Thoughts on Alaska Itinerary

Old Aug 9th, 2020, 06:33 AM
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Thoughts on Alaska Itinerary

Greetings Fodorites,

My husband and I are planning a 45th wedding anniversary trip to Alaska next summer. We want to concentrate on the Southcentral area around Anchorage. We're seniors in good health, but we're past the hiking and strenuous activities stage, so I've built in some "down" days to recoup. I've also tried to limit packing and unpacking, but since the places we want to see are both north and South of Anchorage, there is some back and forth. I've gotten some good suggestions by reading the threads here and have also done quite a bit of research online, but advice from Fodorites is always spot on. We wanted to stay in Brooks Falls on July 10th which is our anniversary, but they're booked, so we'll plan a day trip there on the 10th. We'll rent a car to have maximum flexibility to stop along whatever route we're on.

We're planning to stay at the Lakefront in Anchorage to watch the seaplanes take off and land, but I don't have anything in mind for Denali or Homer yet and would love suggestions.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and suggestions on what I have so far. The activities in parentheses are day trips.

July 7 - Day 1 - Arrive ANC evening
July 8 - Day 2 - ANC
July 9 - Day 3 - ANC (Girdwood tram, Portage Wildlife Nature Center)
July 10 - Day 4 - ANC (Brooks Falls)
July 11 - Day 5 - ANC (Glacier landing helicopter ride)
July 12 - Day 6 - ANC (Seward half-day boat cruise)
July 13 - Day 7 - ANC - Denali with stop in Talkeetna along the way
July 14 - Day 8 - Denali
July 15 - Day 9 - Denali - ANC
July 16 - Day 10 - ANC
July 17 - Day 11 - ANC - Homer with stops along the way
July 18 - Day 12 - Homer
July 19 - Day 13 - Homer - ANC
July 20 - Day 14 - ANC - Home

Thanks in advance,
ellen75005 is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2020, 08:08 AM
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I think it's okay, but would mention that you're retracing your steps a lot. Girdwood, Portage, Seward and Homer all require driving down the Seward Highway from Anchorage; counting the return trips you'll have gone over the same ground six times. I just wonder if you might consider altering the order of things so that you could include all those stops in one trip. Travel to Seward via Girdwood and Portage (and I'd also recommend the old mining village of Hope on the south side of Turnagain Arm) and spend the night in Seward. Take as long a boat tour of Kenai Fjords as you can, then head on down the peninsula to Homer. (This might require a second night in Seward depending on the tour's timing.) Consider crossing Kachemak Bay from Homer to visit Seldovia and/or Halibut Cove, then it's back up to Anchorage and home.

I'm not a big fan of Talkeetna, but that's up to you. Remember your day in Denali NP will be spent mostly sitting on a bus (at least 8 hours for Eielson, 12 for Wonder Lake) so be prepared and bring food and drink.
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Old Aug 9th, 2020, 04:57 PM
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I agree with Gardyloo. Day tripping to Seward takes up too much time and backtracking. Makes more sense to put a stay there before moving on to Homer. Resurrection Bay, where Seward sits is so beautiful, plus you should really do a full day Fjord tour.

Alaska is vast and distances are deceiving. Traffic moves slowly.. lots of road work and delays go on during the summer. Something may be 30 miles away, but it could take an hour or more to get there . Pace yourself.
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Old Aug 9th, 2020, 05:23 PM
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Thanks to both of you. Your suggestions make much more sense. I was trying to not pack and unpack too often, but with jeans as the main content in our suitcases, it will make sense to adjust the itinerary to include a couple of nights in Seward so as not to backtrack so much. How does this look?

July 8 Day 1 Arrive ANC evening
July 9 Day 2 ANC
July 10 Day 3 ANC (Brooks Falls)
July 11 Day 4 ANC-Denali
July 12 Day 5 Denali
July 13 Day 6 Denali-ANC
July 14 Day 7 ANC (glacier landing ride)
July 15 Day 8 ANC - Seward via Girdwood/Portage
July 16 Day 9 Seward (boat cruise)
July 17 Day 10 Seward - Homer
July 18 Day 11 Homer
July 19 Day 12 Homer (Seldovia or Halibut Cove)
July 20 Day 13 Homer - ANC
July 21 Day 14 - ANC - Home

Last edited by ellen75005; Aug 9th, 2020 at 05:34 PM.
ellen75005 is offline  
Old Aug 10th, 2020, 12:15 PM
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When we last visited it rained about half of the days, not just passing afternoon showers. Following suggestions from this forum we didn't even pack jeans and brought quality rain gear and layered quick dry type clothes. We were out and about without which would have been stuck in our lodging or car much of the time. We stayed in Homer, Seward, Halo Bay Bear camp, and Denali with only one night ANC at the end of our two week trip.
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Old Aug 12th, 2020, 04:15 AM
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Good idea, Dave. Of course we always hope for good weather, but rain is probably inevitable in Alaska.

Although it's too early to make the flight reservations, I've started to make hotel reservations as the choices are somewhat limited and filling up.
ellen75005 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2020, 09:16 AM
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Instead of spending so many nights in Anchorage, try at least 1 night in Eagle River or Palmer. DW and I enjoyed a night at the MicroTel in Eagle River which gave us a head start on the way to Denali and Fairbanks.
On the way back from Fairbanks, we stayed at a hotel in Palmer since the MicroTel was booked.
We enjoyed a stay at a B&B high on the hill above Homer. While we were eating breakfast a mom moose with a yearling walked by on the road.
For Denali, make sure to get the tour bus reservation before arriving at the park. The buses are school bus type and not very comfortable so you don't want to do it more than once. Seeing the top of Denali is not very likely unfortunately.
Gas up at the Fred Myer gas station in Eagle River on the way to Denali or Fairbanks.
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