• Jessica Stough

Alaska Itinerary & Trip Recap

Updated: Feb 26

We have been back home for just over three days now. Usually, after vacation, I feel ready to be back to reality and our day-to-day lives. This trip, though, felt too short. I've been having a hard time adjusting back to being in Iowa, and I think it’s because I feel like we should’ve stayed in Alaska at least a few more days.


I also had a really good friend reach out to me after we returned, saying “You looked so happy and in your element.” I told her that its because the mountains are our element. Honestly, Zac and I have a strong feeling that eventually we will end up living in the mountains somewhere - we just don’t know where or when yet. With all of that in mind, I figured it only made sense for me to continue talking about the trip a bit longer.

Prior to a trip, we always create a loose itinerary for what we want to do when we are there. Some trips, the itinerary is much more fluid. For others, we have to be a bit more precise about our plans ahead of time. For our Alaska trip, we had to be on the more detailed side due to the sheer size of the state. We wanted to make sure that we had at least a good idea of where we would want to go within the state so we could book our hotels and Airbnbs ahead of time.


I didn’t want to share our full itinerary prior to our vacation for a few reasons. One, we usually stray from the plan at least a bit, and two, I wanted to keep at least some surprises for the blog! I thought it would be fun, though, to share what our itinerary looked like before we left and what we ended up actually doing.


The original may seem a bit messy for a few reasons. We narrowed down the areas we wanted to stay in first, then chose four to five places to stay for a lot of those areas before making final decisions. I included each of the narrowed-down options we were looking at before we booked our stays. I also included distances from location to location for a better understanding of how much drive time we would have.


One other thing that I kept on the itinerary that was new for this vacation was a link to check COVID flight and location restrictions. Things continue to change nearly daily when it comes to the virus, so we wanted to ensure we weren’t missing anything huge. For example, Maine is requiring all travelers to quarantine for ten days if coming from certain states (those identified to have COVID spikes). Those details, and the information for all of the other states’ guidelines as of October 4th, can be found here.


I have to give a shoutout to a running friend who used to live in Alaska for years because he gave me multiple ideas for hikes, running locations, and food options. We weren’t able to utilize all of his ideas, but I kept them all in the original itinerary to share the wealth. Maybe others will read this and utilize his ideas. Perhaps we will be able to take advantage of his ideas the next time we go to Alaska too!

 

Yes, before we even left Alaska, we had already both decided that we would be going back at some point - probably during the summer season next time. As mentioned above, the state is all too big to see in just one week. There is too much beauty out there waiting to be explored! Now, without further ado, below is both the original itinerary and the actual itinerary for our trip:


Original Itinerary


Saturday, September 25


Sunday, September 26

  • Hang out in Anchorage

  • Rent hiking gear

  • Hiking options in Anchorage

  • Kincaid Park

  • Campbell Creek

  • Flat Top Mountain

  • Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

  • Places to eat

  • Moose’s Tooth Pizza

  • Head toward Denali - 2-4 hours

  • Stay in:

  • Talkeetna Airbnb “Red John’s Cabin” ($95/night)

  • Talkeetna Airbnb “Cozy Moose Cabin” ($105/night)

  • Cantwell Airbnb “Glamping” ($90/night)

  • Healy Airbnb “Frontier Blueberry Cottage” ($93/night)

  • Anchorage to Talkeetna - 2 hours

  • Anchorage to Cantwell - 4 hours

  • Anchorage to Healy - 4 hours, 15 minutes


Monday, September 27

  • Denali National Park

  • Talkeetna to Denali - 2.5 hours

  • Cantwell to Denali - ½ hour

  • Healy to Denali - 15 minutes


Tuesday, September 28


Wednesday, September 29

  • Denali National Park

  • Head toward Seward

  • Talkeetna to Seward - 4.5 hours

  • Cantwell to Seward - 6 hours

  • Healy to Seward - 6.5 hours

  • Stay in Seward Airbnb “Rocket House” ($79/night)


Thursday, September 30


Friday, October 1

  • Kenai Fjords

  • Resurrection Trail (multi-day)

  • Dog Sledding (1.5 hour tour)

  • Head to Girdwood

  • Stay in Girdwood Airbnb ($99/night)

  • Ski-In/Ski-Out Condo ($93/night)

  • Seward to Girdwood - 1.5 hours

  • Places to hike in Girdwood

  • Mt. Alyeska

  • Places to eat in Girdwood

  • Double Musky (high end)

  • Chair 5 (pizza & burgers)


Saturday, October 2


Sunday, October 3

  • Head from Girdwood to Anchorage

  • Girdwood to Anchorage Airport - 45 minutes

  • Drop off car rental, 4:15 AM

  • Reach DSM by 7:14 PM


 

Actual Itinerary


Saturday, September 25

  • Reach Anchorage by 6:05 PM

  • Pick up rental car, 7:15 PM

  • Eat at Moose’s Tooth

  • Stay at Anchorage Grand Hotel ($102/night)


Sunday, September 26

  • Head toward Denali

  • Visit Denali National Park Visitor Center

  • Visit Denali National Park sled dogs

  • Stay in Healy Airbnb “Frontier Blueberry Cottage” ($93/night)

Monday, September 27


Tuesday, September 28

Wednesday, September 29


Thursday, September 30

Friday, October 1


This view was right next to our parking lot for our condo! Bonus - the half marathon started and ended in the parking lot just next to us too!


Saturday, October 2

  • Girdwood Half Marathon @ 10:00 AM

  • Shop in Anchorage


Sunday, October 3

  • Head from Girdwood to Anchorage

  • Girdwood to Anchorage Airport - 45 minutes

  • Drop off car rental, 4:15 AM

  • Reach DSM by 7:14 PM

 

Now, I'm just working on trying to get Zac to agree to move out there and buy an acreage so we can start our own reindeer farm and have as many dogs as we want. Until we can move somewhere awesome, you'll still find us hanging out in Iowa. Of course, though, we will be planning our next vacation.

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