I would love the advice of this community on my rough itinerary, thank you in advance.
I'm planning a trip for five adults (two couples, one grown son), with the primary purpose of seeing the Northern Lights. I've researched what kinds of activities and park access will be available at this time, so I know what to expect in general. We arrive in Anchorage on Friday and fly out of Fairbanks on Tuesday.
We arrive in Anchorage at 12:30pm and will rent a car. I'm planning to take us down to the Portage Glacier and Whittier area for the day. I anticipate we will be done there around 5pm.
1. Should I plan to spend the night in Anchorage, or is it reasonable to start driving to our next destination? The next destination would be somewhere between Anchorage and Fairbanks. We don't mind driving long distances or late into the night, but don't want to be reckless, especially if the weather might be a factor.
2. If reasonable to start driving, is Talkeetna a good choice this time of year? Or should we push on to Healy? Would love to get a chance to see Mt. McKinley.
3. What are your opinions on whether to stay the next few nights in Healy or in one of the hotels outside of Fairbanks, like the Aurora Borealis Lodge? Not sure if it is worthwhile staying close to the park, since access will be so limited. However, that is only my assumption and I'd like your input. If I stayed closer to Fairbanks, I could easily go into town to spend the day. I have to spend the last night in Fairbanks anyways to catch my flight on Tuesday morning.
4. Would it be fairly easy to find lodging as I arrive at places, or should I really book in advance? I'm hoping for a lot of flexibility, so that I can change my plans easily in case a particular area is expecting heavy cloud cover.
Thanks for your help.