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Old 05-22-2016, 12:17 PM   #1
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Best tourist things you did in Alaska (and on the way)?

The planning for our Alaska trip this summer is moving right along. So far we're on schedule. On the advice of many, we've decided to squeak another week into the trip, extending the time allotment from 6 to 7 weeks. My question now, for all of you that have gone before, is: What were the top five coolest tourist things you did on your Alaska Adventure? We would love specifics (within reason ), e.g. if you did a glacier tour or whale watch that was particularly memorable, where was it located, what organization was it with, about how much did it cost per person, and what made it so special? Hikes, bike rides, museums, parks, boondock camp sites, train rides, fishing, flight tours, boat tours, etc, etc, which were the best for you? So what were your top five?
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Old 05-22-2016, 01:10 PM   #2
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Hi from AZ. . .I was on 'the trip' for 84 days last year and I'd have to say the drive / trip itself was 1st on my list. Also loved flightseeing with Rust out of ANC (Lake Hood), the visit to McCarthy in Wrangel/St Elias NP, The Riverboat Discovery in Fairbanks, the 6 hour bus trip to the backcountry in Denali (Her,not so much ) visiting Haines, putting all 47 ft of my rig on the ferry from Haines to Skagway & halibut fishing out of Homer. The Top o the World Hwy was fun & Dawson city one of best stops. . . .Actually, except for spending a little too much time in the cities, I loved it all. ........any thing I can help you with, feel free to pm me........travel safe, Craig
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Old 05-22-2016, 01:35 PM   #3
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Fly from Homer to Katmai National Park to watch the bears eat. Pricey but a must. it is a lot more touristy now as they have fenced the 1/2 mile trail out to the viewing area. Used to have to take a bear etiquette course before they would let you walk out.

Get an idea here.
https://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvis...rooks-Camp.pdf

This camera is on now.
http://explore.org/live-cams/player/...m-brooks-falls
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Old 05-22-2016, 01:51 PM   #4
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If you get to Seward, take a day trip by boat. Out to the outlying islands and to the neighboring Aialik bay, which is full of Glaciers and all sorts of marine wildlife. This a truly a beautiful area and not too overrun by tourists.

Cheers Richard
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Old 05-22-2016, 03:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msimon View Post
snip..... What were the top five coolest tourist things you did on your Alaska Adventure? .....snip


My opinion based on our trip there in 2006:
#1 - The journey!
#2 - From Seward we took a boat tour to Kenai Fiord National Park for wildlife and glacier viewing (from birds, to bears, to whales, to sea otters)
https://www.nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisit/boattours.htm
#3 - From Anchorage we took a passenger train to Denali. The view from the train is different from what you will see while towing/driving.
#4 - While at Denali we took the bus tour inside the park. (mountain goats, moose, and bears, as well as getting closer to the mountain)
#5 - From Fairbanks we took the haul road along the pipeline to Prudhoe Bay. Seeing the vastness of the landscape is AMAZING. We were lucky to see a heard of musk ox form a circle around their young. We saw the caribou migration in progress. It's a strange feeling when you see a grizzly and know that you are not at the top of the food chain! (If I were going to do this again, I would go on a tour bus. I do not recommend towing the Airstream)

We did not take any airplane rides, that will be on the next trip!
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Old 05-22-2016, 04:27 PM   #6
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We took a long helicopter trip up to the glaciers and then up to the top of the ice field. You have to ask for this trip.
Also took a flight with a bush pilot over Alaska landing on a mountain lake. Both were very special. Many other trips that have been mentioned .
You need to do lots of research to find the right pilots for these flights.
Anything you do will leave you with wonderful memories. Take the time to enjoy each moment before rushing off to another. Have a grand time.
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Old 05-22-2016, 04:29 PM   #7
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We've been to AK many times but only once with our Airstream.

Howie nailed it with a flight to Katmai from Homer. We went to Hallo Bay and walked among grizzlies.

Put your rig on the ferry and see places like Sitka and Ketchikan.

My other top items are probably not tourist type things as they take some advance planning. They include:

Being dropped off by plane for a week in Gates of the Arctic NP

Being dropped off by sea plane and then floating 100 miles down river to be picked up 10 days later.

Flying to Point Barrow in 1971 and tenting on the shore of the Arctic Ocean.

Having several days to kill, finding a last-minute super deal on a fly-in fishing lodge with private cabins and four star dinners.

I'm just getting started, but I'll stop.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:09 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
We've been to AK many times but only once with our Airstream.

Howie nailed it with a flight to Katmai from Homer. We went to Hallo Bay and walked among grizzlies.

Put your rig on the ferry and see places like Sitka and Ketchikan.

My other top items are probably not tourist type things as they take some advance planning. They include:

Being dropped off by plane for a week in Gates of the Arctic NP

Being dropped off by sea plane and then floating 100 miles down river to be picked up 10 days later.

Flying to Point Barrow in 1971 and tenting on the shore of the Arctic Ocean.

Having several days to kill, finding a last-minute super deal on a fly-in fishing lodge with private cabins and four star dinners.

I'm just getting started, but I'll stop.

Bookmarking for future adventure!
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Old 05-23-2016, 11:53 AM   #9
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Flightseeing Mt. McKinley...a MUST!

I feel that you have not seen Alaska until you take a flightseeing tour of Mt. McKinley from Talkeetna.
I highly recommend K2 aviation with their small planes.
http://www.flyk2.com/?gclid=CK7TntnS8MwCFQqoaQod3UwGXg

Several years ago when I took the tour there was an option to land on a glacier.

You will never regret it!
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:02 PM   #10
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In 2015 we travelled through Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and then into BC to take the Stewart Cassirer Highway which was awesome with lots of mountains, lakes and glaciers. In The Yukon we stayed several days in Whitehorse which has a number of museums including Beringia Interpretive Centre and the Transportation Museum. It is a good place to restock at The Real Canadian Superstore as well as Walmart. Into Alaska through Beaver Creek, we went to Fairbanks where we visited the Museum of the North and onward to Denali and Anchorage where we visited a museum and exhibit in the federal courthouse. In the Kenai we went to Soldotna and then Ninilchek where we camped on Cook Inlet right at the waters edge in a state rec area campground which had lots of Bald Eagles. We took a day trip to Homer and then on to Seward where we went on a boat tour of Resurrection Bay where we saw whales and lots of other sea life and birds. We camped in the city campground right along Resurrection Bay. This campground has sites with water, electric as well as dry sites and dump station. We also visited the Alaska Sea life Center in Seward and later walked up to Exit Glacier which is just outside Seward.

On our return trip we went back to Tok, then through Chicken and on the Top of The World Highway into The Yukon where we camped in Dawson City and then on to Whitehorse again. Our return to the states was via the Alaska Highway all the way to Edmonton.

We were on this trip for 94 days. We plan to make another trip in a couple of years.

Dennis
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:01 PM   #11
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All the above are great tourist suggestions. From someone who has lived in Alaska off and on for 18 years, here are my added suggestions:

http://www.fountainheadmuseum.com/ - This would be a world class antique car museum anywhere but to find it in Fairbanks was really mind blowing. Depending on your level of enthusiasm for antique cars, you could easily spend a day here but it is worth stopping by even for a short time. The admission is very reasonable - one of the best values in Alaska.

http://www.chenahotsprings.com/ Chena Hot Springs is another attraction not on the usual tourist track. About 1 1/2 hours from Fairbanks, it is wonderful to float around in the outdoor pool and contemplate life. If you are a techno geek, Chena Hot Springs is the home of the world's lowest temperature geothermal generating plant. In addition to powering the entire resort, it also provides power to the Aurora Ice Palace. It is amazing! A tour lets you see the palace itself which was meant to be a hotel where folks could rent a room for the night plus see the amazing ice sculptures and get an Appletini at the ice bar. The hotel idea got shut down by the State fire marshal cause they couldn't figure out how to install a fire suppression system as required by state code!

https://www.nps.gov/wrst/learn/histo...c-landmark.htm Kennecott is another great place to visit although before taking your rig back there, you should get updated road condition reports or set up in Chitina and drive just your TV back there. When you are touring the mine processing ruins, take a look at the enormous boilers they have and think about how in the world they transported them back to that location in the early 1900s. It would be a huge feat today. The Chitina River feeds into the Copper River, home of the best tasting King and Sockeye salmon in the world. You can watch the fish wheels scoop them out of the river.

Have a great trip!
Jim
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Old 05-24-2016, 10:26 AM   #12
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Thinking I was outside of Fairbanks panning for Gold at a roadside attraction when the proprietor said ...." You people are here panning for Gold while I am panning you" I always chuckle thinking about that...
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:21 AM   #13
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The White Pass Yukon Train
The Whale Watching Boat
Robert Mountain Tram
Glacier Bay National Park
Klondike Gold Rush NP
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:18 PM   #14
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Our top 5
  • The road(s) themselves. Not just the Alaska Hwy, but the Klondike Hwy down to Skagway and up to Dawson City, and the Top of the World Highway.
  • Skagway (fresh halibut and chips near the docks)
  • Dawson City
  • Whitehorse
  • Natural hot spring pools (multiple locations)

We lived near Mile 0 (less than an hour away) some years back. Our longest trip went through to Whitehorse, down to Skagway, then on to Anchorage and Seward. We came back via the Top of the World Highway through Dawson City, and back on the Klondike Hwy (not the Ross River route) to Mile 0. We studied up on the history of the highway construction, as one of our family trips was right after the 50th anniversary. It was interesting to connect the stories to the locations.

We avoided the planes, helicopters, and tour boats and mapped out side routes ourselves.

Jeff
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