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1. Posted by Qokoon (Budding Member 27 posts) 11y

This is a very broad question, but I would like to know more information on Alaska, like places to go and see, where to stay, best season to travel etc..... thanks :)

2. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 11y

Best season to travel is summer, obviously. At least your days will be longer than 6 hours then --in fact around 16 hours of sunshine in some places. The places to visit are Anchorage and Denali National Park (just north), then south to Kodiac Island, and Homer (on the Bay). Also, the cruises run up and down the Inland Passage--which has phenomenal views of the glaciers. I think there is great salmon fishing down near Juneau, as well as old mining towns inland from that area--but don't really know, because I haven't been there.

Enjoy

3. Posted by Bogman (Budding Member 61 posts) 10y

I've been to Alaska several times, but primarily southcentral. Using Anchorage as a base, some of the best places to visit include Matanuska Glacier, Chitina/McCarthy and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Valdez (the drive into Valdez is spectacular), Seward. Skagway is good too, but it must be appraoched by road from the Yukon or as part of the Marine Highway.

Obviously the best time to travel would be June, July, or August. Late August still has good weather, the tourists have generally scurried off home, and there are no mosquitos!

4. Posted by Daver141 (Respected Member 117 posts) 10y

I spent two weeks there at the end of last august, based out of anchorage. I made the drive up to denali (its about 350 miles) and stayed at wonder lake in the park. You should definately do some camping there if you can, but bring the right gear. Denali is awsome in that you can get a pass into the park, and basically get off the bus anywhere and just go. You need a special permit to camp in the backcountry (as opposed to a set camp site) and I wouldn't recommend you do so unless you are an experienced outdoors person. I also went down into the Kenai. Seward is nice for a boat trip out in the bay (there are all manner of wild animals and glaciers to be seen), Homer is an awsome little town, although it is getting over touristy. I wandered out to Wrangel- St. Elias Nat'l park, to see Mccarthy, and I took the flight from chitna to get there. I'd do all of it again in a second. August was good because the roads were less crowded with the RVs that invade during the summer, the sun was up almost 24 hours a day and the bugs weren't quite as fierce, but make sure you bring lots of bug spray just the same. The later in august you stay, the more likely it is that you will see the Northern lights. I missed them, but I heard reports that they were out in Fairbanks the last few days I was there.

5. Posted by Bogman (Budding Member 61 posts) 10y

Daver141 -- I probably saw your there, in either Chitina or McCarthy, as I was last there for the last 2 weeks of August. I'm a geology professor that was running a glacial geology field school in the area with 10 students! Awesome place to run field school!

Did you manage to check out Uncle Tom's Cabin bar in Chitina? Well worth a visit!

6. Posted by alaskabob (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

In my opinion, you can't go wrong wherever you go in Alaska. The two main ways to see the state are cruise and land tours. Personally, I would prefer renting a car in Anchorage and putting together your own land tour. Or you can buy an off the shelf package.

In terms of when to go, here's my detailed analysis of when the best time to visit Alaska is: http://www.alaska.org/when-to-visit.jsp

7. Posted by DocNY (Respected Member 416 posts) 10y

Alaska is an amazing place, and no matter where you go it's pretty cool. Believe it or not the scuba diving is incredible, especially around Sitka and Skagway. Prices are high on most necessities but good on a lot of things.

Driving is the way to go for a indepth trip but if your time is limited consider a boat tour - you'll see a lot more of the country in a short time and won't spend as much time looking for accomodations and food - though catching salmon is pretty easy if you like to dine al fresco and you bring a pack rod (you have to buy a license though - at least to be legal).

8. Posted by amee (Budding Member 14 posts) 10y

If you do not mind renting a car when you are in Alaska, the beginning of May usually has pretty decent weather - the only catch is that not all of the tourist traps are open yet, but on the bright side the hotels are about half of the cost!!! I was up there this past May and had great weather. We hiked in Wrangell-St. Elias for a week and hiked in tee-shirts during the day. If you head down to Seward, you can partake in some Halibut fishing as well, which is cheaper at that time of the year, just beware of the costs of shipping it home.
Denali, is a cool place to visit, but crowded in the summertime. The best thing about Alaska is the lack of people and the vast array of National Parks and wide open land that you can explore, the wildlife is pretty spectacular as well.

Post 9 was removed by a moderator
10. Posted by anna_mg (Budding Member 22 posts) 10y

As a resident of Anchorage I will advise you to not, under any circumstances, tour Alaska in the winter! There is basically nothing to do. We have friends of the family coming in November and we're scrambling to figure out what we can show them!

Everyone in this thread has pretty much covered the basics. I'll simply reiterate that Denali National Park is an absolute must-see. It does take a while to get out there, but it's absolutely spectacular and it's the best feature of Alaska.

It can get rather crowded in the summer, but as soon as you get out into the actual park, you can literally walk for miles without seeing a soul. Make sure you take the bus out as far as you can - you're able to get out and wander over miles of open valley to your heart's content.

[ Edit: Edited at May 3, 2006 6:20 PM by anna_mg ]