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Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

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Northern Virginia
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Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

OK, everything costs a bundle up there. I get that. I've made reservations for late July at hotels/cabins, for the rental car, the Denali flight-seeing, the Denali park shuttle bus, and am contemplating the ATV tour and the glacier cruise. Beyond that and museums, I'm pretty tapped out. I know there's lots of things to do independently - so what can 2 adults & 2 teens do on the other days that doesn't cost and arm and a leg, TourSaver coupon or not? P.S. Kids hate hiking, but can be bribed.

Harrisburg...
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11. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

Sorry - forgot to add the link:

http://www.lifetimeadventures.net/eklutna.htm

Estero, Florida
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12. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

In Anchorage, The Native Heritage Museum is great and relatively inexpensive and fun. http://www.alaskanative.net/

The Alaska Air Museum in Anchorage is real interesting too. http://www.alaskaairmuseum.org/

You can climb The Butte, which we did with a 7, 6, and 4 year old for free. It is a nice rock just north of Anchorage. lat-long.com/ShowDetail-24070-Alaska-Rock_Bu…

You can visit the musk ox farm in Palmer (just north of Anchorage) http://www.muskoxfarm.org/about.html

Hatcher Pass http://www.hatcherspass.org/ is relatively close to Anchorage (Wasilla)and has great scenery, an old gold mine, and free gold mining if you want to try. We take the kids there and they have a great time and we usually find a few flakes.

If you are flying into Anchorage, try getting a rental car away fromt he airport. We always get ours from Valley car Rental in Wasilla http://comteche.us/users/vcr/main.html and save a bundle because you do not have to pay all the air port concession fees and taxes. I have driven their SUV's all over Alaska and never had a problem. They are not as new as the national chains but at 60% of the price, the miles on the odometer did not bother me. I am sure there are others away from the airport but we stay in Wasilla so it is where we rent from.

In Seward, the Alaska Sea Life Center is nice and not too expensive. http://www.alaskasealife.org/ Checking otu the daily catch is always fun. Let your kids stand in front of a big halibut or Salmon Shark for a picture. Most people do not mind if you ask politely. You can shore fish for salmon in the run is on but you will need a license. The glacier cruise is worth the cost. The whales and sea life along with the glaciers calving are a must see.

At Denali, you can take a day and visit Talkeetna. There are a lot of fun things happening there throught the summer and the Hurricane Turn train ride is a great day with the money you save on the rental car. www.talkeetnachamber.org/visit-talkeetna.html

The jet boat rides are great but again, they cost. http://www.mahaysriverboat.com

fti
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13. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

>>If you are flying into Anchorage, try getting a rental car away fromt he airport. We always get ours from Valley car Rental in Wasilla http://comteche.us/users/vcr/main.html and save a bundle because you do not have to pay all the air port concession fees and taxes. They are not as new as the national chains but at 60% of the price, the miles on the odometer did not bother me. I am sure there are others away from the airport but we stay in Wasilla so it is where we rent from.

Wow, at $45/day for a compact car in the summer, I certainly don't consider them "cheap." I am paying $99 for a week at Enterprise on E. Intl Airport Blvd in Anchorage. Moral of the story - shop around.

John

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14. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

On a day trip out of Anchorage you might want to head north and check out Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine ($5 parking fee). With water levels low, Eklutna lake isn't what it used to be but still might be worth a stop(also $5 parking fee). They have bicycles for rent there and the kids could peddle instead of hike. Want some fresh vegetables for your ice chest? Stop by Pyrah Farms on Boddenbutte Road (off old Palmer highway) and pick your own.

In Anchorage, drive up to Flat Top mountain (alas, another $5 fee) and check out the view. You can hike (climb) all the way to the top but very strenuous. Just go part way on the trail and save your energy and enjoy the sights. ps there are less strenuous trails up there and if you walked on one of these little way maybe the kids wouldn't consider it hiking.

Estero, Florida
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15. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

Wow, at $45/day for a compact car in the summer, I certainly don't consider them "cheap." I am paying $99 for a week at Enterprise on E. Intl Airport Blvd in Anchorage. Moral of the story - shop around.

John

fti

Wow. What a deal. The point was not to use any certain place but to let them know that the airport taxes and fees in Anchorage total up to 40% of the actual rental rate so getting away from the airport to rent can result in substantial savings. I agree, you should always shop around.

I checked the Enterprise site and they had the economy cars at over $500 per week in the month of June with a total of over $700 per week. The $45 per day that you quoted is less than anything I could find through orbitz or expedia. Do you mind sharing where you got such a great deal? I still need to book our SUV for this August. With seven of us and gear, we need a large SUV and can use all the savings that we can get.

Northern Virginia
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16. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

Thanks for the tips on the rental cars. I HAVE been shopping around, but apparently in the wrong places. We would LOVE to rent a mini-van or SUV, but they were just ridiculous. I think they each came up well over $1500 for 10 days during the Jul/Aug timeframe we'll be there, so we've settled for a full size. We'll try the recommended places - but how do you get to Wasila from ANC with no car?

Mission Viejo...
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17. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

My teenage son and I are going on a cruise, followed with Seward, ANC, Talkeetna, and Denali in mid-July. A lot of coincidence here!

All the rental car comments are right on. I'm saving a bundle by picking up an Avis car downtown instead of at the airport (it's pretty universal that off-airport cars are cheaper). Be aware the downtown location has limited hours compared to the airport, but an airport dropoff does not cost extra. Another tip- rental car "discount codes" are available from many sources- AAA, Costco, national organizations, frequent flyer programs, etc. I tried several employee discount codes and got the best deal with Avis. A 3-day compact rental from the airport was $500+, but I got it down to $225 for a 4-day intermediate at the downtown location. I recall some good deals from second-tier companies like Budget and Alamo too.

Teen activities- Print out or copy a list of tours or activities and ask your teens to mark the best and worst items. It will give them a good idea of what's available and you will get "interest profiles" from each of them. I was surprised at a few items my son highlighted. Make it clear you may not do the exact thing they marked, but will use it as a general planning guide.

Tour Saver has coupons for several museums, bike rentals, and ice skating in ANC. Always mention you have a Tour Saver when you're making reservations with participating companies. I saved 20% on flightseeing and 10% on whitewater rafting simply by having the book, even though the 2 for 1 coupons weren't valid for what I wanted to reserve.

Last comment: "Into the Wild" really sparked my son's interest in Alaska. It just released on DVD, the book is good too. You might use it as another tool to drum up interest and excitement (tough to do with my ennui-ridden teen).

fti
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18. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

>>Wow. What a deal. The point was not to use any certain place but to let them know that the airport taxes and fees in Anchorage total up to 40% of the actual rental rate so getting away from the airport to rent can result in substantial savings. I agree, you should always shop around.

I was not "bashing" you or your post, just stating that after looking at the website you gave, their rates seemed higher than I usually get and I always encourage people to shop around for the best rate - which occasionally can be right on the airport! On multiple threads I have listed all the taxes and fees for both on-airport and off-airport rentals in Anchorage.

>>I checked the Enterprise site and they had the economy cars at over $500 per week in the month of June with a total of over $700 per week. The $45 per day that you quoted is less than anything I could find through orbitz or expedia. Do you mind sharing where you got such a great deal? I still need to book our SUV for this August. With seven of us and gear, we need a large SUV and can use all the savings that we can get.

I generally plan my trips 10-11 months in advance and book my car rental shortly after booking my flight. I booked my car rental last August for this coming summer. Not too soon thereafter, the rates increased. Same thing happened when I booked the car in the fall of 2006 for summer 2007 (same $99/week plus tax rate too!). For summer 2006 I booked an Astro van with Avis for pick up in the city and it was something like $250 for the week plus mandatory taxes and fees, again booked way in advance.

For this coming summer, there was a time when Hertz stopped even offering one-way rentals between Seward and Anchorage. But those who booked early a) got a better rate and b) were able to book one-way rentals.

BOOK EARLY!!

John

Estero, Florida
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19. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

In the past, they have been willing to meet us at the airport if we were doing extended rentals. We are usually there for two weeks or more every year so we do a good bit of business with them. You can call them and ask if they will meet you or you can try other places in Anchorage. I noticed that somebody else gave a suggestion of another off brand rental agency located in Anchorage.

http://www.denalicarrentalak.com/

I have no experience with them but it appears to be a similiar deal, slightly older cars, off airport location. I am certain there are others too. I will ask our family up there and see if they know of any others in Anchorage. If I find anything out, I will pm you with the info.

20. Re: Cheap/Free Stuff to Do With Teens in Anchorage/Denali/Seward

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