We will be docking in Seward and have about 4-5 days to spend. Any thoughts as to whether we should stay in the Kenai Peninsula or venture up to Denali?
I agree with Places. The two regions are like night and day, and offer unique experiences in their own right. You cannot choose one over the other...and will absolutely love both!
I am in the same boat. I haven't been able to figure out which way to go yet. I come into Seward on the 15th and leave on Anchorage on the 18th. Are you like me? One of your days you arrive and the other you leave? We have 4 days and 3 nights. We have changed our plans three times so far. Are you planning on driving?
So far we plan on doing the following. Does it sound like a lot of running around to you? If so, you might want to stay down on Kenai.
Taking the Kenai boat tour.
Catch a train to Anchorage that night and sleep there.
Rent a car on the and drive to Talkeetna. Stay the rest of the day and night there.
Wake up early and drive to Denali. We have no interest in sitting on a bus for 8hrs, so we don't mind missing the bus.
Drive back to Talkeetna and sleep.
Spend some more time around Talkeetna.
Head to Anchorage, return the car, and hang out there till its time to catch a plane.
Hi Day Tripper,
I understand your dilemna, in not having enough days to do all you would like. I agree with the kenai Fjords tour (hopefully the 6-hour one) and the train ride into Anchorage. Beautiful scenery along the way.
However, the one day trip to Denali doesn't make much sense to me. It's quite a drive. What will you do in a few hours?
Don't get me wrong I love Talkeetna (it's one of my favorite Alaska towns, along with Homer). But is there some reason why you're spending so much time there? If it were me I'd stay closer to Denali and spend more time there. Talkeetna is very quaint, but Denali is impressive. You said you didn't want to spend 8 hours on a bus, I hear ya! But I would highly suggest taking one of the park service buses that goes into the park. You will get to see so much and since you're spending most of your time watching for animals the 8 hours doesn't seem that long. For us the time just flew by.
And Lilith, both Denali and the Kenai are beautiful but as someone else said they are so different.. But if I had to pick between the two it would be Denali hands down.
I appreciate all the input - it sounds like we should do both Kenai and Denali and pass on Homer this time. A few more questions.
Should we take the bus/train or drive?
Would it make sense to stay in Healy or Talkeenta rather than in Denali?
Any suggestions for reasonable places to stay at either location?
Hi there! Well, I live near Denali, but spend time every summer down on the Kenai, so . . .they are both great!
I would drive - the train is lovely, but it is slower and costs more than renting a car. Talkeetna is near Denali State park and does flight seeing around Mt. McKinley (near the Southern section of the Denali Nat'l Park), but it's hours from the entrance to Denali Nat'l Park - you would want to stay near Denali - either in Denali or in nearby Healy (11 miles N.) Here is the official local website showing most lodging . . . www.denalichamber.com Depends on what you are looking for - lodges, hotels, motels, cabins and B&B's - really something for everyone. Hope that helps you some. :)
I can't imagine a "day trip" from Talkeetna to Denali. Also can't imagine spending that much time in Talkeetna. We used that as an overnight stop from Anchorage to Denali, and took a flight over the mountain while we were there. Nothing much else to do there, as I could see.
We took the park services bus to Elieson (I may have spelled that wrong). It wasn't just a "bus ride". We saw much wildlife and stopped when we did to watch it. At the end was a visitor center with a gorgeous upfront view of McKinley. We ate some lunch and then took a bus back. If it were an 8 hour bus ride it certainly didn't seem like it. Our bus driver was a retired teacher who narrated on the trip and gave us much information.
The next day we did the visitor center at the entrance to the park and watched the dog mushing exhibitions, highly recommended. I hear you can also do some river rafting in that area. We didn't know about that.
I am sorry for high-jacking your thread, but it seemed like we had simular situations, and I wanted to let you know what we were going to do.
We are obviously going to try to fit both Kenai and Denali in. We were going to try to stay in Talkeetna so the drives between Anchorage and Denali wouldn't seem so long. There does seem to be a general consensus that is crazy :). I hope that your planning is less stressful than mine has been :). I also hope the questions that I have raised will be helpful to you.
I agree that a car is less expensive than a train. We are saving about $400 and 6hrs by renting a car. I read that the train ride to Denali isn't the most enjoyable either.
Thanks to everyone for their input. We booked our cruise months ago and should have starting planning our time afterwards then too. I had no idea that everything would start booking up so quickly. I am starting to feel to pressure to get it done now. We want to do so much and have only a little bit of time :/.
There are 2 couples going and the only things that we agreed on was the boat tour, the train ride, a bnb in Anchorage and not wanting to be cramped up on a bus with 3423545 other people for 8hrs. I have never been shuffled around on a group tour and, it doesn't seem very exciting to me. I would really rather rent a bike a ride the road, but that's not an option (unless I leave my friends.. hmm).
I should probably research the bus a little more as we just nixed it w/o looking into it, and you guys are starting to make me think twice about it.
We are actually taking the 3hr Kenai tour. I forgot to mention that we were going to visit the aquarium too.
There's no real reason that we are spending lots of time in Talkneeta. We just wanted to split up the drivingand not spend 5hrs driving to Denali on the 16th and 5hrs driving back on the 18th. We thought it might be a good middle spot. We heard that it is a nice little town but don't know much about it yet.
Thanks again everyone. Sorry again Lillith. I hope you have a wonderful time.