4 Days in Whittier, Eagle River & the Mat-Su Valley
Mid-May through mid-September
Why This Trip?
This quick trip gives you a little taste of some varied Alaskan landscapes and is perfect for cruise travelers disembarking in Whittier. That's where this itinerary begins, and where glaciers and wildlife are on the docket. Then move on to Alaska's largest city, Anchorage, which will be your base as you head inland to the activity-filled area of Palmer/Wasilla.
Day in Whittier - Overnight in Anchorage
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Prince William Sound is a must-see for many travelers to Alaska, and it's easy to understand why: This area's filled with glaciers as well as unique marine wildlife and birds. You can explore it on a half- or full-day cruise and get an up-close view of the massive blue glaciers as you keep an eye out for whales, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and puffins. Or get even more intimate with the landscape by paddling a kayak or taking a Jet Ski out onto the water. Then make the 60-mile trip by train or motorcoach to Anchorage, where you'll spend the night.
Anchorage - Day in Palmer / Wasilla - Return to Anchorage
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Pick up your rental car in Anchorage for the 45-mile drive to the Palmer/Wasilla area. Along the way, make a stop to see some cool creatures. At the Musk Ox Farm, you can see one of the Arctic's oldest living species; there are 80-some musk ox here. And at the Reindeer Farm, you'll have the chance to pet a reindeer! Then explore the backcountry on an ATV tour with Glacier View, where you'll drive your own machine across the Alaskan tundra, with views of the Matanuska Glacier. Afterwards, head back to Anchorage for a relaxing evening
Day in Eagle River
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Stretch your legs and explore the Eagle River Greenbelt, a network of trails that wind through the river bottom. For a start, visit the Eagle River Loop Bridge Access (Briggs Bridge) to connect to the Lower Eagle River Trail for hiking and mountain biking, with connections downstream to the campground and upstream to the South Fork and Barbara Falls. If you'd like to take a hike with a local expert, check out Go Hike Alaska! The Eagle River Nature Center offers great trails to explore along with a salmon viewing platform with jaw-dropping views.
If you crave outdoor recreation, get out on the water by kayak, canoe or paddleboard with AK Paddlesports. They offer top-flight equipment for rent (and recommendations on where to go) along with expert-guided kayaking tours and lessons.
If you'd rather have a day to relax, you can see another side of Eagle River or Anchorage and the gorgeous surrounding area. Opt to take a small-group tour with Escaping Anchorage, whose owner, Brittney, creates personalized 3-7 hour adventures featuring beautiful scenery and real insights in their comfortable, temperature controlled vehicle.
Return to Anchorage for dinner.
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Take advantage of your final day by experiencing the best of Alaska's largest city. You have lots of fun options for a city tour, like taking a narrated trolly ride around to see the hot spots. Love to bike? Go on a bicycle tour with Alaska Trail Guides. And if you're into visiting breweries, Anchorage is a great place to do it. The Big Swig Brewery Tour gives you a sampling of the innovative beverages being brewed here. Finish out the day at one of the city's world-class restaurants.