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Traveling to Alaska with Older Parents for Their Bucket List Trip

Traveling to Alaska with Older Parents for Their Bucket List Trip

Old Feb 7th, 2024, 09:17 AM
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Traveling to Alaska with Older Parents for Their Bucket List Trip

Hi! My husband and I want to take my parents to Alaska, which is on their bucket list. They are in their 70's and they do not get around the best, really. No canes or wheelchairs as of right now, thankfully, but just slow and shorter walks. If it were just my husband and I, we would spend all of our time hiking but this trip planning is challenging because I don't know what kind of itinerary would accommodate their needs. I want to give them lots of once in a lifetime Alaskan experiences because I'm afraid I don't have much more time with them. Maybe a 7-10 day trip. Flying into somewhere and renting a car. Also, can incorporate a train, if applicable. Open to suggestions!

Last edited by jaimemarla; Feb 7th, 2024 at 10:06 AM. Reason: thought of more specifics
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Old Feb 7th, 2024, 11:38 AM
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Welcome to Fodors

Not what you asked -- but IMO a week long Inside Passage/Glacier Bay cruise from Vancouver and 3 or 4 days on the ground in AK would be terrific and an easy way for the parents to see more that they would on a 7+ day car trip.

You'd stop in places like Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, take a train into the Yukon, etc.
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Old Feb 8th, 2024, 12:40 AM
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I think a boat trip out of Seward to see glaciers and sea life was one of the best things we did. Took a tram ride up Alyeska south of Anchorage one August and saw snow at the top plus amazing views. Car ride from Anchorage south is specctacular. It's more car ride but Homer was another favorite stop. Imthought the Pratt Museum was interesting. As you approach town there's a turn off with agreat view overlooking Homer Spit. There's also a drive above town for great view.

Do something Alaskan. I loved the Forest Fair around July 4 in Girdwood. Cratfs, music and food. If you schedule trip about time salmon start running in the Russian River you can watch some fishing. We also walked a beach near Kenai where net fishermen were filleting catch and happy to talk. Visit a farmers market. Most likely to see moose around Kenai and eagles around Homer. I liked trolley ride around Anchorage. Any favorite hobbies? I've gone on a garden tour of an Anchorage neighborhood and a quilt show near Kenai. Before trips I read Anchorage newspaper online to see what was going on. Kenai does a big 4th of July parade. I also,liked visitors center.in Portage where you could listen to recordings of people who experienced the big earthquake.
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Old Feb 9th, 2024, 02:46 PM
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I've only been to Alaska once on a multi-generation family cruise. We had stops in Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway and a lengthy viewing time at the Hubbard Glacier. In Juneau, we took a terrific whale watching trip. Most of the family took a scenic train ride in Skagway. In Ketchikan our family saw totem pole carving and a native dance performance while other relatives chose different activities. My mother-in-law's mobility sounded on par with your parents but she was able to do all of the activities she wanted and she also enjoyed sitting on the ship watching the beautiful scenery pass by. The cruise was my in-law's idea, not mine, but it turned out to be very enjoyable and we have many fond memories.
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Old Feb 15th, 2024, 11:03 AM
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I agree that a cruise from Vancouver or Seattle would be ideal. My preference to cruise is from Vancouver as in my opinion you want to go on a cruise that takes you through Glacier Bay which is pretty spectacular. Cruise season is from late May to mid-September. You can then add a land tour of the Kenai Peninsula and the Anchorage area on your own for an additional week or so. You may or may not want to go up to Denali National Park. We did so on the dome car train and that was very spectacular. The National Park shuttle buses go through the park up to mile 43 where several years ago there was a landslide. Your best bet to see wildlife is on a shuttle bus ride however it is not a luxury coach, it is a school bus and the rest stops are outhouses. The area south of Anchorage to Seward is very scenic with many pullovers to see the views.

Alaska is huge and you cannot and will not see it all. We did a separate land driving trip apart from our cruise several years ago as part of a visit for a family wedding in Homer. When we did our cruise from Vancouver, it was an add-on for a business trip for my husband in Vancouver and we flew out several days earlier to make the most of our time seeing Vancouver including a day trip arranged by our hotel concierge to go to Vancouver Island to visit Victoria and the Bouchardt Gardens which were spectacular.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2024, 07:33 AM
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Wandering Homer or Seward is really fun - there are tons of little shops, galleries, and restaurants. They are about 3.5 hours apart, so you could split your time. There is a museum in Homer, Islands and Oceans, that they might enjoy. Seward has the Sea Life Center, which is an aquarium. You could also take the Major Marine Kenai Fjords day-cruise out of Seward (we always recommend the 6 hour tour). I also agree with someone above who recommended Girdwood and Alyeska - the resort runs a tram/gondola up the mountain year-round, and the views are absolutely incredible! I hope you find some fun things to do!
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Old Mar 6th, 2024, 09:35 AM
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When my parents were older I took cruises with them because it was such an easy way for them to travel. My parents divorced when I was a kid, so of course I traveled with them separately. At the time, neither of them used wheelchairs or canes, but they still preferred cruises over any other form of travel.

My parents are both gone now, but the memories of traveling with them will last me a lifetime. I'm glad you're doing this, and you will be too.
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