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Old 12-06-2016, 09:10 AM
 
6,040 posts, read 4,453,627 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby Snacks View Post
I disagree. I lived In AK before, own property there, and visit every year. Driving offers you beautiful sights you can't get on a cruise and I prefer I driving vacations over a cruise. And since you're driving, I suggest you stay in the Anchorage to Fairbanks area. That way you can get the most out of your visit. Alaska is such a huge state you can spend your entire life visiting and not cover it all.

The Anchorage downtown area offers fun shopping and restaurants. I suggest Polar Bear Gifts and Snow City Cafe in particular. If you're a coffee person, Kaladi Brothers tastes much better than Starbucks, so you might try them. The downtown area is pretty small so you can park and walk the entire stretch pretty easily. It does rain frequently, so be sure and carry an umbrella or raincoat with you.

Alaska offers a train that will take you all the way from Anchorage to Fairbanks or to smaller cities in between. I recommend it to all tourists. It's reasonably priced and you get breathtaking views of the forest. And don't forget Denali National Park. It's a can't miss when traveling to AK.

If you're in the mood for a little more driving, you can check out the tiny fishing town of Seward. They offer a 6 hour day cruise which allows you to see glaciers, whales, and sea otters. If you go to Seward, bring a heavy coat. The biting wind of the ocean will chill you to the bone, even in the summer.

Homer is another charming fishing village with gorgeous scenery and shopping. If you go there, check out Fat Olives Pizza. It's amazing! Last of all, if you're doing any out of town driving, it's a very good idea to rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle or a least something tough and rugged. Mountain roads are tough to navigate in a compact car, especially in the rain and many curves have huge drop-offs without guardrails I hope that helped!
All very excellent advice.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
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The TripAdvisor forum for Alaskan travel is another great planning resource: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForu...49-Alaska.html
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Old 12-06-2016, 01:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadking2003 View Post
I'm doing research on a summer Alaska trip but without the cruise (except for day cruises). Has anyone done that and what do you recommend?

We are not interested in fishing, hunting or mountain climbing. We enjoy local food, sightseeing and shopping. Also, day cruises to see the glaciers and float plane rides over the mountains. We rent a car almost everywhere we go. We would probable be there for a 7 - 10 days.

Thoughts?
Good for you, a cruise is the WORST way to visit Alaska in my opinion. Alaska is not just a coastline with the plastic/fake port stops. Most cruises don't even get past the Inside Passage, and if one is limited to that - then one has NOT been to Alaska. I guess if you are like 90 years old you can go on the cruise.

I've been to Alaska twice by ground. This is what you do - fly into Anchorage, rent a car, travel down to Kenai to Seward, and up to Fairbanks and Denali. It will be an excellent 10 day trip.
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Old 12-06-2016, 02:56 PM
 
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second the suggestion of the alaska ferries. Great way to see how locals live and travel. And they stop at the real working villages, not tourist villages.
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Old 12-07-2016, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Seattle
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The Alaska State Ferry system is expensive. There is no food on some vessels and you pay extra for a cabin that is very basic. The ferry terminals are sometimes miles from any town and transportation and lodging can be limited in the smaller communities. They donít go to places of interest like Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm Fjord, Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord.

Itís odd when people comment on a cruise being a poor choice for Alaska that have never done it and then suggest the ferry without actually knowing the costs and logistics of exploring SE Alaska that way.

We do at least one Alaska cruise each summer as well as a couple road trips. They are equally excellent ways to explore Alaska and you visit areas that you canít see otherwise.

For a land based itinerary, Jenniferís is a good one. Denali is nice although if youíre going just to see the mountain, itís only visible about ľ of the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferg72nc View Post
We had 10 days and flew into Anchorage took Turnagin arm to Seward (we overnighted in Girdwood) then spent 3 days in Seward. Turnagin arm is one of the most scenic drives in America and by being on your own you are free to stop at all the sites you want - mountain goats, whales, etc. In Seward we did a 8 hour glacier trip that was amazing, we saw glaciers calving, puffins, a pod of whales swam along our boat for a few hours. We also hiked to Exit Glacier in Seward where we spent about an hour watching a momma bear and her cubs play in the waterfall up the side of a mountain (we were far away down the mountain) We also spent a ton of time on the waterfront in Seward watching wildlife and eagles. There are eagles galore in Seward. We also did a summer dog sled tour from Seward.

We then drove to Talkeenta where we overnighted. Spent the afternoon skipping rocks on the river and watching Mt. McKinley peak through the clouds. Talkeenta is where you would do a flight seeing trip over Denali. It is where all the climbers leave and return from the mountain. We spent the afternoon talking with a guy heading up for Denali to try to summit and we followed his group via social media and were so happy when they summitted. The next morning we had breakfast at Talkeenta Roadhouse (pastries bigger than your head) with some climbers who had just spent 3 weeks on the mountain and heard stories that were amazing. You wouldn't get that authentic experience from a cruise.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chilkoot View Post
Itís odd when people comment on a cruise being a poor choice for Alaska that have never done it....
As the poster who initially suggested the ferry, I can state that I HAVE done an Alaska cruise (and a small ship one at that). I'd take a small ship cruise over the ferry any day! But what's the point of suggesting a cruise if the OP is adamant about not wanting to go on one? If they don't want to cruise but would like to check out a few of the coastal towns, the ferry is an option.
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Seattle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
As the poster who initially suggested the ferry, I can state that I HAVE done an Alaska cruise (and a small ship one at that). I'd take a small ship cruise over the ferry any day! But what's the point of suggesting a cruise if the OP is adamant about not wanting to go on one? If they don't want to cruise but would like to check out a few of the coastal towns, the ferry is an option.
Yes, it would be a good way to get to a couple of communities in SE. I see their problem with being wanting to do a land tour and then trying to combine it with anything in SE. Hard to do both in 7-10 days. They'll always miss something and keeping costs down in one of the most expensive states can be difficult. We too like the smaller ships.
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Old 12-08-2016, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,409 posts, read 21,974,288 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
As the poster who initially suggested the ferry, I can state that I HAVE done an Alaska cruise (and a small ship one at that). I'd take a small ship cruise over the ferry any day! But what's the point of suggesting a cruise if the OP is adamant about not wanting to go on one? If they don't want to cruise but would like to check out a few of the coastal towns, the ferry is an option.

had looked into the ferry as I didn't find the cruise ship very appealing (for all the obvious reasons). Maybe I'm missing something but I studied the schedule coming and heading back to Bellingham and concerned that with a once a week trip on up to Skagway, it doesn't allow for a lot of port hopping in between and still catch the return trip. Maybe it would work better trying to do this in a two week time slot or I have to look more closely at the smaller boats heading out of the various ports in between.
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Old 12-08-2016, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,343 posts, read 4,193,193 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghengis View Post
had looked into the ferry as I didn't find the cruise ship very appealing (for all the obvious reasons). Maybe I'm missing something but I studied the schedule coming and heading back to Bellingham and concerned that with a once a week trip on up to Skagway, it doesn't allow for a lot of port hopping in between and still catch the return trip. Maybe it would work better trying to do this in a two week time slot or I have to look more closely at the smaller boats heading out of the various ports in between.
Any Alaska trip is going to work better with two weeks to play with, as the state is huge and the distances between sights are large. And interior Alaska is quite different from the coastal areas. To really sample the state, you have to give yourself enough time; a week just doesn't cut it.

(And small ship cruises are ENTIRELY different from the ones run by the big cruise lines, by the way, and are greatly superior to them. On a small ship cruise, the focus is purely on seeing Alaska. But most folks can't easily afford them. People who think they don't like cruises should check out the small ship options before writing cruises off completely, though. A ship carrying 120 passengers and which offers no fancy dining, shopping, and entertainment options feels completely different than those 5,000 passenger behemoths)
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Old 12-08-2016, 03:34 PM
 
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Girlfriend & I toured Alaska, Yukon & Northwest Territories on our motorcycles back in 2007. Best way to do it IMO.
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