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Old Mar 4, 12, 4:10 pm   #1
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Yet another "Review and Comment on my Itinerary" thread

And my thanks in advance for any comments/suggestions.

I'm traveling with MrsCP and two little ones, 13 and 8, near the end of August. We tend to be on the go quite a bit, and usually get "that looks overly aggressive" comments, though I have knocked a few things off to give some "walk around and look" time.

We land late on Thursday evening - right to hotel/bed in Anchorage

Friday - Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage Museum. Since we're 4 time zones back, I assume we'll be up early and finish these mid-afternoon. I've penciled in a hike up Flattop mountain

Saturday - up early for a drive to Matanuska Glacier and the 3 hr, 9:30am Ice Fall Trek. Then into Palmer to see the Reindeer Farm and Must Ox Tour with, if time permits, a hike up Bodenburg Butte in between. Back to Anchorage at the end of the day

Sunday - Drive to Talkeetna for a flightseeing/glacier landing (not sure with whom - all look capable), then a drive up to Denali, stopping at Denali State Park, if the views are good, for a hike around the lake.

Monday - Shuttle bus or Tour bus through Denali - not sure which one, or how far in, but assume, along with the sled dog kennel/demonstration and other items, that we'll fill the day

Tuesday - drive to Wasilla. Visit Iditarod HQ, Mat-Su Visitor's Center, and Independence Mine Park. Back to Anchorage for overnight.

Wed - Drive to Whittier, sightseeing on the way, for 12:30 26 Glacier 5-hr cruise. Drive to Seward for the night

Thurs - up for a 9a Sea Kayak trip in Resurrection Bay, then the Alaska Sea Life Center and around Seward for the day

Fri - Exit Glacier hike, IdidaRide dog sled tour, hang out in Seward.

Sat - Drive to Portage glacier for 12noon tour. Hike the Byron Glacier Trail. Stop by the Wildlife Conservation Center and any sightseeing we missed on the way down, on the way back to ANC. Flight home at 10:50p

From what I've read, a glacier tour out of Whittier and a kayak tour out of Seward is better then the reverse. With an 8-yr old I think 3 hours in a kayak is enough, and I didn't see non-full-day tours out of Whittier.

Anything I'm missing/not thinking of?
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Old Mar 4, 12, 11:25 pm   #2
 
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Of course you're missing lots of stuff in the biggest state. We've been there dozens of times and still haven't covered everything by any means. I would suggest that you check into taking the train rather than driving. After your time in ANC, you might go to Seward. The Sea Life center is definitely worth a visit, and has the largest Steller Sea Lion we've ever seen. Also a great gift shop. We also took a great cruise out to the glacier. After Seward, you might take the train to Denali, and after that on to Fairbanks (check out the museum at the University) and then fly home out of there.

You can walk pretty much everyplace in ANC, FAI, and Seward, if you stay at a centrally located hotel.

P.S. If you want to get really ambitious, you can take a float plane from the ANC sea plane base to Katmai to see the bears. We used Rust's.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 11:51 am   #3
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Sorry if it wasn't clear, I'm asking whether there are any attractions/locations/events that I should get to *within the area that I'm actually traveling* - south central Alaska.

We debated Fairbanks, but we were there on the last trip, 12 years ago, and didn't remember anything that was worth giving up other parts of our trip. I took a look at Tripadvisor and the Alaska travel sites and am still comfortable that it fell below the line.

The harder choice was Homer/Katmai/Kodiak. Homer was on the original plan for the final night but after doing the math we would arrive at about 2pm and need to leave by noon the following day. I just couldn't justify 6-7 hours of driving for that time period. I'd love to get there, and might do it if I was solo, but it's different with two kids.

I'd still like to get to Katmai/Kodiak, and your note triggered some searching, but I can't find flights out of Seward, they're all out of Homer (which makes sense). I am going to keep looking though, I think that would be interesting and I think we do have a half to a full day to spare in Seward.

Thanks
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Old Mar 12, 12, 6:40 pm   #4
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When are you going? Katmai is not ideal all summer. There are peak times and not-so-peak times. Plus, I really don't think you have time for Katmai.

Generally I like your itinerary but I am a bit puzzled why you are returning to Anchorage on Saturday after Matanuska Glacier. I have to assume it is because you want to use points for your hotel stay, but it makes much more sense to drive to Talkeetna or at least Wasilla afterward. If you go to Wasilla or Talkeetna, you can stop by Independence Mine on the way, which is nice for both history and hiking.

Also, this could give you time to stop by the Iditarod HQ in Wasilla, see the good film there and take their short and inexpensive sleddog ride. Might be interesting to get your kids involved with the Iditarod now (the winner will probably be arriving in Nome with 30 hours). You mentioned this for Tuesday but if you are not getting to Denali NP until later in the day when driving north, you should spend some time at the park entrance - visitor center exhibits and film, sleddog kennels, driving the first 15 miles of the road, the Savage River loop hike, etc. Also, when you first arrive at Denali NP head to the visitor center and pick up jr. ranger backpacks for the kids.

Too bad you missed the 2-for-1 Groupon for flightseeing with Sheldon Air recently. You might consider a Toursaver or Northern Lights coupon book to take advantage of some discounts, including flightseeing and PWS cruises. You need to just compare both books to figure out which is best for you.

>>Monday - Shuttle bus or Tour bus through Denali - not sure which one, or how far in, but assume, along with the sled dog kennel/demonstration and other items, that we'll fill the day

Depending on when you are going, I would try to book the shuttle to Wonder Lake (on/after June 8th) or Eielson (on/after June 1). You can always turn back sooner but if the Mountain is out, going to Wonder Lake and staying a while is incredibly worthwhile. You need to book the shuttle bus in advance. Do that as soon as your itinerary is firm.

The kayaking tour at Aialak Glacier doubles as a Kenai Fjords tour. So doing that and the PWS glacier tour in Whittier is ideal.

Keep your eyes open for groupons and other discounts/deals that can reduce your costs.
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Old Mar 18, 12, 7:57 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
And my thanks in advance for any comments/suggestions.

I'm traveling with MrsCP and two little ones, 13 and 8, near the end of August. We tend to be on the go quite a bit, and usually get "that looks overly aggressive" comments, though I have knocked a few things off to give some "walk around and look" time.

We land late on Thursday evening - right to hotel/bed in Anchorage

Friday - Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage Museum. Since we're 4 time zones back, I assume we'll be up early and finish these mid-afternoon. I've penciled in a hike up Flattop mountain

Saturday - up early for a drive to Matanuska Glacier and the 3 hr, 9:30am Ice Fall Trek. Then into Palmer to see the Reindeer Farm and Must Ox Tour with, if time permits, a hike up Bodenburg Butte in between. Back to Anchorage at the end of the day

Sunday - Drive to Talkeetna for a flightseeing/glacier landing (not sure with whom - all look capable), then a drive up to Denali, stopping at Denali State Park, if the views are good, for a hike around the lake.

Monday - Shuttle bus or Tour bus through Denali - not sure which one, or how far in, but assume, along with the sled dog kennel/demonstration and other items, that we'll fill the day

Tuesday - drive to Wasilla. Visit Iditarod HQ, Mat-Su Visitor's Center, and Independence Mine Park. Back to Anchorage for overnight.

Wed - Drive to Whittier, sightseeing on the way, for 12:30 26 Glacier 5-hr cruise. Drive to Seward for the night

Thurs - up for a 9a Sea Kayak trip in Resurrection Bay, then the Alaska Sea Life Center and around Seward for the day

Fri - Exit Glacier hike, IdidaRide dog sled tour, hang out in Seward.

Sat - Drive to Portage glacier for 12noon tour. Hike the Byron Glacier Trail. Stop by the Wildlife Conservation Center and any sightseeing we missed on the way down, on the way back to ANC. Flight home at 10:50p

From what I've read, a glacier tour out of Whittier and a kayak tour out of Seward is better then the reverse. With an 8-yr old I think 3 hours in a kayak is enough, and I didn't see non-full-day tours out of Whittier.

Anything I'm missing/not thinking of?
CPRich, just sent you a PM on coupon book.
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