planning on a 4.5 day trip to Alaska. I know it is short, yet we want to make the best out of it. We are arriving at 1pm on day1 in Anchorage and leaving late night on day5 from Anchorage.
We wanted to cover most of the good places like Seward, Denali, Kenai penunsula and Anchorage. My tentative plan was -

Rest of day 1 - Visit places in Anchorage - what are the best places to be covered in half a day??
Day 2 - Drive to Denali - take a long day tour - which one??
Day 3 - stay in Denali - what to do?? Plan to drive back to Anchorage that night.
Day 4 - Drive to Kenai penunsula & then Seward - what else to do here?
Day 5 - What other places to visit in Seward?? Plan to drive back to Anchorage late that evening.

1. Need help in finalising the places to visit in all these places.
2. Does this tentative itinery look good and is the best planned out vacation for 4.5 days??
3. Need suggestions on how to make it better and how to travel b/w different places - Anchorage - Denali, Anchorage-Seward.
4. How much will a car ride take from these different places?
5. Should I take a train ride from Anchorage to Denali & back? How much time does it take for the train ride?
5. Have I missed out any other good place worth visiting?
6. What are the activities worth doing in these places?
7. What is the best, not so expensive accomodation available in Seward & Denali?

Any other tips, suggestions to make the most from this trip will be very helpful. This is our first trip to Alaska and want to get a real, good feel of the place.

Thanks.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 02:28 AM
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You don't have enough time for this plan. So decide which area you want to tour and go there- EITHER Denali Park OR Seward. You are underestimating transit times and too much of your plan is spent on the road. You are at least a 5 hour drive Anchorage- Denali Park and add a shuttle bus to Eielson- 8 hours, then the drive back. Ideally you need 2 nights at Denali Park and the drive there should never be on a short fixed schedule. Plan a stop in Talkeetna, and a great glacier Trek on a detour to Matanuska Glacier, http://www.micaguides.com/ Independence Mine etc. You won't see much of anything in Anchorage- by time you collect your bags, orient yourself, find your lodging- it will be much later than 1pm. Plenty of worthwhile stuff to do there so perhaps plan for more time in Anchorage? The train is out- even more time in transit is necessary. If you want to tour the Kenai- then I would look at Girdwood, perhaps Homer, and certainly Seward. Most people greatly enjoy the long Kenai Fjords boat tours and is always a must do for me. Exit Glacier, Seavey's sled dogs, glacier flights. Homer - extremely scenic, fishing.
Reserve your car now- look at Thrifty, Dollar, Payless as well as independents for the best deal. Plenty of great B&B's available in Alaska.

Request each area's visitor guide. www.anchorage.net
www.sewardak.org
http://www.homeralaska.org/
http://www.kenaipeninsula.org/
http://www.alaskavisit.com/
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Old May 21st, 2004, 04:04 AM
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So, you have only four nights! I agree with such short time forget Kenai Peninsula OR Denali this time.
I would do something like this

Arrive in Anchorage. Rent a car and drive to Seward. Stay two nights in Seward.

Drive to Homer for two nights and for wildlife viewing go on a whole day trip bear watching with Emerald Air Service.

Day five I would leave Homer in the morning and make many stops (Soldotna, Girdwood, Kenai) on the way to Anchorage where I would spend a whole afternoon until it is time to return your car at the airport.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 08:24 AM
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Budget Queen - we are planning the IdidaRide Sled Dog tours in Seward - do you know anything about this group? Thanks.



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Old May 21st, 2004, 12:09 PM
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Yes run by the Seavey's. Well run attraction that most people greatly enjoy. But it is no comparism to a glacier dog sledding. If interested in sled dogs- head also up to Wasilla- Sled Dog Headquarters- small museum and the bargain of bargain cart rides for $5- last maybe 5 minutes. There is also the bronze statue for the start of the Iditrod in downtown Anchorage.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 02:19 PM
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When is this? Makes a difference.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 04:04 PM
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I agree with z--skip Denali and spend your time on the Kenai.

It will take half a day to get to Denali, 8 hours on the shuttle ride in the park, and another 5 hours just back to Anchorage. Add another 2.5 hours to drive just to Seward---well, you get the idea.

I wouldn't bother with spending time in Anchorage either. I'm sure there are lots of things to do but it is basically a city like most others. Get out of town ASAP.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 06:47 PM
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Applejack, did you know that Mitch Seavey of the IdidaRide Sled Dog tours won the Iditarod last March? Hope you will have a chance to meet him. He is a local hero now.
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Old May 21st, 2004, 09:35 PM
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Thanks Z and Budget Queen. We are dog lovers - so I know we will enjoy the sled dogs. When we lived in Anchorage many many years ago (before it was a state) we saw the races - but don't think there was a chance to ride the sleds etc. It wasn't called IdidaRide back then.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 06:16 AM
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Mehtarm, read the answers to all your questions posted yesterday. BudgetQuuen answered them all for you and she has some great ideas. From what I understand she goes to Alaska every year and she knows what she is talking about. Just read here her suggestions and do not try to do all in such a short time

Your questi"What is the exact driving distance from anchorage to denali national car?

How much time does it take practically to drive this distance by car?

Do we have any overnight train ride available from anchorage to denali park & back?

Besides Denali national park, what else is worth seeing in Denali & adjoining areas?"
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 06:19 AM
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Didn't finish typing but I just wanted to ask when you are going to be in Alaska?
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Hello 'z' and 'Budgetqueen' and all else, thanks very much for the wonderful travel trips given by all of you.

The previous question on distance between denali national park and anchorage was to consider the option of leaving denali in this trip, if its a long drive and there is lots of stuff to be done which require a 4-5 day.

Well, thanks guys! any other info is more than welcome!
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 07:13 PM
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Hello z -
We are travelling next weekend - May 28 - June 1.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 07:38 PM
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For this time of the year I would chose Seward and Homer. There is so much to do in both places. In Homer go to the museum, take a boat ride to Halibut Cove for lunch or spend a day in Seldovia, take a short hike down to the beach and then take a long walk on the beach, look for bald eagles and sandhill cranes, take pictures of swans on Beluga Lake. Look for a moose from observation platform near the airport. In Seward do not forget about Exit Glacier. Go on the IdidaRide Sled Dog tours with Mitch Seavey who won this year's race. Take the long Kenai Fjords boat tours recommended by BudgetQueen.
On the way back to Anchorage stop at the Girdwood bakery for delicious muffins, take a tramway for lunch at the Seven Glaciers restaurant and start planning your next, much longer, trip to Alaska.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 07:38 PM
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This is why I asked. The Park Service website says that the Denali NP shuttle bus won't be running to Eilson or Wonder Lake until the weekend of the 8th of June. Early June is always tricky for Denali and in fact many years the interior of the park isn't accessible until after the middle of the month. If you're planning to visit Denali I think you'll be disappointed after a five hour drive from Anchorage only to discover that you can't get far enough into the park to see the mountain or much of the wildlife. Up to you, of course.
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Old May 22nd, 2004, 09:55 PM
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Eielson shuttles mostly start June 1 every year. This year I understand they are already quite a ways in already, but the shuttles don't go any earlier. You can get to Toklat.
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Old May 24th, 2004, 02:41 PM
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Definitely do the Kenai instead of Denali at this time of year. I've backpacked in Denali on Memorial Day weekend, and only about the first 25 miles of the road into the park were open. If you want to see Denali, you can do a flightseeing trip from Merrill Field in Anchorage. Rust's Flying Service offers half-day tours to Denali from Anchorage, and I'd guess there are others as well (although not as many choices as if you were leaving from Talkeetna). On a clear day, these flightseeing trips are magnificent; you get very close to the mountain in a small plane, and on some tours you even land briefly on the Ruth Glacier.

In Seward, you can't go wrong with a full-day Kenai Fjords wildlife cruise. If you like hiking, one of the most beautiful day hikes in Alaska -- and that's saying something -- is the Harding Ice Field Hike leaving from the Exit Glacier parking lot six miles from Seward. I've done that hike in late May, and it was great.
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