Alaska is a remote destination for most travelers, and it can take a considerable amount of time just to get here. You’ll want to get the most out of every moment, especially if you only have a week to 10 days. And while driving from place to place in Alaska allows you to see some phenomenal scenery, covering the distances involved in a car can really cut into the time you can spend at each destination.
Our recommendation is to mix in a few flights to cut down on driving time. Another bonus: the scenery from above can be just as breathtaking! Here are a few sample itineraries highlighting popular Alaska locations that may be on your list already.
Anchorage – Fairbanks – Anchorage (plus options for Arctic exploration)
We recommend at least 2 nights in Fairbanks, especially if you plan on further adventuring into the Arctic. Since Fairbanks is on the road and rail system, you could drive there in about 7 hours, or travel by train in twelve hours. Hop on a flight, though, and you’ll be there in about 1 hour. RavnAir offers several flights a day.
Driving or taking the train allows for a stop in Denali National Park, which is on the route from Anchorage to Fairbanks. If you want to incorporate Denali into your vacation, get a one-way vehicle rental or take the train from Anchorage and fly home (or the opposite).
If you don’t plan to stop in Denali, fly round-trip. On a clear day, keep a look out, as you’ll be able to see Denali (Mt. McKinley) from above!
Day 1 – Anchorage to Fairbanks morning flight. Explore the city, from walks along the Chena River to paddlewheel riverboat excursions. See our list of recommended Fairbanks activities here.
Day 2 – While you’re this far north, go for the full Arctic experience! In the summer you might rent an SUV to drive along the Dalton Highway. Or book a flightseeing tour to visit an Arctic village. In the fall, you can catch a RavnAir Connect flight to Utqiagvik/Barrow and on to Kaktovik for polar bear viewing. In the winter, be sure to seek out the mesmerizing Northern Lights.
Day 3 – Fit in one more Fairbanks attraction before an evening flight back to Anchorage.
Anchorage – Homer – Kodiak – Anchorage
Homer is a 5-hour drive from Anchorage, and Kodiak is only accessible by air or a 9-hour ferry ride from Homer. It can feel daunting to fit both into a 7-10 day Alaska vacation, but opting for a multi-city flight with RavnAir originating in Anchorage allows you to enjoy a visit to both. Homer and Kodiak are both gorgeous destinations that offer world-class fishing and bear-viewing. Here’s a suggested 6-day itinerary incorporating both towns.
Day 1 – Anchorage to Homer morning flight. Take in beautiful views of the Kenai Peninsula and Cook Inlet on this 40-minute flight. Walk along the Homer Spit, which bustles with activity in the summer. You’ll find charter operators, funky art shops, local seafood, and miles of beachcombing. See our list of Homer attractions and day tours.
Day 2 – Take the day to explore beyond Homer. Enjoy a halibut fishing charter, fly over to Katmai for coastal brown bear viewing, or catch a water taxi across Kachemak Bay to explore Seldovia’s quaint boardwalk.
Day 3 – Spend the morning in Homer, and then take an afternoon flight to Kodiak (via Anchorage). You’ll arrive in the evening.
Day 4/5 – Kodiak is yours to explore! Go bear viewing, rent a car to explore the road system & more. See our list of recommended activities and attractions in Kodiak.
Day 6 – Your flight back to Anchorage will take 1 hour and 10 minutes. There are a few flights each day, so you can fit in another museum or last walk along the beach before your afternoon or evening flight to Anchorage.
Anchorage – Valdez – Anchorage
While you can drive to Valdez from Anchorage, it will take about 6.5 hours. The flight takes about 40 minutes on RavnAir. On a clear day, it’s a breathtaking sight of fjords, glaciers, and jagged mountaintops.
Day 1 – Anchorage to Valdez morning flight. On a stroll around town, you’re sure to see some of the town’s ubiquitous downtown residents: feral bunnies (really!).
Days 2 and 3 – In summer, you’ve got lots of options: Cruise Prince William Sound and visit the massive Columbia Glacier, go on a sea kayaking expedition, or rent a car and drive to see waterfalls or the Worthington Glacier. In winter, it’s all about the backcountry. Valdez is a mecca for heli-skiing (and boarding). You can also ice-climb up a waterfall, power through the powder on a snowmobile excursion, or enjoy a quiet cross-country skiing adventure. See our full list of activities in and around Valdez.
Day 4 – Return to Anchorage.