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thinking of a non-cruise trip to alaska. mainly for scenery. where do we fly into? where do we go? can we go on a day boat trip into glacier bay?

thinking of a non-cruise trip to alaska. mainly for scenery. where do we fly into? where do we go? can we go on a day boat trip into glacier bay?

Old Apr 15th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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thinking of a non-cruise trip to alaska. mainly for scenery. where do we fly into? where do we go? can we go on a day boat trip into glacier bay?

most people seem to take 7 day cruises to alaska. in june or july we are thinking of flying up and renting a car. where do we fly into? if we fly to anchorage and drive to fairbanks, is that a scenic route? can we see glaciers from a boat off anchorage or valdez?
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Old Apr 15th, 2007, 08:43 PM
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I flew into Anchorage-took tour bus to Seward.
then day excursion boat --saw glacier and lots of Orcas and Puffins..
Previous to this I flew into Anchorage and took train (very scenic) to Denali--stayed 3 days and then onto Fairbanks then home. I did not rent a car. Of course with a car you have much more independence
Do a search on this site "Alaska and you will get lots
info..
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 02:28 AM
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Fly into Anchorage and then head south to Seward for a day cruise to see glaciers. Along the way you can take a tram ride up Mt Alyeska to see glaciers at a distance. The drive is very beautiful. You would need more than a week to also go to Denali which is north of Anchorage. That drive isn't very scenic. Lots of trees and even when you can see Mt McKinley, the drive gets long. There are other things you can do around the Anchorage area. Get the Milepost magazine, a great guide to visiting Alaska. You can also take a day cruise out of Whittier to see glaciers. We have visited Whittier but not taken a cruise there. It's on the way to Seward. I think there is more to see and do Anchorage to Seward for a one time vacation.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 02:52 AM
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Fly into Anchorage and rent an RV.

Search these threads for RV and Alaska for lots of info.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 04:03 AM
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We took a wonderful driving trip that I would recommend to anyone.
We flew into Anchorage, spent the night, and then drove to the Copper River Princess Lodge (princesslodges.com) by Glenellen.
We spent the night and then drove to Valdez. The drive between the lodge and Valdez was incredible. (make sure to have a full tank of gas, gas stations are non-existant on this drive). We then went to Homer and spent a couple of nights. The Kenai Pennisula, Homer, and Seward, I would highly recommend for your trip. We then went to Seward, and as the above post stated, we,too, went on a day cruise and it was wonderful. I would also visit the Sea Life Center.
If you get the chance, I would also recommend stopping at Exit Glacier. This is an easy 1/2 mile walk to get up close with a huge glacier. Portage Glacier has a visitors center and pretty scenery.
The biggest favor you can do for yourself for this trip is to get a copy of The Milepost. This is a thick tour book of Alaska that is great to have. Although a little bit of money, it will be worth its weight in gold.
Most major bookstores carry it, or you can order it online.
You will have a wonderful time in Alaska. You will be very glad you went.
Enjoy your visit, and please give us a trip report when you return.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 04:05 AM
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A few years ago our family (including our 3 kids) flew into Anchorage and rented an RV. We are not "camping" people, and this was our first experience in an RV. It was great! We first went up toward Denali and then down toward Seward. We took a day cruise one day and saw puffins, whales, seals, bald eagles. On the bus trip in Denali we saw bears,moose, caribou, foxes, and a wolf. We were in Alaska about a week; I wish we had more time, but we didn't.

If my husband and I go back by ourselves, we would probably rent a car in Anchorage and stay in hotels, but either way is great.

Go out and get the current issue of "The Milepost." It's an incredible guide to everything along the roads in Alaska (campgronds, attractions, restaurants, etc.)

The road from Anchorage to Seward has incredible scenery. You can see mountain range after mountain range, and pictures don't do it justice.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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wow! thank you, all! great responses..... and so fast! now, i'm getting very exited because we want to see some of alaska, but not be on a cruise ship for a week!
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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bodhijack

What a great subject! We never considered going because we didn't want to do the cruise thing. Your trip sounds just like what we are looking for, although we have also heard that the insects are terrible up there during the summer. Please, please write a trip report. And thanks for starting this topic.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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This thread is timely for me as well. I have ruled out a cruise for us, too, and after perusing a Fodors book on Alaska, think we will fly into Anchorage and go down to Seward/Homer area and do the Glacier Bay all day boat trip.

of course, that's in 2 years (maybe), so I have plenty of time to plan, but I would love to see Alaska, but was wondering how to do it without being on a cruise ship for 7 days (and then "on land" for only 3).

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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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I think the only problem with planning your own trip is making sure you don't miss anything you think you would really like to see. Some things will be pleasant surprises. I don't know what we expected when we went to Independence Mine except we knew we'd see beautiful scenery. Whenever we travel I also get the local newspapers so that's how I found out there was a garden tour of an Anchorage neighborhood I could go on. I was nervous about going house to house and finding places but I simply followed other people and asked for directions. Most were in a small area. I got a chance to see a house that was built in the 50s as well as enjoy some local gardens.
Keep in mind that the roads are great but Anchorage traffic is very heavy during commuting times. But once past Wasilla to the north, there's nothing much for many, many miles. Do not expect the usual stores/chain restaurants to be available. Some towns have great supermarkets and good restaurants. I don't think Talkeetna has any chain store of any kind. There's also not a lot of familiar hotels/motels although Holiday Inns seem to be spreading. Use the Milepost to find locally operated motels/hotels and b&bs. People are friendly, esp at farmers markets.
We have not had a problem with insects during the day although relatives who camped were bothered by mosquitos after dusk in late June. If you don't do a lot of hiking, you won't have a problem. But I did get an awful sunburn when I was out all day not expecting I would need sunblock. Silly, I was in the sun and not forest. We also have not been bothered by crowds and I'm not sure how we keep missing them all except for when the cruise ships were in during our visit to Skagway. I guess we are just out of step with everyone else or something.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 03:01 PM
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As for scenic drive, Anchorage to Fairbanks wouldn't rank in the state's top 25. Unless you have a specific reason for going to Fbx, it's not a must-see on a short visit.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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We are tossing around the idea of an Alaskan trip as well (and not really interested in a cruise unless we could do a small ship cruise, which is a little pricy for us at this point).

I did some research into the Alaskan Marine Highway - you can do a quick search and get the web site. This is a system of ferries up and down the Alaskan coast, you can take a car or go as a foot passenger. Some routes are overnight and there are ship cabins that you can reserve.

I read about this a couple years ago in Frommer's Budget Travel magazine and it seems like a really cool way to see Alaska and to get into some places that aren't accessible by car.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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What are the cabins like?

I really would like to see Skagway.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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I second the RV idea. We did it for three weeks in southwest Alaska (not the Inside Passage..we did that later on a small ship).

It is the only way to go. Get a copy of the Milepost, which you can do online, and plan your trip. You don't need to worry about hotels or B & B's, which are not necessarily where you want to go.

We had no RV experience. We rented a 22 footer and were happy as clams. We had the freedom to go where we wanted and stop when we wished.

Seriously, look into it.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 06:06 PM
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LOL @ Alaska's "top 25" scenic drives.

I'm sure at least 14 of those would be sled dogs-only.

Anyway, I highly recommend the drive from Anchorage to Seward. The latter is simply awesome, and it might be best earliest in the travel season, with more snow around.

There are sooooooooooo many mountains in Alaska, all over, that most any drive is quite scenic compared to what we in the lower 48 are used to.

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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 06:32 PM
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I agree with GBelle and jtrandolph - think about an RV! No worry about reservations in most places since there are lots of pullovers where you can just park for the night at no expense - so you can move on at your own pace! You can get a Milepost really reasonable by going to Buy.com I paid $15.21, but then learned from one of the experts that you can get it for $10 cheaper by using the Google checkout.
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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again, thank you for all your comments. looks like i've got a lot to learn in a short time. "karens" wrote about a 1 day boat trip from seward to glacia bay. is this possible? ( i thought glacia bay was 100's of miles from seward.) from info on this thread, we will rent a car and tool around the anchorage-seward-homer area. also valdez and glenellen. 1 or 2 day boat trips will also be a definite. can anyone recommend any? also, we loved the banff area of bc canada. how does alaskan mountain scenery compare?
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 03:35 AM
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Glacier Bay is hundreds of miles from Seward, but that isn't the only place in Alaska that glaciers flow into the ocean, it just has the highest concentration of them. From Seward there are boat trips into Kenai Fjords National Park that take you up close to a tidewater glacier. When we were there, the glacier was calving fairly frequently as well as groaning, popping and thundering as the glacier advanced into the ocean.

Before you head out to Glenallen or Valdez, check your map. It's a long road down to Valdez from Anchorage and you will have to return on the same road. If you have the time, I hear it is a nice trip.
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 04:26 AM
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Yikes, I'm sorry - you all can tell I am just in the early stages of planning an Alaska trip. I did mean Kenai Fjords NP.
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Old Apr 17th, 2007, 04:53 AM
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We have been to Alaska twice. Once on a cruise and once like the trip you are planning and both are special.
We flew into Anchorage rented a car and drove south to the Seward/Homer area. I believe that is called the TurnAgain Arm and it is a beautiful, beautiful drive. We even stopped along the way and did a very touristy thing, panned for gold. In Seward we took a curise to the glaciers. It was called the 26 Glacier Cruise, we loved it and saw a lot of caving. Also in Seward, we took a dog sled ride from Mitch Sevey (sp?) What a great family! and great dogs and puppies. Actually, Mitch won the Ididerod two or three years ago. This was a wonderful experiece.
Back in Anchorage we took a float plane from the Anchorage airport over Mt Mckinley. This is a terrific view if a clear day. The pilot also lands on a glacier lake before taking you back to the airport. (I believe the service was Russ')
We also took a one day flight north with Alaska Airlines to Kotzebue (sp?) It's an arctic tour, we really enjoyed walking on the tundra.
By flying into Anchorage we went south and north in a weeks time. We found that Fairbanks was not a priority.
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