Seeking Seward’s Magical Temperate Rainforest

Seward Alaska Temperate Rainforest

Seward‘s waters have a way of drawing attention — and rightfully so. The deep blue-green hue, the reflection of snow-tipped mountains, and the potential for spotting some of Alaska’s iconic marine wildlife all draw our state’s many summertime visitors into Resurrection Bay for day tours and cruises alike. But bordering that waterway lies yet another remarkable ecosystem: The temperate rainforest. (more…)

Trip Report: Kayaking Bear Glacier Lagoon

The team at Alaska Tour & Travel is an adventurous bunch, and we don’t take recommending day-trip tours and excursions lightly. That’s why, when we’re not manning the phones at our office in Anchorage, we like to go out and experience what our guests will. Next stop? Paddling among blue giants in Kenai Fjords National Park’s Bear Glacier Lagoon.

Bear Glacier Lagoon Kayak

Paddling in the Lagoon, Bear Glacier capped in clouds in the background

Our trip began on a typical Seward morning: Drizzly, with clouds in shades of grey skimming the green mountains around Resurrection Bay. We met Libby, our Liquid Adventures guide, at their office at the north end of the small boat harbor. With our standard waivers signed, Libby cheerfully got down to the business of briefing and outfitting. We were each issued a dry suit, rubber clogs, dry bag, and waterproof case for our phones. Thus equipped, our group of six paddlers shuffled down the boardwalk and into the harbor to meet the boat. (more…)

Talkeetna Eats: Part One

When the opportunity arises, I spend a lot of time in Talkeetna visiting with friends at our favorite local restaurants and pubs. For the size of this small town, which boasts less than 1,000 year-round residents, there’s a delicious array of ways to satisfy hungry Whether that vacation takes you into town for a half-day fishing excursion or perhaps to spend a night or two at a Talkeetna lodge, a morning in Talkeetna should start with a trip down to the historic Talkeetna Roadhouse on Main Street. The Roadhouse offers hearty standard breakfasts that come piled high with eggs, potatoes, and bacon or reindeer sausage. If you like something sweeter, try their sourdough hotcakes. In true Alaskan fashion, the Roadhouse is still using sourdough starter that dates back to 1902. And, if you don’t have time to wait (which can happen, since the Roadhouse is very popular), they offer a delectable selection of pastries to go. My personal favorite are their raspberry cinnamon rolls. All tables are family style, so you may find yourself seated next to a fellow tourist, a long-time Talkeetna local, or a team of mountain climbers prepping for (or coming down from) their Denali trek. Walking away from breakfast with new friends is the norm.

If you are looking for a juicy burger and cold beer you can’t beat the West Rib Pub behind Nagley’s General Store. Aside from a selection of delicious burgers, the Pub offers a range of seafood, salads, and their famous deep-fried halibut nuggets. The Pub offers both outdoor and indoor seating, and I have to say it’s hard to beat sitting outside enjoying a pint of Alaskan brewed beer at 10 p.m. with the sun still high in the sky. If you did sit inside, the walls are littered with climbing memorabilia and comments from patrons from all over the world. Feel free to ask the pub tender for a marker to document your own trip to Talkeetna on the wall.

One of my absolute favorite places to eat in Talkeetna is the Wildflower Café. The Café is in a beautiful, newly built log building on Main Street. They offer beautifully crafted food made from locally sourced ingredients including fresh seafood and greens. I highly recommend the Chef Salad for lunch. It comes with fresh greens, sliced ham, turkey, cheeses, and a nice portion of fresh Alaskan crab. For dinner I can’t resist their Seafood Curry: Sautéed crab, halibut, and scallops are served over a bed of rice noodles and vegetables with a fragrant light curry sauce.

Feeling hungry? There’s much more amazing fare to share. Look for my Talkeetna Eats: Part Two post soon!

Want to experience even more of Talkeetna? Call Alaska Tour & Travel at 800-208-0200 to build your dream trip to Talkeetna and beyond.

Kenai Fjords National Park Day Cruise Options

aialik-glacierOne of the most popular national parks in Alaska is Kenai Fjords National Park. Seward is the small coastal community located at the entrance of the park. Located about 130 miles south of Anchorage, Seward is easily accessible by car, bus or train. From Seward you can take a day cruise out to see all the park has to offer. Kenai Fjords National Park is known for great marine wildlife viewing, such as whales, sea lions, otters and lets not forgot its glaciers!

There are several types of cruises offered out of Seward: “National Park” cruises that go 110-120+ miles round trip and shorter “Resurrection Bay” cruises that go about 55 miles round trip. It is important to understand that the longer the cruise the better chance you have to see wildlife as well as additional tidewater glaciers. It is also helpful to know that two companies operate Kenai Fjords National Park and Resurrection Bay cruises – Kenai Fjords Tours and Major Marine Tours. Both companies have good reputations so choosing what company and what cruise to take really comes down to identifying which cruise is best for you based on your own preferences and schedule. (more…)

Alaska Wildlife “Guaranteed” Viewing!

caribouIf you are like most visitors to Alaska one of the primary reasons you want to visit is to see Alaska’s bountiful wildlife.  After all, images of large brown bears in a stream feasting on Alaskan salmon or a bull moose grazing in alpine ponds are iconic pictures of what visitors seek in planning trips to Alaska. However, Alaska is a HUGE state and even though there are over 175,000 moose and 30,000 bears among other wildlife in Alaska they are not always conveniently staged in their local habitat such as in our parks such as Denali, Kenai Fjords, or Lake Clark National Park.   (more…)

Seward – More than the Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park

seward-alaska-exit-glacier-The population of Seward Alaska is about to rise rapidly as the summer season arrives. The town boasts a year round population of about 3,000 residents however that easily doubles once the tourists arrive. Seward is most known as the “Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park” and offers a plethora of boat tours that include glacier and wildlife viewing. These tours are spectacular and not to be missed on any visit to Seward, but the town has a lot more to offer such as kayaking, fishing, dog kennel tours and hiking. For help choosing which boat tour to take be sure to read our blog on Kenai Fjords boat cruises. (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 Trailhead 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…)

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