5 Day National Parks Highlights (Denali & Kenai Fjords)

5 Days

Season

Mid-May through mid-September

Transportation

Car Train Motorcoach

Why This Trip?

Get a sampling of two iconic national parks and two very different Alaskan landscapes. Denali National Park lets you explore the wilderness of the state's interior; you'll then head to Kenai Fjords National Park, where you'll experience the beauty of glaciers and marine wildlife.

Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive in Anchorage - Travel to Denali


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Arrive in bustling Anchorage and grab your rental car or head to the train or bus station. It's a little over 4 hours to drive to Denali, about 6 hours by bus, and almost 8 hours by train; all are stunningly scenic trips. If there's time when you arrive, head to the park's visitor center to start getting acquainted with this vast expanse of nature.

Day 2

Day & Overnight in Denali


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Today, you'll spend all day exploring the beauty of this park. Private vehicles are not allowed beyond mile 15, so you'll explore by bus. Opt for the National Park Service's hop-on, hop-off transit bus, or take a narrated tour. Spend 7-8 hours traveling 62 miles into the park on the Tundra Wilderness tour, or take 12 hours and go all 92 miles to the end, at Kantishna. Along the way, look for wildlife and of course, North America's tallest peak.

Day 3

Morning in Denali - Return to Anchorage


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If there's time in the morning, squeeze in a tour before heading to Anchorage. Perhaps you'll go rafting, which gets you out quickly into the wilderness along either calm or fast-moving glacial rivers. Go flightseeing and get a bird's-eye view of the vast Alaska Range as well as the summit of Denali. Enjoy some river rafting, go for a guided hike, or take a Jeep/ATV tour and drive yourself over the tundra. Then head back to Anchorage (trains depart ) and explore the world-class restaurants and fun bars.

Day 4

Day & Overnight in Seward


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From Anchorage, it's a 2.5-hour drive or bus ride, or a 4-hour train ride ride south to this quaint seaside town. If you're driving, stop along Turnagain Arm to look for Dall sheep and beluga whales. Once in Seward, take a sea kayaking tour and go paddling out on the shimmering waters. Visit Exit Glacier, which is just a 10- to 15-minute drive from town; a 20-minute walk brings you right up to the mountain of blue ice, where you can listen to it crackle. Or drop by the Alaska SeaLife Center—an aquarium and research facility where you can get an up-close view of Alaska's unique marine creatures, like Stellar sea lions and harbor seals, as well as birds like puffins.

Day 5

Morning in Seward - Return to Anchorage


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It's your last day, but you'll have time for a magical day cruise. Don't miss this opportunity! Jaw-droppingly beautiful, Kenai Fjords National Park plays host to some of the state's most spectacular fjords and glaciers. And several great tour operators offer half-day cruises that take you out to witness their majesty and experience the thrill of a calving glacier. You'll also be on the lookout for willdlife like whales and sea otters. Interested in fishing? Book a charter and head out angling for halibut, salmon, lingcod, and rockfish. You'll arrive back in Seward in time to catch the train or motorcoach back to Anchorage, where you can pick up some souvenirs before flying home!