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April 2012

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   Submitted By: Andrew Knibbs — Glacier Bay

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Wildlife viewing from any vantage point

Ask an Alaska visitor about his or her trip and you'll likely hear tales about the state's exotic and awe-inspiring wildlife. Chances are, you'll be regaled with stories and photos of the encounters with Alaska's wildlife. And who can blame them? Pictures of Alaska's moose, bears, caribou, bald eagles, whales and dozens of other wild species can be a trip's best (and most memorable) souvenirs. For those who cruise Alaska by sea, there's the opportunity to spot the breathtaking breach of a humpback whale or soaring seabirds such as puffins, terns, gulls, eiders and many others. For those exploring the state by land, sightings of Alaska's awesome land mammals are around every corner; tours with expert guides make your viewing opportunities even better. By taking to the air, visitors will have a bird's eye view at caribou herds, muskox and even polar bears. Read on to learn more about how you can take advantage of some of the best wildlife viewing Alaska has to offer.

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SAMPLE ITINERARY
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Day 1 Anchorage – Kenai/Soldotna
From your starting point in Anchorage, head south on the Seward Highway toward the (nearly) twin cities of Kenai and Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula, about 150 miles away. The famed Kenai River, which sees runs of thousands and thousands of salmon annually, attracts both anglers and bears to enjoy the plentiful runs. Hook up with a local guide to take you on a sportfishing trip, where you can fill your cooler and check out giant bruins feasting on the season’s bounty. Local visitor information will point you toward reputable local guides. When the day is done, enjoy some of the freshest seafood available from the grill of a local restaurant while sampling one of the many locally produced craft beers.

Day 2 Anchorage – Homer
The next day, pack up your car for the drive to Homer. Just another 60 miles west of Soldotna, Homer is located on the shores of Kachemak Bay, home to “barn door”-sized halibut and a wealth of other wildlife species. Bald eagles are frequently seen around town, and tour operators offer day trips to kayak or take a day cruise to spot beluga, minke, humpback, orcas and fin whales, among other marine life. Spend the night in Homer, and be sure to check out the many local art galleries and shops.

Day 3 Homer – Kodiak
In the morning, drive to the end of the famous Homer Spit and prepare to board an Alaska Marine Highway ferry bound for Kodiak. Your car can come along for the ride, or you can leave it parked in Homer. Kodiak is a small community easily navigable on foot and with a few cab rides and tours. The entire day will be spent at sea, and there will be plenty of opportunities to do...

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Cruising Alaska

Cruise ships are one of the most popular ways to see Alaska’s majestic landscape and wildlife, affording passengers the chance to see the creatures that roam the state’s coastlines and swim its frigid waters. From the comfort of a cabin or deck of a cruise ship or an Alaska Marine Highway ferry, visitors can glance out and see marine life like otters, seals, sea lions and whales. Travelers who opt for smaller ships or day cruises can enjoy up-close-and-personal views of seabird rookeries and sea-lion haul-outs.

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Alaska by Boat

Alaska By Road

Whether you cruise up the Alaska Highway in a motorhome, book a ride on a tour bus or opt to rent a car, you’ll be able to take in plenty of Alaska’s wildlife – through your car window and in areas easily accessible by road. From Denali National Park and Preserve in the state’s Interior to the small town of Homer on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska’s well-maintained byways make navigating the largest state in the union an easy and efficient way to see wildlife.

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Alaska by Car and RV

A Bird's Eye View

To see Alaska and its wildlife from a unique vantage point, savvy travelers fasten their seatbelts and take to the air. A plane is one of the quickest and most scenic ways to travel to some of Alaska’s rugged and remote areas. In many cases it’s also the only way to get to far-flung locales. Whether it’s a grizzly bear viewing location deep in the woods, or a public-use cabin only accessible by air or sea, flightseeing trips can transport visitors to geographically isolated parts of the state where they can observe wildlife in its natural state.

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Alaska by Plane

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