One Week Itinerary Ideas for Alaska

There is a lot you can see in Alaska even if you only have one week. You can explore national parks, see calving glaciers, flightsee over Denali and spot incredible wild animals from black bears and brown bears to humpback whales and sea otters.

If you have more than 7 days, that will of course allow you to see more of the largest state in the United States. But, if all you have time for is a one week itinerary for Alaska, that’s still plenty of time to see what Alaska is famous for and create your perfect Itinerary.

The good news is, there are plenty of transportation options for seeing Alaska in one week. From rental car and rental RV’s to trains and bus tours. You won’t be limited in your choice of how to travel around and see Alaska.

Many of Alaska’s one week itinerary options start in Anchorage. This is because it is the easiest city in Alaska to fly into. The Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage is by far the largest airport in the state and has the most flight options.

Anchorage is also very central to many of Alaska’s top attractions, so it’s a very convenient place to start any one week itinerary.

We recommend that visitors spend at least one full day in Anchorage, either at the beginning or the end of your trip. There is a lot to offer visitors in Alaska’s largest city, so we will start with a run down of what to see in Anchorage before we get into the many different one week itinerary options we’ve put together.

Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage - What to see and do?

Begin or end your adventure in Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. There is an incredible list of major attractions here, including world class museums and tours.

Start your exploration of Anchorage at the Log Cabin Visitor Center in downtown. This is also the meeting point for Anchorage City Trolley Tours, a fun ride around town in a bright red trolley with an entertaining conductor to narrate your tour.

The Anchorage Museum in downtown Anchorage is a Smithsonian Affiliate and celebrates Alaska Native cultures and the history of Alaska. To further explore the Native History in Alaska, visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center to learn and explore the traditional and contemporary ways of Alaska’s Indigenous cultures. The Center is much more than a museum, it is also a place to engage and interact.

For a uniquely Alaskan Shopping experience, don’t miss out on The ULU Factory and Alaska Wild Berry Products. The ULU is a curved knife used by native cultures in the north. Alaska Wild Berry Products specializes in delicious souvenirs and gifts from chocolates to jams to wild Alaskan salmon. These are the kind of gifts your loved ones will appreciate.

One last, must see in Anchorage is The Alaska Zoo. Over 20 acres and 100 animals call the Zoo home. There are orphaned, injured and endangered animals including polar bears, black bears and brown bears, a tiger, moose, wolves and much, much more. Don’t miss the chance to take a walk on the wild side at the Alaska Zoo.

Now lets get into some of the best one week itinerary ideas for Alaska.

The Kenai Peninsula is known as a Alaska’s Playground. It attracts almost as many local Alaskans as it does out of state visitors each year because it is a haven for outdoor activity and adventure. It’s amazing fishing and scenery make it a jewel in the crown of Alaska tourism. It’s also incredibly convenient to reach from Anchorage, making it a top destination for many visitors. Here is a great way to spend one week in the Kenai Peninsula.

The Anchorage to Fairbanks corridor is a great way to spend a week in Alaska. It includes Alaska’s two largest cities and passes through Talkeetna and Denali National Park, home to Mt. Denali, the tallest mountain in North America. This one week itinerary can be enjoyed as a self-drive tour or on the Alaska Railroad.

This itinerary can be easily modified be anywhere from four days to one week, depending on the time you have available. This is a perfect itinerary to add on to an Alaska cruise to see more of Alaska. This quick itinerary includes a self-drive to Denali and relaxing and scenic return on the Alaska Railroad.

 

This one week itinerary is jam-packed and you may find it’s better as a 10 day tour. But it is possible to see three of Alaska’s iconic National Parks in just 1 week. You will see Denali National Park, Wrangell St-Elias National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park. Plan for lots of driving and amazing scenery on this tour.

 

Winter tours to Alaska are becoming more popular because visitors want to see and experience the beauty of the Northern Lights. Few places in the world offer such amazing views of the Aurora Borealis. This one week trip is perfect for those looking to maximize their chances of seeing the amazing Northern Lights.

Seeing bears in Alaska is right at the top of most people’s bucket list. This itinerary is made just for you bear lovers. It includes a visit to famous Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, as well as seeing bears at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and Alaska Zoo. Along the way you are sure to see much more wildlife than just Alaska’s famous bears!

Kenai Peninsula Alaska One Week Itinerary

The Perfect Pre/Post Cruise Land Tour Itinerary

Cruising to Alaska is still the most popular way for people to visit the 49th State. But many of Alaska’s best attractions are not located on the coast. So, in order to see more of Alaska, many cruise passengers add a week of land tours before or after their cruise.

These pre cruise land tours or post cruise land tours are becoming very popular. Some of the large cruise lines like Princess Cruises and Holland America Cruiselines offer their own integrated land tours as part of their cruise itineraries. If you’re interested in our recommendations for the Best Alaska Cruise Itinerary click here.

However, we know there are many people looking to venture out on their own and this itinerary is perfect for those independent travelers.

Post Cruise Tour for Cruises Ending in Seward


Pre Cruise Tour for Cruises Starting in Whittier

Kenai Fjords National Park
Explore the stunning Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward

Explore the Kenai Peninsula in 7 days

Day 1

Begin your adventure in Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. Spend your first day exploring Anchorage’s downtown, where you will find many easy to walk to attractions. See our detailed Anchorage information above.

Day 2-3

Start your scenic drive south from Anchorage on the Seward Highway, along beautiful Turnagain Arm, through the Chugach National Forest to the Sterling Highway. Near the start of the Sterling Highway is the community of Cooper Landing, famous for its salmon fishing on the Kenai and Russian Rivers.

If you have more than 7 days, for your trip, this is a great place to stop and explore. Especially if you enjoy fishing or rafting. If you’re looking for a tour, talk to Alaska Wildland Adventures. They offer fishing and rafting tours in Cooper Landing.

Continue west to the very end of the Sterling Highway, passing through Soldotna, Clam Gulch, Ninilchik and Anchor Point, while enjoying the spectacular views across Cook Inlet. At the end of the road, you will reach Homer, the Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.

While in Homer be sure to book a fishing charter and try to catch one of Alaska’s famous halibut. Homer is also a great place to explore. It has the 2nd longest “Spit” in the world, a 5-mile long narrow piece of land that juts into the ocean. There is plenty to do on the Homer Spit!

Day 4-5

After an enjoyable couple of days in Homer, head 173 miles to Seward, retracing your drive on the Sterling Highway. At the Seward Highway Junction, head south to the port of Seward.

Seward is the “Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park.” The best way to see this magnificent natural wonder is to book a boat tour. Major Marine Tours offers one of the best tours of the Kenai Fjords National Park, and is highly recommended. The Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the best places for marine wildlife viewing in Alaska. You are bound to see humpback whales, orca whales, sea otters, Stellar sea lions, Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals, bald eagles, puffins and more.

The city is also home to the Alaska SeaLife Center, an aquarium and marine research, education and wildlife response facility. One of the best places for family friendly activities in Seward. Exit Glacier is also in Kenai Fjords National Park. It is the only part of the national park that is accessible by vehicle. There are some beautiful hikes overlooking the glacier and some private companies that will take you hiking on Exit Glacier.

Day 6 – 7

When done exploring Seward, it’s time to head back towards Anchorage. Drive 65 miles north to Portage and the Portage Train Depot. Here you take the Alaska Railroad to Spencer Glacier and take a relaxing float among the icebergs of Spencer Lake and float down Spencer River.

After returning to Portage, drive 10 miles to Girdwood and the Alyeska Resort to spend the final night of your one week journey on the Kenai Peninsula. The Alyeska Resort has a Tram that takes you up to a spectacular viewpoint, where you can see seven different glaciers. You can also dine at the award-winning restaurant at the top.

A recommended stop on your way to Girdwood is at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where you are guaranteed to see bear, moose, reindeer, musk ox, and more.

The final day of your trip will see you drive the 35 miles back to Anchorage.

Flightseeing Tour of Denali National Park
Land on a Glacier in Denali National Park

Anchorage to Fairbanks, Including Denali National Park

Day 1

Begin your adventure in Anchorage and spend the day exploring Anchorage’s downtown or hop in the car and head out to see the Alaska Zoo. See our detailed Anchorage information at the beginning of this article for more ideas of how to spend your time in Anchorage.

Day 2-3

Head north on the Parks Highway to the small town of Talkeetna. Talkeetna, 113 miles from Anchorage, is reached by a 14-mile spur road off the Parks Highway, known as the “Talkeetna Spur Road.” It is a cute frontier town with lots of character, and characters!

This is where the majority of Denali flightseeing tours take off from. We recommend Talkeetna Air Taxi for a Denali flightseeing tour and glacier landing. Guest take off in a small plane and see incredible vistas over the Alaska Range Mountains, including the tallest of them all, Denali at 20,310 ft. This flightseeing tour over Denali is consistently ranked as one of the best things to do in Alaska. There are other activities in town, including rafting, ziplining or a jet boat tour with Mahays.

Day 4 – 5

Today is the day to drive to Denali. Probably one of the main reasons to come to Alaska. This beautiful, and majestic mountain will be visible from the Parks Highway if the weather is bright and clear. For the best views, stop at the Denali Viewpoints at mile 135 and mile 163.

In Denali you will find plenty of amazing activities to fill your next day. For those looking to be at one with nature, a hike in Denali National Park will be sure to meet your needs. There are Ranger lead hikes that leave from the Visitor Center complex at mile 1.5 of the Park Road. Or you can take a shuttle into the park and forge your own path.

Shuttles into the Park are the easiest and most common way for people to see the sights of Denali National Park. These ‘sights’ of course include the closest views of Denali, anywhere short of taking a flightseeing tour over the mountain. Besides exploring the Park, there are plenty of interesting activities for visitors. These include, rafting, ziplining, ATV tours, jeep tours of the Denali Highway or just wandering around town.

Day 6-7

Leaving Denali, head north on the Parks Highway, 120 miles to Fairbanks. Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska and home to some of the States best attractions. Visitors can explore Fairbanks’ gold rush past at the Gold Dredge 8, The Riverboat Discovery or the Pioneer Park theme park. Fairbanks is also the closest city to the Arctic Circle and has plenty of tour options that can take you there. One of the most experienced tour companies for trips to the Arctic Circle is Northern Alaska Tour Company.

Fairbanks has three very unique museums that should not be missed. The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum is an incredible collection of 19th and early 20th century cars that were significant in the birth of Alaska. The Fairbanks Ice Museum showcases incredible ice carvings made annually at the International Ice Carving Championships that take place every winter in Fairbanks.

Finally, the University of Alaska Museum of the North is a wonderful natural history museum with some unbelievably unique displays.

Road into Denali National Park
Mt. Denali in Denali National Park

Anchorage to Denali National Park by Car and Railroad

Day 1

Begin your adventure in Anchorage. If you are planning to do this itinerary in only 4 days, you will want to leave Anchorage on the first day and head north to Denali. If you have more time, add a day or two in Anchorage exploring downtown or the many nearby attractions. See our detailed Anchorage information above for more ideas of how to spend your time in Anchorage.

Day 2- 4

Spend at least 2 nights in Denali, as it is a long 5 hours of driving from Anchorage. The drive to Denali is beautiful. And on a clear day, it’s possible to see the majestic mountain from the Parks Highway. For the best views, stop at the Denali Viewpoints at mile 135 and mile 163.

There are plenty of amazing activities to fill your days in Denali. For those looking to be at one with nature, a hike in Denali National Park will be sure to meet your needs. There are Ranger lead hikes that leave from the Visitor Center complex at mile 1.5 of the Denali Park Road. Or you can take a shuttle into the park and head out hiking deeper in the park.

Shuttle busses into Denali National Park are the most common way for people to access the park. From deep inside the park you will have the closest views of Denali, anywhere short of taking a flightseeing tour over the mountain. Denali is made for adventure lovers and has a ton of interesting activities for visitors. These include, rafting, ziplining, ATV tours, jeep tours of the Denali Highway 

Day 7

Heading back to Anchorage can be either by car, or if you have booked a one-way car rental between Anchorage and Denali, you can return on the Alaska Railroad. This is a unique itinerary that gives you the freedom of your own car in one direction and the relaxed return journey by train.

Wrangell St-Elias National Park
The Abandoned Kennecott Mine in Wrangel St-Elias National Park

Alaska National Parks One Week Itinerary

Day 1

There isn’t much time to rest on this whirlwind tour, so head out from Anchorage on day 1 to Denali National Park. This is a five-hour drive on the Parks Highway. So even with some scenic stops along the way, you should arrive with plenty of time to explore the town of Denali, which is just one mile from the National Park Entrance. Remember, the sun won’t set until after midnight in the summer, so there is plenty of time to explore.

Day 2

Spend the day in Denali, either with a tour, or exploring on your own. The Denali Park Visitor Center is a great place to start. If you’re looking for adventure, Denali has plenty to offer from,  rafting, ziplining, ATV tours, jeep tours and more.

Day 3

After seeing the beauty of Denali, you may have noticed it’s a very popular attraction and there are a lot of other visitors. While, the next step of your journey is going to be the complete opposite. Head south on the Parks Highway to Cantwell and turn onto the Denali Highway. This rugged wilderness Highway runs right through the heart of Alaska. You won’t see crowds, or tour busses on this leg of your trip.

The Denali Highway is mostly gravel and is a slow drive. It’s only 135 miles, but it can still take 4 + hours to drive. Don’t be in a hurry, and enjoy this drive through the wilderness. You’ll also get some spectacular views of Mt. Denali if the weather is clear.

At the end of the Highway is Paxson, on the Richardson Highway. Paxson is 70 miles north of Glennallen, where you will find hotels, and campgrounds.

Day 4

It’s time to check off your second National Park: Wrangell St-Elias National Park. We recommend you stop by the Visitor Center complex at mile 106 of the Richardson Highway. If you plan to drive into the park, you can drive south on the Richardson Highway to mile 83, and take the Edgerton Highway to Chitna. The McCarthy Road from Chitna to McCarthy is a rough challenging road, and we don’t recommend driving it.  Instead, take one of the scheduled flights from Chitna or Glennallen on Wrangell Mountain Air. It’s a much more relaxing and scenic way to get deep into the Wrangell St. Elias National Park.

If you have more than one week, it’s recommended that you stay at least one night in the park at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge. This is a beautiful lodge, away from everything. A true Alaskan experience.

Day 5

It’s only a short journey down the rest of the Richardson Highway to the stunning coastal town of Valdez. But before you even arrive you will see incredible scenery as you cross Thompson Pass and drive through Keystone Canyon. Watch out for Horseshoe Falls and Bridal Veil Falls around mile 13 and 14. There are a number of pullouts available so you can stop for a photo op!

Valdez is a beautiful city, and is famous for it’s access to Prince William Sound. We recommend day cruises into Prince William Sound. Both Stan Stephens Cruises and Glacier Charter Services will share with you the beauty of the Sound, it’s glaciers and it’s wildlife. Once again, if you have more time, this is an excellent place to spend an extra day.

Day 6

But for those who are on the fast track to seeing as much of Alaska in the time available, then day 6 is time to catch the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry to Whittier. This is more than just a ferry ride. This is another scenic cruise through Prince William Sound. There is a reason the entire Alaska Marine Highway System is considered a National Scenic Byway.

After arriving in Whittier you will take the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, which is the longest tunnel in North America that is used by both vehicle and train traffic. Whittier is famous for being the town where all it’s residents live in a single building. There is one large apartment building in town and almost all the residents live there. Whittier is also the cruise port for Anchorage. It is 1 hour south of Anchorage and can be reached by the Seward Highway or the Alaska Railroad

But, before heading to Anchorage, you will be heading south on the Seward Highway, looking to squeeze in one more National Park in Seward.

Day 7

Today, you will have time to explore The Kenai Fjords National Park. This spectacular national park is mainly enjoyed from the water. Boat tours leave multiple time a day in the summer from Seward and explore this beautiful National Park. There is one part of the park that is accessible by road and that is at Exit Glacier.

After exploring Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park, you can return to Anchorage, 127 miles on the Seward Highway.

Yes, this is a lot to squeeze into just one week in Alaska. But if you’re the type that likes to cram a lot into your vacations, this whirlwind trip might appeal to you. It would be enjoyed at a more relaxing pace if you had 10 days to 2 weeks.

If you’re looking to spend more time at the beginning of your trip in Denali or Wrangell St-Elias, you can drive straight from Glennallen to Anchorage in 4 hours (on the Glenn Highway), skipping the Valdez, Whittier section of this one week itinerary.

 

Best Time to see Northern Lights in Alaska
The Stunning Northern Lights in Alaska

Northern Lights One Week Itinerary of Alaska

Day 1

Fly into Fairbanks, Alaska’s most northern major city. It’s not quite at the Arctic Circle but it’s only 140 miles south. Your first day in Fairbanks can be spent exploring the city. If you come during the annual Ice Carving Championships in February and March, you should definitely check it out. This is one of the “Coolest” events around! If you’re not here during the event, you can always visit the Ice Museum where many carvings are stored year round.

Anther great museum to check out in Fairbanks is the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. They are open a couple of days a week during the winter and they are one of the top attractions in Fairbanks, year-round.

Since you’re visiting Alaska in the winter, don’t miss the chance to visit North Pole, Alaska. Not the actual North Pole, but the small community called North Pole 15 miles south of Fairbanks. This community is home to Santa Claus House, an amazing gift shop where you may even spot Santa working away. Santa’s reindeer are also there for you to visit.

When the sun goes down, keep your eyes peeled for Northern Lights. Even in the city, it’s possible to spot them.

Day 2 – 3

Head out of Fairbanks today for Chena Hotsprings Resort. This is known as one of the premier spots to watch for the Aurora Borealis. The Hotsprings are an amazing place to stay warm in the Alaska winter, while you watch for the dancing lights in the sky. There is also an Ice Museum at Chena Hotsprings where you get an icy drink and hang out in the incredible ice interior. Chena Hotsprings offers tours out into the wilderness for more opportunities to spot the Northern Lights.

Day 4 – 5

Return to Fairbanks and spend the night before jumping on the Aurora Train to Anchorage. This train ride on the Alaska Railroad gives visitors a unique experience to travel 375 miles from Fairbanks to Anchorage, passing through Denali National Park. If the skies are clear you may see Mt. Denali, in all her glory. The winter scenery is breathtaking, and the train journey is a very relaxed and warm way to experience Alaska in the winter.

Day 6 – 7

Spend these last few days of your trip exploring Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. Unlike much of the rest of Alaska, many attractions are open year-round in Anchorage. There are many museums and uniquely Alaskan shopping experiences to have here. Many of them are listed at the top of the article.

Bears in Katmai National Park Park
Bears Fishing in Katmai National Park

The Ultimate One Week Alaska Bear Viewing Itinerary​

Day 1

Start you tour in Anchorage and spend the day getting acquainted with Alaska’s largest city. There is no shortage of activities to keep you busy, but if your main goal is to see bears, head over to the Alaska Zoo, a quick 20 minute drive from downtown. What’s great about the Alaska Zoo, is that you will see black bears, grizzly bears and a polar bear. Polar bears are only found in the very north of Alaska, and most visitors will not see them. So this is a unique opportunity.

Beyond just seeing three different types of bears, the Alaska Zoo has a tiger, snow leopard, lynx, mountain goat, bald eagles and many more fascinating animals.

Day 2

Drive south on the Seward Highway. For more bear viewing opportunities, stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage. This is one of the best bear viewing opportunities in the state. The animals live in large natural habitats and elevated walkways give visitors amazing views of the animals. Besides the black bear and brown bears, there are also elk, foxes, lynx, musk ox, reindeer, wolves, wood bison and more.

When done admiring all these incredible animals, take the Portage Glacier Highway to Whittier, your gateway to Prince William Sound. This short road will pass through the Portage Tunnel and the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to reach Whittier. Whittier is known as the gateway to Prince William Sound and there are a number of glacier cruises and kayak tours for visitors to experience.

Day 3

Today, drive the rest of the way to Homer, on the Seward Highway and the Sterling Highway. You will pass through Cooper Landing and Soldotna, as well as a number of other small towns along the Kenai Peninsula.

Settle into Homer and take time to explore both downtown area and the famous Homer Spit.

Day 4

Today you will take a day tour to Katmai National Park. This national park is famous for it’s large numbers of brown bear.

As an aside…if you’re wondering about the difference between a brown bear and grizzly, there really isn’t one. The only difference is that brown bears live near in coastal regions and typically have more access to food, so they get bigger. Grizzly bears live inland, away from the coast, but they are genetically the same as brown bears.

Ok, back to the itinerary. The tour will start with a float plane ride to Katmai National Park. There you will be taken to Brooks Falls, where you are sure to see brown bears fishing in the Brooks River for salmon. July and September are the two best months to see Bears at Brooks Falls due to the large number of salmon migrating up the river.

Day 5 – 6

Today head back up the Kenai Peninsula to Seward, 170 miles away. Seward is a beautiful coastal city nestled between the Kenai Mountains and Resurrection Bay. It is also the Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. This stunning national park is best viewed on a boat tour, and we recommend Major Marine Tours. Seward is also a great place to explore a stunning Alaskan Glacier. You can drive right to Exit Glacier and find many hikes in the area with great views of the glacier. It’s also possible to hire a private company to take you for a hike on the glacier.

Day 7

On the final day of your one week bear viewing vacation head back to Anchorage. Stopping at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood is a great way to end your vacation. You can take the Alyeska Tram to the top of the mountain where you can spot 7 glaciers from your vantage point. You can also dine at the top of the mountain at the award winning Seven Glaciers restaurant.

Seward Alaska with Cruise Ship in Port
Cruise Ship in Seward Alaska

Post Cruise: One Week Itinerary for Cruises ending in Seward

Day 1

Take your first day after your cruise to explore the charming city of Seward. If you’re ready to get back on the water, a day tour by boat is the best way to explore Kenai Fjords National Park. If you prefer to stay on land, you can get up close to Alaska’s marine wildlife at the Alaska SeaLife Center. This is the only aquarium and research facility in Alaska and great fun for the family. You can also visit the only part of the Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by road at Exit Glacier.

Day 2

Take the Alaska Railroad to Portage and switch trains to go to Spencer Glacier. Get off at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, and spend the day floating among the icebergs on the Spencer River. You can return to the Portage Train Depot on the Railroad and stay nearby at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, or head all the way into Anchorage.

Day 3

Continue your journey on the Alaska Railroad to Talkeetna. This cute frontier town is where most Denali Flightseeing trips depart from. Talkeetna Air Taxi is one of the top flightseeing companies in town offering flights over Denali as well as the option to land on a Glacier. It’s definitely an amazing experience and usually listed as a trip highlight for visitors to Alaska. Talkeetna also offers up other adventures like the Mahays Jetboat Adventure that takes guests up the Susitna River and on a clear day, you will have spectacular views of Mount Denali.

Day 4 – 5

Take the train north to Denali National Park from Talkeetna. Visiting Denali National Park is probably the main reason for adding on a land tour to your cruise to Alaska. Exploring Denali can take many different forms. You can take a shuttle into the park on the Denali Park Road. Private Vehicles are only allowed to drive to mile 15 of the park road. After that, you will need to take a shuttle bus that leaves from the Visitor Center, near the park entrance.

There are also many adventurous ways to experience Denali. Some of the most popular are rafting, ziplining, ATV tours, or taking a jeep tours of the Denali Highway.

Day 6-7

Take the return journey to Anchorage on the Alaska Railroad. If your weather wasn’t perfect on the way north, it may be better now so keep an eye out for great views of Mt. Denali on your trip. The train to Anchorage takes 8 hours. Once in Anchorage you will have time to explore this great city before ending your time in Alaska. From Anchorage you will fly home from the Ted Stevens International Airport.

Whittier Alaska Cruise Port for Anchorage
The Town of Whittier Alaska

Pre Cruise: One Week Itinerary for Cruises Starting in Whittier

Day 1

Fly into the Anchorage Airport, Ted Steven Anchorage International Airport and start your great Alaskan adventure. We recommend you get settled in Anchorage and explore downtown. It’s easy to walk around downtown and there are a ton of activities available for visitors. One of the best ways to get acquainted with the city is to take the Anchorage City Trolley Tour. It departs regularly from beside the Log Cabin Visitor Center in the heart of downtown.

Day 2

Pickup your rental vehicle. You can choose between a rental car or rental RV for this portion of your trip. Once you have your vehicle, it’s time to hit the road and head north on the Parks Highway to Talkeetna. Talkeetna is the best place to take off for an unforgettable flightseeing trip to Denali. Talkeetna Air Taxi is the tour we recommend.

Day 3 – 5

Drive north from Talkeetna towards Denali National Park. But before you reach the national park, you should stop to enjoy the smaller, Denali State Park. There are viewpoints and campgrounds in Denali State Park that make it an incredible stop over on your way to the main attraction, Denali National Park. Although Denali State park is dwarfed by the national park, it is still 325,000 acres, which is approximately half the size of Rhode Island.

Denali State Park viewpoints of Mt. Denali are at mile 135 and mile 163. There are also campgrounds in the State Park at Kesugi Ken, Byers Lake and Denali View North.

Once you arrive in Denali National Park, there is no shortage of amazing activities. Of course, most people want to experience the park, so take a shuttle bus from the Visitor Center deep into the park. There are plenty of stops along the way with viewpoints of Mt. Denali. Activities for the adventurous types include rafting, ziplining, ATV tours, jeep tours and more.

Day 6

Today, it’s time to return to Anchorage and return your rental vehicle. It’s a minimum of 5 hours driving back to Anchorage from Denali. Remember to keep an eye out for views of Denali along your drive.

An interesting stopping point in Wasilla is the Iditarod Headquarters. The Iditarod is the famous dog sled race to Nome. The headquarters in Wasilla shares the history of the race and offers dog cart rides during the summer. A worthwhile stop on your return to Anchorage.

Day 7

Take the Alaska Railroad to Whittier to catch your cruise south. Whittier is the cruise port for Anchorage and the gateway to Prince William Sound. The train takes 2 hours to get from Anchorage to Whittier and is a beautiful journey along Turnagain Arm.

Turnagain Arm has some of the largest Bore Tides in the world. Bore tides occur when a high tide comes into a shallow river or body of water right after a very low tide. The resulting wave is long and continuous as it pushes from the mouth of the waterway (in this case, Turnagain Arm) to the end. This phenomenon happens regularly in Turnagain arm, and occasionally, the wave is very large (6-10 ft high) and surfers come out to ride the waves!

The train will also pass through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to reach Whittier. This tunnel is the longest shared vehicle/train tunnel in North America. Now that you’ve reached your cruise departure point, it’s time to start the next leg your journey and experience Alaska’s magnificent coastline, marine wildlife and serene Inside Passage.

Alaska Travel Tips

Sign up for our 4-part email series to discover critical information for planning your ultimate Alaska vacation!

Think You Know Alaska?

Take the quiz and find out...