Why This Trip?
This unforgettable 11-day tour is a fantastic way to experience 4 of Alaska's 8 amazing national parks. See some of the most beautiful, iconic scenery as you travel around, from shimmering seas to towering mountains and icy blue glaciers. You'll also see tons of wildlife. Experience bears feasting on salmon, marine wildlife and other land animals, and majestic birds.
Fly to Juneau
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Enjoy your direct flight from Anchorage or Seattle into Juneau. Once you get settled, your first outing should be to see Alaska's capital city from above. Hop on the Goldbelt Tram and skim the tops of spruce trees as you ascend to the top of 3,819-foot Mount Roberts and enjoy breathtaking views. If you have some time left, go panning for gold (and keep what you find!) and learn about the history of gold mining here.
Day & Overnight in Juneau
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Enjoy a full day in this gorgeous city that's surrounded by towering peaks. Today, you'll be getting out to see wildlife! You'll find some fun options for whale-watching, bear viewing, and dog sledding! All tours offer stunning views of the surrounding area. If there's availability, you can even do both bear viewing and dog sledding in the same day...and both tours begin with a spectacular flightseeing trip!
Fly from Juneau to Glacier Bay National Park
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Daily jet service is available from Juneau to Gustavus, or take a connecting flight through Juneau if you're flying from Anchorage. Take the free shuttle to the Lodge. Once you've settled in, head to the National Park Visitor Center (located on the second floor of the lodge). View the exhibits, check the schedule for evening presentations and ask for recommendations from the National Park Ranger for a nice afternoon walk, like the one-mile Forest Loop Trail. Head back to the lodge for dinner, which you can enjoy inside or out on the deck.
Day & Overnight in Glacier Bay National Park
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Board the lodge's catamaran to get a close-up look at the bay’s massive, tidewater glaciers, a much more intimate experience than the typical visitor gets from the deck of a large cruise ship. You may also see whales, bears, and mountain goats. This 8-hour tour is the only day tour permitted inside Glacier Bay National Park. Lunch is served on board and the trip is narrated by a National Park Ranger. You'll return to the lodge at 3:30 p.m., with plenty of time to enjoy another hike near the lodge before dinner.
Day & Overnight in Anchorage
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Today you'l fly to Alaska's largest city. Anchorage serves up tons of amazing culture, shopping, dining, and nightlife. The hardest part will be deciding what to do. Ask your hotel front desk for nearby spots to shop and grab a bite. Even if your flight lands late in the day, the midnight sun will still be up and you'll have plenty of daylight! With an extra couple hours you could head downtown to visit the Anchorage Museum and catch a shuttle to the Alaska Native Heritage Museum, go for a hike, or just explore the bustling downtown.
Fly out of Anchorage for Bear Viewing
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Today you'll have the truly unforgettable experience of seeing bears in the wild! You'll fly south from Anchorage on a full-day tour; depending on the time of year, you'll go to either Lake Clark National Park & Preserve or Katmai National Park & Preserve. Your tour company will know where to find the best bear viewing! Once you've seen bears fishing for salmon and are back in Anchorage, ask at the front desk for the best place to enjoy your own seafood dinner. You can also visit one of the many local breweries and sample some authentic Alaskan suds.
Drive from Anchorage to Denali National Park
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Spend this day witnessing Alaska's beauty from the road. Rent a car for the 4.5-hour drive north to Denali National Park. Break up the trip by stopping for a meal in the beautiful Palmer/Wasilla area or the authentic pioneer town of Talkeetna. Once you've checked into your hotel, get some insider info about the park at one of the information centers. For dinner, drive 10 minutes north to the town of Healy, where you'll find the delicious 49th State Brewing Company. Or learn about Alaska's Gold Rush history as you take in a hilarious show with a dinner theater experience. Don't have a car? Don't worry! The Alaska Railroad travels from Anchorage to Denali; all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the views.
Day & Overnight in Denali National Park
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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.
An alternative to a bus on the Park Road is to ride a bike! Bike Denali offers afternoon, full-day, and multi-day rentals. Bike from the park entrance, or put your bike on a shuttle to catch a ride into the park and then pedal out!
Travel from Denali National Park to Anchorage
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If there's time in the morning, squeeze in an extra tour. Perhaps you'll go rafting, which gets you out quickly into the wilderness along either calm or fast-moving glacial rivers. Then it's time to make the trip back to Anchorage. If you're taking the train, it departs at 12:30pm and gets into Anchorage at 8 pm.
Travel from Anchorage to Seward
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Today you'll travel south to Seward and witness stunning Kenai Fjords National Park. From Anchorage, you can drive or take the train; both will give you enough time to go for a day cruise. It's an experience you won't soon forget. This jaw-dropping beautiful park plays host to some of the state's most spectacular fjords and glaciers. And several great tour operators run 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. Spend the night in Seward.
Scenic Drive from Seward to Anchorage
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It's your last day in Alaska, so make the most of it! If you have time, 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. If you're driving, don't miss 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. Another option to break up the drive is to stop in Girdwood, where you can eat lunch or dinner at Jack Sprat. All of these options make for the perfect final day!