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Fairbanks 2 days

Diamond Bar, CA
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67 posts
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Fairbanks 2 days

Driving straight up from Alyeska mid August.

It may take some time, yes?!

That evening should we see the University Museum and out for dinner somewhere, or slide over to Pioneer Park and wander around?

Debating the cruise the next day (staying 2 nights).

I am considering skipping this activity and doing something else, i.e., slow drive to Chena, hikes along the way.

Suggestions please for late arrival and full day.

Two adults, and two smart kids, 11 and 13.

Thanks!

Sean

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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1. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

You are probably looking at a 10 hour drive with possible traffic, construction, meals, and short scenic stops - maybe more.

So if you left at 8am you arrive about 6pm. Do you really think after that marathon drive you will be up for something? Better said, will your kids? One thing I certainly would not do is drive even further toward Chena!

Most likely you will want to be out of the car. Maybe plan on Pioneer Park but keep your plans very tentative.

Just curious, why the rush? And you drive right by Denali NP without stopping? That borders on being a sin :-)

John

Manitoba, Canada
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2. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

Hi Sean. It would help us to see what the rest of your itinerary looks like.

That's an awfully long way to drive in a day. It doesn't sound like you're even sure what you want to do in Fairbanks. Can I ask what made you to decide to go to there?

Diamond Bar, CA
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3. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

Sorry for the lack of clarity!

We are coming from one day in Anchorage (landing about noon), 3 days in Seward, and one night in Alyeska.

Wanted to visit the Fairbanks area before two nights in Denali.

Maybe I should drive further from Seward before visiting Fairbanks?!

I didn't think it would be 10 hours - - gulp!

Not that I haven't done that much driving in one day before, but seriously.

Manitoba, Canada
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4. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

Again, we'd have to see what activities you have planned, but without seeing those, I'd suggest driving to Denali for 2 nights, then drive to Fairbanks for 2 nights.

And yes, you could drive further north than Girdwood, depends what you had planned to do there.

If you have the time, drive back to Anchorage over a 2 day period (stopping in Talkeetna for flightseeing, jetboat, fishing, river float, sled dog tour, etc.), but if you don't have an extra day, the drive is doable in 1 day (7+ hrs) and to break up the drive, you could stop at Byers Lake to hike and see the Veterans' Memorial.

Diamond Bar, CA
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5. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

We only have 1 night between the 3 nights in Seward, the 2 nights in Fairbanks and 2 nights in Denali.

How about drive to Talkeetna from Seward and spend the night there and then on to Fairbanks?

That seems to break the trip up into palatable portions.

Now I have to figure on doing something or nothing in Talkeetna that afternoon/evening, or do our sightseeing en route?(Cooper Landing/Russian River Falls hike etc.)

If we leave early from Seward, can we catch an afternoon plane tour from Talkeetna?

Suggestions please?

Manitoba, Canada
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6. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

Once again, without knowing what activities you plan to do in each place, it's very difficult to give advice.

But do consider that you're going to encounter construction delays (check http://511.alaska.gov/). The earliest I would book flightseeing is early evening, and if you want to stop at Cooper Landing, book the flightseeing first thing the next morning before driving on to Fairbanks. I'd suggest doing it in the morning anyway so you can enjoy you drive up.

If it turns out that you arrive in Talkeetna early, contact the outfitters to see if they have room for you sooner.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

For just one night, I'd punt Fairbanks all together.

The toll of long driving days goes beyond the day of the drive. You'll be whipped and I don't thing get much out of the day in Fairbanks.

fti
MN
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8. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

Note that it might not take 10 hours from Girdwood to Fairbanks, but I would plan on it. Last month I planned on 9 hours from Seward to Talkeetna with stops and was pretty accurate. I left Seward about 9am and only made stops in Anchorage for lunch and then grocery shopping, then continued to Talkeetna, arriving about 5.30pm. We were booked on the 7pm flightseeing with Talkeetna Air Taxi (Toursaver coupon).

If it were me, I would do something like that - skip Cooper Landing, drive Seward to Talkeetna, try to get on the flightseeing that evening. If it gets canceled you can always do it the next morning before heading to Denali for 2 nights and Fairbanks for 2 nights.

Or, as was suggested, perhaps skip Fairbanks altogether and use the extra day or two at Denali or south. Personally, with two smart kids that age, if they enjoy hiking at all I would add an extra day at Denali vs. Fairbanks in a heartbeat. THAT would be smart :-)

John

Diamond Bar, CA
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9. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

Ok everyone - thanks for the suggestions.

I am usually better at planning, but this year has been a little hectic.

Instead of 1 night in Anchorage, 3 nights in Seward, 1 night in Alyeska, 2 nights in Fairbanks, and 2 nights in Denali.....

If we keep the 1 night in Anchorage, 3 nights in Seward, with the final two nights in Denali.....

What should we do with the 3 open nights between Seward and Denali?

As mentioned previously, we like to hike, would enjoy a flightseeing activity, river cruise, etc.

Thanks in advance for helping me out with my planning for Alaska,

Sean

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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10. Re: Fairbanks 2 days

How about going from Seward to Whittier, taking the PWS cruise then still staying in Girdwood one night (or in Eagle River north of Anchorage).

From there go to the Matsu Valley - maybe the state fair, Independence Mine, Wasilla (sleddog HQ), or even a glacier trek on Matanuska Glacier, overnight in Wasilla or Willow or even drive to Talkeetna and spend the night there.

Third day drive to Talkeetna (flightseeing), have lunch, continue to Byers Lake. You can hike around the lake or hike other trails. Maybe one of the cabins will still be available for the night you will be there (but that means bringing sleeping bags, which you might not have).

If it were me, I would go from Seward to Whittier (PWS tour), overnight in Eagle River. Second day do some activities in Matsu Valley then head to Talkeetna, overnight there. Then the third night spend at Denali so you have an extra night there. You never know with the weather what the day will be like at Denali. So having an extra day there gives you a much higher chance of seeing the Mountain and more wildlife. Or you could do a river rafting trip here. Denali Outdoor Center offers an oar rafting trip that would fit the ages of your kids perfectly. I am doing that in 2 weeks so I don't have personal experience (yet) but heard it is great.

John