Rough Draft: Alaska Adventure
Due to the COVID quarantine, I am creating rough draft, “off the shelf” travel itineraries for when travel resumes normal operations so we do not waste any time getting out and exploring!
An Alaska Adventure! This has been on our list for awhile. Since post-quarantine has left travel – especially international travel – with one big question mark, I decided to transition to planning a more extended domestic trip. It is unclear if domestic travel will be permissible before the Alaska travel season is over in September, but its worth a shot.
Many people visit Alaska via cruise as it makes travel accessible and hassle free but that is not our type of travel experience. After learning about the endless options for building an itinerary, I picked my favorites to create a 12 day trip. This can easily be extended to two weeks and it very well may be once the opportunity to travel presents itself.
One destination that I definitely wanted to include is Katmai National Park to see the salmon run. This is not included on many people’s two week trips for two reasons – it is a pain in the butt to get to and it is expensive to get there. From Anchorage it takes two planes and they are not cheap flights. However, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the bears and the salmon run so for me, it is worth it. I stuck it at the front of the itinerary so in case there were any issues it would be easy to adjust accordingly.
Renting a car is essential but I did read about train options that can get you to a surprising number of locations in Alaska. The draw back with the trains is they are expensive and slower but it certainly makes things easier for the longer distances. I structured the stops so that there would not be too long of a drive in one stretch.
What is there to do?
There are tons of things to keep you occupied in Alaska for months. It was tough to make cuts for a short trip. In addition, there are tons of activities from hiking, rafting, kayaking, fishing, and more. You can rough it out and be one with the outdoors or treat yourself with upscale accommodations, and everything in between. While Alaska is a more expensive trip in general due to the location and abbreviated tourist season, there are ways to make it more affordable for your budget. And I know most people say to skip Anchorage but there is a ton of great hikes around Anchorage so if anything, make it a hub to explore the area around the city.
- Katmai National Park – salmon run and bears
- Denali National Park – North America’s tallest peak and third tallest peak in the world
- Seward – perfect base for exploring the southern parts of Alaska
- Kenai Fjords National Park – glaciers!
- Prince William Sound – more glaciers!
- Anchorage – not the capital of Alaska but the capital of tourism
- Hop aboard the iconic yellow and blue Alaska Railway System
Where to eat?
Alaska is not necessarily a culinary destination but there is some of the freshest and best seafood around. That being said, it is pricey to eat out every meal so one way to save money on the trip budget is to go grocery shopping to pack your own meals – especially breakfast and lunch. You will be hiking and being active anyway so you need more on-the-go options. Treat yourself to a meal occasionally but road trip food is key.
One surprise was what a brew culture there is! Each major town has its own brewing company and Anchorage along has over twenty breweries. Alaska is ranked 4th in per capita craft breweries in the country! Sounds like a decent Beer Christmas destination to me.
Here is how I would spend 12 days in Alaska!
|Day 0||Arrive in Anchorage|
Flight to Katmai (King Salmon, Brooks Camp)
|Day 1||Ten Thousand Smokes Tour|
|Day 2||Flight to Anchorage |
Pick up car rental
Drive 4 hours to Denali
Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre (1730)
|Day 3||Denali Bus Tour |
– Eielson Visitor Center
– Stony Hill Overlook
Denali Park Salmon Bake
|Day 4||Denali Visitor Center |
– Mt Healy Overlook
– Horseshoe Lake Trail
Denali Sled Dog Kennels
Triple Lakes Trail
Drive 2 hours to Talkeetna
Mckinley Creekside Cafe
Stop for Rafting or Fishing
Denali Brewing Company
|Day 5||Hatcher Pass |
Eklutna Lake (kayak, bike, hike)
Thunderbird Falls Mirror Lake
Eagle River Nature Center
Odd Man Rush Brewing
Drive to Alyeska
|Day 6||The Bake Shop|
Wildlife Conservation Center
The Ice Cream Shop
Drive to Seward
|Day 7||Kenai Fjords National Park |
– Exit Glacier
– Harding Icefield Trail
Seward Brewing Company
|Day 8||Boat tour of The Fjords|
|Day 9||Drive to Whittier|
Prince William Sound – boat tour and kayak
Crush Wine Bistro
Drive to Anchorage
|Day 10||Black Cup Coffee|
McHuge Creek Trail
Potter Marsh Boardwalk
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
|Day 11||Snow City Cafe|
Point Woronzof Park
|Day 12||Beer Tour |
– Anchorage Brewing Company
– Midnight Sun Brewing Company
– Double Shovel Cider Company
– Glacier Brewhouse
– 49th State Brewing Company
– Matanuska Brewing Company
– Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse
|Day 13||Dark Horse Coffee|
If you have been to Alaska, let me know what I missed and what your favorites are!
Don’t forget to check out all DESKRIB itineraries here!