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Old 10-10-2007, 10:54 AM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
42 posts, read 142,269 times
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I've always dreamed of coming to Alaska, however I don't want to do one of those pre-packaged commercial cruises or anything like that. I'm not a real outdoorsman but would like to do some easy activities with my son. Would it be worth it to take a trip to Anchorage and then do little day trips from there? Would I be missing out on a lot of what Alaska has to offer if I didnt do a cruise and get to see the natural beauty all those little towns cruises stop in?

Also does anyone know if the costs for flights goes down at a certain point in the year? I figure its more to Anchorage in the summer because of tourist season.

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Old 10-10-2007, 01:35 PM
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I spent a week in Anchorage last summer and it was wonderful. Its very hard to see all that Alaska has to offer in one trip, but you will definitely see a lot of beauty in Anchorage. While I was there I took day trips up to Denali National Park and down to the Kenai Peninsula. Getting to these places takes a while but it is well worth it.

The drive up to Denali was about 4 hours long. At the park they have bus tours and plenty of camp grounds if you want to stay the night. The entire park is about the size of Massachusetts, so its impossible to see more than a fraction of it in one day. I took a guided bus tour that was about 8 hours long. It only cost about 30 bucks and well worth it. I got to see bears, dall sheep, caribou, and bald eagles among other things. It was so beautiful and the tour was very relaxing.

In Anchorage I did a lot of sightseeing downtown. Then me and my friends rented bikes and rode through the Tony Knowles coastal trail. From that trail you get great views of the city with the backdrop of the mountains. While we were riding we saw about 8 moose. Some were literally just a few feet from me. I hadnt been on a bicycle in years so it was scary at first, but it was one of the highlights of my trip.

Afterwards we drove down to the Kenai Peninsula. We did a glacier cruise down there. Even in the summertime it was really cold. It could be 75 in Anchorage and you drive 1/2 hour out of the city and the temperature drops about 20 degrees. Driving along the highway south out of Anchorage was probably the single most beautiful drive I have ever been on. I was so amazed how green the mountains were and there were places where you could pull over and whale watch along the inlet.

Going in the summer is the best time because you can literally sight see all day. I was able to go for a walk outside of my hotel at 11pm and still take pictures. There are plenty more options for day trips to do there, but Alaska is not cheap at all and I was on a budget. They also have regional airlines to take you to different cities in the state but I dont know how much they cost. Another option is taking a train.

If you go to Anchorage you will not be disappointed. You will still get that great Alaska experience. The locals there were the friendliest group of people I have ever met and the most hospitable. I didnt meet a person there I didnt like.

Hope you enjoy your trip!
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:23 PM
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
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I think your idea of flying into Anchorage for a vacation is a good one. Like ksgator said, Anchorage is a good central location to make numerous day-trips. Alaska is so large, that a two week vacation is too short a time to see the entire state. The best plan is to pick one portion of the state and spend the bulk of your time in that area. After you have exhausted all the possibilities in that area, then pick another spot for a follow-up vacation.

Within a day's drive of Anchorage you could visit the Portage Glacier, or the Exit Glacier near Seward. The Matanuska Glacier is 100 miles east of Anchorage. You can also visit the small coastal towns of Whittier, Seward, Kenai, Ninilchik, and Homer within a days drive. Or take a day cruise from Whittier or Seward and see the Kenai Fjords National Park. Or take the ferry from Whittier to Valdez. You could watch the Dall sheep on the Chugach Mountain Range or watch the Beluga whales chase salmon along Turnagain Arm. Or a train trip to Denali National Park. Or take flight-seeing tours to spot wildlife. I could go on and on with all the possible activities, and that is just in the Anchorage area.

Both Juneau and Fairbanks also have their charms, wonderful scenery, and a completely different Alaskan experience.

June is the warmest and driest month of the year, and it also is when the King salmon return to their rivers to spawn.

Whatever you decide, I'm certain that you will enjoy the experience.
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:40 PM
Location: Rust'n in Tustin
2,815 posts, read 3,319,555 times
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All of these pictures were taken within 3 hours of Anchorage.

Alaska 2007 (broken link)
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Old 11-11-2007, 04:58 PM
Location: North Dakota
740 posts, read 1,897,298 times
Reputation: 541
Great advice here. Anchorage is a great "base camp" for your first trip to Alaska. Some quick 2-day trips would include heading south into the Kenai peninsula, visiting Girdwood, Whittier and finishing your trip overnight in Seward. On your way you will probably get to see some daal sheep up on the mountains as well as beluga whales in the Cook inlet. If you like hiking, you can always head up to Flattop mountain for a great day-hike and really get to see Anchorage from a birds eye view. The Anchorage zoo is small but very nice. A must see in my opinion would be Homer. It is about 225 miles to Homer, though...so allow a few days to make it worthwhile.

Fairbanks would make a great "base camp" for your second trip in, allowing you to see a lot of central Alaska. You can visit Denali from either Anchorage or Fairbanks, though it is a bit closer from Fairbanks. You want to allow at least a couple of days or more to really enjoy Denali though. Another beautiful trip is the drive to Valdez. Very scenic. If you have the funds and enjoy fishing, you can aim for a halibut charter out of Seward, Homer or Valdez. Even if you don't catch fish for some reason, the sheer number of wildlife you see will make it worthwhile. You can always do some of the whale-watching trips out of Seward.

If history is your thing, a cool trip would be East to McCarthy(Kennikott copper mine area) It has a ghost town kind of feel and is really interesting. My father and I went there a few years back to lay some carpet in one of the lodges. It was 95 degrees that day! Crazy stuff.

I hope this helps.
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:06 PM
Location: North Dakota
740 posts, read 1,897,298 times
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Originally Posted by ysr_racer View Post
All of these pictures were taken within 3 hours of Anchorage.

Alaska 2007 (broken link)
Beautiful pics, ysr_racer.
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