We are hoping to take an inside passage trip to Alaska and then will spend another week to ten days there. Any suggestions on side trips and what to do with the additional days (other than glaciers and flying would be delightfully accepted! We want to make the most of this trip!
Would you be arriving in Seward? Seward is the base for Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords Tours offers day cruises to see active tidewater glaciers and wildlife in the fjords. There are also sea kayaking tours. You may not be interested in this depending on what you see on your trip up through the Inside Passage. Exit Glacier is about a 30 minute drive from Seward. You can do a short walk to get a view of Exit Glacier, or go on a more challenging and very worthwhile hike up to the Harding Icefield.
If you don't rent a car, you could take a train from Seward to Anchorage and further to Denali National Park where North America's highest mountain is located (Mt McKinley or Denali). The train lets you out right at the park's visitor center, and you can get around on buses from there. You'd need a minimum of 2 nights here, 3 would be better.If you are in Alaska in July or early September, you could fly from Anchorage to Brooks Camp Seaplane Base in Katmai National Park to see the coastal brown bears fishing for salmon. I have more detailed info on this in a prior question I answered, http://www.trippy.com/question/Alaska-Where-to-see-the-grizzly-bears An awesome off-the-beaten path trip is to McCarthy and Kennecott Mines in America's largest national park, Wrangell-St Elias National Park. You can fly to McCarthy or take the more adventurous way in and go by road. Most car rental companies don't allow their vehicles to be taken on the McCarthy Road, as it is unsealed, so that could be problematic. Once there, you don't need a car. There are several hikes you can do, as well as glacier hiking or ice climbing on the Root Glacier. Flight-seeing here with Wrangell Mountain Air is AMAZING! Lodging is very limited and I'd recommend the Kennicott Glacier Lodge as the best option: http://www.kennicottlodge.com/ Stay at least 2 nights, 3 would be better. In order to avoid disappointment or getting stuck without a place to stay - book far in advance for all the places you plan to go in Alaska.
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