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The more I read the more muddled I get!

UK
Level Contributor
177 posts
12 reviews
The more I read the more muddled I get!

First up I am on my iphone no access to my laptop until next week so already I have missed out on the top questions etc that aren't included in the app.

So I'll be as detailed as I can so I don't get into trouble for not following correct TA procedure! :)

My husband and I (35-45) are looking at taking a trip next August, leaving any date between the 17th and 25th. For 2 weeks.

I'm not particularly interested in a cruise, I used to work on them and have done the Can/Alaska route enough to know I'd like to see more than a ship can offer though admittedly I didn't get to do the many shore excursions.

So with a DIY trip in mind and having searched, read re read and searched some more we have some ideas but would really appreciate help in putting it all together.

Leaving the UK we are considering flying to Canada see Niagara Falls (maybe) then making our way to Alaska, guessing Anchorage.

Places we'd like to visit so far are Denali 2-3 nights, Kenai 2 nights?

Things we'd like to do, seeing bears, whale watching, glacier, Goldstar train ride.

The problem I am having is putting it all together logistically should we visit Fairbanks? This is a bucket list trip so we'd like to make it a goodun!

As far as accommodation goes we like good comfort I'm not expecting 5* but good food a comfy bed and amazing views would be perfect.

It seems everywhere in the National Parks gets booked very quickly and while there's the B&B option outside the parks we'd prefer a lodge in it.

Can anyone just point me in the right direction regarding routing.

Thanks so much

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
16,111 posts
33 reviews
1. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

How much time will you have just for Alaska? If you have a week you can get to Denali and Seward. "logistically"? - go to Fairbanks if you have time and if there are things to do that interest you. For *me* Fairbanks is a distant third ti Denali and Fairbanks.

I dont find lodging near Denaki fills up super fast. Maybe by early spring.

Do you have flights yet? The key is rental cars that get more expensive the longer you wait.

fti
MN
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
16,111 posts
33 reviews
2. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

Yes lodges in Kantishna do fill up quickly and often have a 3 night minimum.

The only lodges I would consider in the park are Skyline Lodge or Camp Denali. Otherwise you basically are stuck in Kantishna doing nothing all day. My reason for staying that deep in the park is to get back into the park more easily to hike and see wildlife from the bus.

Edited: 29 September 2013, 22:07
UK
Level Contributor
177 posts
12 reviews
3. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

I haven't yet booked flights so we're very flexible on where to arrive, we would like to spend as much time in Alaska as possible so probably 8-9 nights in total.

I looked at the princess wilderness lodges but can't find any availability I'm guessing that's because it's due to cruise tour pax bookings. Which also means manic?!

Peace and quiet surrounded by nature is something we're looking forward to not lots of other folks who perhaps aren't as quiet as us!

Edited: 29 September 2013, 22:21
Kalix, Sweden
Level Contributor
687 posts
33 reviews
4. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

We are also currently in the planning stage for our Alaska trip for next summer and paddling through enormous amounts of good infos on this forum, and although I cannot help with much else, I definitly second fti`s recommendations when it comes to rental cars...book as early as possible!!!

We looked at Hertz rates (from the swedish website) a month ago which was still a good deal...and now one month later, the rental rate for a week has almost DOUBLED, I just can`t believe it!!! So, if you intend to hire a car, book as early as possible!

UK
Level Contributor
177 posts
12 reviews
5. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

Thank you I will sort a rental car ASAP

Lake Tahoe...
Level Contributor
9,264 posts
63 reviews
6. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

I think booking next summer at Princess Lodges may be too early yet as the 2013 season has just ended.

Chicago
Destination Expert
for Pompano Beach
Level Contributor
4,633 posts
84 reviews
7. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

You should definitely look at Camp Denali/Northface Lodge for a stay inside the park. The programming is great there with plenty of options for all interests. I found I needed to plan my trip around my stay a Camp Denali as you need to choose a three night stay over a weekend or four nights during the week. A week long stay is also possible but you must begin your stay to fit their schedule. I made my reservation in January and some times were fully booked already (no problem, if you have a flexible schedule). You can easily park your car at the Denali Visitor Center or coordinate with train or bus transport from Anchorage or Fairbanks. I thought the Goldstar trains to Denali and Seward were great, but also agree that a car can offer greater flexibility. Keep in mind that weather can affect what you can see on any particular day.

While in Seward we fit in a Kenai Fjord boat tour and a visit to Exit Glacier.

We chose a cruise from Seward to Vancouver to see SE Alaska. The excursions we arranged ourselves and Glacier Bay were the highlights of the cruise. Along with Denali, a very fulfilling two week trip.

My best advice is to choose the destinations which most interest you and allow adequate time between destinations in order to make the most of your time seeing what you want to see.

Sasolburg,South...
Level Contributor
411 posts
16 reviews
8. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

For Denali,try Alaska Denali Travel,www.alaskadenalitravel.com .I used them for a 5 day stay in the Back Country Lodge inside the park.It included a bus ride from Anchorage and the train back to Anchorage.

Heinrich

UK
Level Contributor
177 posts
12 reviews
9. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

I am so confused...!

Looking now at flying from London to Seattle, overnight there then to Alaska but I have no idea where.

Do we start in Juneau - glacier bay whale watching or Anchorage then drive to Denali and start from there?!

I'd like to get to the Chena hot springs if possible but the *MUSTS* are

Bear watching

Whale watching

Glacier tour

After that it's whatever is good!

Wasilla, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
6,695 posts
171 reviews
10. Re: The more I read the more muddled I get!

If whale watching is a must, then Juneau is a good choice. You'd need to fly from Seattle to Juneau, and then when you are done there, fly from Juneau to Anchorage. From Anchorage you can drive to Denali and/or Seward. Alaska Airlines will be your only option for flying into/out of Juneau.

For your lodging in the Denali area, I would recommend staying a few miles north of the park entrance in Healy. You'll avoid the cruise line hotels and usually find cheaper rates. Here's a list of some of those options: http://www.alaskaone.com/_dcc/accommodations/

For the glacier tour, the Prince William Sound out of Whittier is a good glacier cruise. If you want to hike on a glacier, Exit Glacier in Seward or the Matanuska Glacier north of Palmer are good options.