Perfect 1 Week Itinerary for Alaska -Anchorage, Seward and Denali

August 2020

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!
  • 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 and
  • 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 perfected one week trip to Alaska!

Activity
Day 0EveningArrive in Anchorage
Pick up rental
Check into accommodations – Anchorage
Day 1MorningLeave Anchorage / Drive to Seward
Tern Lake
Sealife Center
AfternoonWater activity on Resurrection Bay – Fishing Trip
EveningFood Shopping 
Check into accommodations – Seward
Day 2MorningWater activity on Resurrection Bay – Kayaking and Hiking
AfternoonWater activity on Resurrection Bay – Kayaking and Hiking
Evening
Day 3MorningKenai Fjords National Park:
Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield
AfternoonKenai Fjords National Park:
Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield
Evening
Day 4MorningMt Marathon Trail
AfternoonWildlife Conservation Center
Virgin Creek
EveningCheck into accommodations – Girdwood
Day 5MorningPortage Pass Trail
AfternoonPrince William Sound  Boat Tour
EveningByron Glacier Trail
Day 6MorningPotter Marsh Boardwalk
Eklutna Lake
Thunderbird Falls 
Mirror Lake
AfternoonFlattop Mountain
Evening
Day 7MorningDrive to Talkeetna (3 hours)
AfternoonFlight to Denali National Park and Glacier Landing
Evening
Day 8MorningTony Knowles Coastal Trail  (Point Woronzof Park,
Earthquake Park, Lake Hood, Kincaid Park)
AfternoonDepart

For all the details of our trip to Alaska, click here!

For other posts related to our trip to Alaska, including the flight and packing – click here!

Leave a Reply