Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information


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For those with a naturalist streak, few places on earth compare with the wonders of Southwest Alaska. Brown bears amble along the hills and plains, and more than 240 bird species inhabit Alaska’s Southwest region. The region’s terrain ranges from a landscape of volcanoes in Katmai National Park created by the 1912 eruption of the Novarupta volcano, to the windswept Aleutian Islands that make a 1,000-mile sweep toward Asia.

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We spent a week in the Interior and Far North prior to taking a Holland America cruise of the Inside Passage for the second week. We flew into Anchorage for two days, took the Alaska Railroad to Denali for an evening and day, and took the Alaska Railroad to Fairbanks for two days. We flew to Barrow and spent a day and night then flew back to Vancouver to meet our cruise. It included dockings at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchican and return to Vancouver. We walked and used public transportation without benefit of a rental car for the entire two weeks.

It was a very enjoyable trip that included sunshine (got to see Denali!), rain, snow, wind, and warm days. We had booked all of our reservations for tours and trips by the end of March and sleeping accommodations soon after. One hint: If you plan to purchase the Great Alaska Tour Book, DO IT BEFORE YOU MAKE ANY RESERVATIONS. There are good deals there. Anyone taking the railroad will find the additional cost of taking the the Denali Star Gold Dome Service well worth the money. The comfort, view, snacks, and explanations by the tour guide onboard were outstanding.

Barrow was a totally different experience but equally as intriguing. I can't imagine anyone who's only taken an Alaskan cruise really thinking they've been to Alaska. This was our 50th state to visit! We were traveling with friends we met in college, and both couples were celebrating 41 years of marriage.

Katmai Alaska's most affordable custom tours Summer: $219

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