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Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

Brooklyn baby
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276 posts
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Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

I am so overwhelmed .. just reading so much and there are so many choices ...

I arrive 1:30am the morning of July 24 in Anchorage and my cruise leaves from Whittier on July 29... I figure we'll rent a car on the 24th because we like the flexibility of being able to pull over where we'd like - as opposed to the train, which looks wonderful, too - but doesn't offer that flexibility. I'd love to squeeze in as much as I can but I don't know how to route it or what to prioritize. I'd like to see as much land and sea scenery as we can - including wildlife .. birds, bears, and whatever else comes our way ... I know that Denali is a priority and wonder if we drive that way, what else do we have time for? My cruise goes to Hubbard and glacier bay NP and then stops in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan - so we'll be able to do some port excursions in those places, too.

I know there are lots of travel itineraries and i'm making my way through them .. I also know there are many helpful, experienced travelers who have been where I am now and lots of wonderful advice to share.

Thanks for your comments!

Rachel

Edited: 6:32 pm, January 30, 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada
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11. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

open the link for the drive to Seward .... Potters Marsh is one of the suggested stops. We walked the boardwalk for a bit to watch the swans primarily, but there were lots of birds. Apparently we just missed seeing a moose who was also at the marsh.

Tern Lake which is near the junction of Sterling and Seward Hwys, In Seward watch for bald eagles. If you do the Kenai Fjords cruise he'll see lots of birds, including puffins and bald eagles, and an eagle's nest. There used to be a Puffin Encounter at the SeaLife Center. Check their web site for info. Have a good trip.

Newtown...
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12. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

Order Milepost 2012 from Barnes and Noble or order 2013 Milepost for March delivery. Then read every possible option mile by mile and decide your priorities. The Milepost is the best travel guide of Alaska one can buy. Alaska is an addictive state--one trip is not enough. In Skagway, I strongly recommend a trip into the Yukon with Dyea Dave. He is an interesting character and provides a fun day while seeing many bears and nature. Also, in Ketchikan, the flight to Misty Fjords is absolutely gorgeous. We spent 4 weeks cruising and enjoying Alaska in our rental car in 2011 and can hardly wait to return for a land trip in May. Have fun and don't stress out. Alaskans are the friendliest people we have ever met.

USA
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13. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

Print this check list of birds & any other links of interest on this Birds in Denali page:

nps.gov/dena/…denali-bird-species.htm

nps.gov/dena/naturescience/brirdhabitats.htm

www.nps.gov/dena/naturescience/birds.htm

Brooklyn baby
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14. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

I'm still working on my itinerary .. and wonder what id suggested to do in and around Denali if we drive from Girdwood to the Denali are on July 26th... Driving time is estimated at 6 hours -- w/o stops ... How long, realistically, should it take with stops? I'm wondering if there is time to do anything in the evening and if so, what?

Thanks for your ideas!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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15. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

I already posted the SCENIC DRIVES link for you .... did you look at it ? It provides suggested stopping points for many popular drives, including to Whittier and Denali.

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage
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16. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

When you get to Denali, go into the park and "self-drive" the 1st 13 miles into the park to Savage River. Do it nice and slow and keep your "eyes peeled" for wildlife.

There's a nice rest stop at Savage River and you do the same thing heading back out. This will use up at least an hour.

The idea here is "the more time you spend in the park, the more wildlife you might see".

Watch the other vehicles on the road. If they're stopped , they've likely spotted something.

Brooklyn baby
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17. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

We will have one full day for Denali - - July 27th. Should we go all the way to Wonder Lake? Or book Eielson and then extend if we wish? My husband is a birder and may be interested but I'm not necessarily and I've read so many different views on TA as to whether folks thought the trip to Wonder Lake was worth it or not.

If we do extend once at Eielson, is the surcharge the same as if we'd booked Wonder Lake originally or is it more?

Thanks!

Brooklyn baby
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18. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

Just a quick thank you to the help received here for our trip - We were in Alaska from 7/23 - 8/5 -- boarding the Island Princess in Whittier on 7/29 .. (We stayed in Vancouver for three nights, returning to NYC on the red eye on 8/8.)

We were blessed with incredible weather and I didn't get to use my brand new raincoat until I got home and had to pick up my son from camp in Vermont!

I'd love to write a trip review but it's so overwhelming to even think about and I still haven't sent any photos except for a few of bears at Anan to my family!

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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19. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

Well, we'll hope for a few days of rest & then a trip report! Did you have a good time?? :)

Brooklyn baby
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20. Re: Flights and cruise booked - now I need land

of course - it was amazing ... we drove through beautiful vermont - laughing and saying - they call this scenery! LOL