Planning Alaska Road Trip in June

Old Apr 4th, 2021, 05:30 PM
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Planning Alaska Road Trip in June

Planning a road (& train) trip in Alaska this June and I'd love your thoughts of our very preliminary itinerary.
Nothing set except flights secured; 6/15 7:30 pm arrival and 6/30 8:45 pm departure out of Anchorage

Arrive Anchorage 6/15 7:30 pm, 1 night in Anchorage
6/16 train to Denali, night in Denali
6/17, 6/18, 6/19, 4 nights in Denali
6/20 Bus or train to Talkeetna, 1 night in Talkeetna
6/21 Depart Talkeetna to Anchorage, 1 night in Anchorage
6/22 Depart Anchorage by car to Kenai Peninsula
6/23, 6/24, 6/25, 6/26, 6/27, 6/28, 6/29 8 nights Kenai Peninsula (split between Homer and Seward)

We are 2 fit women in our 60's. Our interests are nature, fjords, wildlife, hiking, kayaking, local culture. Not so into cities.
Seems like you do not need car in Denali, so thought that an opportunity to take the scenic train, and car to Kenai Peninsula.
Also could do the trip in reverse Kenai Peninsula first, then Denali. But need to juggle dates due to alternate days of train travel.
Wondering if that is too many nights in Denali, Seward, Homer?

We welcome all suggestions.
Thanks so much!
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 02:00 AM
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I liked Independence Mine a lot. According to google maps it's 1 hr 20 minutes north of Anchorage. In addition to exploring the restored historical mining town you can do some hiking in the area. Beautiful time to see wildflowers. Although Anchorage is a big,sprawling city, you won't find much i.e. gas stations and restaurants once you get north of Wasilla. At the mine you can get an idea of how remote it must have been.

Although Kenai and Soldotna are big, suburban type towns with shopping districts, don't miss exploring some of the outskirts. We were based in Kenai on our last visit which is about the same time of year you are going. There was a beach we walked where we met two men who were net fishing. It was fascinating to watch and they were in the mood to chat. We got a freshly caught salmon to cook that night. What a nice gift. The guys worked on the slope so were staying in their RVs while fishing. One said his wife told him not to come home with more than 200 lbs of salmon. I also liked the visitors center in Kenai - small museum that was very nice. We visited a few shops that probably aren't on the tourist radar, one sold hunting and fishing gear and outdoor clothing. If you like to cook you might want to be on the lookout for a handmade ulu knife. I use mine almost every day. Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

You'll be able to tell when salmon start running in the Russian River. The traffic heading there will get much heavier. You'll want to stop to watch the fishing.
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 06:56 AM
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Thank you DFrostNH!

These are great suggestions. We would like to check out a mining town, and love your story about talking with local fisherman. I'll have to check out the fishing rivers between Anchorage and Kenai Nat Park, as that is when we will have a car to get off the beaten track.
Are you suggesting nights in the town of Kenai, and less in Homer or Seward? We prefer the smaller town center type of towns, over suburban shopping center style. We welcome thoughts and ideas!
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 08:46 AM
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Well to be a little (maybe too) frank, I'm not in love with your plan. Here are my views, which of course are just personal. Forgive me if I bounce around a little with your plans.

First, in my view the train ride from Anchorage to Denali is not especially scenic, save for a couple of relatively brief spots along the line. Mainly you'll be seeing forest on both sides of the train. And just my view, but Talkeetna is a very touristy place. Most years it's jammed with tour buses, many emanating from "cruise-tour" operations, but of course this year with no cruises I don't know what things will be like, but it's still pretty touristy.

Five nights (four days) at Denali is A LOT. If you travel each day as far as the Eielson visitor center (not sure if Wonder Lake is even offered this year) that means an accumulated time of over 30 hours sitting on a converted school bus, plus whatever time you spend off the bus. Now different strokes and all that, but what if the weather's punk? You probably know that most visitors to the national park never see the mountain due to clouds obstructing the view, and while June is a decent time to see wildlife, it's also when the brush is quite thick, so spotting the animals isn't all that easy. And of course mid- to late June is the peak of the mosquito season, and the bugs in Denali are world-class. Now of course you could get lucky and have spectacular weather and the critters could walk up to the side of the bus, but, well...?

So I would give strong consideration to editing the Denali part of this trip, and think about a different train experience. First, a question - where is home? The reason for asking is that one thought for a combination train + "wow" experience right off the bat is to take the train to Whittier the morning after you arrive. The route is incredibly scenic, then in Whittier you can walk from the train to the dock for a cruise to see all the tidewater glaciers in College Inlet (or Fjord) and other parts of Prince William Sound. The glacier cruises take around 4-5 hours, and you'll return in time for the evening train (still broad daylight in mid-June) back to Anchorage. To me, the glacier cruises are about the best "OMG I'm in Alaska" experience there is, and you won't need to do any driving, just in case jetlag is an issue.

Then I would do a driving route, possibly along these lines: https://goo.gl/maps/ZDwU6R3GzFay7r68A followed by https://goo.gl/maps/U9dXLue2f9ffMe649

The first loop would take you to Denali, then up to Fairbanks, then down the Richardson Highway to Thompson Pass and (incredible) Worthington Glacier, then back to Anchorage via the Glenn Highway with possible stops at the Matanuska Glacier (where you can hike on the ice) and/or Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine. A last stop on the loop would be in the Native village of Eklutna, in particular to visit the fascinating cemetery near the old Russian Orthodox churches, in which colorful "spirit houses" cover the graves.

The second drive tour would include the Wildlife conservation center at Portage and a side trip to the old mining village of Hope, the only town on the south shore of Turnagain Arm, then on to Seward. I'd stay in Seward to take a cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park, visit the Sea Life Center, and maybe go fishing in Resurrection Bay, then I'd move down to Homer, stopping in Ninilchik to see the lovely old Russian church. I'd consider a day (or an overnight) trip across Kachemak Bay to visit Seldovia or Halibut Cove, before returning to Anchorage, possibly with a final night or two in Girdwood, from which you could take the tram up into the mountains above the ski resort. https://alyeskaresort.com/alyeska-aerial-tram/ .

In terms of time allocation for the first loop, if it was me I'd spend two nights (arrival and the next) near Denali, one in Fairbanks, one around Glennallen, and one near the Matanuska Glacier along the Glenn Highway, then back to Anchorage. On the second loop I'd spend two nights in Seward, two or three in Homer, and one in Girdwood on the way back. I haven't added all that up but I suspect it's compatible with your current timetable, maybe even gives you a surplus night or two to allocate somewhere.

Google the places on the maps and see what you think. I hope this isn't too disruptive to your plans.
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 08:47 AM
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We visited Alaska for the first time last September, and it was amazing! We concentrated our time in the Kenai peninsula, which is full of great hikes and outdoor activities. We didn't go to Denali as we had limited time and it's a bit of a distance from Anchorage. One thing to note, for the most part you can't freely wander around Denali national park. Most of the visit you're confined to a tour bus for hours that makes several stops, but they don't allow you to just wander off and on. You can apply for a permit to drive Denali solo, but they're aren't many granted. Just something to consider for planning so many days in Denali.
For the Kenai peninsula, we staid two nights in Seward and found that was adequate for what we wanted to see. We did some salmon fishing (we were there during the Cohu run) and also rented a boat to tour resurrection bay. This was a highlight, as we saw lots of wildlife out on the water. You can also take a much larger boat tour that does make a stop on Fox Island that looked fun. We then staid in Cooper landing for a couple nights and this gave us access to the Kenai river and the many lakes in the area. Great for fishing and hiking. We made it out to Homer and it was a nice experience, and there are plenty of trails to hike there, but I feel you'd run out of things to do after a couple days. We also staid a couple nights in Girdwood, and we took the interesting drive (you go through a mountain tunnel in a single lane) to Whittier. The town is small, but there are a couple good local spots to eat and you can take a glacier tour out on the water.
I hope this helps!
When we go back, I'd like to take a flight from ANK to Kodiak Alaska and explore that area. Potentially Juneau as well and maybe point Barrow for the experience, weather permitting.

Last edited by TheTravelingLocals; Apr 5th, 2021 at 08:51 AM.
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 10:01 AM
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We were based in Kenai staying with family so made our trips from there, overnighting in Seward before a cruise to see wildlife and glaciers. Overnighting when we went to Homer but across the bay in Seldovia. I would have liked to spend more time in Homer but we only had the two days for the special trip. On another visit we visited the Pratt Museum and wandered around. Although based in Kenai, we did several days north of Anchorage when we went to Independence Mine and attending an event at the fairgrounds in Palmer. We stayed at a b&b in Palmer.

I had a subscription to the Anchorage Daily news before our trips and scanned for interesting tidbits. On our first visit I found a garden tour of an older Anchorage neighborhood which was fun. Nothing spectacular but also the only garden tour I've been on where someone had a keg for refreshments.
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 06:09 PM
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Wow Gardyloo, Thank You!
First off we reside 1 in Western MA and 1 in the Hudson Valley NY. We both hike often, so the woods are not a unique experience, but always enjoy a familiar experience in new terrain. Would you recommend crampons for glacier hiking? Or is one okay in hiking boots?
And totally agree that the Glaciers are the WOW experience for Alaska. We also enjoy kayaking, and happy to rent and go out on our own. Are some locations/fjords better by small tour type boat? As we welcome the information provided, and we are not versed in spotting wildlife there. What is the difference in the glacier cruises from the different locations.
Also of interest; Native Villages, Salmon and fishing trade in Alaska (not sure we care if we actually to go fishing ourselves), mining.

You have given us a lot to consider and will look at this more carefully. Could we rent a car in Whittier to then tour the Kenai peninsula? Prefer not to spend more than 4-5 hours in the car per day, so need to plot out a route.

I posted because I wanted the input of folks who live, or have been there. So open to all your thoughts. Do not worry about being "to frank". Are you an Alaska resident, or have traveled there quite a bit? More to follow THANKS!
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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 09:12 AM
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Let me address some of your questions, perhaps a bit randomly...

As far as I know, the glacier hiking tour operators provide all the necessary gear - crampons, ice axes, etc. - but I would advise contacting them in advance, e.g. https://micaguides.com/

There is one rental car outlet in Whittier (Avis) but I'd be surprised if they're operating this year, since they're mainly available for people coming off cruise ships that dock there, and this year there aren't any. In general, one-way car rental in Alaska is ridiculously expensive - huge "drop off" fees.

In Southcentral Alaska (Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound etc.) there are water-based glacier tours offered from Whittier (e.g. the "26 Glacier" cruise operated by Phillips Cruises - https://phillipscruises.com/ ) and cruises to visit Kenai Fjords National Park operated out of Seward, e.g. Major Marine's tours - https://majormarine.com/ , The Kenai Fjords cruises are more wildlife-oriented (whales, marine mammals, birds) while those from Whittier are all about glaciers. Personally I'd do both, but be advised that the Kenai Fjords cruises involve open ocean, so seasickness is a risk.

While there is commercial salmon fishing in many parts of the state, in June the action is not especially intense in Southcentral waters, except in parts of Prince William Sound, like the waters around Cordova and the Copper River estuary (in Prince William Sound.) These areas are not especially accessible to visitors as there's no road access. There is limited salmon sport fishing on the Kenai Peninsula, and of course salt water fishing for species like halibut is always available. The big commercial salmon runs generally take place later in the summer, depending on where you are.

Let me do a little "what if" speculation. What if you modified your plane tickets to include a stop on the way north (or on the way south) in Sitka? You'd probably have to pay a "change fee," but it might not be terrible, and with it you could include some exposure to the Southeast Alaska "panhandle." I'd pick Sitka because (IMO) it's the most attractive town in SE Alaska, and offers a wide range of activities - kayaking, hikes, visits to the Fortress of the Bear and Alaska Raptor Center wildlife rehab operations, excellent exposure to Native culture and arts, fascinating Russian America legacy, and all in a location that's just drop-dead gorgeous. There's whale watching, fishing, hikes through rain forest... and the commercial salmon season in SE Alaska - of which Sitka is one of the centers - takes place earlier than farther north.


Of course this would scramble your itinerary pretty significantly, but it's a change I'd certainly consider.

Another option would be to take a day (and a "night") to see the midnight sun in an arctic village. Alaska Airlines flies nonstop from Anchorage to Kotzebue, an Inupiat village on an inlet of the Arctic Ocean. Kotzebue is above the arctic circle, and when you're there you'd have 24 hours of sunlight. There's a good Native-owned hotel - Nulla?vik Hotel :: Home - right across the street from the beach, an excellent heritage and cultural center, and opportunities to experience a part of the state and a way of life that the vast majority of Alaska visitors never experience. I'd certainly give it some serious thought.

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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 01:03 PM
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Sounds Like Fun!

Your trip sounds great! I love the train to Denali and a night in Talkeetna.

I agree with Gardyloo on the 4 days in Denali leaves a lot of lost opportunities to explore other areas. I would suggest cutting a couple days off Denali or doing day trips to Fairbanks.

You mentioned you love Kayaking. Your trip would be incomplete without kayaking down the serene Chena River! It is my favorite thing to do around Fairbanks... You can rent kayaks from several companies in Fairbanks and even take their shuttles for drop off. Nordale bridge to Fairbanks takes you through some awesome, real Alaska that most people never see. Wildlife guaranteed. If you were feeling a bit more adventerous you could do a multi day float/kayak trip from any launch off Chena Hot Springs road down to Fairbanks. Google "Kayak Fairbanks"!

Other options around Fairbanks are ATV Tours (The Alaskan Experience), Fishing (AlaskaFlyInFishing), Chena Hot Springs, Riverboat discovery, and much more!
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 02:07 PM
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Allow me to disagree with some of what Gardyloo has posted. And BTW, I met people who went to Denali in the first week of June and SAW the mountain. It's weather after all.

First, not all of the Seward boat tours go out into the open ocean. For example, Major Marine's 3.5 hour tour stays inside Resurrection Bay. I took that one on June 10 a few years ago, and we saw TONS of wildlife inside the harbor, including bubble-netting humpbacks, orcas (including the migratory pod) and both types of puffin. I went with Major Marine, they don't force you to buy the lunch and this tour doesn't go to Fox. It also doesn't visit any of the glaciers. The two longer cruises that do that. I think earlier in June you have better chances with the orca pods.

The train also runs to Seward and is a comfortable experience. If you are going to drive, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) is just off the main highway to Seward. You don't need to go to Sitka just to see that type of facility.

There is going to be a timed entry system for private vehicles to drive into Denali this year, as part of the COVID-19 response. (Not the "Road Lottery") You might want to have a look at that option. Times go on sale at10am AKST (Alaska Time) on April 20, 2021. More info here. If you like hiking you may want at least a few full days into Denali.
https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/300014

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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 06:12 PM
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Also, June is a good month for mitigating mosquitos! But bring a head net anyways.
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 11:37 AM
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Thank you everyone for your comments, they are VERY helpful!
We are aware that we might not have good weather & therefore views, that there is rain in the area, wildlife could be hiding from view, and mosquitos are in the air. All that being said we are looking to plan as best we can to see and do as much as possible. Advance planning is the key, and I like getting each persons input, to pick and choose what suits us best.

In reviewing further, I agree with you all that 4 days in Denali is more than needed. Our plan HAD been to train to Denali since it does not seem as if you need a car when there. We like the idea of a scenic train experience. But sounds as if Anchorage to Denali is an all forest view. And more scenic from Anchorage to Whittier, is it to Seward as well? I checked and there is car rental out of Whittier and Seward (maybe other places too), so now looking at renting a car there to tour the Kenai peninsula.

Our trip is 2 weeks, and would like to not spend a big chunk of time daily traveling daily unless we had stops to do/visit along the route. Sounds like 2 days in Denali is enough (1 bus tour, 1 hiking), and Kenai peninsula seems like about a week. If we drove to Denali, with an overnight in Talkeena, that leaves us roughly 4 days to plan. Love the idea of kayaking the Chena river that Trevorradway4600 mentioned. But is it worth going up there as we are not much into cities, and I've heard Fairbanks is not "a must see".

Thank you for the Kenai peninsula boating info mlgb. Where we both kayak, one of us has a tendency for seasickness. Am I correct in thinking that large marine wildlife whales etc. would be out on the open water, but lots of cool wildlife in calmer waters closer to shore. What are tour companies that do glacier oriented tours?

Thanks so much everyone, we look forward to more input to help us plan further!
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Old Apr 8th, 2021, 01:38 PM
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Regarding the train ride from Anchorage to Seward - yes, I'd recommend it. The train leaves Anchorage in early morning (6:45a) and gets into Seward just before noon. It returns to Anchorage in the afternoon, so you could take the train to/from Seward and back again a day later. We've done both the regular Adventure class as well as GoldStar and enjoyed both (but you get perks and a great view from the latter). The drive from Anchorage is also very scenic, and if you have a car for a bit while in Anchorage, an easy sightseeing drive.

https://www.alaskarailroad.com/trave...nations/seward
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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 06:54 AM
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Regarding car rentals in Whittier and Seward, I would definitely contact the rental companies, or even the Hertz office in Seward directly to ascertain whether they'll be operating normally this summer. Both the Avis office in Whittier and the Hertz office in Seward (both the only shows in town) cater mainly to passengers arriving or departing on the many cruise ships that sail to/from those towns, and due to Covid this year those cruises have all been canceled. I would not be surprised at all if the Whittier office in particular simply doesn't operate this year; and I'd bet the Seward Hertz office might also be closed or highly restricted.

It appears the Alaska Railroad hasn't yet updated their website with information about summer 2021, but there may well be some restrictions or limitations on services due to the same factors - a big percentage of their trade in summer is due to cruise traffic, and with no cruises they may look at reducing frequencies or some such. Again, plan ahead.

My previous suggestion was to take the train on a day trip from Anchorage to Whittier, but to drive (later) down to Seward and beyond. My reasoning for this is that there are several interesting places between Anchorage and Seward where the train doesn't stop, including Girdwood, Portage (for the Wildlife Resource Center) and Hope, plus numerous view points and places where you could do some walking. To be sure, the train takes a slightly different route than the road for part of the trip between Anchorage and Seward, but you'd need to weigh whether that would be worth missing the opportunities traveling by car would offer. By comparison, the view from the train between Anchorage and Whittier is also excellent, and the train's timing would be more than adequate for you to take a glacier cruise, have a meal, then return to Anchorage. You wouldn't need a car for the day and the next day (or whenever you do the Seward/Homer part of the trip) you'd be able to see all the places where the train doesn't stop.
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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by MissyT View Post
Thank you everyone for your comments, they are VERY helpful!
We are aware that we might not have good weather & therefore views, that there is rain in the area, wildlife could be hiding from view, and mosquitos are in the air. All that being said we are looking to plan as best we can to see and do as much as possible. Advance planning is the key, and I like getting each persons input, to pick and choose what suits us best.

In reviewing further, I agree with you all that 4 days in Denali is more than needed. Our plan HAD been to train to Denali since it does not seem as if you need a car when there. We like the idea of a scenic train experience. But sounds as if Anchorage to Denali is an all forest view. And more scenic from Anchorage to Whittier, is it to Seward as well? I checked and there is car rental out of Whittier and Seward (maybe other places too), so now looking at renting a car there to tour the Kenai peninsula.

Our trip is 2 weeks, and would like to not spend a big chunk of time daily traveling daily unless we had stops to do/visit along the route. Sounds like 2 days in Denali is enough (1 bus tour, 1 hiking), and Kenai peninsula seems like about a week. If we drove to Denali, with an overnight in Talkeena, that leaves us roughly 4 days to plan. Love the idea of kayaking the Chena river that Trevorradway4600 mentioned. But is it worth going up there as we are not much into cities, and I've heard Fairbanks is not "a must see".

Thank you for the Kenai peninsula boating info mlgb. Where we both kayak, one of us has a tendency for seasickness. Am I correct in thinking that large marine wildlife whales etc. would be out on the open water, but lots of cool wildlife in calmer waters closer to shore. What are tour companies that do glacier oriented tours?

Thanks so much everyone, we look forward to more input to help us plan further!
When we rented a boat in Resurrection bay, the water was very calm until we started to get out near fox island and even then it was gentle rolling waves. The ocean conditions can change all the time, so best to check the night before and morning of. We say the Dahls porpoises, Steller sea lions and Orca out in the more open water near or past Fox island. We did see a pod of false killer whales further in the bay as well, so I would think it's more a matter of luck and timing.
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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 12:56 PM
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Just for interest, I checked a one-way rental from Fairbanks to Anchorage for a week. They start at $1300.
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Old Apr 9th, 2021, 05:41 PM
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We are going about 3 days earlier than you to the same destinations. Originally we were going to take train to Denali and then afterwards rent car in Anchorage and head south. We decided instead to rent car for more flexibility. It is also a bit difficult to know what shuttles around Denali will be available this year without the cruise folks around. Be sure to check national park service website re COVID closures within Denali. Not all buses are running and visitor center is closed. Most rental cars do not allow driving on gravel roads so consider whether that is important if you rent. I agree with others about too much time for Denali in current circumstances. I've heard that the train from Anchorage to Seward is wonderfully scenic, but without car you can't make scenic stops. The milepost book is great for knowing where to stop. There are also online resources detailing stops. I also found alaska.org and a facebook page call All About Alaskan Travel very helpful in planning. For what it is worth, my untested itinerary is below. If I had to do over, I would probably start by going to Homer and then working my way north. Hotels are filling up quickly. Make your reservations now! Anchorage – full day (2 nights) - Recover from jet lag from arriving night before, buy provisions, possible biking of coastal trail, museums

Denali - 1 full day and two ½ days (2 nights) in Denali - Drive to Denali, explore what’s open in park, drive to Savage Lake and hike, tundra tour on the full day (priority), activities may include hikes near VC and visit to dog kennels, possible jeep ride of Denali Hwy

½ day in Anchorage, arriving afternoon/evening.

Seward - one 1/2 day and 2 full days (3 nights) – drive to Seward with plenty of stops using Milepost book. In Seward, Alaska Sea Life Center, long wildlife cruise (priority - will use prescription patch), possible kayaking, glacier dog sled, flightseeing, hiking, beach walk.

Homer - one 1/2 day and 2 full days (3 nights) – drive to Homer, explore Homer, bike the spit, beach walk, Pratt museum, Alaskan Island and Ocean Visitor Center, bear viewing, natural history tour or other tour by Center for Alaskan Studies

Anchorage – two ½ days (1 night) - drive to Anchorage from Homer stopping at what we didn’t see on drive down to Homer, possibly glacier tour in Whittier, more sightseeing in anchorage, return to airport early afternoon
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 07:52 AM
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You don't need 4 nights in the Denali area. One trip out to the Eilson Center on a school bus will be enough for anyone IMO. If you choose to drive, a rental car, stay at the Microtel tin Eagle River instead of in Anchorage. I liked the museum of the University of Alaska - Fairbanks. While on the peninsula, we stayed in Homer to stay away from the cruise ship crowd in Seward. You can click on my profile to read the trip report for my Alaska trip. Don't forget, the daylight will last until after 10PM in June in northern Alaska.
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Old Apr 12th, 2021, 05:41 AM
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Missy,
Fairbanks is about 2 hours from Denali give or take your driving style. While "Fairbanks" isn't really a destination, the area around Fairbanks most definitely is!

I grew up along the Chena, Kayaking it will be a trip highlight. If you 'only' went to the Fairbanks area to Kayak, it would be worth it for me. This is an opportunity to see some really truly remote Alaska that few get to experience. Watch the water levels if you do decide to go... google "chena river water level" You don't want to go if flooding is predicted, or will be very low. June should be fine. This is a really calm, serene peaceful river. Alaska dot org has a great page on the chena river floats.

If you do visit the area, I would think about getting several things in...Something like... Drive into town by 5PM, pick up kayaks at a rental spot. Drive to Chena hot springs, dip in the natural springs, eat at their nice restaurant, stay the night(or camp along the way if you are into that... there are local companies that even rent camping gear), up next day and maybe hike Granite Tors or Angel Rocks. Then drive to your Kayak put in... see the link above. Rosehip or Nordale would be my vote. Kayak all the way to Fairbanks, restaurants and bars along the way. Uber or shuttle back to car. I bet $1 you will be back again

If ATV's interest you there is an ATV tour company near the Nordale bridge if you have time you could add that for some spice.

If you wanted a quicker trip you could park in Fairbanks at the rental shop, shuttle/uber to the river, float the river to your car/rental shop and be back in Denali for Dinner.

Restaurants, The Pump House on the Chena on the way back to Denali gets my vote.

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Old Apr 12th, 2021, 01:15 PM
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Wow, I love all the input from everyone! It has been so helpful, with so many wonderful options we had to pick and choose.

As we have finally chosen itinerary, now I am moving fast to book our overnight lodging and welcome suggestions. Hotel, B&B etc. We will have a car the entire trip, and prefer accommodations where one might interact with other guests, locals etc. Could be at breakfast included (a plus), or a common living room or bar. Particularly friendly management &/or additional amenities could sway us towards that location. We have a modest budget, so 5 stars probably not in the picture. In Whittier, Seward & Homer easy walkable access to town a plus.

Anchorage - 1 night
Denali area - 3 nights
Talkeetna - 1 night
Matanuska Glacier area - 1 night
Whittier - 3 nights
Seward - 3 nights
Homer - 3 nights

As I read old blogs etc many of the places do not exist anymore, so I welcome the personal touch that this forum adds over Trip Advisor, Booking.com etc.

Thanks everyone!
MissyT is offline  

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