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June itinerary help needed

June itinerary help needed

Old Mar 2, 13, 6:36 pm
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June itinerary help needed

We just got back from our first (short) visit to Alaska a few days ago. Now we want to go back!

We're thinking of a few days (5-7?), flying into ANC (good fares). I don't think we're going to try to get to Denali this trip. I'm guessing we'll rent a car. We're thinking about Girdwood, Seward, Homer, Kenai NP (?), a boat ride or someplace where we're likely to see moose would be good. I'm also guessing (?) we should plan on staying in ANC and doing day trips? Or does it make more sense to split our time between ANC and somewhere else?

We're also hoping to come around the solstice, trying to avoid major crowds and to get out before the 7/4 weekend rush starts.

Looking at rooms and car rentals, it already looks like we probably should have started planning a lot sooner, but what can I say? Alaska was always on the 'wish list' - then we went and fell in love and want to go back now!

I should add: we like museums, loved the Fairbanks museum, but mostly this trip we're interested in outside, critters and sights. We're good walkers but my sister's not up to backpacking or gnarly footing. We can always do museums and indoor activities when we come back in the winter. Getting on the water or walking is a plus; we don't want to just drive and stop at pullouts.
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Old Mar 2, 13, 11:45 pm
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fti
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Alaska is addictive, isn't it?!

Originally Posted by chollie View Post
I'm also guessing (?) we should plan on staying in ANC and doing day trips? Or does it make more sense to split our time between ANC and somewhere else?
It depends on what you really want to do, but I would spend one night in ANC then the rest of the nights on the Kenai Peninsula. Maybe 2-3 nights each in Seward and Homer. But where you spend your time depends on what you want to do. You can see moose anywhere, including Anchorage. Just saw three moose today off Tudor in Anchorage, which is really right in the city. Flyertalkers like to stay in Anchorage and use hotel points, but that is usually a poor decision. Alaska is just too vast to be taking day trips everywhere. You lose a lot of time backtracking and just in travel time.

"Trying to avoid major crowds" - there are never major crowds in Alaska. The only time really is July 4th in Seward. But there won't be a July 4th weekend rush anywhere else in the state compared to what you might think of in the lower 48.

Yes, you are learning that the earlier you plan the cheaper the trip will be. I get car rentals way cheaper than most people because I start looking about 11 months in advance. What I booked for $500 for a 10-day on-airport rental for this coming June is now more than double that price.

Based on the interests you stated, I would consider at least 2 nights each in Homer and Seward. You should take a 6 hour or longer Kenai Fjords tour in Seward. This emphasizes marine wildlife but you also get to stop at a glacier. Then also consider one of several boat tours in Homer - Kachemak Bay/Gull Island, Seldovia, or Halibut Cove.

There is a nice Sealife Center in Seward, and the drive along Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage en route toward Seward and Homer has many pullouts, Girdwood, Wildlife Conservation Center, Portage Glacier area and more.

If you are interested in glaciers, you might consider a Prince William Sound tour from Whittier (which is on the way toward Seward and Homer).

Reserve your car as soon as your flights are finalized. Look into off-airport car rentals since they don't have all the taxes associated with ANC on-airport rentals (though off-airport rentals are not always cheapest).
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Old Mar 3, 13, 10:09 am
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Thank you! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. We still have to see what dates are available (for us and for lodging/car), but thanks to your information, I think we'll look at splitting our time between Anchorage, Seward and Homer.

When I mentioned 'crowds'...we just got back a week ago. Big tour buses for the aurora and sold-out lodgings because of 'Iron Dog', most seats taken on the FAI-ANC train. I've also read that around 7/4, lodging and rental cars are in short supply and very high-priced.

(BTW...I'm already thinking I might have to try to go back in the fall, get in some hiking/kayaking and perhaps another chance to see the aurora).
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Old Mar 3, 13, 12:17 pm
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Another vote here for the Kenai Peninsula and fti's excellent suggestions! (I can't recommend the Kenai Fjord tour enough. Maybe I hit it on a good day, but...wow!)

I've done a number of easy day hikes on my trips to Alaska. An enjoyable trail for enthusiastic walkers is Winner Creek in Girdwood. You cross Glacier Creek using a hand tram, which is quite fun.
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Old Mar 5, 13, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by SalishSea View Post
Another vote here for the Kenai Peninsula and fti's excellent suggestions! (I can't recommend the Kenai Fjord tour enough. Maybe I hit it on a good day, but...wow!)

I've done a number of easy day hikes on my trips to Alaska. An enjoyable trail for enthusiastic walkers is Winner Creek in Girdwood. You cross Glacier Creek using a hand tram, which is quite fun.
The Kenai Fjords tour is usually excellent (6 hours or longer only!). I have taken it 3-4 times and it never gets old.

If you want to experience the hand tram in Girdwood, you can access the Winner Creek Trail from the Crow Creek Mine side. That way you only need to hike in about 1/2 mile to the hand tram.
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Old Mar 7, 13, 9:15 am
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Have you maybe considered an RV instead of cars and hotels. Bear in mind that time of year is HIGH season in Alaska and having to book hotels ahead of time can be a bother and cut into your flexablity substancially. A small RV might end up being cheaper and a whole lot more flexable too.

Oh I am not the camping type either but for Alaska that is really the way to go.
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Old Mar 8, 13, 10:52 am
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I'll make a different suggestion, just for your consideration.

Don't know where you're flying from, but what if you added to your airfare but reduced your car rental expense, and spent 5 days in Southcentral Alaska (Anchorage, Seward) and two days in the arctic?

Buy a round trip ticket to Kotzebue or Barrow. AS allows a free stopover in ANC, so use it to visit Anchorage, go to Seward for a Kenai Fjords cruise, take a Phillips "26 Glacier" cruise out of Whittier, then return to ANC and fly to OTZ or BRW. At the solstice you'll truly be in the "land of the midnight sun" - stick your toe in the Arctic Ocean, talk to whalers and learn about Eskimo culture...

It's an utterly different picture of Alaska than the moose-and-mountains environment you get on the road system, and IMO it will cement your appreciation for the vastness and diversity of the place - both environmental and cultural.

If by any chance you have any AS miles, then you could spend only 15K miles for an in-state round trip from ANC. I just checked availability and there appears to be plenty in early June to OTZ. Haven't checked BRW, but probably okay there too.
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