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Need more help to finalize itinerary

New Jersey
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Need more help to finalize itinerary

I apologize for starting another thread regarding this itinerary but the other post was getting too long for people to sift through. I appreciate all the help I have received so far and ask for your assistance once again to finalize the remaining portion of my itinerary.

As I mentioned in my previous post my husband and I (we are in our 60's) will be visiting Alaska June 4 -14, 2013. We are interested in scenic beauty and wildlife but not that much hiking.

Itinerary:

June 4 : Arrive in Anchorage at 3:30pm.....hotel shuttle will pick us up from airport.....shuttle will take us to downtown area for dinner etc.

June 5: Enterprise will pick us up at hotel before 9:00 am and take us to their office to pick up reserved car.........stop to pick up supplies before driving to Talkeetna

Arrive in Talkeetna by early afternoon and check in our hotel .........explore the town and have dinner.......is the 2hr natural history river tour worth doing?

June 6: Talkeetna: reserved flightseeing tour with K2 Aviation at 8:30 am

Drive to Denali ......arrive by early afternoon.....explore park entrance area and go to Wilderness Access Center to pick up our reserved bus shuttle tickets for next morning

Check in our hotel in Healy.....dinner nearby

June 7: Denali .....reserved 7:00 am shuttle bus to Eilsen

Thinking of using toursaver coupon for Cabin Night Dinner Theatre.....is this worth doing?

June 8: Leave Denali in the morning and drive to Hatcher Pass /Indenpendence Mine.....how much time will we need to see this area?

Spend the night at Best Western Lake Lucille or Hatcher Pass B&B which do you think is the best value?

June 9: Drive to Seward stopping at all the scenic sights along the way......arrive by mid afternoon....check in hotel......which hotels do you recommend?

Do we have time to see the Sea Life Center on this day?

June 10: Seward: Will reserve 1/2 or full day tour of Kenai Fjords NP

Spend night in Seward

June 11: Spend morning exploring Seward......go to Exit Glacier......Any other must see sights?

Drive to Girdwood ......take tram to Seven Glaciers Restaurant......Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center??

Lodging: besides Hidden Creek B&B any other recs?

June 12: Girdwood......Drive to Whittier for Prince William Sound cruise or 26 Glacier Tour which tour do you recommend?

Drive to Cooper Landing or spend another night in Girdwood?

June 13: Cooper Landing or???

Lodging recs?

June 14: Do some sightseeing in Anchorage or nearby?

Return rental car at off airport location in Anchorage at 5:00pm

Catch flight at ANC airport at 7:50pm for home

Please help me to fill in the gaps of this itinerary......your opinions and recs are greatly appreciated.

USA
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1. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

I conserve my driving time driving in Alaska particularly on the Seward Hwy & don't backtrack. So if interested in Cooper Landing, I would do it on the way north from Seward.

I actually like having all the info in one thread since I'm wondering now if you ever considered Homer after Seward.

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2. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

Just my 2 cents worth, although as a local, I've never ever stayed in either.

I would choose a sourdough cabin up at Hatcher Pass B&B in that beautiful valley over the national chain Best Western in Wasilla. Plus you would save probably $50 & get a more quintessential alaskan cabin experience.

Here are Scott's things to do around Girdwood/Portage. You might find interest to just stay extra time in Girdwood.

tripadvisor.com/…47298453

Lake Tahoe...
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3. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

What is this Hotel at Talkeetna? If Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, it is not walking distance into town. As for the jet boat ride, my wife didn't care for it, but I didn't have any problem with it.

As you probably cannot drive the Willow-Fishhook Road over Hatcher Pass it is going to be a long trip around. But, the Palmer-Fishhook Road, (my opinion) is one of the most scenic trips in the state. Not much to do at the pass, but the Independence Mine is worth a visit. Hatcher Pass Lodge is located there, but is not on my recommendation list.

As for staying at Cooper Landing, Kenai Princess Lodge is there. You have trouble with reservations for the days when Princess ports at Whittier. Summit Lake Lodge is around 25 miles from Cooper Landing and along the Seward Hwy

New Jersey
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4. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

Thanks for your suggestions Denalicat........I'm thinking Copper Landing may not be worth going to right now.

I may have to choose the Best western Lake Lucille as I'm thinking of paying with reward points.

Thanks for your input K2ks........In Talkeetna we will be staying at the Susitna River Lodge and Cabins for one night......we will have our car so distance to town will not be an issue.

I'm not sure we are talking about the jetboat tour in Talkeetna.....we're interested in the 2hr natural history river float.....is this a jetboat tour?

Since I'm still very confused about what we should do when after we leave Denali on June 8, I would love to hear how some of you would structure our itinirary from June 8 to June 14.......please provide as many details as possible.......your knowledge and suggestions regarding our itinirary are greatly appreciated.

Healy, Alaska
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5. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

As far as Denali/Healy goes, I would recommend eating at the 49th Brewery in Healy OR going back into the Denali area for more food choices. I have gone to Cabin night several times over the years and find it to be a thoroughly delightful evening, though I think the food is just average to good - it isn't a fancy meal. It is a fun experience. :)

Bristol, Connecticut
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6. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

I have taken the Mahay's jet Boat tour and enjoyed it.

http://www.mahaysriverboat.com/

Las Vegas, Nevada
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7. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

I think your itinerary looks fine. If you want to swing by Cooper Landing , it's a short detour on your way out of Seward ... you'll pass the Sterling Hwy junction and Cooper Landing is only about 15 miles down the Sterling Hwy. The Kenai Princess is built on a hill overlooking the Kenai River so it's a nice place to stop in for a drink or lunch, and enjoy the view from their deck.

Besides Hidden Creek, the Glacier View B&B has gotten nice reviews in trip reports, and Girdwood Guest House.

There's a Best Western in Seward if you have points. The Holiday Inn is also on the water. Depends on budget and what you're looking for ...Exit Glacier Lodge, cabins at Seavey's Ididaride, Bear Creek Cabins, Paddle Inn. All have good reviews in trip reports.

Cabin Night Theater is either a hokey waste of time or very enjoyable. You'd need to read the reviews to get a sense of whether or not you would enjoy it.

Be sure to look at the Scenic Drives under Top Questions ... good stopping points are suggested for each drive.

Chugiak, Alaska
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8. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

Here's the other thread in case anyone wants to see what's already been discussed:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k62582…

The natural history boat tour that I've seen isn't a jetboat tour. It's a large river boat and they cruise around with explanations of what you are seeing. 'Worth it' is a hard thing to comment on. My friend and I are going to Talkeetna and we're not going on it, but if I was taking my parents I probably would as that'd be sometime my Dad would find interesting. About the best you can do is look at the description of it and see if it's up your alley or look in the Trip Report for other people going to Talkeetna and see if they did it (Trip Reports are on the right-hand side on the main Alaska forum).

June 7th - 'Thinking of using toursaver coupon for Cabin Night Dinner Theatre.....is this worth doing?'

Again, worth doing is subjective. My parents are in their 60s and they enjoyed it even though they don't particularly like plays and the like. They enjoyed the show and the food.

June 8th- 14th - What are you confused about? From what I've read on the other thread, you were steered away from trying to drive to Hatcher's Pass through the pass which is good advice for that time of the year. Hatcher's Pass is probably an hour or 45 minute drive from Lake Lucille for someone who hasn't driven up there before and knows the curves. You'd need about an hour and a half or maybe two hours up there to walk around the mine and read all the displays and take some nice pictures. Then a 45 minute drive or so (from up near the pass area) back to the Best Western. You could have supper in Wasilla, maybe go see all the taxidermy at Sportsman's Warehouse if that's of interest.

You could probably use the 13th as an extra day in Anchorage. There's a nice trail called the Coastal Trail that you can rent bikes for and take a ride by the water. Scenic without a ton of effort. You can go watch float planes take off and land, you can go for a drive up to Arctic Valley to get some pictures of Anchorage and the water beyond it. You could go to a couple museums, the Native Heritage Center, etc. Plenty of interesting things in Anchorage to fill two days easily. The Downtown Market is usually a big hit with people, too. But other than day 13, I think your plan is fine.

Edited: 7:47 pm, April 02, 2013
New Jersey
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9. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

Thank you Coalminer, Spacefry and Yescanada for your input.

My remaining itinirary questions are:

June 9: Drive to Seward stopping at all the scenic sights along the way......arrive by mid afternoon....check in hotel......what should we try to see and do on this day?

June 10: Seward: Will reserve 1/2 or full day tour of Kenai Fjords NP

Spend night in Seward

June 11: Spend morning exploring Seward......go to Exit Glacier......Any other must see sights?

Drive to Girdwood ......take tram to Seven Glaciers Restaurant...... Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Spend the night in Girdwood.

June 12: Girdwood......Drive to Whittier for Prince William Sound cruise or 26 Glacier Tour which tour do you recommend?

Spend another night in Girdwood?

June 13: Need help with things to do on this day

Should we drive back to Anchorage and spend the night there?

June 14: Need help with things to do on this day. Sightseeing in Anchorage or nearby attractions?

Return rental car at off airport location in Anchorage at 5:00pm

Catch flight at ANC airport at 7:50pm for home

Thank you all for your help!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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10. Re: Need more help to finalize itinerary

Do you have a specific interest in Independence Mine ? or are you just stopping there to break up the drive from denali ? To be honest, i'm surprised you're not going to Homer.

<< June 10: Seward: Will reserve 1/2 or full day tour of Kenai Fjords NP>>

Depends on what kind of experience you want ... tours over 6 hrs get out to at least one tidewater glacier. It's pretty amazing to listen to the glacier creak and crack, and if you're lucky you'll see it calve. A better chance of seeing whales too. The short tours stay in Resurrection Bay. Look at the Major Marine and Kenai Fjords websites ... MM provides a comparison of their tours http://majormarine.com/.docs/pg/80105

<< Prince William Sound cruise or 26 Glacier Tour >> I haven't been on either but from everything I've read, the 26 glacier tour is all about getting around to all 26 glaciers whereas the other tour provides fewer glaciers but more time to view the glaciers and scenery, and if a glacier is active the boat will stick around.