• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 2s

Travel Tuesday: Summer sightseeing

By Daybreak Staff 10:22 AM July 1, 2014

Face it: If you live in Alaska, all of your friends and relatives think you are an Alaska expert. Don’t disappoint them.

Here are a few tips for showing visitors the sights this summer.

Day 1. Chances are better-than-even that your guests are arriving late at night, so you can go easy on the first day. Get them up early and take them to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. It’s an awesome setup and your visitors will learn a lot about Alaska’s indigenous people. Plan for 2-3 hours.

Next, take them downtown to the Anchorage Museum and Town Square Park. Remind them that the Museum includes a Smithsonian exhibit on Arctic Studies, as well as a planetarium and a great cafe, Muse. Oh — that’s a great place for lunch!

Take the rest of the day off to get bug dope and sunscreen and decide on one of several itineraries:

Tour A — The Kenai Peninsula:  Start early and take the beautiful drive along Turnagain Arm. Make plans to go on the National Park Tour from Seward with Kenai Fjords Tours or Major Marine. Spend the night. Get up early and have breakfast at the Smoke Shack, aka “The Train Wreck.” It’s awesome. Go see Woody, the giant sea lion at the Alaska Sealife Center. Check out all the exhibits: see puffins, seals, king crab — the works. Then drive over for a scenic float or fishing trip on the upper Kenai River. It’s beautiful. Continue to Homer and spend the night. The next day, have breakfast at Two Sisters. It’s a glorious bakery with the world’s best cinnamon buns. I am not making this up. Catch a ride with Mako’s Water Taxi for a glacier hike across Kachemak Bay. Bring your camera — it’s awesome. Spend another night before driving back to Anchorage. Eat at Fat Olive’s.

Tour B — Denali: Take the Alaska Railroad north from Anchorage to Denali. You’ll get to the park in time to go for a raft trip on the Nenana River. But get to bed early so you can catch the early bus for the 6-hour wilderness tour, which leaves at 6 a.m. You’ll see critters — bear, moose and caribou — and if you’re lucky, Denali will poke her head out of the clouds.

Tour C — Kennicott and Valdez: I call this the Golden Circle route. Get an early start to drive from Anchorage up the Matanuska Valley to Glennallen, then south on the Richardson Highway. Stop at the Copper River Princess for lunch—and to use the free wi-fi! Then, head to the Chitina Airport and catch a ride with Wrangell Mountain Air back to McCarthy. Stay at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge for two nights. You can walk on a glacier, take a history walk through the old mining town of Kennicott and climb up to the old mining sites overlooking the glacial valley. It’s truly spectacular, deep in the heart of Wrangell St. Elias National Park.

Then, fly back to Chitina and drive south to Valdez. Take a Columbia Glacier cruise with Stan Stephens Cruises. Spend the night. Have dinner at the Fat Mermaid. The next morning drive your car on the Alaska Ferry for a trip across Prince William Sound. You’ll end up in Whittier, just 60 miles from Anchorage. Drive through the tunnel. Stop in Girdwood and eat dinner at Chair 5.

You will be famous with your friends, leaving them begging for more awesome adventures, and cement your worldwide reputation as an Alaska travel expert.

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    Ekwok man pleads down in attempted murder case

    by Dave Bendinger / KDLG on Feb 13, 10:21

    Michael J. Kawaglia, 45, reached a deal with state prosecutors and pleaded guilty to second degree assault Wednesday. Kawaglia had originally been charged with a number of crimes, including attempted first degree murder, for a vicious assault against his mother in September 2014. The unprovoked attack happened early morning at the woman’s Ekwok home. According […]

  • Sports

    In Willow, return of Iditarod is more about pride than money

    by Eric Ruble on Feb 13, 9:40

    In less than one month, the area around Willow Lake will be jammed with more than 15,000 people for the Iditarod restart. It was announced Friday that the restart will take place at its traditional home in Willow, as opposed to Fairbanks, where the restart was relocated last year due to a lack of snow. […]

  • News

    Mat-Su man rebuilding after being conned by woman he met online

    by Bonney Bowman on Feb 12, 22:36

    A Mat-Su Valley man is picking up the pieces after being conned by a woman he met on an online dating website. When Kenneth Wilson met Rebecca Elise on the dating site plentyoffish.com, it wasn’t necessarily love at first message. “I was a little bit stand-offish at first because obviously she wasn’t a resident of […]

  • News

    Illegal off-roading has hazardous consequences on Palmer Hay Flats

    by Heather Hintze on Feb 12, 22:06

    Don’t drive on the Palmer Hay Flats. That’s message from managers of the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge after not one, but two vehicles have gone through thin ice this winter. Off-roading on the refuge is illegal without a permit. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game only issues permits to vehicles like snow […]

  • News

    Family of Barrow man killed by police officer considers legal help

    by Shannon Ballard on Feb 12, 21:21

    Family members are remembering volunteer fire chief Vincent Nageak III, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting early Wednesday morning. As they wait for further details about what lead to his death, they plan on hiring legal help to get the story straight. Nageak’s family spent Friday making funeral arrangements, sharing memories and collecting pictures. His […]

  • Politics

    Alaska governor, House speaker team up to knock ‘em down

    by Liz Raines on Feb 12, 21:08

    Alaska Governor Bill Walker and House speaker Rep. Mike Chenault may come from different political parties, but this session they’re playing on the same team, at least on Thursday nights. Walker is the first governor to join the legislative bowling league. It’s a non-partisan tradition that includes legislative staff and pages. But up until now, […]

  • News

    Chocolate-covered strawberries a Valentine’s Day hit in Nome

    by Rhonda McBride on Feb 12, 20:05

    Most of Nome’s urban creature comforts come to town on a jet. Locals usually load up when they’re in Anchorage, which is common to Alaska bush life. “We travel with tubs,” said Trinh Johnson, who was just returning to Nome on a flight from Anchorage. “We don’t have luggage.” The impulse to stock up is […]

  • News

    Anchorage Fire Dept. responds to chimney fire at Midtown duplex

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 12, 19:24

    Last Updated: Fri., Feb. 12 at 8:30 p.m. Emergency crews were called to the scene of a structure fire at 545 W. 19th Ave. in the Midtown neighborhood shortly before 7 p.m. Friday. The fire apparently started in the chimney of a second floor fireplace, the homeowner told KTVA at the scene. He said most of […]