Why This Trip?
Witnessing bears in the wild is at the top of many Alaska visitors' wish lists, and this itinerary gives you a full day in one of the classic bear-viewing spots. It also offers the chance for another iconic experience: getting up close to massive glaciers and icebergs as you look for marine wildlife. Plus, you'll also have time to get a flavor for all of the things happening in Anchorage.
Arrive & Overnight Anchorage
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Welcome to Anchorage! Take today to explore Alaska's largest city. Walk or bike the dramatic, 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Go on a city tour via trolley or bike to get an overview, or join a brewery tour and sample some of the innovative suds being brewed here. Of course, you'll also want to experience the city's fantastic bars and restaurants.
Fly to Katmai National Park or Lake Clark National Park
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Today you'll have an exceptionally unique experience: witnessing the majesty of bears in the wild. Better yet, it's an easy day trip that includes spectacular flightseeing. A tour company will pick you up at your hotel and you'll take off on a scenic flight to a bear-viewing hot spot like Katmai or Lake Clark, both national parks. Spend time watching these amazing creatures fish for salmon and playing.
Day & Overnight in Girdwood
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Today you'll make the 40-mile drive to Girdwood, an incredibly scenic route along Turnagain Arm. 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!
Drive from Girdwood to Seward
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Make the 90-mile drive to the quaint seaside town of Seward. Explore the shops and galleries or go for an outing in a kayak. Either way, 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.
Scenic Drive from Seward to Anchorage
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Today it's time to drive back to Anchorage. 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.
Final Day in Anchorage
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Spend your final day experiencing parts of Anchorage you didn't have the chance to see on your first day. It's the perfect chance to get an in-depth picture of the city and state at the Anchorage Museum, or visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center for a dose of history and culture. Don't forget to shop for some souvenirs before you depart!