SDAN08 Best of Alaska Round Trip Driving Tour

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There are round trips and there are ‘Round Trips’ and our SDAN08 – Best of Alaska Round trip Self Driving Tour belongs to the later! It offers an in depth view to Alaska's most diverse regions. You start in Anchorage, which is filled with lot of adventures along with metropolitan amenities. From Anchorage you’ll travel to Talkeetna where you can take a flightseeing tour to the ice-world of Mt. Denali. Continue to Denali National Park nestling in the shadows of towering 20.320 ft. Mt. Denali where you get to spot grizzly bears, caribou and a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. Your self drive then takes you to north of Alaska's interior - Fairbanks with its gold rush atmosphere and optional tours to the Arctic Circle. From there you proceed on to the coastal region - Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords National Park. Travel onboard the ferry and visit magnificent Columbia Glacier - the largest tidewater glacier in Alaska. You get to witness glaciers calving and whales breaching during the Kenai Fjords wildlife and glacier cruise. You have time to try your luck fishing for salmon or halibut, go kayaking, dog sledding or fly with a helicopter to Godwin glacier.

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Itinerary

Anchorage ( Overnight: Anchorage )

Arrive in Anchorage during the day. Transfer to your hotel and pick up your rental car. Nestled along the Chugach Mountains, the coastal city of Anchorage is not the frozen tundra of Alaska you might imagine. You will find it’s brimming with activities for the outdoorsy and adventurous. Being the largest city in Alaska, it is rich in indigenous culture; spend your day enjoying the Alaska Native Heritage Center, visiting the Anchorage Museum, or browsing through the Saturday Market. Visit the Lake Hood Floatplane base, go for a walk along the Coastal Train and try out one of Anchorage popular seafood restaurants. With so much of variety of things, for a first time visitor to Alaska or a seasoned traveller, Anchorage has more to offer and is the perfect starting point for your journey into Alaska.

Anchorage - Denali National Park ( Driving Distance: 240 miles | Overnight: Anchorage )

The grandness of the nature starts right from Anchorage itself and driving every mile on the Parks Highway gets even better. It is a treat to watch the mountain peaks crowned with snow caps in the distance. On the way you travel across the fertile Matanuska Valley. Because of the immense amount of summer sunlight, vegetables grow to incredible sizes. Feel free to stop at the designated photo stops to enjoy more panoramic views. It is possible to stopover at Talkeetna for a flightseeing tour to Mt. Denali or a canoe tour on Byers Lake. Travel across Denali State Park and arrive at Denali Village. This evening visit Jeff King’s Sled Dog Kennel - Join an intimate group for a personal tour with four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King and his sled dogs at his Husky Homestead Kennel.

Denali National Park ( Overnight: Denali Village )

Denali National Park offers excellent wildlife viewing and spectacular sceneries. Pick up your tickets, board the bus and watch out for grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolf and fox moving along the ridges and river beds. Your driver informs about the history of Denali National Park, its diverse wildlife and flora. Once an animal has been spotted the bus will stop that everyone can watch and take pictures. The bus turns around at Eielson Visitor Center - 66 miles one way/8 hours round trip. You can get off the bus anytime to go for a hike. Return to the Denali Park entrance anytime during the day. Optional: We can extend the transit bus tour to Wonder Lake or exchange to the Tundra Wilderness Tour, Kantishna Wilderness Trails or Backcountry Lodge Tour. Included: Denali Transit Bus to Eielson Center

Denali National Park - Fairbanks ( Driving Distance: 130 miles| Overnight: Fairbanks )

Join this morning the sled dog demonstration hosted by Denali Park Rangers or hike around the Denali Visitor Center. Start your drive on the Richardson Highway and stopover at Nenana. Residents of Nenana sponsor the Nenana Ice Classic, a nature-based lottery. It is a fundraising event in which individuals attempt to guess the exact time the Tanana River ice will break up. Once you get to dig into it more interesting details emerge! Arrive in Fairbanks, the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, which enjoys 24 hr of daylight during summer. This afternoon board the authentic Riverboat Discovery sternwheeler for a cruise along the Chena and Tanana rivers. Highlight is stopover at an Athabascan Indian Village, Susan Butcher's sled dog kennel and a floatplane take off & land.

Fairbanks ( Overnight: Fairbanks )

The allure of crossing the Arctic Circle becomes a possibility once you reach Fairbanks. Guided van tours along the Dalton Highway or flight tours to the Arctic Circle and Yukon River is a super popular choice. Join a bushplane flight to Fort Yukon to understand as well as experience how the Gwich'in Athabascan Natives live in "Bush" Alaska. As mentioned earlier Fairbanks becomes a hub for very many activities and the list keeps going on. Visiting Chena Hot Springs Resort can be added to the 'To-Do' List! Chena Hot Springs Resort offers a large indoor heated pool and a natural outdoor rock lake for relaxation. The on-site Aurora Ice Museum is a special attraction and was created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, all harvested at the resort.

Fairbanks - Valdez ( Driving Distance: 360 miles |Overnight:Valdez)

Heading south, the Richardson Highway passes through stands of white birch and black spruce, often photogenically close to the Tanana River. Soak up the raw beauty of the drive into the central Alaska Range, often paralleled by the Alaska pipeline. Visit the historic roadhouse in Copper Center before the Washington Glacier peeks into view. Stopover at Worthington Glacier with boardwalks leading to the face of the glacier. Drive through the scenic Keystone Canyon, take pictures at the "Bridal Veil Falls" and arrive in Valdez - also known as “the Switzerland of Alaska” - and the gateway for salmon fishing trips and narrated cruises to magnificent Columbia Glacier.

Valdez - Alaska Ferry Transfer to Whittier - Seward ( Driving Distance: 90 miles | Overnight: Seward )

Scenic cruise across Prince William Sound onboard the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry. Prince William Sound is an area famous for its scenery and wildlife. Dotted with islands, this 70-mile-wide gulf extends 30 miles north and west from the Gulf of Alaska to the Kenai Peninsula, bounded to the southeast by Montague and Hinchinbrook islands. To the north: a rugged, glaciated coastline and the Chugach Mountains. Watch out for whales, bald eagles, sea lions and other marine wildlife. Arrive in Whittier and drive to Portage Glacier. After a stop at the visitor center continue to Seward, a small fishing town at the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Spend some time to visit Exit Glacier. Short trails lead to the edge of the glacier where you can take a good photo in front of glacier ice.

Seward ( Overnight: Seward )

This morning board the stable catamaran for a spectacular cruise deep into Kenai Fjords National Park with actively "calving" glaciers and magnificent scenery. Covering 110-miles, the trip is narrated by a National Park Ranger, who is highly adept at spotting wildlife and pointing out the many sights. Kenai Fjords showcase the best of Alaska’s marine world in a compact package. Sea otters float belly-up eating mussels while Harbor seals haul out on icebergs off Aialik and Northwestern Glacier. Look out for Steller sea lions on Chiswell Island as well as Humpback and killer whales. After reaching the tidewater glacier, guests witness "glacier calving" a process by which glaciers shed giant slabs of ancient ice. Included: Kenai Fjords Glacier & Wildlife Cruise

Seward - Anchorage ( Driving Distance: 130 miles )

Spend some time in the morning at the Alaska SeaLife Center – the world's largest and first cold water marine search institute with wildlife rehabilitation and public education facilities, try some outstanding halibut or salmon fishing within Resurrection Bay, book a half day kayak tour from Lowell Point to Holgate Glacier or hike the scenic Exit Glacier Trail - the choice is yours ! Take the Seward Highway north towards Anchorage. Feel free to take a break at the designated photo stops to enjoy the panoramic views over Cook Inlet. Arrive in Anchorage later in the day and drop off your rental car.