Arrive & Overnight in Fairbanks
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Fly into Fairbanks, rent a car, and check into your accommodation—you’ll be spending the next three nights in the city. You’ll find an abundance of options, including B&Bs, wilderness lodges, and hotels. Take it easy in the afternoon and let your kids adjust to the new surroundings. Explore the immediate vicinity, play at a nearby park, or just enjoy some downtime. If you have time, check out the Fairbanks Children’s Museum for interactive exhibits tailored to young children, enjoy Pioneer Park, or explore the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, where kids can see ducks, geese, and other birds.
River Fun in Fairbanks
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Begin your day on the Chena River with the family-friendly Riverboat Discovery Tour, which is perfect for kids under 5. This 3.5-hour tour on an authentic sternwheeler offers engaging stops where children can learn about dog mushing, bush pilots, and Alaska Native culture. The tour’s interactive nature and visual stimulation make it ideal for young minds. The tour blends educational entertainment with outdoor exposure, providing an enriching and enjoyable experience for both kids and adults while exploring the Chena River’s scenic beauty and history. Bonus: It’s free for children 2 and under. After your tour, enjoy a picnic lunch at Pioneer Park, which offers play areas and a playground perfect for little ones.
Dog Sledding in Fairbanks
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Begin your day with a hearty breakfast to fuel your family’s energy for the upcoming adventure. Head to a reputable dog-mushing facility that offers summer tours, where you’ll meet and pet the friendly, enthusiastic sled dogs. Enjoy a short dog-sled ride on a cart or ATV while a musher guides and narrates the experience. This activity gives kids a taste of the thrill of dog mushing, even in the summer months. End the day by exploring Fairbanks shops and restaurants.
Drive from Fairbanks to Denali
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Today you’re heading to iconic Denali National Park, about 2.5 hours away. Private vehicles aren’t allowed in the park, so to explore the park by vehicle, you need to take a bus tour. With small kids, however, exploring the area on foot may be your best bet. Take a guided, fully customizable half- or full-day hike, or just explore the many trails on your own. Another popular—and dramatic—activity is a scenic flightseeing tour. These vary in length, so you can pick one perfect for your crew. For a truly immersive Denali experience, spend the night at one of the wilderness lodges located at the park’s gates.
Day in Denali & Back to Fairbanks
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For your final day, make the most of your accommodation’s gorgeous location! Continue to explore the region by going on hikes and walks, pointing out wildlife, flora, and fauna to the kiddos. Keep an eye out for moose, caribou, and Dall sheep—Denali’s ecosystem provides ample opportunities for families with young kids to discover new things. Stop at a scenic location for a picnic before starting your drive back to Fairbanks for your departing flight.