My Awesome Alaska Adventure

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Alaska - As Seen from the Backseat of a Rental Car

Alaska - As Seen from the Backseat of a Rental Car

Planning a trip to Alaska? If you’re looking to road trip it like my friends and I did, following is a list of places we stayed and visited. Happy travels!

And, a hearty welcome to members of Women on the Go from Venice, Florida! Thank you for inviting me to your meeting and allowing me share a little about my awesome Alaska adventure.

If you live in Sarasota or Charlotte County and not familiar with the organization, Women on the Go is a group energizing women who encourage and support each other in their pursuit of travel. They meet the third Monday of the month (except January and February) at the Venice Library (300 Nokomis Ave.) and schedule trips throughout the year.

The Route for My Awesome Alaska Adventure 2011

The Route for My Awesome Alaska Adventure 2011

The Route for My Awesome Alaska Adventure
I’m the first to admit, one week in Alaska wasn’t enough but as a working person, I couldn’t be away from the office any longer. I suppose the upside is, I need to plan a return trip (or two). The week-long trip included flying in and out of Anchorage and staying in Palmer just north of Anchorage, near Denali National Park and Fairbanks. I met up with a couple of friends from my Yellowstone days who scooped me up from the airport and away we went. Of course, they let me do the itinerary planning.

Cabins at EarthSong Lodge Near Denali National Park

Cabins at EarthSong Lodge Near Denali National Park

Where to Stay in Alaska
Just north of Anchorage:

Hatcher Pass Lodge
Mi 175 & Fishhook Willow Rd.
Palmer, Alaska 99645
Tel: (907) 745-5897
www.hatcherpasslodge.com

Located about an hour’s drive northeast of Anchorage, I absolutely loved Hatcher Pass Lodge. I’d definitely return and when time allows, I’d love to visit during the winter. Read my review on this post.

Near Denali National Park:

EarthSong Lodge
Healy, Alaska 99743
Tel: (907) 683-2863
www.earthsonglodge.com

When it comes to lodging for Denali National Park there are several options and I chose something with character and EarthSong Lodge is quite adorable, comfortable and convenient to the park. I’d love to return here again, too, especially to try the dog mushing.

Downtown Fairbanks:

SpringHill Suites Fairbanks
575 1st Ave.
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
Tel: (907) 451-6552
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/faish-springhill-suites-fairbanks/

This SpringHill Suites is conveniently located in downtown Fairbanks with access to shopping, dining and attractions all withing walking distance. Begin your Fairbanks stay with a visit to their amazing visitor center.

Toklat River Visitor Center, Denali National Park, Aug. 31, 2011

Toklat River Visitor Center, Denali National Park, Aug. 31, 2011

Things to Do in Alaska
I realize Alaska is HUGE and I can’t list everything to do but I can share most of the things I did during the week:

Independence Mine Historical State Park
Fishhook Willow Rd.
Palmer, Alaska 99645
Tel: (907) 745-2827
http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/indmine.htm

C’mon. No visit to Alaska isn’t complete without a visit to a gold mine. Although not in operation, the self-guided walk was pretty cool to learn about the history. And, I got pretty close to a porcupine, too.

Musk Ox Farm
12850 East Archie Road
Palmer, Alaska
Tel: (907) 745-4151
www.muskoxfarm.org

Not sure why but I was just fascinated and fixated on these beautiful beasts. I hope you can visit and learn to appreciate them as I do.

Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, AK

Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, AK

Denali National Park
Doyon/Aramark
Tel: (907) 683-9206
www.reservedenali.com

I think there’s some unwritten law stating when visiting Alaska, visiting Denali National Park is a must. It’s not a bad law and if you would’ve told me I’d enjoy a 12-hour tour on bus I’d say you were crazy. But that’s what my friends and I did and I loved every minute of it. I also think we lucked out with the incredibly gorgeous weather. If you want to see and learn the most, book a tour with Doyon/Aramark, if you’re interested in exploring on your own, use the shuttle system.

The Santa Claus House
101 Saint Nicholas Dr
North Pole, Alaska 99705
Tel: (907) 488-2200
www.santaclaushouse.com

Ho! Ho! Ho! Have a jolly time whether it’s July or December, at the Santa Claus House in North Pole. In fact, just drive around the town and see they take Christmas pretty seriously. This was definitely a great side trip from Fairbanks.

Barn at Creamer Fields Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, Fairbanks

Barn at Creamer Fields Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, Fairbanks

Creamer Fields Migratory Waterfowl Refuge
Fairbanks, Alaska
Tel: (907) 452-5162
http://creamersfield.org

Another side trip from Fairbanks was an afternoon visit to Creamer Fields Migratory Waterfowl Refuge for a great walk and observation of sandhill cranes and Canada geese. Sandhills are my favorite birds and it was amazing seeing and hearing them en masse.

Alyeska Pipeline Viewpoint
Steese Hwy. (Alaska Highway 2)
About a 15-minute drive north of Fairbanks
Another must-do, stop and see the Alyeska (or Alaska) Pipeline. Read more about my visit to this man-made wonder in this post.

Alaska State Fair
Last week of August/first weekend in September
2075 Glenn Hwy
Palmer, Alaska 99645
Tel: (907) 745-4827
www.alaskastatefair.org
Giant vegetables! Need I say more? Well yes, they do have more than giant vegetables (I’m talking 100+ lbs. cabbages and 1,000+ lbs. pumpkins) including entertainment, a midway with rides and games, livestock shows and shopping.

Bonus: If time permits, make a stop in Wasilla to see if former Governor Sarah Palin is home. (She wasn’t when we dropped by.)

Fairbanks Visitor Center Has a Plane Inside!

Fairbanks Visitor Center Has a Plane Inside!

Alaska Travel Resources
Planning your own trip to Alaska? Lucky you! It’s an amazing experience. Here are just some of the resources I used.

Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information
Alaska Travel Industry Association
2600 Cordova Street, Ste. 201
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
www.travelalaska.com

Visit Anchorage
524 W Fourth Ave.
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Tel: (907) 276-4118
www.anchorage.net

National Park Service – Denali
http://www.nps.gov/dena

Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau
101 Dunkel Street, Suite 111
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
Tel: (907) 457-3282
Toll-free (877) 551-1728
www.explorefairbanks.com

Be sure to stop by their visitor’s center, we spent several hours watching movies and enjoying the exhibits.

Looking for souvenirs? For the basics such as postcards, food, and T-shirts, try Fred Meyer.

And don’t forget to send lots of postcards!

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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