Wonders of Alaska Fly Drive Holiday Itinerary
Welcome to Anchorage, the place where young spirits and adventurous souls come to play. Upon arrival, pick-up your rental car and transfer independently to your hotel. Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, sits in a bowl below the Chugach Mountains. Between mountains and an inlet, surrounded by national parks and filled with wildlife, Anchorage combines the best of Alaska in a city that offers the comforts of home and the hospitality of the Last Frontier. Should you arrive early enough, explore some of Anchorage’s parks, take a bike ride along the Coastal Trail, or enjoy dining at one of the city’s downtown restaurants.
Anchorage – Seward
Today’s drive from Anchorage to the seaside community of Seward begins with spectacular views. Travel along Seward Highway, a National Scenic Byway offering incredible views around every turn as it passes between the dramatic shorelines of Turnagain Arm and the jutting peaks of the Chugach Mountains. See 3,000-foot mountains and the sprawling, sometimes four-mile-wide, flats of Turnagain Arm which seem to stretch like a plain to the opposite shores of Cook Inlet. Be sure to stop at Beluga Point Lookout where you can see the most unique and geologically dramatic bore tide in the world and watch for beluga whales rolling in the surf. Continue through the Kenai Peninsula to the small coastal town of Seward, one of Alaska’s oldest communities. As the “Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park,” Seward offers incredible opportunities for outdoor exploration, recreation and plain-old relaxation.
Spend the day exploring Seward’s harbor and waterfront, quaint shops and galleries, or Exit Glacier, one of the most popular road-accessible glaciers in the state. For those interested in beautiful fjords, shimmering water, towering ancient glaciers and an impressive array of wildlife, we recommend taking a day cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park and Fox Island.
Seward – Talkeetna
This morning, head back north towards Anchorage and the small town of Talkeetna, a charming pioneer town offering great views of Denali (Mt. McKinley). In addition to mountain views, Talkeetna is home to the convergence of three major glacial rivers, which make for great excursions. This evening we recommend taking a zipline tour or exhilarating jet boat river tour, and en-route to Talkeetna we recommend taking a detour through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, one of the longest vehicle tunnels in North America.
Talkeetna – Denali
While you may never join the ranks of climbers who have summited Denali (Mt. McKinley), this morning, weather permitting, we recommend taking a flightseeing tour among and above the Alaska Range. From the air, nature presents itself on a scale beyond your wildest imagination. We also recommend adding a glacier landing to get a sense of how immense these peaks really are. Afterwards, depart Talkeetna for the beautiful drive to Denali National Park and Preserve, the third largest park in the U.S. and the crown jewel of the Alaska Range. More than a mountain, Denali is six million acres of wild land bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along this road will see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest that gives way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America’s tallest peak, Denali (Mt. McKinley).
Today, travel into the heart of Denali, a place where life continues as it has for thousands of years, without interference by man. The only road in the park, 92 mile long Denali Park Road, parallels the Alaska Range and travels through low valleys and high mountain passes. Along its route, beautiful landscapes appear at every turn, wildlife of all sorts can often be spotted , and “The Mountain” can be seen as early as Mile 9 if the normally cloudy skies permit. During the summer, private vehicles can only drive the first fifteen miles of the road. Beyond Mile 15, the road turns to gravel and traffic is primarily restricted to buses. We therefore encourage you to take either the hop-on, hop-off park shuttle bus or a tour bus as this is the way to experience the park to a greater degree.
Denali – Anchorage
Should you want to explore Denali beyond the Park Road before returning to Anchorage, we recommend treating yourself to an unforgettable experience – river rafting on the glacially-fed Nenana River. Enjoy stunningly beautiful scenery, the potential for wildlife sightings, and your choice of exciting whitewater rafting or a tranquil wilderness float trip. Whichever you choose, you’ll literally go with the flow as you move through the wilderness and see a part of Alaska you can’t explore any other way. Upon returning to Anchorage we recommend stepping out into downtown’s thriving dining scene for some world-class, fresh fish – as in Alaska, fresh fish is the name of the game.
Return your rental car at the airport prior to your departure.