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 bustling Anchorage.
Arrive & Overnight in 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. Then 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. Of course, you'll also want to experience the city's fantastic bars and restaurants.
Fly from Anchorage to Katmai
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Today you'll embark on a special experience: flying to a wilderness lodge close to where you'll find some of the planet's best bear-viewing. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience you'll never forget. Begin with an incredibly scenic flight from Anchorage down to the Katmai coast; your destination will be a remote wilderness lodge, surrounded by Alaskan natural beauty and close to bears. If there's time, try some of the great fishing down here, or take a bus tour to the "Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes" and see the landscape created by the 20th-century's largest volcanic eruption.
Day & Overnight in Katmai
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Today you'll spend all day having the experience that many only dream of: watching bears in the wild! And you'll be doing it at Brooks Falls, where some of the most iconic images of bears standing in a river swiping at salmon have been taken. Standing on a Park Service viewing platform, you'll see this amazing scene play out: As salmon pool at a waterfall, trying to make the jump upstream, bears are standing in the river waiting for them. Get your own photographs of this classic scene!
Morning in Katmai - Overnight in Anchorage
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If there's time before you leave, get one last tour or activity in. Perhaps you'll do some angling for your own fish, or go for a hike amid the beautiful wilderness of this area. You'll then head back to Anchorage by plane, once again soaking up all the gorgeous scenery from the air.
Scenic Drive from Anchorage to Seward
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Make the 2.5-hour 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 wildlife like whales and sea otters. Interested in fishing? Book a charter and head out angling for halibut, salmon, lingcod, and rockfish.
Drive from Seward to Girdwood
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Today you'll make the 1.5 hour drive to Girdwood. 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. Once in Girdwood, 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 Anchorage
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Today you'll be heading back to Anchorage. It's only a 45-minute drive, so take advantage of the day and go flightseeing. Take off in a helicopter and get a bird's-eye view of the spectacular terrain, including snow-capped peaks and shimmering waters. You can even land on a glacier and experience the iconic Alaskan sport of dog sledding!