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Need help with my itinerary I'm overwhelmed with Alaska !

Need help with my itinerary I'm overwhelmed with Alaska !

Old May 4th, 2010, 09:41 PM
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Need help with my itinerary I'm overwhelmed with Alaska !

I will only be in Alaska for a week. We are a family of four with two active teenagers. We want to visit the Kenai Peninsula ;however, I don't know how many days to spend in Seward,& Homer. Should I stop and fish in the Kenai river at Soldotna?
I would love to hear any suggestions re: activities, tour companies, lodging etc.
What about white water rafting? Where? Is it worthwhile to spend a day in Anchorage. There are just too many things to do but with very little time. Thank you.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 10:10 PM
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We were on land in Alaska for about same time prior to cruise 2 years ago with a 17 and 21 year old. I also found it overwhelming to plan.

With a week, consensus seems to be that you can hit the 2 main locations - Denali and Kenai Peninsula. I sorted thru advice from various sources and this is the plan that worked for us.

Land in Anchorage. Become totally time-warped. We had flown with a connection from East Coast, having left the house at 5 AM. So it felt like bedtime but looked like mid-day because of actual time in alaska and summer solstice. Ate dinner, slept. (We picked a hotel from among those in downtown Anchorage)

Left in rental car for Denali, stopping along the way in Wasilla for supplies (home of Sarah Palin - wave or gesture on your way thru town, depending on your political views) and Talkeetna for lunch and some brief sightseeing. On to Denali where we checked into one of the several cabin properties available.

Spent next 2 days exploring the area and nature, including the 13-hour bus trip into Denali. Saw animals, the mountain was "out". Warning - trip is long on a school bus and hangs onto the side of a terrifying cliff for part of the trip. Did some rafting, short walks (as opposed to hikes). We saw plenty of animals - but remember, this is not Animal Planet and some people don't and they are often far away.

Back towards Anchorage. Might have stopped in Talkeetna for a while longer but it was raining. The drive from Denali to Seward is doable in one day, but it is a very long day - you might consider stopping along the way.

We struggled with whether or not to tour Kenai Peninsula or stay in one place. Consensus here was to park ourselves in one place since it was only for a couple of days. We chose Seward. Took an all-day wildlife cruise- it was great. Lots of sea mammals, land animals on cliffs. Water was rough and I was seasick- but I learned I have limits to how long I can look thru binoculars. Saw wildlife center, glaciers, took photos. Then back to Anchorage for one night and our cruise. We picked our land activites to complement those of cruise (which included glacier helicopter landing, a hike, zipline).

Some things we wish we knew before we went. Alaksa is more expensive than we thought - and we knew things were pricey. I would figure on $100/day for rental car; hotel prices are comparable to US big cities; everything else costs at least 25% more than in the real world.

It was cold - we went mid-June and brought appropriate clothing - but it felt like April in Boston. If you are going to Denali area, buy anything you need in Wasilla - we were warned about that and did. While in Wasilla, observe that there is probably no place on earth with more places per capita to buy coffee or alcohol than anyplace on earth. My daughter said "if I had to live here in the winter I would need coffee and beer all the time, too"

Much of Alaska is not accessible by car - notably the capital, Juneau. You must get there by air or sea.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 12:41 PM
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Gail, thank u for the info. Yes, I have noticed Alaska is defintely more expensive. The tour u took in Seward did it go into the Kenai National Park or did it mainly stay in Resurrection Bay. How many days would u recommend staying in Seward? We will then head to Soldotna and Homer.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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What month? Makes a difference.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 01:39 PM
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It is in July. What is the high temp usually at that time?
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Old May 5th, 2010, 02:01 PM
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60s - 70s F. depending on where, wind, etc. Colder near icefields or on the water.

For fishing, there will be some King Salmon here and there on the Kenai Peninsula; you'll need to enquire locally about opening dates, allowable tackle etc. Fishing the Kenai from the bank is tough; you might look at the Anchor, Kasilof or other spots closer to Homer. July is probably too early for Silvers most places, although some will be appearing in the Kenai drainage and in Resurrection Bay around the second half of the month. The big Silver Salmon Derby in Seward is in August.

There's also a "fishing hole" dug out on the Homer Spit where you can stand on the side and harvest the fish that have got trapped. Not terribly sporting, but if it's protein you're after, well...

Or you might consider Halibut fishing out of Homer - big fish but you're out on the bay, so not recommended for urpy folks.

Not so much white-water rafting on the Kenai Peninsula as float trips down the river; or there are plenty of kayaking companies on the Peninsula and in Prince William Sound.

Yes of course it's worth spending a day in Anchorage. Visit the Native Heritage Museum so you can see something of the human story, not just glaciers, mountains and bears.
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