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24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

Baton Rouge, LA
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24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

My husband and I are traveling with my senior aged parents to Alaska for a cruise that departs Whittier on July 28 at 8:00 PM. We will arrive 7:30 PM on July 27. Should we stay in Anchorage? I'm trying to be a realist. How many things can we do on the evening/daytime before we get on the ship? What do you recommend for those who enjoy active pursuits?

fti
MN
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1. Re: 24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

I would stay in Anchorage. With four of you I would consider renting a one-way car with Avis. Figure $250 for the car but it gives you all day to drive from Anchorage to Whittier on July 28th. Many scenic stops along the way. It is only a 60-90 minute drive but with all the stops it can take you 6-8 hours.

It is a VERY easy drive. Seward Highway south and that is the only road out of town to the south. When you get to the Wildlife Conservation Center on your right, just past there on the left is the clearly-marked left turn for Whittier.

Potter Marsh (bird viewing, maybe moose), Bird Point and other turnouts for viewing of the water, the mountains across the bay and possibly beluga whales, Girdwood (great lunch stop), Wildlife Conservation Center, Portage Glacier area (Byron Glacier 1 mile hike, Portage Glacier Visitor Center, maybe the Portage Glacier 1 hour cruise).

Bristol, Connecticut
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2. Re: 24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

Stay in Anchorage and then do a glacier cruise out of Whittier before your cruise. You can rent a car OW from Avis but the drop off fee may make that too expensive, check the price of the rental against the cost of a transfer for 4 people.

fti
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3. Re: 24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

Spacefry and I were posting at the same time. Normally I too would recommend the glacier tour from Whittier, but since your cruise already includes both Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay, personally I think your time spent along Turnagain Arm with all the scenery and stops, especially for those with "active pursuits" might fit better. But either is a great choice.

Also, in Girdwood there is the Crow Creek Mine and the Winner Creek Trail. The unique hand tram can be accessed with a shorter walk from the trailhead on the Crow Creek mine side or with a longer hike from the trailhead near the Alyeska Resort.

Bristol, Connecticut
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4. Re: 24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

Thanks for the info on the cruise, I claim complete ignorance when it comes to cruises. The drive is definitely beautiful and would be a great way to spend the day.

Lake Tahoe...
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5. Re: 24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

As you will arrive in ANC at 7.30 p.m. your only option is overnight there. The Princess shuttle from downtown is $54 each and could be cheaper than Avis. Phillips cruises offer packages that include transportation from Anchorage and you visit an area not covered by your Princess cruise. We are doing one of the tours a week before you, but arriving at Whttier on our own, then take the Princess cruise out two months later. We live up here.

fti
MN
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6. Re: 24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

>>As you will arrive in ANC at 7.30 p.m. your only option is overnight there.

Actually that is not entirely true. I am arriving at 8pm and driving to Girdwood the same evening by choice. I prefer two nights in one location than moving each day. We will be in Girdwood well before 11pm and it will still be light out.

>>The Princess shuttle from downtown is $54 each and could be cheaper than Avis.

The Princess transfer will almost certainly be cheaper than Avis. Actually if cost is the main concern, try the Magic Bus or Alaskan Leopard, both of which are cheaper than Princess. My recommendation was based on trying to get the most out of the scenic drive along Turnagain Arm for those who want to be active.

spacefry, no problem with the cruises. I just know that Princess cruises southbound make the two glacier stops (I should know - I am booked on one for early June!).

Lake Tahoe...
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7. Re: 24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

we will be using the Princess transfer in September and plan to sit on the left side so visitors from outside can enjoy the Turnagain Arm (we driive by it all the time, summer or winter)

8. Re: 24 hours in Anchorage and Whittier

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