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Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Sydney, Australia
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Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Hi All

I need some advice on what to see/do in Alaska for this time period, my knowledge is very limited so any advice is appreciated. Here was my first thoughts for an intinerary (I have read a few posts on here and i think it needs to be revised).

Basically stay and anchorage than drive the loop up to Fairbanks via Denali (A3) and back down to Anchorage stopping somewhere along the A2/A1:

28th - Fly into Anchorage 4pm

29th - sightsee around anchorage

30th - Sight see around anchorage

31st - pick up hire car, drive up to denali NP

1st - Denali NP, exploring

2nd - Explore Denali/Drive to Fairbanks

3rd - Sightsee Around Fairbanks

4th - Sightsee around Fairbanks

5th - drive to some point along A2/A1 heading back to Anchorage

6th - Drive back to Anchorage, fly out at 5pm

After reading a few posts on here I can see advice to spende less time in Anchorage/Fairbanks and more time exploring. The area towards Seward seems to get recommended alot too, spending some nights down that way instead?? I want to see as much of the real alaska in that time frame as possible, whether that means less is more sort of thing...

Any advice/criticism is welcomed!

cheers

Shane

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Seward
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1. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Ohh and I forgot to mention, I will be travelling with my partner and we are wanting to see the outdoor scenary, some of the famous wildlife and do some hiking/adventure activites. Hope that gives an idea of our interests.

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2. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Definitely less time in Anchorage. What are you after in Fairbanks? Take the train to Seward. That's for starters.

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Seward
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3. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Thanks CTDesign...as for Fairbanks, Im really unsure..the itinerary wasnt based on anything we knew about Faribanks berforehand, but rather a major city to stop at on the loop drive and possibly a place to base so to explore the area ( eg. hiking, wildlife, seeing natural wonders). Only thing ive read so far worth visiting is the chena hot springs...so perhaps less time there would be preferred if we want to experience those things elsewhere.

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Chugiak, Alaska
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4. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

I'd actually say skip Fairbanks and switch it out with Seward. It's a very pretty drive down there and lot of opportunities to hike as well as go kayaking or on a wildlife cruise.

Definitely cut a day out of Anchorage and use it to drive down to Seward. It's not a long drive but you are going to want to pull off to take pictures and there are actually some great hikes south of Anchorage/near Girdwood that you could stop and do on the way down.

There are some great hikes around Anchorage, too. Don't assume because it's a city there isn't tons of hiking within a 20 minute drive. Most visitors don't see a tenth of what the Chugach hikes on the east side of Anchorage have to offer. And the best part is at the end of your hike, you are less than half an hour from some great food and local beers. :)

Amend the itinerary something like this:

28th - Fly into Anchorage 4pm

29th - Pick up car, sight see around Anchorage

30th - drive up to denali NP, drive the first 17 miles into the park that afternoon- good chance to spot moose and go hiking near the entrance or by Savage River

31st - Denali NP - get a shuttle to Eielson or Wonder Lake. Pack your lunch and drinks and hop off where you want to go hiking. Grab another bus as it comes along.

1st - Explore Denali- we suggest booking shuttles for two days to allow more hiking opportunities when people enjoy that and also to allow for a bad day of wildlife spotting or yucky weather

2nd - Drive to Girdwood - Enjoy the drive, go on the Winner Creek hike, or the first part of the Crow Pass hike to the falls. Overnight in Girdwood. Check the B&Bs for bookings now.

Here's pics of my Crow Pass trip this Summer- great hike:

flickr.com/photos/…

3rd - Continue a leisurely drive to Seward, stopping off to hike on Byron glacier and possibly go to the Wildlife Conservation Center. Overnight in Seward. Could have time for a hike out to Exit Glacier when you get to Seward.Overnight Seward.

4th - Go on a Wildlife Cruise. Go on one at least 6 hours long. Take motion sickness meds. You can also get buy-one- get one free tickets to some of these with a coupon book. Book that in advance though- only a limited number of those available. Overnight Seward.

5th - Check out the Sealife Center- hikes around Seward, maybe a kayaking trip that takes you out to a nice easy hike at the fort:

millerslandingak.com/adventure-tours/guided-…

Overnight Seward.

6th - Drive back to Anchorage, fly out at 5pm - leave early from Seward. There can be accidents that have the Seward Highway closed for a while. Better to enjoy some last minute time in Anchorage than worry about missing your flight because you are stuck in traffic.

Fishing is also an option for your second day in Seward if that is an interest. If not, there's plenty of great hiking. You might even be interested in the Harding Ice Field trek if you are in decent shape and want an all day outing that has an impressive ending:

nps.gov/kefj/…harding_icefield_trail.htm

This is a great resource for finding the kind of hikes you want on your way down to Seward or around Anchorage:

http://www.alaskahikesearch.com

Edited: 2:07 am, January 15, 2013
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Seward
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5. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Alaskantiger!! You are fantastic!! Definitely wasn't expecting such a detailed response...

So much information you have just provided, All suggestions sound defintiely what we want to be doing. Plenty of food for thought...back to drawing board we go :).

Thanks so much.

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6. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Any recommendations on where to stay in Denali NP, eg. B&B's (not too expensive)?

Edited: 2:21 am, January 15, 2013
Chugiak, Alaska
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7. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Sure thing! You'll get even more thoughts and suggestions when the lower 48 and sleepy AK experts get up tomorrow. :)

With what you want to do, I think you'll be happier with Seward than Fairbanks. Nothing wrong with Fairbanks, but Seward has more wow factor and getting to see an Alaskan coastal town will be a good bit more change than the shift from Denali to Fairbanks. More wildlife opportunities there than Fairbanks as well.

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Seward
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8. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Depends on your budget. Plenty of nice B&Bs about a 10 mile drive north of Denali in a town called Healy. I'm staying at these basic, but nice cabins this Summer when I'm up there:

http://healycabins.com/cabins/

I've also stayed at and liked:

The Dome Home:

http://www.denalidomehome.com

And Motel Nord Haven:

http://www.motelnordhaven.com

coalminer lives up there and can give you even more suggestions.

But B&Bs do tend to be cheaper than hotels up here and can be a lot more fun.

I like Dairy Hill in Seward:

alaskasaltwaterlodge.com/sewardlodging.htm

But there are a lot of good options down there. I'm sure folks will give you some ideas on nice places in Girdwood, too.

Edited: 2:29 am, January 15, 2013
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Seward
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9. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Fantastic...thanks again!

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10. Re: Alaska 28th July - 6th August 2013

Could anybody explain the shuttle buses in Denali, eg. are there different ones you can catch that go to different spots within the park? Which website can I book these through?

many thanks

Shane