Romantic 20th anniversary trip to Alaska....What are your ideas?
Hi Betsy. I just got back from Alaska. Ours was more of an adventure trip, but here's what I would suggest – modify to suit your taste and budget.
Anchorage – most flights will land here so it's hard not to avoid. The city has some great restaurants (I highly recommend Orso downtown), but you'll probably want to spend most of your time elsewhere.
We took the Alaska Railroad Gold Star to Denali National Park. The train is a great experience on its own – goes through some beautifully majestic wilderness. Talkeetna was recommended as a fun, funky little town but we only stopped there to take on passengers – didn't get to see much of it.
Splurge at Denali and stay at Denali Bluffs Hotel or its sister property, the Grande Denali Lodge (higher up, better views) and dine at the Alpenglow Restaurant for a really special experience. Take the all-day bus tour into Denali which travels the entire 93-mile road to Kantishna Roadhouse. It's not luxury travel, but you'll see some amazing landscapes and wildlife, and if you're lucky, the highest mountain in North America (we got a glimpse of it above the clouds).
I'm really glad we stayed at Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood and dined at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant which sits on top of the ski mountain. You get there by tram car. No matter the season, it's a spectacular resort property with plenty to do.
A place I would have liked to stay longer is the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge at Cooper Landing. It was so serene, and the rooms were the best we had anywhere in Alaska. There are hiking trails on property and the gorgeous Kenai river and lake where you can fish for salmon, if that's your thing (I would have done it if we'd planned for more time there).
We took two day cruises, one out of Whittier (the 26-Glacier cruise) and one out of Seward to Kenai Fjords National Park – both included plenty of wildlife sightings (whales, sea otters, sea lions, eagles, puffins) and close-up viewings of glaciers. Again, it's not luxury travel, but an experience you'll remember the rest of your life. The Seward Windsong Lodge was another comfortable place to stay.
Hope you enjoy your visit to Alaska!
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