Q: What is the weather like on April 20 to 28? Or maybe I should postpone my trip to May? Thanks! --Aimee
Q: After returning from my 5th trip to Alaska, I had a whole list of things that I was not able to get to. I wish I had heard about you earlier. I made a day-trip to Barrow on the 4th of July, not realizing that the Inupiat Native Cultural / Heritage Center was closed for the holiday. I would like to go back to Barrow for a couple of days. Would you be able to advise what the best time to go to Barrow would be for Inupiat cultural activities (e.g. blanket toss and other festivities) and for polar bear viewing? --Kashif
A: Kashif, Best time is in June when they have their whaling festival. You'll feel like you're a part of the community. They tend to have one or two dates during the summer where they do it; it's a little flex in case they don't have a whale by the first scheduled date. But usually it's around solstice, or June 24-25. You would need to call the Top of the World Hotel and find out how to peg the date. Read more »
Q: I am looking for good deals for lodging on the Kenai starting the 26th for a few days, including at least a half-day guided fly fishing and a bear/wildlife viewing excursion. Then we are heading to Denali for 2-3 days. We will probably take the tour bus in, but also want a flight around Mt. Mckinley with a glacier landing. We leave for our return trip home no later than Aug. 2. —Les
A: Les, Great choices on your itinerary. It's hard to find significant discounts this time of year. However, you can save money on your bear viewing tour by going with a quality operator located closer to the bears, like Natron Air in Soldotna. Janet there may have thoughts about good fishing charters down there as well. You should be aware that the next week or two are the prime red salmon weeks on the Kenai. Read more »
Q: I want to go to Alaska for a once in a lifetime trip. I like fishing. My wife just wants to be pampered and have a spa experience, and my 15-year old is a great athlete with energy to burn. Where can we go where we can all be together but get to do things we each want?
A: There's a company up here specializing in "multi-sport" itineraries, which would be perfect for you and your family. Tordrillo Mountain Lodge was started by big mountain heli-skiing guides, who built the lodge around their guiding mentality. You'll be able to fish, your teenager can go on big adventures and your wife can join you or enjoy the fine meals, wine cellar, massages and hot tub at the Lodge. Read more »
Q: I would like the relaxation of seeing some of Alaska from a cruise, but don't know if I could sleep in one of the cabins - I'm a real light sleeper. Would I get sea sick on this? I get motion sickness easily.
A: This is a big concern for many travelers. I wrote a page on Alaska.org about motion sickness that has some helpful advice.
As for whether you could sleep...we just took a Disney Cruise this spring, and I slept really well. I use a sound machine at home, and found the sound of the boat and the water incredibly relaxing and somniferous! Read more »
Q: I am considering visiting Alaska on my own, because I like to travel independently. But I also want to go on some tours. However, I don't care to spend several hours at a time on a tour, but I would be open to a few hours per day. Is this possible?
A: It’s great to travel independently in Alaska. But the same things that make this state unique and special (scale, wildness, terrain), make it hard to explore on your own. You need boats, planes, rafts, gear and expertise to see a lot of the best stuff up here. You might spot the Matanuska Glacier from the highway, but only experienced and intrepid travelers would walk on it without a guide. And your guides will make sure you do it safely, while teaching you a ton about glaciation. Read more »
Q: I want to see bears and whales on my trip to Alaska. I'll be in Anchorage June 13-16th, and then I board a cruise ship with ports of call in Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. I was considering Redoubt Bay Lodge for bear viewing. Any other suggestions for where to go to see these animals? Thanks—Mike
A: Your best bet for bear viewing may be to depart from the Anchorage area. Redoubt Bay Lodge, which you asked about, may be the nicest bear viewing lodge in Alaska, less than an hour by floatplane from Anchorage. It's run by Within The Wild, a company known for their high-end service and cuisine. The bears typically show up there right around June 12-15, so you're probably safe—but no guarantees. The only drawback is that bear viewing day-trippers also use the area. However, they're only in the area for a few hours in the middle of the day. The rest of the time, the lodge has the bear viewing to itself. Read more »
Q: We are planning to visit Alaska, but we are not sure if we need visas to visit? —Kobus and Anna
A: Hi guys. Thanks for the inquiry. You need to have a tourism visa to visit the U.S (a B-2). If that is the valid USA visa you hold, you’re all set. If not, you’re going to need to start planning now. There are quite a few countries whose citizens are allowed into the U.S (and Alaska) without a visa. Unfortunately, South Africa is not on the list. Read more »
Q: Our family has made several road trips out of Anchorage in past years. We've gone south to the Kenai and north to Denali. This year, we'd like to go somewhere different, hopefully with less RV traffic and fewer tourists than the Seward or Parks Hwy. We also like hiking. Any suggestions?
A: Horace Greeley might have said "Go West, young man," but in this case, I suggest you head East out of Anchorage along the newly-designated National Scenic Byway Glenn Highway (Alaska Highway #1). Once feared for its narrow, treacherous curves, the road has seen vast improvements over the past 20 years. Originally built as a supply route for the military during the Japanese invasion of Alaska in the mid-1940’s, the Glenn Highway now serves as a major truck transportation route for goods shipped from the lower 48 to south-central Alaska. Read more »