Five nights in Alaska

Old Apr 1, 12, 11:20 am
  #1  
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Five nights in Alaska

Hi everyone,
Will be arranging a trip to Alaska with my parents in June. We'd be arriving in Whittier off a cruise from Vancouver and have about 5 nights to spend in Alaska.

Was trying to balance north (Denali NP) and south (Kenai) but I realised that realistically it's a lot of travel time to want to do both. Based on what I've read here, south seems to have a bit more variety, so I've come up with three options and wondering if you could comment/advise!

Option A
09 June - transfer whittier to anchorage / overnight anchorage
10 June - morning train to seward / overnight seward
11 June - rent car, afternoon drive to homer / overnight homer
12 June - free day in homer / overnight homer
13 June - morning drive to talkeetna (6h), afternoon air taxi McKinley South Face / overnight anchorage
14 June - free day in anchorage before flight in the evening

Option B
09 June - private van whittier to seward / overnight seward
10 June - half day seward, rent car afternoon drive to homer / overnight homer
11 June - free day in homer / overnight homer
12 June - morning drive to seward, return car, evening train to anchorage / overnight anchorage
13 June - full day avail for talkeetna flight arrangements / overnight talkeetna or anchorage
14 June - free day in anchorage before flight in the evening

Option C
09 June - private transport whittier to talkeetna / overnight talkeetna
10 June - morning flight, afternoon train from talkeetna to anchorage / overnight in anchorage
11 June - morning train to seward / overnight seward
12 June - rent car, afternoon drive seward to homer / overnight homer
13 June - full day in homer / overnight homer
14 June - morning drive homer to anchorage, return car, afternoon free in anchorage before flight in the evening

I've basically given up doing Denali NP in favour of flight with glacier landing and a bit more leisurely pace in the south.
Any advise on which might be the most workable itinerary?

Thanks!
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Old Apr 8, 12, 12:23 am
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There is so much to do in Alaska. If you're thinking that this is going to be your only trip to Alaska in the foreseeable future, I would strongly suggest that you do whatever it takes to spend a couple of days at Denali. (I would take the train.) On the other hand, if you expect to be back again at some point, any of your potential itineraries sounds good. A lot of it depends on what you want to do. Homer and Seward are, in my experience, fairly similar, but if you want to fish, Homer might be better, but Seward has the Alaska Sea Life Center, which is great for both adults and kids. I would really suggest that you not try to do both Homer and Seward. As I said, I think they're similar, and it is a long trip. There is no harm in spending time in Anchorage, which has some very good resaurants and hotels.
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Old Apr 8, 12, 7:08 am
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fti
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I agree about not doing both Homer and Seward, but Denali is iffy in your time frame.

You didn't say what you are doing in any of the places except Talkeetna so it is hard to really give you some good advice.

With your limited time there is absolutely no way I would waste a night by going from Whittier to Anchorage, spend the night, then to Seward. Contact PJ's Taxi in Seward (very reliable) and they will get you from Whittier to Seward for about $300 one way. With 3 or 4 of you, that is very inexpensive per person. So that would be June 9th. Ask them if they could either stop at Exit Glacier on the way to town or else drop you off there and drop your luggage off where you will be staying, then pick you up an hour or two later.

10 June take a 6 hour or longer Kenai Fjords tour. Anything less than 6 hours doesn't get out of the bay. You see a lot of marine wildlife and spend about 1/2 hour at a glacier. You could even take the evening train to Anchorage this evening if you wanted, especially if you want to include Denali. Before or after the Kenai Fjords tour you can go to the Sealife Center (or do this on 9 June). You also might consider Seavey's sleddog kennel on 9 June. PJ's Taxi will also stop at the Wildlife Conservation Center for you for free on the way from Whittier to Seward. Or if interested, ask them about stopping at the Portage Glacier visitor center on 9 June too.

You don't need a car in Seward - you can walk or take a taxi. Taxis within the city cost something like $5-6 anywhere.

11 June pick up rental car in Anchorage (check both on- and off-airport rates), drive to Talkeetna, have flightseeing booked for 11am or noon. It often gets canceled. After flightseeing, drive 3 hours to Denali NP

12 June take shuttle bus to Wonder Lake. Actually book the shuttle to Wonder Lake but if the weather is not great and if the Mountain is not out, get off at Eielson and have the dispatcher get you on a bus heading back to the entrance. Wonder Lake that time of year is only best when the Mountain is visible. Be prepared with bug dope and a mosquito headnet if you go to Wonder Lake.

13 June drive back to Anchorage, but stop in Talkeetna again if the flightseeing was canceled.

14 June - free day in anchorage before flight in the evening

Last edited by fti; Apr 8, 12 at 7:14 am
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Old Apr 18, 12, 11:56 pm
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Honestly, I would trade all those itineraries in, for the shot at Denali.

Homer and Seward are the same. Just fishing towns mainly, with Seward having plenty of wildlife. Anchorage has tuned into just another big city. But it has some spectacular views. The drives out of Anchorage into the Valley or down the Turnagain Arm are phenomenal. Seeing the icy blue flow of the Kenai river is a sight to behold on its own.

The schedule by FTI looks pretty good.
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Old Apr 22, 12, 7:23 pm
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thanks for the help guys, in the end i managed to find a workable itinerary putting both denali and homer, while perhaps a lunch stop at seward. i already will be on a cruise prior to this so i don't think i'll do a cruise at seward. i'll just keep my fingers crossed the weather permits a flight and a glacier landing!
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Old Apr 23, 12, 9:10 am
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Have a great trip. That's wonderful that you'll be able to get to Denali!

If you do get to Seward, be sure to check out the Sea Life Center.
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Old Apr 24, 12, 5:18 pm
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fti
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Originally Posted by VanquishShadow View Post
thanks for the help guys, in the end i managed to find a workable itinerary putting both denali and homer, while perhaps a lunch stop at seward. i already will be on a cruise prior to this so i don't think i'll do a cruise at seward. i'll just keep my fingers crossed the weather permits a flight and a glacier landing!
Glad you have something you are comfortable with. But just FYI, the day cruises from Seward and Whittier are nothing like the cruise you are doing on the large ships. The large ships don't see or stop for wildlife whereas the small boats get closer to and stop for wildlife viewing. There really is no comparison. Not to say that will change your mind, but just so you know what you will be missing.
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