Why This Trip?
You'll get a great flavor for the scenic area south of Anchorage. And there's a lot to experience: a roadside glacier, the wildlife and glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park, the mountains around Girdwood, and great fishing and hiking.
Arrive in Anchorage - Day in Girdwood
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After arriving in Anchorage, pick up your rental car and make the 40-mile drive to Girdwood; the incredibly scenic route is a great introduction to the beauty of Alaska. Look for Dall sheep and beluga whales along the way. Once there, visit the 1898-era Crow Creek Mine, where you can pan for your own gold; go for a hike; or ride the Alyeska Resort Aerial Tramway for a spectacular panoramic view!
Day & Overnight in Seward
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Make the 90-mile drive to the quaint seaside town of Seward. Explore the shops and galleries, but be sure to make time for a visit to 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. Also, don't miss the unique opportunity of walking right up to the face of a glacier! Exit Glacier 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.
Day & Overnight in Seward
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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- or full-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 willdife like whales and sea otters. Interested in fishing? Book a charter and head out angling for halibut, salmon, lingcod, and rockfish.
Day & Overnight in Cooper Landing
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Today, you'll make the one-hour drive to Cooper Landing. Get out and stretch your legs along one of the amazing hiking trails, which may take you past alpine lakes and wildflower-filled valleys. You can also experience a relaxing rafting trip out on the turquoise Kenai River. Surrounded by lush forests with mountains climbing high in the distance, you'll float down the river, learning about the history of the area and looking out for wildlife. And if you didn't go fishing in Seward (or want to do more of it), this is an excellent place to angle!
Scenic Drive from Cooper Landing to Anchorage
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Today, you'll drive back to Anchorage, which will take almost 4.5 hours. If you have time, drop by the 200-acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where you'll get an up-close view of some of the state's unique creatures. Another option is to visit Portage Glacier, where you'll often see big blue icebergs along the shore of the lake by the parking area. Take the one-hour boat cruise to get close to the glacier, or spend time at the Begich Boggs Visitor Center to learn more about this special area.