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Visit Alaska from end of July to first 10 days of August

Saratoga
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Visit Alaska from end of July to first 10 days of August

We have booked the cruise to visit Alaska at the end of July from Vancouver to Whittier. The ports of the cruise are:

Ketchikan: 6:30 AM - 2PM

Juneau: 8AM - 9PM

Skagway: 7AM - 8:30PM

Glacier Bay: 6AM - 3PM

College Fjord: 5:30PM - 8:30PM

Whittier: 12:30AM

During this trip, we'd like to experience all typical alaska stuff. Glacier, dog sled, sea kayak around icebergs (any restriction about the age? the youngest is 10 year old), top 10 scenary road from Seward (or Whittier) to Alasks. Alaska wildlife if we can see more or typical animals that we can not see from Yellowstone, natural scenes that could be more beautiful than Rocky mountain.

My below questions are for the considerations of arranging this trip. Those can be the reference to you as what we are thinking...

1. Is the season that we have booked for Humpback watching? If it is, where is the best place to arrange this during the stops of ports of the cruise?

2. Where should we arrange sea kayak around iceberg, any ports during the cruise or Whittier or Seward?

3. Is Exit Glacier and Portage Glacier worth visiting if we get a chance to visit Mendenhall Glacier?

4. If Exit Glacier and Portage Glacier are not worth visiting, and the sea kayak in Seward isn't funner than arranging during cruise ports, is Seward worth visiting? We are not interested in visiting Sealife center since there is a good one around our home town.

5. I've heard taking train from Anchorange to Seward is more beautiful than driving in a car, but train does not stop, so we can not take pictures from these beautiful places along the way if we take train. So I am thinking about this route:

1). Rent a car from Whittier in the morning after we take off from cruise if Seward is worth visiting. BTW, how to go to Avis to rent a car from Cruise?

2). Drive to Seward and come back to Whittier. Return the rental car

3). Take from Whittier to Anchorage. Will the top 10 scenary route in the country on the way from Whittier to Anchorage? When is the good time to watch those scenary places from the train?

4). Rent a car in Anchorage and drive to Denali park and come back to Anchorage.

5). Drive the car from Anchorage to Girdwood and stop at many places as we want on the way so that we can take many pictures on the way. Is Anchorage to Girdwood the best segment on this top 10 scenary road?

Anything else we should see and try to see or try to do? Keep in mind, we have visited Yellowstone and Canadian Rocky Mountain.

Dallas Texas USA
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1. Re: Visit Alaska from end of July to first 10 days of August

Portage Glacier is one of the most visited accessible glaciers in Alaska, it is a must see as the drive from Anchorage is spectacular to say the least. Take the tram At Alyeska for great views and excellent food. Drive to Seward as you will want to stop for photo ops. There a great Alaska Road house serving great Alaska down home food and great pies right before Russian River Campgroung, where my parents drove twice all the way from Texas to be summer campground hosts. Great area. You say you have visited Yellowstone and The Canadian Rockies, which are both beautiful, but Alaska is in another leaque. You will see, also you wont be sharing with a million other people, That is a big plus.

Saratoga
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2. Re: Visit Alaska from end of July to first 10 days of August

Thanks a lot FotoTex for the tips.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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3. Re: Visit Alaska from end of July to first 10 days of August

I am not certain, but I don't think Whittier has car rentals - you'll probably have to bus/train to Anchorage and get your car there for your land exploring. I think the train rides are great, as you get a break from driving and so you can just watch the scenery, but you lose any flexibility or independence, so that is why a car is often a better choice. Hope that helps!

jq
Sacramento, CA
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4. Re: Visit Alaska from end of July to first 10 days of August

I think they do have car rentals in Whittier now, but could be expensive for one way to Anc. Not sure about r/t for going to Seward and then training to Whittier.

Seward is very nice small sea town. Worth taking the 6hr or longer Kenai Fjords NP tour. Will see wildlife, sea otters, puffins, glaciers up close, maybe whales and a nice trip. Exit Glacier is worth a 1-2 hr visit, can walk to base of glacier, didn't think Mendenhall Glacier was as nice from what yo can see from visitor center and edge of lake.

As for whalewatching, your scheduling is great, you should have 100% viewing in Juneau for humpbacks. Go with Cap Larry of Orca Enterprises or other private vendor for smaller group. You can also book Coastal helecoptor landing on glacier together with Orca Enterprises and save hr for ride back to ship.

The train ride to Anc is very nice, but as you said, you cannot stop and take photos.

If you can get another two days, I highly recommend drive to denali. It is the most accessible place in US to see major big animals, including grizzley, caribou, wolves, sheep, and eagles. I have spent a couple of weeks in and around Yellowstone and have see lots of animals, but never a grizzley up close or wolves running during day. Course I have never seen a buffalo in denali either!!!! We have done three shuttle bus trips into park to Toklat River- mile 53, Fishcreek- mile 66, and Wonder Lake-mile 85 and would recomm you go as far into park as you have time for. You need at least one night up there and better with two.

Orlando, Florida
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5. Re: Visit Alaska from end of July to first 10 days of August

Hi NaturalLover,

I believe I may be a neighbor of yours from Albany, if you are from the famous horseracing Saratoga. I did not realize there was a Sea Life Center in the vicinity however. My itinerary sounds very similar to yours...leaving late July out of Vancouver, however, and because of the reasons JQ sited, I am taking Celebrity cruise directly into Seward. Am looking forward to the wildlife in the Kenai Fjords and walking up to Exit Glacier. Will remain in Seward for a couple of days, then heading north to Denali via bus (2 nights), then Fairbanks (2 nights). My daughter and I are going to be adventursome, and take the fly/drive tour across the Artic Circle. Then return to Anchorage via Alaska airline (inexpensive @ $112 per person). Will rent a car, drive to Girdwood and take the Tram up to that wonderful restaurant in Aleysha. (the Travel Channel devoted the entire day to Alaska yesterday...lol)

The post on this site have been extremely helpful in planning my trip. Have a great time.