Perfect 1 Week Itinerary for Alaska
While I would have loved to spend two weeks exploring Alaska as I planned for in my rough draft itinerary, there was a hesitation about committing to a two week trip during COVID. If we were going to go, it would mean trimming the itinerary down by half. That being said, an week ended up being an incredible amount of time to accomplish so much so if you do not have two weeks to travel but want to visit Alaska, this is a great way to see the highlights.
Most people are going to be flying to Alaska so you will need to incorporate that into your travel plans. Flying from the east coast meant first flying six hours to Seattle then three hours to Anchorage. Some may think this was a lot of travel for a shorter trip but we seem to make this a theme of our travels. Airbnb was readily available in all the destinations we visited and renting a car is a must. Also check out this planning and preparation post and the rough draft itinerary for more details about traveling to Alaska.
Most people are going to be flying to Alaska so you will need to incorporate that into your travel plans. Flying from the east coast meant first flying six hours to Seattle then three hours to Anchorage. Some may think this was a lot of travel for a shorter trip but we seem to make this a theme of our travels. Airbnb was readily available in all the destinations we visited and many people opt to RV or camp. Renting a car is a must – we were surprised that airport rentals were cheaper than Turo but could have been the COVID pricing. Also check out this planning and preparation post and the rough draft itinerary for more details about traveling to Alaska.
What is there to do?
The state of Alaska is enormous! 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 – the famous location for 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 and water activities
- Kenai Fjords National Park – glaciers!
- Prince William Sound – more glaciers but more off the beaten path
- 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.
- Seward – visit Resurrect Art Coffee House
- Girdwood – visit Girdwood Brewing Company, The Bake Shop and Jack Sprat
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.
We accomplished more in the week than I anticipated which meant we got to fit in things I did not expect. The weather was fantastic which also helped us tremendously – we only had one rain day which for August being the wettest month in Alaska was pretty amazing. Keep in mind with all weather related activities, you may also need to make some adjustments to your trip. Here is our perfect one week trip to Alaska!
|Day 0||Evening||Arrive in Anchorage|
Pick up rental
Check into accommodations – Anchorage
|Day 1||Morning||Leave Anchorage / Drive to Seward|
|||Afternoon||Water activity on Resurrection Bay – Fishing Trip|
|||Evening||Food Shopping |
Check into accommodations – Seward
|Day 2||Morning||Water activity on Resurrection Bay – Kayaking and Hiking|
|||Afternoon||Water activity on Resurrection Bay – Kayaking and Hiking|
|Day 3||Morning||Kenai Fjords National Park:|
Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield
|||Afternoon||Kenai Fjords National Park:|
Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield
|Day 4||Morning||Mt Marathon Trail|
|||Afternoon||Wildlife Conservation Center|
|||Evening||Check into accommodations – Girdwood|
|Day 5||Morning||Portage Pass Trail|
|||Afternoon||Prince William Sound Boat Tour|
|||Evening||Byron Glacier Trail|
|Day 6||Morning||Potter Marsh Boardwalk|
|Day 7||Morning||Drive to Talkeetna (3 hours)|
|||Afternoon||Flight to Denali National Park and Glacier Landing|
|Day 8||Morning||Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (Point Woronzof Park,|
Earthquake Park, Lake Hood, Kincaid Park)