Hello there! McKinley Chalet Resort is attractive, but it is right smack in the middle of Glitter Gulch. Denali Lakeview is in Healy, right next to Otto Lake - so if you want quiet and pretty, I would choose the Lakeview. Healy is only about 15 minute drive from the Park entrance, so you are still quite handy to everything. You are also near a golf course and excellent restaurant - Black Diamond Grille while at Denali Lakeview. Hope that helps you some. :)
coalminer: Thanks for your input. I think we will try the Lakeview Inn. Here are some other questions. I need some estimates of driving times. I've been reading the forums and am getting widely varying travel times. Could you give me some realistic times? We are interested in a pleasant drive, enjoying the scenery.
Homer to Anchorage
Anchorage to Talkeetna
Talkeetna to Healy
Healy to Anchorage
Using the Toursaver book we can do a flightseeing tour from either Talkeetna or Denali. Are these flights cancelled due to weather very often? We could book this at 11:00Am either going to or coming from Denali. Does it make sense to book it on the earlier date in case we need to reschedule? Also how early would we need to leave Anchorage to make the 11:00 flight from Talkeetna?
Gee - I am not really good on the time thing. I plan about 4-4 1/2 hrs to get to Wasilla from Healy, and another 45 mins to 1hr to get to Anchorage from Wasilla. Traffic really varies due to construction/RV traffic during the summer, which can alter your times, and also as a visitor, you will be stopping more for viewing/animal sightings, etc. SO - it's about 2 - 2 1/2 hrs to Talkeetna from Anchorage, and then another 2+ to get to Healy from Talkeetna. (Approx) You should post this question for Kileysmom (Anchorage expert), as she will know about the driving times for the Kenai portion of your trip. I am always on vacation myself when driving that way and pay no attention to the times. Sorry I can't be of more help regarding the times.
As far as flights go, it really does depend on weather - plane flights aren't too exciting if it's a dull rainy day and you can't see the mountains. Also, due to the height of Mt. McKinley, it creates it's own weather, so while the rest of the state is clear, it can be socked in. You just never know. There are flight tours from Talkeetna, Denali Park and Healy. There are also helicopter flights, too. Don't know if that really answers your request - I would book, if they do refunds. If not, I might wait and see what the weather holds for that portion of your trip. Good luck! :)
Depending on your tastes, this might not be what you are looking for, but we stayed in a nice B and B/Lodge in Healy, which is about 10 miles further north of Denali. We had a little cabin and there was a coffeehouse which served food. The price was very reasonable. We stayed at the Earthsong Lodge. I posted a review of it, with photos, if you'd like to take a peek.
Hope this helps and happy planning!
Slinky1,what was the name of the place you stayed? Sounds like what we are looking for. thanks.
nevermind, sorry! just re-read your post... :) We're taking our 2 boys in May - ages 9 and 13. Any advice? They are avid outdoorsmen at such a young age and are SO excited.