Zhanna, the storyteller behind Roads and Destinations is sharing the last word weekend in Alaska highway journey itinerary!
Alaska has been on my bucket record for so long as I can keep in mind. Sadly, succumbing to common perception, I assumed I would want at the least every week to go to the Final Frontier.
For a full-time accounting assistant with simply two weeks of trip a 12 months, it didn’t appear to be this dream might grow to be a actuality. However with a number of days put aside for a protracted weekend, I assumed to myself, why not? We had been touring within the US on weekends and holidays earlier than. Why couldn’t we make Alaska occur?
For our weekend Alaska highway journey itinerary, we centered on the southcentral area of the state. With many direct flights from Los Angeles to Anchorage, we spent most of our 3.5 days exploring this a part of Alaska, slightly than ready at airports.
Though Anchorage is the biggest metropolis within the state, it’s an ideal vacation spot to begin your weekend highway journey in Alaska. Its huge parks and nature facilities provide you with an opportunity to immerse within the pure fantastic thing about the state with out driving farther away from town.
Close by cities and dramatic landscapes similar to Kenai Fjords National Park introduce you to rural and unspoiled Alaska, so you actually get to expertise so much in a brief period of time.
Right here’s the last word weekend in Alaska highway journey itinerary!
The Greatest Time to Go to
For the reason that climate in Alaska is unpredictable and winters are harsh, the most effective time to go on a highway journey in Southern Alaska is from April till mid-September. Regardless that the temperatures are nonetheless low in spring, the state—together with its wildlife—slowly begins to get up. Presently the roads are fairly clear from snow.
From the center of March, ship cruises begin resuming their operations—which is nice information for many who plan to discover Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park.
Visiting Alaska in winter has its personal appeal. Definitely, not all locations on this weekend Alaska highway journey itinerary are accessible throughout the snowy season. Nonetheless, winter festivals in Anchorage and different outside actions are fairly beautiful!
On prime of that, it turns into simpler to succeed in Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords and Portage Glacier in Turnagain Arm as soon as lakes freeze stable.
Yow will discover extra info on the best time to travel to Alaska here.
The place to Keep
Since Anchorage is the most important and most populous metropolis in Alaska, it provides lodging for all tastes and preferences. From large chains similar to Hilton and Marriott to small and cheap mattress and breakfasts like Deal’s Bed & Breakfast, town fits price range and luxurious vacationers alike.
It’s additionally the most suitable choice for many who despise altering lodging each evening. They will base themselves in Anchorage for the weekend and take two-day journeys to Whittier and Seward.
The drive time to those small cities is roughly 1.5 to 2.5 hours, respectively. If this wasn’t a great factor already, lengthy summer time days permit for a number of further stops alongside the best way so as to add to this Alaska highway journey itinerary!
Those that want to journey at a slower tempo can spend one or two nights in inns and B&Bs in and close to Whittier.
Weekend Alaska Street Journey Highlights
- Turnagain Gallery and Items of Alaska, Fowl Creek
- The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Middle
- Williwaw Campground
- Portage Lake
Day One: Early Arrival in Anchorage
Issues to do in Anchorage rely on the time of your journey. Whereas in winter you select to spend extra time indoors and go to the Alaska Native Heritage Middle and the Anchorage Museum, spring and summer time are all about outside adventures.
Tony Knowles Coastal Path
Upon your early arrival in Anchorage, you may’t consider a greater exercise than hitting the Tony Knowles Coastal Path. The 11-mile climbing and biking path spreads from Second Avenue in downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park.
It ensures an effective way to stretch your legs after a protracted flight whereas admiring scenic views of town and its surrounding.
To save lots of time by not going forwards and backwards, you may proceed your hike or bike experience in Kincaid Park. Though the park has its personal lovely vistas, trails, and designated sports activities grounds, Alaska’s wildlife attracts the guests within the first place. Should you’re fortunate, you may see moose and black bears roaming freely right here.
Potter Marsh is one other nice vacation spot in Anchorage to come across wildlife—largely birds. Positioned on the southern finish of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, it’s dwelling to migratory and nesting birds similar to eagles, gulls, Arctic terns, and northern pintails.
Moose, beavers, and muskrats additionally frequent the marsh. Often, brown and black bears wander close by.
To the east of downtown Anchorage, Flattop Mountain allures locals and guests with a steep 1.5-mile path. The hike might be tiresome, however the views from the highest are value each effort of climbing this famed mountain.
Day Two: Anchorage to Whittier
The best way to make the most out of the weekend road trip in Alaska is by getting off the beaten path and exploring lesser-known places in between.
I’d recommend starting your second day early, so you can catch sunrise right outside Anchorage. Pullover anywhere along the Seward Highway and watch how the sky turns from purple to yellow and finally blue.
Once done, get back on the road and head to Whittier, exploring a few other places along the way.
Turnagain Gallery Alaska Art and Gifts
At mile marker 100 of the Seward Highway, about 20-minute drive south of Anchorage is located Turnagain Gallery Alaskan Arts and Gifts. The place options wooden sculptures, handmade jewellery, work, and glass artwork made by native artists.
All the pieces within the gallery is out there on the market. Be sure you test its operation hours earlier than your go to.
The Bake Store
For breakfast or brunch, cease at The Bake Shop in Girdwood to take pleasure in home made sourdough pancakes, candy rolls, sizzling or chilly sandwiches, and signature soups. The place additionally caters to vegans and vegetarians and provides veggie pizza, vegan soup, and contemporary salads to dig into.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Middle
As soon as again on the highway, take a look at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Positioned about one hour away from Anchorage, this non- revenue group focuses on offering high quality care and the most effective atmosphere for injured and orphaned animals.
Amongst its well-known residents, you may see the black and brown bears, moose, reindeer, and wooden bison.
For an opportunity to view spawning salmon in fall and hike to a glacier, make sure to go to the Williwaw Campground in Portage Valley.
With the towing glaciers and snowy massifs, the place has, arguably, a number of the finest views in Alaska. Hikers can’t get sufficient of the Blue Ice Path winding by way of woods and close to scenic lakes and ponds.
How beautiful is Portage Lake?
You may get a greater have a look at Portage Glacier from Portage Lake, which is positioned about eight minutes away from the campground. The lake freezes in winter, often round February, permitting for a protected 3-mile hike all the best way to the glacier.
Portage Glacier Cafe
Earlier than lastly heading to Whittier, go to Portage Glacier Cafe to benefit from the filling and cheap sizzling sandwiches and pies.
Spend the Remainder of the Day in Whittier
Whittier is without doubt one of the smallest cities in Alaska. Its inhabitants barely exceeds 200 folks. Although town is small, it provides loads of issues to do in at some point! From boat cruises to climbing and waterfalls chasing, Whittier retains including beautiful locations and outside actions to your Alaska highway journey itinerary.
Heads up: There is just one land entry to town by way of the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the longest (2.5 miles) freeway tunnel in North America.
Prime Issues to Do in Whittier
Portage Cross Path
No matter whether or not you select to beat the waters of Resurrection Bay and Prince William Sound or not, make sure to hit the Portage Cross Path. This reasonable 2-mile hike permits for the beautiful views of Portage Glacier and Portage Lake on the finish of the path.
You don’t need to miss Horsetail Falls! Misplaced in lush summer time greenery, a waterfall cascades off the mountain from a top of 330 toes and empties into the Lowe River.
The vast majority of the vacationers go to Whittier with one goal in thoughts: to embark on a cruise ship that takes them to Kenai Fjords National Park or Prince William Sound. On the draw back, town’s choices are restricted in comparison with close by Seward.
Prime Locations to Eat and Drink in Whittier
Oceanfront Cafe is without doubt one of the latest locations to eat in Whittier. The cafe is known for 2 issues: specialty coffees and a stunning view over Passage Canal.
Different issues to strive listed here are fish tacos, reindeer sausage canines, and salmon chowder served in sourdough bread bowls.
Wild Catch Cafe
Wild Catch Cafe is one other common vacation spot to seize a salmon burger or order contemporary clam chowder.
Cafe’s menu doesn’t embody many decisions, however no matter is on it guarantees to be satisfying and scrumptious. Although we didn’t dine right here, based mostly on my analysis, the place claims to have vegetarian and vegan choices as effectively.
Day Three: Whittier – Seward – Anchorage
Seward is positioned about 1 hour and 50 minutes away from Whittier. Gateway to Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park, it entices the adventurous vacationers with dozens of glaciers, scenic hikes, such water actions as paddling, and lovely views.
Prime Issues to Do in Seward
Identical to Whittier, Seward attracts the guests with ample bout excursions to see and discover a few of well-known Alaska’s glaciers. Yow will discover completely different tour operators in addition to excursions, various it their itineraries and length.
For half of the day, we cruised throughout Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park — reserve your spot on a boat tour here!
Two Lakes Park
Change the surroundings at Two Lakes Park. Whereas the blue waters and mountains caught your consideration earlier than, now it’s time to give attention to Alaska’s temperate rainforest! The spotlight of the park is a brief, lower than a mile loop by way of the woods stuffed with spruce bushes and small waterfalls.
Lowell Creek Waterfall
On the southern fringe of Seward, Lowell Creek Waterfall unveils its presence with the loud sound of pounding water. The waterfall is about close to a rustic highway and might be reached by automobile. No climbing is required.
Kenai Mountains – Turnagain Arm Nationwide Heritage Space
Kenai Mountains – Turnagain Arm Nationwide Heritage Space
In your approach again to Anchorage, cease at Kenai Mountains – Turnagain Arm Nationwide Heritage Space for a fast photoshoot throughout golden hour. Acknowledged for its compelling historic and cultural heritage and distinctive panorama, the place deserves at the least one full day.
Contemplating that you’ve just one weekend this time, this vacation spot generally is a legitimate purpose to go on one other highway journey in Alaska sooner or later.
Alaska is a superb place for scenic highway journeys. Whereas touring to northern elements of the state may ask for an extended trip, you don’t want greater than three days to hit all the most effective spots in Southcentral Alaska.
Take a look at these guides to see extra issues to do in your Alaska highway journey: