Hi! My fiance and I are eloping to Alaska in two weeks (!!!) and we couldn't be more excited! Neither of us has ever been there before, and the only thing we really have set in stone at the moment is that our ceremony will be held in Girdwood on the second to last day of our trip. We also have a rental car booked. We both love being outside, canoeing and kayaking, moderate hiking, taking photos, once-in-a-lifetime sorts of activities, and beautiful drives. We are young and physically fit and, while we aim to be relatively frugal most of the time, don't mind splurging once or twice on really fantastic things.
Our general plan is to drive a loop from Anchorage to Glennallen, to Fairbanks, to Denali, and back down to the Kenai Peninsula. We just aren't sure how to spend our time in each place, or even if it's worth it to head all the way up to Fairbanks. As of right now, there isn't really much that appeals to us in that area (though we just might not have read enough about it yet) aside from the decent possibility of aurora viewing (very high on our list!). Is the drive up there from Glennallen pretty? Also, is it worth it to go to Valdez? We read that there was a pretty falls and a gorgeous mountainous pass in that area. We just don't want to spread ourselves too thin!
While we're looking forward to Denali (hoping to spend two days there), we're most excited about the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound. We were hoping to make arrangements with a tour boat group where we might be able to see whales, glaciers, beautiful views, etc. for a few hours. Any recommendations for ports, tours, or companies?
Lastly, we are planning on having a morning ceremony in Girdwood but aren't sure how to spend the rest of our day. Any suggestions? We'd be happy to throw on jeans and do something fun in the area or up to a couple hours away. Also - does anyone have any recommendations for a charming bed and breakfast we can stay at in this area, or a place I can get my hair done?
Here is our proposed itinerary. Would love to hear your opinions and advice!
Day 1: Arrive late in Anchorage. Find simple, inexpensive accommodations and sleep.
Day 2: Head east on the Glenn Highway, enjoy some short hikes along the way, and stay in Glenallen for the evening.
Day 3: Make our way up to Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway. Spend the night there with an eye out for the aurora.
Day 4: Head to Denali first thing in the morning. Spend the night in Healy.
Day 5: All day in Denali, night in Healy.
Day 6: Make our way down to Seward, explore the area, spend the night there.
Day 7: Go on a boat tour, explore more of the peninsula, spend the night in Homer.
Day 8: Explore more of the peninsula and head back up to Anchorage in the late evening to pick up our friend from the airport. Spend the night in Anchorage or, ideally, Girdwood.
Day 9: Wedding day! Ceremony in Girdwood and then hopefully some fun and memory-making. What should we do?
Day 10: Last day in Alaska. What should we do? Have to be at the airport by 3 PM.
Any recommendations for things to do, places to go, places to eat at, and accommodations (charming bed and breakfasts or cabins are ideal!) along the proposed loop route? We're open to anything, but don't have heaps of wilderness or survival skills so nothing too rugged, please. What should we splurge on? What hikes should we take? Where can we find some calm waters to row on? Where and how can we best see whales and the aurora? How can we make our wedding day in Alaska unforgettable???
Thanks in advance!!!!