Arrive & Overnight in Anchorage
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Fly into Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. When selecting your hotel, consider the space you need for your family. Several hotels in Anchorage offer suites; you could also opt for a vacation rental home. Renting a car will give you the flexibility you need when traveling with young kids. Pick up your rental car directly from the airport or after you check in to your accommodation at an off-airport location (which may be a little less expensive).
After settling in, take a leisurely walk in the Delaney Park Strip, a large green space in downtown Anchorage, or visit nearby playgrounds at Elderberry Park or near Westchester Lagoon. Then head to Potter Marsh Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk, where kids can see various bird species and may even spot a moose or two. You could also choose to rent bikes and ride along the stunning Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
Day in Mat-Su & Overnight in Talkeetna
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Drive north into the Mat-Su Valley. Some ideas to spend the day include:
- About 60 miles north of Anchorage is Hatcher Pass, where you can stop for scenic views and a small hike to enjoy alpine vistas and seasonal wildflower displays.
- Visit the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska’s largest road-accessible glacier, where you’ll find glacier trekking opportunities for those ages 2 and up.
- For some family-friendly fun, visit the Reindeer Farm in Palmer, where you can interact with reindeer and learn about these fascinating creatures.
End the day by driving to Talkeetna. From Hatcher Pass or the Reindeer Farm it's just under 2 hours. From the Matanuska Glacier it's about 2.5 hours.
Day & Overnight in Talkeetna
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There’s a lot to do in the Talkeetna area. A float trip is a great way to see the region and get views of Mt. Denali. Opt for a gentle, 3-hour float trip on Willow Creek, or try the Chulitna Float Trip if everyone is at least 8 years old. You can also rent a kayak or join a guided kayaking tour to explore Talkeetna’s system of lakes. Visit Talkeetna Lakes Park if the kids want to do some light exploring before dinner, then spend the night in Talkeetna.
Drive from Talkeetna to Denali
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Start early for the 2- to 2.5-hour drive to Denali, then check into your accommodation for a two-night stay. A lodge at the park’s entrance is a great place for families with younger kids and allows for an immersive experience with access to amazing outdoor activities.
Then take a guided bike or hiking tour through the park, or opt for a self-guided experience. You can also enjoy the thrill of flightseeing. It’s by far the best way to see Mt. Denali, and there’s no age requirement.
Day in Denali National Park
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Continue to explore the park! ATV tours are perfect for all ages and allow you to get views of Denali National Park and the region’s wildlife while having a blast! You’ll experience the thrill of splashing through water as you cruise across the Alaskan tundra, heading deep into the Alaskan backcountry.
Or sample the iconic sport of dogsledding. Located just half an hour south of Denali National Park near Cantwell, Squid Acres Kennel offers year-round dogsled adventures. During summer, enthusiastic dogs pull a side-by-side wheeled cart along trails with a Denali view. These private tours, led by expert guides, provide personalized experiences for your group. Additionally, you can explore the Denali National Park sled dog kennels. Free demonstrations are conducted by a National Park Ranger 2–3 times daily from May to September, and there’s a complimentary shuttle from the Denali Visitor Center.