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Best places to visit in AK

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  • Best places to visit in AK

    I know this is not a "travel forum", but I figured who better to know the answer than pilots.
    If you were visiting AK and wanted to see the most you can with limited time and money what would you consider a "must-see".?
    Where would you fly into as your "base of operations"? Fairbanks since it is kinda centrally located? Someplace smaller like Talkeetna? Where would you have the most options to do fly-outs to other areas?
    I am interested in seeing the smaller towns, glaciers, mountains, wildlife, etc..I like small towns and out-of-the-way places..not crowded, touristy things...but, I will not have time and money to go everywhere in the state..since there is so much to see and do. Probably be summer month if that helps narrow things down.
    If there is a site I should look into that may help with this query, please let me know.
    Thanks.

  • #2
    So are you talking about taking a commercial flight up or flying your own plane? If you are flying your own plane, the weather will always determine where and when you will travel. Anchorage area (Wasilla, Birchwood, Palmer, Lake hood) is a nice base area because of maintenance and parts are easy to come by. If you get stuck with weather lots of great places to go see by car for the day. From there you can do fly-outs in any direction, bring camping gear and extra fuel cans. Plan several trips Wrangells and Kennicot mine/Vadez/Cordova. Lake clark pass/ Port Alsworth/ Dillingham/Aniakiak crater. Talkeetna/Nenana/Manley hot springs/Bettles/Deadhorse. McGrath/Flat/Nome/Kotzebue. are just a few. Like I said the weather will decide what you will see not you!!! If you fly a plane up plan on leaving it and making a second trip for the summer.

    If you are going to fly in and get a car/camper then Anchorage for sure. Fairbanks is just a long drive to anywhere.


    DENNY

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    • #3
      Originally posted by boneguy View Post
      So are you talking about taking a commercial flight up or flying your own plane?...
      It would be a commercial flight. And any fly-outs to neighboring areas would be commercial operators. I hope to do as much by car if possible to keep costs in line. May need to break the state down and concentrate on one area, and hope to hit the other areas at another time. Maybe fly into Anchorage and drive down toward Homer for a bit, etc. I'd like to stay a night or 2 in each location, and end up back in Anchorage to fly out..so, maybe I look at places that are within 8 hours drive of Anchorage at most.

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      • #4
        Anything east of the 152nd Meridian, in the summertime, is standing room only.... lines of RVs on the roads miles long, harbors, restaurants, shopping lines, trails, downtowns all crammed with people...
        " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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        • #5
          Originally posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
          I know this is not a "travel forum", but I figured who better to know the answer than pilots.
          If you were visiting AK and wanted to see the most you can with limited time and money what would you consider a "must-see".?
          Where would you fly into as your "base of operations"? Fairbanks since it is kinda centrally located? Someplace smaller like Talkeetna? Where would you have the most options to do fly-outs to other areas?
          I am interested in seeing the smaller towns, glaciers, mountains, wildlife, etc..I like small towns and out-of-the-way places..not crowded, touristy things...but, I will not have time and money to go everywhere in the state..since there is so much to see and do. Probably be summer month if that helps narrow things down.
          If there is a site I should look into that may help with this query, please let me know.
          Thanks.
          This is akin to saying "I am interested in seeing the smaller towns, mountains, wildlife, etc. of Appalachia...I like small towns and out-of-the-way places..not crowded, touristy things..." and asking "should I fly into Charleston or Greenville?" If you want to see Alaska, fly into Fairbanks and then fly mosquito fleet...in pretty much any direction except 180. On the ground, the road system is very limited, and anything on the road system within a couple hour drive of ANC does not meet your stated parameters. 40 years ago, TKA would have met your definition of a small town to visit, but now, during tourist season the locals go into hiding during the day and the place is literally overrun with tourists disgorged from fleets of invading buses. What the tourist industry has done to TKA is criminal.
          ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
          I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
          The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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          • #6
            The World Eskimo Indian Olympics will be held in Fairbanks in July, so lodging will be extra tight, but probably not impossible, and that's an event worth attending.
            ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
            I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
            The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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            • #7
              Yep, come to Anchorage and base from there. Just like with an airplane you can chase good weather and avoid fires/smoke. Get a copy of the Milepost guide book (order online) and look it over before you come. Lots of fun to be had driving the roads. Homer and Seward are both great destinations. Are you coming by yourself or with family?
              DENNY

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              • #8
                i love the drive to valdez (especially the last 45 minutes - absolutely beautiful). flying around denali is stunning (i've only flown it in a personal plane, not sure what it's like on the commercial flights). a flight back to the knik is always fun and scenic. save your money and get some float time/training/rating under your belt while up here; it would be the highlight of your trip.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by boneguy View Post
                  Are you coming by yourself or with family?
                  DENNY
                  It would be my wife and I.

                  What about the Alaska railroad? Is that a good way to see very much? Or just a touristy waste? I like trains and it'd allow me to focus on the scenery rather than the road..

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ak-fang View Post
                    .. save your money and get some float time/training/rating under your belt while up here; it would be the highlight of your trip.
                    I have thought of this before..It is a great idea and I would love it..

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                    • #11
                      WannaBfromSC,

                      Did you ever get your pilots license?
                      "In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." John Muir

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mr. Grayling View Post
                        WannaBfromSC,

                        Did you ever get your pilots license?

                        My checkride is scheduled for October 25th.

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                        • #13
                          You can easily spend a day in Anchorage. There's a nice museum downtown. Any airplane enthusiast can spend half a day at Lake Hood, to include the aviation museum there. I know some of the hard-core AK guys poo-poo the city and the "tourist" areas, but there is a reason the Kenai Peninsula is so popular. With limited time, a drive to Seward and Homer is a pretty good way to spend a couple of days. In Seward you can visit Exit Glacier and take the glacier / wildlife boat tours. You can get a flight in a 206 from Homer to Seldovia to get off the beaten path. There are scenic tours available from Kenai and Homer. And floatplanes are in Homer, including training.

                          I like the train... but it's pretty slow paced and there are long stretches where it runs through valleys and all you see is the trees. But it's a nice way to spend some time and there are some scenic views. You can take it to Talkeetna or Denali Park and get a sightseeing tour of Denali from either. Or you can take the train to Seward or Whittier.. although there isn't much to see in Whittier.

                          Everything is really spread out in AK... so narrow down the area you want to spend time in or you will find yourself traveling all the time and not doing much else.

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                          • #14
                            The 1st class train ride to Seward is one of my top 5 for Alaska adventures. The Denali/Fairbanks not so much. Once in Seward add in the Sealife boat tour 6 hours (most of the wives love it!!!) I do the Valdez drive 2-3 times a year and love it every time. When the wife is along it is always a balance of how much time you can spend looking at planes. But a walk around Lake hood is a lot of fun, throw in a Bear viewing tour. Go to Talkeetna and go for some flight training with Don Lee. If you really want out back adventure drive to Chicken/Eagle and come over the Chickenstock weekend (bring a tent).
                            DENNY

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
                              I am interested in seeing the smaller towns, glaciers, mountains, wildlife, etc..I like small towns and out-of-the-way places..not crowded, touristy things...but, I will not have time and money to go everywhere in the state..since there is so much to see and do. Probably be summer month if that helps narrow things down.
                              Southeast Alaska meets all of these, just stay away from Juneau (or use it as your starting point) stay away from any of the downtown/cruise ship terminals. Fly into one town ride the ferry to another town for a couple days then take a puddle jumper over to another town and then fly out. Sightseeing by boat, plane, and car. Smaller towns, glaciers, mountains, wildlife, and fishing if so desired.
                              I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned. Physicist ― Richard Feynman

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