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alaska itinerary help with kids

alaska itinerary help with kids

Old May 1, 13, 5:19 pm
  #1  
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alaska itinerary help with kids

We have an 9-day trip to Alaska this summer and I'm trying to plan the itinerary. We have 3 kids, age 8, 5, and 2, and so are somwhat constrained in what we can do. Kids are pretty good during long drives, but I don't want to push it. We already have booked 1 night in Anchorage, 3 nights in Seward, and 3 nights in Denali (Healy). Looking for something to do for day 5 and 6. Should we drive from Seward to Glennallen and then to Denali? Any other ideas?

Day 1 Arrive in Anchorage @ 1am overnight

Day 2 Drive Anchorage to Seward, stop at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Day 3 Seward: Major Marine 6-hour full day Kenai Fjords National Park Tour 11:30am 5:30pm

Day 4 Seward: Exit Glacier hike near base area (not the Harding Ice Field hike), Hike Russian River Falls & nearby area drive

Day 5 ??? Open ???

Day 6 ??? Open ???, Overnight in Healy

Day 7 Denali visitor center, Drive first 15 miles of Park road, short easy hike near entrance area

Day 8 Denali shuttle bus tour (6-8 hr round trip)

Day 9 Denali dog sled demo, Drive back to Anchorage, Anchorage Museum, Red-eye flight back
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Old May 1, 13, 10:02 pm
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I've done all that with young kids too, and your selections look good to me , I am just writing to beg you on their behalf not to fill in your free days with any extra driving. It's a lot already.
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Old May 2, 13, 10:01 pm
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fti
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When are you going? Some suggestions are definitely dependent on your travel dates.

On Day 2 I would consider the Winner Creek Trail (from the Crow Creek Road side) and the unique hand tram. Also the 1 mile walk to Byron Glacier - the kids will love playing in the snow.

Only you know your kids, but on things like the Kenai Fjords boat tour, there is no "way out" in case the kids get bored or seasick, etc. Same with the shuttle bus in Denali. Be prepared to get off the bus if they act up. Drivers will not stop for wildlife (or will leave if already stopped) if there is not absolute quiet when observing wildlife.

I assume you know car seats/booster seats are required for the shuttle buses in Denali.

It is a LONG drive from Seward to Denali. Having the extra day really helps. I would drive as far as Talkeetna or Trapper Creek and spend the night there. There is a park and a playground in Talkeetna (in Seward too) that will help the kids unwind a bit.

Upon arrival in Denali, go to the visitor center and get junior ranger backpacks for the kids. The visitor center has excellent exhibits and a great film as well. The Savage River hike (2 miles round trip) is a good and easy hike that the kids will probably enjoy.

>>Looking for something to do for day 5 and 6. Should we drive from Seward to Glennallen and then to Denali? Any other ideas?

Definitely don't go through Glennallen to get to Denali. Sure it is a scenic drive, but adds way more miles than you need or want, especially with small kids.
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Old May 5, 13, 12:06 am
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I spent 10 days with my kids last summer. We hit most of what you listed, and everyone had a good time with all of them. Some other thoughts:

Portage glacier - stop by for the 1 hr cruise - on the way to Whittier
Seavey's Ididaride - See the reigning/recent main race/Junior race champions, see some of their dogs, etc. - Seward
Native Heritage Center in Anchorage
Reindeer Farm in Palmer - 1 hr stop on the way back from Denali
Musk Ox tour - same. This was on our list, but we ran short on time.
Iditarod HQ - Wasilla - same. Worth a quick stop, nothing really exciting.
Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward
Alyeska Tram
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Old May 11, 13, 8:34 am
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Thanks for the very helpful suggestions. Especially the part about not driving too much! I will research the other sights mentioned.
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Old May 14, 13, 1:59 am
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We have a brief trip to Alaska (ANC) on Friday, 11 October. We are scheduled to arrive at 4:00 PM and depart Saturday, 12 October at 8:00 PM. We are renting a car and we are open for any suggestions anyone might have. Thank you in advance...
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Old May 14, 13, 6:11 am
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Originally Posted by RSonny2010 View Post
We have a brief trip to Alaska (ANC) on Friday, 11 October. We are scheduled to arrive at 4:00 PM and depart Saturday, 12 October at 8:00 PM. We are renting a car and we are open for any suggestions anyone might have. Thank you in advance...
You might be better off starting your own thread about a separate trip, but I will at least quote your post so people know who is responding to whom.

October is pretty much "winter" in much of that part of Alaska. Very good chance of snow already. Who is "we"? I might just enjoy the drive south of Anchorage - Turnagain Arm as it is called. Lots to do/see in that area. Potter Marsh, the scenic pullouts, Girdwood, and the Wildlife Conservation Center for example. Depending on trail conditions, there are some nice hiking trails in the area too. The Winner Creek Trail near Girdwood has the hand tram if it is still functional that time of year (they usually close it in the winter but I am not sure when they do that). Easiest and shortest hike to it is from the Crow Creek Mine side of the trail. You might also take a drive through the tunnel to Whittier (once an hour) to see this small and quirky town. Again, if snow hasn't come yet and the trail is in good shape, the Portage Pass Trail is nice, at least to the point where you can see the Portage Glacier.

You could also just stay in Anchorage and see/do a lot of things there too - it just depends on your interests. But with over 24 hours I would tend to get out of Anchorage and see some of the scenery.
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Old May 14, 13, 10:48 am
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
When are you going? Some suggestions are definitely dependent on your travel dates.

On Day 2 I would consider the Winner Creek Trail (from the Crow Creek Road side) and the unique hand tram. Also the 1 mile walk to Byron Glacier - the kids will love playing in the snow.

Only you know your kids, but on things like the Kenai Fjords boat tour, there is no "way out" in case the kids get bored or seasick, etc. Same with the shuttle bus in Denali. Be prepared to get off the bus if they act up. Drivers will not stop for wildlife (or will leave if already stopped) if there is not absolute quiet when observing wildlife.

I assume you know car seats/booster seats are required for the shuttle buses in Denali.

It is a LONG drive from Seward to Denali. Having the extra day really helps. I would drive as far as Talkeetna or Trapper Creek and spend the night there. There is a park and a playground in Talkeetna (in Seward too) that will help the kids unwind a bit.

Upon arrival in Denali, go to the visitor center and get junior ranger backpacks for the kids. The visitor center has excellent exhibits and a great film as well. The Savage River hike (2 miles round trip) is a good and easy hike that the kids will probably enjoy.

>>Looking for something to do for day 5 and 6. Should we drive from Seward to Glennallen and then to Denali? Any other ideas?

Definitely don't go through Glennallen to get to Denali. Sure it is a scenic drive, but adds way more miles than you need or want, especially with small kids.
Hello FTI,

Thanks for the detailed response. I've read some of your other comments/posts in the archives and they are very helpful. We are going at the beginning of July. One question I have it what is your opinion about staying at Tek campground in an RV? I am considering that as an option.
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Old May 14, 13, 6:09 pm
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Originally Posted by schan1w View Post
Hello FTI,

Thanks for the detailed response. I've read some of your other comments/posts in the archives and they are very helpful. We are going at the beginning of July. One question I have it what is your opinion about staying at Tek campground in an RV? I am considering that as an option.
Tek is a great campground. But it requires a minimum 3 night stay. Also, only you know your kids. With three younger kids, it might be too much to be away from services, etc. for that long.

Also, the beginning of July changes some of my recommendations. You want to avoid Seward from around July 2 to July 8. They have a huge July 4th celebration. Thousands of visitors, lodging booked up months in advance (at inflated prices), even the campgrounds fill up quickly. What are your exact dates?
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Old May 17, 13, 7:34 pm
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ANC

Originally Posted by fti View Post
You might be better off starting your own thread about a separate trip, but I will at least quote your post so people know who is responding to whom.

October is pretty much "winter" in much of that part of Alaska. Very good chance of snow already. Who is "we"? I might just enjoy the drive south of Anchorage - Turnagain Arm as it is called. Lots to do/see in that area. Potter Marsh, the scenic pullouts, Girdwood, and the Wildlife Conservation Center for example. Depending on trail conditions, there are some nice hiking trails in the area too. The Winner Creek Trail near Girdwood has the hand tram if it is still functional that time of year (they usually close it in the winter but I am not sure when they do that). Easiest and shortest hike to it is from the Crow Creek Mine side of the trail. You might also take a drive through the tunnel to Whittier (once an hour) to see this small and quirky town. Again, if snow hasn't come yet and the trail is in good shape, the Portage Pass Trail is nice, at least to the point where you can see the Portage Glacier.

You could also just stay in Anchorage and see/do a lot of things there too - it just depends on your interests. But with over 24 hours I would tend to get out of Anchorage and see some of the scenery.
Thanks for the tips "fti." I'll definitely do some research about Whittier. My wife and I actually wanted to travel to Fairbanks instead of ANC. I flew several sorties out of the Air Force Base during the Gulf War as a KC-135 Boom Operator. I'd like to go back up and enjoy the scenery. I just got careless and selected ANC when I should have selected Fairbanks. Oh well. I guess we will have to make the best of my snafu...
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Old May 18, 13, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by RSonny2010 View Post
Thanks for the tips "fti." I'll definitely do some research about Whittier. My wife and I actually wanted to travel to Fairbanks instead of ANC. I flew several sorties out of the Air Force Base during the Gulf War as a KC-135 Boom Operator. I'd like to go back up and enjoy the scenery. I just got careless and selected ANC when I should have selected Fairbanks. Oh well. I guess we will have to make the best of my snafu...
If you have any BA miles or AmEx MR points that you can transfer to BA, a decent use of Avios points is for the flight with AS from ANC-FAI-ANC.
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