Seward Cruise Port and Transportation

Holland America, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line all use the Port of Seward as the northern end of their 7-day Alaska Glacier Cruises sailing to and from Vancouver B.C.   Seward is a fantastic location to launch further explorations in Alaska to such locations as the nearby Kenai Fjords National Park and beyond to Denali National Park. Seward is located 127 road miles from Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city.  Important because Anchorage is also the location of the South-central Alaska’s only airport that has daily domestic and international flights.  Seward and Anchorage are linked both by highway and the Alaska Railroad so cruise passengers can choose to either travel by motor coach via the scenic Seward Highway or by the Alaska Railroad. A great option that Alaska Tour & Travel operates is the Park Connection Motorcoach, our scheduled, twice daily, motor coach service between Seward and Anchorage with same day connections to Denali as well.   (more…)

Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous Festival

fur-rendezvous-downtownLets Rondy! In 1935 Anchorage had less than 3000 residents, three friends got together and decided Anchorage needed a festival to coincide with the customary time that miners and trappers came into town with their goods to sell or trade. They recognized that winters were difficult on fellow Alaskans. After-all, the cold winters and significantly more difficult traveling conditions resulted in residents suffering from cabin-fever, a common syndrome for Alaskans who tended to stay indoors and didn’t have the opportunity to socialize or exercise as much during the long, dark winter months.  They named the event, Fur Rendezvous or Rondy for short! Early events included hockey, skiing, basketball, boxing and a children’s dog sled race. Many residents also showed up for the parade and city bonfire. Through the years after the initial Fur Rendezvous new events arose and the event became more and more popular. Since then the Fur Rendezvous has earned a national and international reputation for being one of the best winter events in the world. (more…)

Great Hikes in Alaska to Explore on Own or with a Guide

Chugach State Park

Hiking in Alaska’s back-country is one of the most popular activities for those who live in Alaska and visitors as well. There are endless possibilities for those with hiking experience to venture out on their own in the back-country of Alaska. Alaska offers many guided hike opportunities and some easy hikes you can do on your own in some of Alaska’s most popular destinations that are suitable for the less experienced hiker that just want to get off the beaten trail and experience the serenity and beauty of Alaska.

Anchorage
Anchorage is blessed with over 250 miles of trails within the city and has over 230 parks, some of them very large. Anchorage also sits in the shadow of the mountains of Chugach State Park which is easily accessible and a short 15 to 20 minute drive from downtown. The half-day Chugach State Park Anchorage Day Hike departs from most of the hotels in downtown Anchorage mid-morning and returns after about four hours. You will travel by van to the scenic Glen Alps Trail-head and a naturalist guide will tailor a hike to match your fitness level. Hike in the alpine Chugach Mountains and valleys that surround Anchorage while your guide teaches you about the flora, fauna, geology and history of the area. It does not take long before you leave the city sights and immerse yourself in Alaska’s wilderness. Keep an eye out for moose and marmot. Trail snacks and water will be provided. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, layered clothing and a backpack. This hike is great for families! (more…)

Alaska’s Summer Weather

The most common question we get regarding travel to Alaska is what will the weather be like?  If only we could tell you for sure, but weather is difficult to predict.  This spring has started out dry, real dry!  But in Alaska that doesn’t necessarily reflect what the weather will be even tomorrow! Alaskan summers are cooler than many visitors are used to but it is still summer – a winter parka is not necessary!  Many travelers revel in the cooler temperatures.  Alaska is a big state so the weather does vary from region to region. Alaska is a great place to visit anytime of the year although most visitors come from mid-May to mid-September.  (more…)

What to Pack For Your Vacation to Alaska

What should I pack for my trip to Alaska? The question comes up for every traveler.

With Alaska’s diverse climate it can be tricky, so here are a few tips to get you on your way; It’s important to be prepared for a variety of activities and conditions. Alaska’s summer temperatures range from 40 degrees F to 70 degrees F. For more information on our average temperatures please check out our blog on Alaska’s Weather. The first key element in thinking about your wardrobe for Alaska is layers.  On an average day we have a variety of conditions so if you are going to be outside it’s good to layer up with a T-shirt, Sweater or Fleece Jacket, and top it off with a quality Rain Coat.  For the fleece or sweater layer it’s important to consider a wool or polyester product. Cotton is not a good option because once it’s wet, it’s no longer warm.

The second key item would be your footwear. Overall, Alaska is very casual and sneakers are acceptable just about anywhere. we would encourage you to have a comfortable pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes. If you plan to be fairly active you may want to make your second set of shoes a light hiking boot. If a portion of your trip will be by cruise ship you may want to consider a pair of dress shoes.

Here is a list of items to make sure you have included in your packing:

Clothing that can be layered (you may even want to consider a pair of long underwear if you are planning on any hiking, kayaking, or river rafting)

  • Rain Coat
  • Light Fleece Jacket
  • Hat and gloves (sometimes it can be chilly especially out on the water or near any of the glaciers)
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Camera
  • A Backpack or Carry on type bag
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Drivers License and or Passport (a passport is required if you are taking an Alaskan Cruise)
  • Insect Repellent
  • Personal toiletries
  • Medications (some of our remote areas will not have pharmacies available)
  • Swimsuit (only if you plan on using the hotel pool or hot tubs where available)

You can find average weather conditions along with links to current weather conditions by Alaska destination here.  Lastly, if you’ve booked a package through Alaska Tour & Travel be sure to read through each of the tour itineraries included in your documents.  If the tour operators such as rafting, hiking, or kayaking have any  particular suggestions on what to bring with you for your excursion we’ll have that noted in the itinerary.

A Trip To Kantishna – Denali Park’s Best Experience

KantishnaWe are often asked by visitors how to experience the best of Denali National Park. Without question, the best opportunity to see Mt. McKinley, observe wildlife, and experience a more exclusive, intimate perspective of Denali National Park is to make sure that a visit to Kantishna is included in your travel plans either as a day trip or a two night back-country lodging adventure. Located 92 miles deep into the Park, Kantishna is close to Wonder Lake. This lake, known for its epic reflections of Mt. McKinley, is something most Denali visitors see only on postcards as they don’t get deep enough into the National Park. The rolling foothills of Kantishna with views of Mt. McKinley, the historic streams that seemingly sparkle with gold, the abundant wildlife, and the premium lodging in Denali make the all day journey an adventure that will sure to be the highlight of your trip to Alaska. (more…)

Lowell Point Kayaking Out of Seward

sck10Over the past couple of years my family and I have found that we love kayaking! My daughters are 13 and 15 and relish new outdoor experiences. This past summer we chose to go on a guided kayak tour in Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. The Lowell Point Kayaking tour with Sunny Cove Kayaking departs from Lowell Point about two miles from downtown Seward. Sunny Cove does not have their own transportation to their kayak base so if you don’t have a car, you’ll need to take a taxi out to the Lowell Point from Seward.  Depending on where you depart from, a taxi will cost about $15-$20 dollars. We all were dressed in layers with rain gear and warm hats. While it was July the weather was overcast and cool! Upon our arrival we were outfitted with rubber boots, a life vest and a kayak skirt and asked to complete a standard waiver.

sck4After all kayakers were outfitted we headed to the beach and listened to a safety briefing which included kayaking tips and instructions. The tour group included a mix of ages as well as experienced kayakers and beginners. We had two guides and a total of ten guests. We loaded into our tandem kayaks – we had one adult with each of our kids. While one guide waited in the bay, the other guide helped us launch off of the beach. From the beach, the water looked a little rough but once we were in the bay in our kayaks it did not seem rough at all and was in fact smooth sailing! (more…)

Car-less in Denali

We often are asked, “how do you get around in Denali if we don’t have our own car?” Well, it is fairly easy with a little planning and knowledge of the transportation options to get to and around Denali. Traveling to Denali, we usually recommend traveling one way via the Alaska Railroad or the Wilderness Express and the other way by The Park Connection Motorcoach.  The Park Connection departs from and drops off at all of the major hotels in Denali and the hotels we recommend are selected in part because they pick up and drop off at the railroad depot.  Once in Denali, there is a network of National Park Service shuttles and local Denali hotel and tour operators that provide complimentary transportation to clients. The next step to planning a visit to Denali National Park without your own car is to select a hotel which provides a shuttle service into the Denali Park entrance area and to the Alaska Railroad Depot.

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