An Alaska Itinerary: What To Do in Alaska for Two Weeks

What to do in Alaska for Two weeks

So, if you’ve been following our blog, we talked about Alaska a fair bit because we decided to go there for our honeymoon after we got married. For those of you who are planning to get married, deciding where to go on honeymoon can be a sore subject, much more planning the itinerary once you have finally whittled through the destination(s). We wanted to do something a bit unique for our honeymoon so we ended up in Alaska, which we discussed in more detail as part of our planning. Now that we are back from our trip, we want to share an Alaska Itinerary (What To Do in Alaska for Two Weeks) in case you want to recreate our trip.

If you don’t want to recreate the same trip as ours, hopefully this gives you a fair idea of you can do in this huge state (it is the biggest state in the United States). Here are also some links to help you get started or get some inspiration from:




 

An Alaska Itinerary: What to do in Alaska for Two Weeks

For the record, if we mentioned hotels or activities here, we did not get compensated nor did we get any sponsored travels from them. We paid for this trip entirely out of pocket using cash, points or miles. Our blog is still a bit too small to get compensated by these bigger companies, but here’s to dreaming big!

Airfare

So, we have to get there and back from Jacksonville, Florida.

We travel hacked our way to Alaska (Anchorage, to be more precise) using AA miles:

Ruby: 15,000 AA points on Economy Saver + $5.60

Peter: 30,000 AA points on Business Saver + $5.60

Total of 45,000 AA points one-way from Jacksonville, FL (JAX) to Anchorage, AK (ANC)

On the way back, we used Delta from Vancouver, BC (YVR) to Jacksonville, FL (JAX)

Ruby & Peter: 10,000 Delta Skymiles + $50 Delta Statement credit + $200 cash

Car Rental

For the first part of our Alaska tour was the land part, where we rented a car and we’re going to drive around various places. We rented the car using Costco Travel and we got ended up with an intermediate car using Enterprise.

It was a Hyundai Sonata, and it cost us $206.15 for 6 days for 2 drivers, which we paid for in cash, and declined the insurance. This was the cheapest we could get, even after we put the rental details on Autoslash.

Cruising

We decided to go on a week-long Alaska cruise using Holland America. We decided with this company because their ships are smaller, so we can disembark faster. Normally if we do cruise, we tend to go with Royal Caribbean – they’re more fun, but Holland America isn’t bad.

Since it was our honeymoon, we went all out and splurged on a balcony. This ended up costing us $1,697.69 per person, so a total of $3,403.63 for both of us which includes gratuities, dock fees, 2 shore excursions to Mendelhall Glacier, and a small jade bear as a souvenir. Also fed us for the week. Not much savings there because we don’t know how to ‘hack’ cruises yet.




The Itinerary

The itinerary below will identify the hotels and the activities we did per day. We’ll give more details on other posts based on our experiences in the hotel and/or maybe a review of the activities too.

Day 0 – 1: Saturday night May 20th, 2017 to Sunday, May 21, 2017: Anchorage

Technically I arrived at midnight on the 21st of May, and was on a plane the whole of the 20th of May (starting at 10AM Florida time and landing at midnight in Anchorage, which was a lot of flying). You can read more about my flight from Jacksonville, FL to Anchorage on my Tales from the Economy Class cabin.

Hotel: Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Anchorage Airport

Paid $161.26 for two nights. Free parking and free continental breakfast. It’s less than 10 minutes from the airport and an easy drive away. It’s also got a microwave, and a fridge – perfect if you want to self-cater.

Activities:

Peter was set to arrive around 6pm that night, so I went around the following places:

  •  Anchorage Weekend Market
  •  Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall (it was raining nonstop and I needed a place to thaw out)
  •  Ulu Factory & Salmon Viewing Area
  • Wal-Mart Anchorage (to buy some supplies)
  • Kincaid Park to hike (didn’t see any animals but saw lots of planes landing, great if you’re an aviation geek)
  • Earthquake Park (finally reunited with Peter – and we saw a moose while we were hiking!). This is Mister Moose:
Moose in Earthquake Park, Anchorage, Alaska
“Good Evening, Human.”

Dining:

  • Breakfast: free continental breakfast from hotel (muffins, cereals, etc)
  • Lunch: Salmon Quesadilla at Anchorage Weekend Market
  • Dinner: Self-catered frozen stuff from Walmart.
Denali South Viewpoint
Denali South Viewpoint

Day 2: Monday, May 22, 2017: Roadtrip to Denali

Hotel: Denali Bluffs Hotel

Activities:

We decided to do one more trip near Anchorage before we headed out on our road trip:

  •  Potter Marsh Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk – Located outside Anchorage (about 10 minutes south). Quick and easy hike (less than an hour). Saw a few birds, but didn’t see any wildlife (but you might!)
  •  Title Wave Books (just to browse around)

We stopped by the following attractions on our drive from Anchorage to Denali:

  • Mirror Lake – lake off the highway, nothing spectacular
  • Thunderbird Falls – 1 mile hike off the interstate. It has a bit of an incline. $5 per car fee
  •  Reindeer Farm  – highly recommended, it’s located in Palmer. You get to feed the reindeer, which is a great experience in itself. They don’t really have sharp teeth so you’ll just get a tingling feeling when they reach out for your hand. You’ll also get to see bison, bunnies, and elk!
  • Wasilla – town (city?) off the highway where you can grab some supplies or gas if you need it. Also a great stop for lunch/dinner on the go.
  • Denali Viewpoint South – there is a small hike going up the right side of the viewpoint that takes you up to where you can (hopefully) see Denali. It was too cloudy when we were there (and rainy too) so we didn’t get to see the mountain.

Dining:

  • Breakfast: Free continental breakfast from Microtel
  • Lunch: Self-catered (at the Microtel)
  • Dinner: Taco Cancun Mexican Grill, Wasilla, Alaska

Day 3: Tuesday, May 23, 2017: Denali National Park

Hotel: Denali Bluffs Hotel

Activities:

Woke up early and did the following:

  •  Visitor Center – walked around and watched a short movie, got maps.
  •  Dog Kennels – one of the best things we did: got to pet the dogs and hang out with them – got photos and then saw the demonstration. Very informative and a must-do!
  •  Toklat River Shuttle – Cheaper than taking the Tundra Wilderness Tour, 6 hours of going inside the park (up to mile marker 53). Wanted to do the longer bus shuttle but alas they were only offering the Toklat River Shuttle at the time we were there. Saw moose, bears, caribou, a marmot, some hares, mountain sheep, and many more (including Alaska’s national bird, the ptarmigan)

Dining:

  •  Breakfast: Self-catered
  •  Lunch: Self-catered/ate at the café in Denali’s Visitor Center.
  •  Dinner: Thai & Chinese Food to Go in Denali
Yurt in Talkeetna, Alaska
Night in nature – sort of

Day 4: Wednesday, May 24, 2017: Denali/Talkeetna

Accommodation: Yurt AirBnB in Talkeetna

Activities:

  •  Hiking in Savage River
  • Back to see the Denali dogs
  • Walking around Talkeetna’s Town
  • Chilling in the Yurt

Dining: 

  •  Breakfast: Self-catered
  •  Lunch: Lynx Pizza at the Denali Princess Lodge
  • Dinner: Self-catered

Day 5: Thursday, May 25, 2017: Talkeetna/ Anchorage

Accommodation: Microtel Inn & Suites Anchorage Airport

Activities:

  •  Hiking around Talkeetna
  •  Wasila Lunch/Wal-Mart for supplies for our cruise
  •  Hike in Eagle River Nature Center

Dining:

  • Breakfast: Self-catered
  • Lunch: Taco Cancun Mexican Grill, Wasilla, Alaska (yes, we came back because we liked it so much!)
  • Dinner: Self-catered
Surprise Glacier - Whittier
Surprise Glacier – Whittier

Day 6: Friday, May 26, 2017: Anchorage/Whittier

Accommodations: Clarion Suites Downtown Anchorage

Activities:

Dining:

  • Breakfast: free from hotel (Microtel)
  • Lunch: included with Philips Glacier cruise
  • Dinner: Self-catered

Day 7: Saturday, May 27, 2017: Seward

Accommodation: Best Western Plus Edgewater Hotel

Activities:

Dining:

  • Breakfast: Self-catered
  • Lunch: Railway Cantina
  • Dinner: Gold Rush Alaskan Bistro

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

Day 8: Sunday, May 28, 2017: Seward/Cruising

Accommodation: Verandah on Holland America

Activities:

  •  Nothing much, just walked around Seward & went shopping
  •  Checked in to the cruise ship/borrowed a DVD: Ella Enchanted/watched A Monster Calls

Dining:

  • Breakfast: Included in Hotel (Best Western)
  • Lunch: Included in cruise
  • Dinner: Included in cruise

Day 9: Monday, May 29, 207: Cruising

Activities:

  • Trivia
  • Explored the ship
  • Watched movies
  • Shopping

Day 10: Tuesday, May 30, 2017: Glacier Bay National Park

Activities:

  • Looking out our verandah at the glaciers: Margerie Glacier and John Hopkins Glacier
  • Also saw wildlife: sea otters, mountain goats, seals, plenty of birds

Dining: Included with the cruise

Bald Eagle in Haines AK
Bald Eagle in Haines AK

Day 11: Wednesday, May 31, 2017: Haines, Alaska

Activities:

  •  Eagle Preserve Float Trip (Haines Rafting Company)
  •  Walked around Haines, AK and saw the town. Notable sights: Hammer Museum (nothing like it elsewhere)

Dining was all done in the cruise ship. Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Day 12: Thursday, June 1, 2017: Juneau, Alaska

Activities:

  •  Mendelhall Glacier
  •  Walking and Shopping around Downtown Juneau
  • Alaskan Brewing Company *with my friend from high school!
  • Driving around Juneau (to the end of the road)
  •  Shows in the ship

Wildlife:

  •  Humpback Whale near the ship!

Food was all from the ship

**Juneau was a nice hidden gem for us and we can’t wait to get back. Will probably fly here next time then take the ferry to another town if we’re done exploring.

Story: A passenger (or two) didn’t get back to the cruise ship on time! The cruise was delayed for nearly an hour (not that it matters, we were looking at the whale by the docks), because some guests (a few of them) didn’t go back in time!

Creek Street in Ketchikan
Creek Street in Ketchikan

Day 13: Friday, June 2, 2017: Ketchikan, Alaska

Activities:

  •  Creek Street – they have great shops and has a great ambiance
  • Married Man’s Trail – small hike and just off Creek Street
  • Totem Heritage Center – easy walking distance from the cruise ship
  •  Walked around town and saw parks, totems, and went window-shopping.

**We had plans to go to Totem Bight Historical Park but because the weather was crap in the morning (raining a lot), we had to make alternate plans.

Food was also eaten at the ship so we didn’t have to pay for anything.

Day 14: Saturday, June 3, 2017: Cruising Inside Passage

Activities:

  • BBC Earth Trivia Show: A game show style trivia show centered around BBC Earth (nature and animals). We won! We got champagne and a photo from the stage. What a great experience!
  • Trivia Night: The last trivia night of the cruise, we won this one too! Got Holland America pins and another champagne bottle. Since we already won a bottle of champagne from the trivia show, we gave the bottle to our teammates
  • Cruise shows, hanging out at the library, and just looking out the balcony
Stanley Park Totem Poles
Stanley Park Totem Poles

Day 15: Sunday, June 4, 2017: Vancouver, Canada

After 7 days of cruising, finally got signal. It just so happened that our flight was moved to the next day! So what are we to do? We gotta make decisions on the spot… all of this planning happened at Canada Place (the cruise ship terminal).

Accommodation: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

10,000 SPG points a night, but it was a great hotel! We also had lounge access because of our SPG Business card.

Activities:

  •  Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – if you have AAA, use it so you can get a discount, albeit small. There’s a free shuttle in front of the Sheraton so it was very convenient
  •  Robson Street – window-shopping (it was on the way to our next destination)
  •  Stanley Park – hiked around and saw:
    • Lost Lagoon
    • Totem Poles in Stanley Park
    • saw the train & the horse carriages
    • Also saw a leopard seal swimming around

Food:

  • Breakfast: Room service from cruise ship
  • Lunch: Mcdonald’s Vancouver (Happy Meal) + Sheraton Lounge bites
  • Dinner: Sheraton Lounge

Day 16: Monday, June 5,2017: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre/Home

Worked from the hotel. No other choice since our flight was in the early evening.

Food:

  • Breakfast: food from Sheraton lounge
  • Lunch: Nando’s Takeaway
  • Dinner:

And that was our honeymoon trip itinerary in Alaska and Vancouver. It’s a bit of a long post, but if you have any other questions about our trip, leave a comment below. If you have any recommendations as well on what else to do, feel free to leave a comment as well.

We will discuss the finances/budget in a separate post and how much we spent for this trip. Spoiler alert: It was actually a bit more expensive than what I was expecting, but it was worth it just seeing the Last Frontier.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out some of our other posts below:

 

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Comments

  1. Cassy

    My boyfriend works up in Dutch (probs not where you would ever wanna go…..)but he says the bear sanctuary is the coolest. Did you see any of the wild Mustangs?

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      Ruby Escalona

      Only wild horses we saw were in Cumberland Island in Georgia.
      We did go to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center one morning on our way to Whittier and that’s definitely worth a stop. We went in a few minutes after they just opened and we were lucky enough to see them feed the bears.
      If your bf is working in Dutch Harbour, then he’s in the Aleutian Islands. We don’t say no to traveling to any particular place, as long as there’s something to do and there’s no conflict or restriction stopping us from going 🙂

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  2. Bernadette Jackson

    That sounds like fun! I like that you managed to get a lot of wandering around and hiking in before the cruise dates. I’d love to see even some of that wildlife. The yurt looks like an interesting night too.

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