This 10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023 results from our travel experience in the state. Alaska is our favorite state, which we have visited four times so far, and we plan the next Alaska road trip. How to organize a perfect Alaska road trip? How much does a trip to Alaska cost? What do you need to pack for Alaska adventures? Where to stay and what to see? What wildlife trips and activities to choose from in Alaska? When should you visit this state? Find answers and tips in our detailed 10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023.This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
10-Day Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Introduction
If you are planning a trip to Alaska or dreaming of a lifetime journey to Alaska and wondering how to organize it, you have come to the right place. We are passionate about Alaska and have taken four road trips in the state so far. Our longest Alaska road trip lasted a month. The last Alaska road trip lasted three weeks, and we did it in August 2022. We are planning another Alaska trip for next year. So we bring you the latest information, current prices, and regulations in this 10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023. Despite the high prices, Alaska is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination. Therefore, it is worth planning the Alaska road trip in detail and in advance to have a great adventure. Please take advantage of our experience and tips.
What will you find in this 10-Day Alaska Itinerary for 2023?
After several Alaska trips, we arranged and suggested an optimal Alaska route. During this 10 Days Alaska Itinerary, you will see the best of this state. It’s a popular and classic Alaska Itinerary focusing on the Denali National Park area, Kenai Fjords National Parks area, and the Anchorage area. We have been to each place a few times and shared the best tips, activities, and the most optimal way to plan your trip. During this 10 Days Alaska Itinerary, you will have time to enjoy the extraordinary nature of this state and take on a lot of activities that give you joy and unforgettable memories: wildlife watching, hiking, kayaking, sightseeing, and more.
Below we present the 10 Days Alaska Itinerary in short. Then we give you tons of current hints on how to plan this trip: where to stay, what to pack, how and where rent a car, which Alaska activities require permits or advanced booking, and more. Then we describe each day of the 10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023 in detail. With this Alaska Itinerary, you will have a fabulous adventure. Use the table of contents above for more straightforward navigation.
Why is it 10 Day Alaska Itinerary for 2023?
We think ten days in Alaska is the minimum to see the most exciting and beautiful places in this vast state. If you have only seven days for your Alaska itinerary, you will find some tips on how to shorten this trip. If you have more than ten days, we give you some different places and adventures at the end of the article worth adding to your Alaska itinerary.
10 Days Alaska Itinerary Quick Overview
Day 1 Arrive in Anchorage and explore the town.
Day 2 Drive to Talkeetna, take a scenic flight over Denali, and drive to Denali.
Day 3 Explore Denali National Park.
Day 4 Explore Denali National Park.
Day 5 Drive to Seward via Palmer.
Day 6 Explore Kenai Fjords National Park- glacier and wildlife cruises and hiking.
Day 7 Drive to Anchor Point, then visit Homer.
Day 8 Explore Homer – go for a wildlife cruise, or fishing, or kayaking.
Day 9 Drive to Hope, Whittier, and Girdwood.
Day 10 Return to Anchorage and explore the Anchorage area.
Extra Days in Alaska Itinerary: Katmai National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and more ideas for the Alaska trip.
10 Days Alaska Itinerary – When is the best time to visit Alaska?
When is the best time to go to Alaska? Now we know that it is always a good time to visit Alaska. But most of all, late Spring and Summer are perfect. So, consider planning your Alaska itinerary between mid-May and mid-September. As of the beginning of September, the winter season is starting. A lot of businesses are closing for the season. But until the end of September, the weather is still acceptable for a visit. Fall is a breathtaking season.
Summer is also the best time to visit Alaska because you have the most attractions available: bear viewing, whale watching, wildlife watching, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and much more. We have prepared this Alaska itinerary for the summer. Of course, winter in Alaska is equally spectacular, but it requires proper preparation. Some of the attractions we recommend in this article will not be available. Moreover, some roads might be impassable. Some services, hotels, cabins, campgrounds, and restaurants are also closed for winter.
Estimation of 10 Days Alaska Road Trip Cost
How much does it cost a 10-day trip to Alaska? The simple answer to this complicated question is, of course: it depends on your needs, interests, and travel style. Alaska is not a cheap destination. Frankly, it’s a pretty expensive state because it’s cut off from the Lower 48, and everything takes a long time to transport. The cost depends on what attractions you choose, how far in advance you book, lodging, meals, etc. Below we give you some fresh data based on our trip in August 2022. In the article, you will also find tips on not ruining your budget and making a more affordable trip to Alaska.
Cost of car
- Renting a regular car for 2 people for 10 days Alaska itinerary for 2023 – prices start from $1500. We can highly recommend renting a car for your trip from Alaska Auto Rental company, as we have great experiences with this local company. You can check our review.
- Renting an RV for 2 people for 10 days Alaska itinerary for 2023 – prices start from $2500 (if you book it at least 6-8 months advance)
- A gallon of unleaded fuel: 4.50-6.50 USD (cheaper close to Anchorage)
Cost of accommodation
- Average RV campsite with hookups – 35-60 USD/night
- Tent campsite – 10-50 USD/night
- The average price of lodging in a hotel/cabin/etc.:
Prices are lower when you book accommodation in advance. In high season the prices are much higher or there may be a problem with finding accommodation at all.
Cost of food
- The average price of lunch: 30-50 USD/person (alcohol not included)
- The average price of dinner: 50-100 USD/person (alcohol not included)
Cost of attractions and activities
- Full-day kayak tour – 140-180 USD/person
- One-day cruise to glaciers from Seward – 95-250 USD/person
- Denali Flightseeing Tour – 288-450 USD/person
- Denali Bus Tour – 104-128 USD/person
- Full-day fishing cruise from Homer (fishing license not included) – 200-350 USD/person
- Wildlife cruise – 125-350 USD/person
10-Day Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – What to pack for Alaska?
We suggest you study our detailed article on Alaska packing list. It reflects our experience and turned out to be correct on several last trips. Alaska is the land of bears. Therefore you need to get ready to encounter wildlife. Wild animals can behave unpredictably. So, we wrote more about bear safety in Alaska and how to prepare for wildlife in our Alaska guide.
If you plan to hike, especially in Denali NP or Kenai NP, check out our detailed Alaska Packing List of what to pack for a hike.
Bring real maps and good GPS devices if you plan some challenging hiking! Believe us, when you’re in the middle of the Alaska wilderness, and you have no phone signal, you’ll thank us. Always pack a map for an Alaska road trip. We love technology and great apps, but we assure you there are many places in Alaska where they are useless because it is no coverage.
10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Car Rental or RV Rental?
During our trips around Alaska, we rented regular cars and slept in hotels or a tent. We also traveled in RV and slept on campgrounds. It all depends on your dreams and budget. Each solution has pros and cons.
Upon arrival in Anchorage, you should pick up a car at Ted Stevens International Airport. You should book your car a few months in advance, even 5 -6 months before a planned trip. Renting a vehicle for a road trip through Alaska in the summer is difficult. The prices are much higher because the demand is very high. In April – May, prices go crazy and go up before summer. In June, you may not find a car available at all for summer. That is why it is worth making a reservation as early as possible. We recommend you consider two options for renting a car for the road trip through Alaska.
Rent a car for your 10 Day Alaska Itinerary
Rent a regular car and stay in hotels/motels/lodges/cabins or in a tent on campgrounds. It is the best option if you are short on time for your trip or have no experience with RVs. In our opinion, this is the best option for a 10-day Alaska itinerary.
You can also check out the best rental deals on Rentalcars.com, as it is a great comparison and search tool. The rental prices might be better, because, at the same time, they negotiate prices directly with the car rental companies for many vehicles. However is excellent to check also local Alaskan rentals, as they might provide you with better prices and services.
Rent an RV for your 10 Day Alaska Itinerary
What about motorhome rentals in Alaska? If you prefer a motorhome, choose one of the most reliable companies like RVshare, ABC Motorhome, or Great Alaskan Holidays. They offer excellent service and good quality vehicles. We had used them before and were very satisfied with this solution. However, we recommend renting a motorhome only if you already have experience with this type of travel. Traveling by RV always takes more time than traveling by regular car. It might be difficult to implement our Alaska itinerary in a motorhome if you have no experience. We think it is worth renting an RV for an Alaska road trip of at least 12-14 days. If you plan an RV trip to Alaska, you should remember the RV battery to have a reliable power system.
Having taken a road trip through Alaska with each of these options – both a rental car, where we slept in hotels, and an RV, where we stayed in campgrounds – we share our experiences with each.
The Best Alaska Paper Maps & Guides for Alaska Road Trip
Is it worth packing a map for a trip to Alaska?
Do you need a paper map and guide for your Alaska road trip? It depends on your needs. You can download some pdf versions for your devices like phones or iPad. But make sure to do it before your trip to Alaska, as there is no coverage in some places. We always pack at least one paper map and use it a lot. During our Alaska road trips, we used several maps and guidebooks. Below, we recommend only those we have enjoyed, that have been checked, and that we still use, as they are professional and developed in every detail. Their updates appeared this year, which is excellent. They also enrich your knowledge of Alaska’s nature, history, and culture.
What are the best Alaska Paper Maps & Guide?
This is our number 1. We recently bought the newest edition, and we sincerely recommend it. If you must purchase only one resource for knowledge about Alaska – choose The MILEPOST 2022: Alaska Travel Planner. It includes mile-by-mile descriptions of more than 15,000 miles of road in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, and Alberta. Its 700-plus pages detail guide with camping, fishing, gas stops, restaurants, attractions, and services found along the highways and byways of Alaska and western Canada. So, it’s perfect if you plan a road trip.
We also used DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer: Alaska. We like its topographic maps, which provide information on everything from cities and towns to historic sites, scenic drives, and trailheads.
Our favorite travel guide is Moon Alaska: Scenic Drives, National Parks, Best Hikes. There is a new version from April 2020, which is excellent. You have a paperback or Kindle version to choose from. We love it because it’s very detailed and informative. It gave you a plan of ideas on how to spend time in Alaska according to your needs and interests. For us, it become a must-have guide for travelers in Alaska. Full of educational information about wildlife, plants, local customs, geography, history, ecology, and safety. We love this series.
|The MILEPOST 2022: Alaska Travel Planner||Moon Alaska: Scenic Drives, National Parks, Best Hikes||Moon Anchorage, Denali & the Kenai Peninsula||DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer: Alaska|
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10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Where to Sleep?
The next step is to plan lodging for your 10 Days Alaska Road Trip. If you plan to stay in a hotel, you should book well in advance because prices are growing pretty fast, and Alaska is not the cheapest state for accommodation. But campgrounds are also very popular, especially between June and September, so it’s worth booking in advance. Below we will give you specific accommodation suggestions for each day of your stay, both hotels and campsites. You will find specific recommendations for each destination.
Hotels during 10 days Alaska itinerary?
Hotels/motels/cabins will be a great solution if you do not have overnight camping experience, especially in remote and full of wildlife areas. Book your accommodation in advance because in high season prices can ruin your budget.
Campgrounds during 10 days Alaska itinerary?
Campsites are a great option if you have a limited budget and want to sleep in a tent. But we recommend this option for people who have experience in camping and know how to behave in the event of a bear or moose encounter. RV campgrounds are also a fantastic experience, but renting an RV is pretty expensive these days. An advanced booking is highly recommended.
Ready-to-Go 10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023
Below we show you our proposition on how to fill 10 Days Alaska Itinerary in detail. You can change our 10 Days Alaska Itinerary and start south and go north if it better fits the weather forecast. We assume that you are renting a car or motorhome. In the case of a vehicle, you can sleep in a hotel/Airbnb or a tent – you will find all the options below.
Day 1 Alaska Itinerary – Arrive in Anchorage
We assume that you will be flying to Anchorage from one of the cities across the United States or Canada. Most of the flights will last a couple of hours, and they usually arrive in the afternoon, so we do not suggest you plan anything but Anchorage sightseeing on that day. Below are some suggestions for what to see and do in Anchorage.
Anchorage is also the best place for shopping before your Alaska road trip. So if you haven’t packed something, you should buy it in Anchorage. This is our list of what we always pack on a car road trip. Here is our list of what we pack when we sleep at the campground in a tent.
Where to sleep in Anchorage?
Hotels in Anchorage
The choice of accommodation in Anchorage is extensive and affordable. Book your accommodation in advance if you plan a trip between June and September. If you prefer something more comfortable but not cheap, we suggest choosing between The Hotel Captain Cook, or Copper Whale Inn. If you need something more on budget, consider Westmark Anchorage Hotel or Ingra House Hotel. Check hotel rates and availability on our favorite service with great deals – booking.com and book it in advance.
Campgrounds in Anchorage
If you decide to rent a motorhome (or sleep in a tent), we could suggest two campgrounds that we used before. One of them (Ship Creek RV Park) is close to the city center (walking distance), and one (Golden Nugget RV Park) is a little bit remote, but both are of decent quality.
Dinner in Anchorage
On Day 1 of Alaska Itinerary, except for sightseeing in the city center, you probably would like to eat something local. We spent enough time in Anchorage to check all the best restaurants for you.
Orso ($$$) – This is a great place to taste local seafood. We recommend crusted halibut, crab-stuffed rockfish, and appetizers. They have an excellent wine selection, as well. If you like Pinot Noir, it is a good companion for food.
Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse ($$) – This is a more affordable place with seafood on the menu. We tried blackened halibut tacos, crab legs, salmon, and reindeer burgers, and everything was tasty and prepared very well. If you are an oyster fan, you will find here the best Alaskan oysters, much bigger than everything you know from other parts of the country. This restaurant is more dedicated to beer than wine, so we suggest you find your favorite draft beer here.
Glacier BrewHouse ($$) – This one is our favorite in Anchorage. You can try ribs, grilled salmon, crab legs, cooked Wagyu beef sliders, or seafood chowder. We liked King Crab Legs best! This restaurant has its brewery on-premise, so if you plan to drink alcohol, it would be better to try some beers. But if you are not a big fan of beers like us, they have a massive selection of stronger drinks.
Day 1 of 10-Day Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Things to See and Do in Anchorage
Anchorage is not the most beautiful city in the world, but still, you can try to take some great pictures and have amazing sightseeing and hikes. We selected a few things to do and see in Anchorage on day 1 of the Alaska Itinerary.
Take a Downtown Walk
Downtown Anchorage is the heart of the city, packed with shops and restaurants, and great views. It’s worth seeing Log Cabin Visitor Center at the corner of 4th Avenue and F Street and riding with Anchorage Trolley Tours.
Admire Skyline from Downtown Anchorage Viewpoint
There are some interesting viewpoints in Anchorage where you can admire the skyline. But the best is Downtown Anchorage Viewpoint. It is well worth a visit if you have good weather. It’s great to take a skyline picture from this spot.
Visit Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is one of the best places for an introduction to the various Alaska Native traditions and languages. Anchorage is located in the traditional homeland of the Dena’ina Athabascan and the Native Village of Eklutna, and Alaska is home to many other diverse groups, each with its own characteristics and lifestyles based on the environment. If you have time, be sure to include this place in your Alaska itinerary.
Rent a bike and pedal the Coastal Trail
Anchorage’s bike paths travel 135 miles through the city, which is pretty impressive. But the best part is known as the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which is an 11-mile shoreside trail.
Day 2 Alaska Itinerary – Visit Talkeetna & take a Scenic Flight over Denali
On the second day, your goal is to get to Denali before night. The travel itself will take you about 5 hours, and the distance is about 265 miles via Talkeetna. We strongly recommend doing two amazing things on this day. So, please start your Alaska Road Trip early in the morning.
Take a Scenic Flight over Denali Mountains
Talkeetna is a charming town, which we love. The most important reason to visit this town is the wide range of flights over Denali. We highly recommend considering flying over the mountains to the glacier. Some of the flights offer to land there for a quarter or two. It was an amazing adventure, one of our best experiences in Alaska that we highly recommend. We choose the option with a glacier landing. It’s worth the money. It was this tour: Grand Denali Flight with Optional Glacier Landing operated by K2 aviation. In a separate article, we present more photos from the flight over Denali with the glacier landing.
TRIP TIP: From Anchorage to Talkeetna, you have 113 miles to drive. It will take at least 2 hours and 30 minutes. Give yourself enough time to drive to catch your scenic flight. Make sure to book your scenic flight advanced, as they are popular. All flights and glacier landings are weather dependent, if you cannot fly due to weather conditions, you will be refunded in full or you can reschedule your flight, which is a great solution.
Depending on what time you book your flight over Denali, find time for a meal in Talkeetna, before or after your scenic flight. We recommend Talkeetna Roadhouse for having one or the famous spinach bread. It’s delicious and you will save some money!
Why do we want you to spend some time in Talkeetna? First of all, because the town is beautiful, it has excellent restaurants and a lot of nice gift shops. Moreover, it is the starting point of all expeditions to McKinley/Denali peak. You should visit the museum and learn a little bit about the history. Book an hour to two for a short walk around the city and visit The Talkeetna Historical Society’s Museum. The Mountain Exhibit, showing Denali and its surrounding peaks of the Alaska Range as a room-size model is fabulous.
Drive to Denali
From Talkeetna to Denali National Park you have 152 miles of driving. It will take at least 2 hours and 40 minutes. For the 2nd day of the Alaska itinerary, we only suggest that you stay as close to Denali National Park as possible. Get to the accommodation of your choice. We do not recommend visiting the Denali National Park on this day. Rest and prepare for your Denali adventure. But since accommodation in and near Denali National Park is quite a challenge, see our tips below.
You must know that accommodation options in Denali are minimal and rather expensive. So again we strongly suggest booking them as soon as possible and far in advance.
- If you want to stay closer to Denali National Park, your options should focus on McKinley Park. We can recommend Creekside Cabins or Grizzly Bear Resort.
- But if you are looking for a budget option you can consider staying in the town of Healy. Consider White Moose Lodge, Tri-Valley Cabins, or Denali Park Hotel. If you stay in Healy, make sure to see the Magic Bus 142 from Into the Wild.
- Also, Cantwell is a great solution while visiting Denali National Park. You can choose Backwoods Lodge, Cantwell Lodge, or The Runway House.
- In case you decided to go with the motorhome, you have to book the campground in advance as well because in the high season it’s very crowded. The first choice is Riley Creek Campground. If it’s full, please try Cantwell RV Park or Denali RV Park.
Day 3 Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Explore Denali National Park
TRIP TIP: On this day of the 10-day Alaska Itinerary, we recommend that you begin by exploring Denali National Park & Preserve. There are a variety of activities you can choose from. It all depends on your interests, budget, and time. In 2023 and 2024, access to facilities and services in Denali National Park will remain limited due to the Pretty Rocks landslide and the associated closure of Park Road at Mile 43. But there’s still plenty to do in Denali. Below are our tips how to spend time in Denali. But before you head out to Denali, check the warnings on the official website.
Important Note for seasons 2023 and 2024 in Denali National Park
The Summer 2023 season begins on May 15. According to the official park’s website, Summer 2023 (through 2024) operations will be affected by the ongoing Pretty Rocks Landslide and the associated closure of the Denali Park Road at Mile 43. Please, make sure to check the official park’s updates before you visited Denali.
- Transit buses and tour buses will travel no further than the East Fork Bridge (Mile 43 of the Denali Park Road).
- Eielson Visitor Center is closed.
- Wonder Lake Campground is closed.
- Please, note that bus and campground reservations can be made as early as December 1, for the following summer.
Plan Your Activities in Denali National Park & Preserve
You should think about your trip to Denali National Park & Preserve months in advance. It is essential because you want to have a magnificent wildlife adventure and take fabulous photos. We recommend some activities in Denali National Park. Is it worth visiting Denali if part of the road in the park is closed? Yes! We were in Denali a few times when all Denali Park Road was opened, but we visited also the park in August 2022 when the road was closed. And there are still a lot of things to do in Denali.
You must remember that there is no food available in Denali, and there are no shops in the Park, so please prepare your sandwiches, and snacks and take water with you to survive the whole day.
The Best Things to Do in Denali while Denali Park Road is Closed
Take a Denali Bus Tour
You must know that the whole Denali Park Road is 92.5 miles long, but with your own car, you can only drive up to 15 miles. So to visit the park, you must use the available bus transport, which must be booked in advance. Due to renovation works, in the 2023 season, the buses will run, just like in 2022, no further than the East Fork Bridge (Mile 43 of the Denali Park Road). Is it worth going on such a trip? It’s definitely worth it! There are two types of buses in Denali: transit buses and narrated tour buses.
Narrated Tour Buses
Tour buses are a perfect choice if you want to learn something about Denali and admire wildlife as well. They feature a trained naturalist who both drives the bus and narrates during the trip. You have some stops along the road 10-30 minutes long to take pictures, rest, and enjoy the views. They are guided buses. You must reserve your tour in advance. The price starts from $104 per adult. Tour buses are tan-colored. In season 2023 you will have two options:
- Natural History Tour, which focuses on the rich natural and cultural history of the park, this 4 ½ to 5-hour tour travels to Primrose Ridge (Mile 17).
- Tundra Wilderness Tour is a 5-5.5 hour drive into the park along the spectacular road corridor. You will travel to the Murie Cabin near the East Fork River (Mile 43) and learn where Adolf Murie lived when he conducted his famous research.
Transit buses are perfect if you plan to hike along the route. Those buses are designed to move people around within the park, they serve as hop-on hop-off buses. If you want to get off somewhere along Denali Park Road, go hiking, and get back on the bus later you can take transit buses which are painted green. They will operate in summer 2023 only to East Fork Transit (Mile 43). The price is $30 and you must book it ahead. Before you choose this bus learn more about hiking and camping in Denali in our separate article.
Visit the Savage River Area
Savage River Area is the place where you can get to Denali in your own car. It’s a Mile 15 on Denali Park Road. The scenery is beautiful, and you have several scenic hiking trails in this area. They are easy to moderate.
- Hike the Savage River Loop Trail, which is an easy, 2-mile trail that makes a loop around the Savage River.
- Hike the Savage Alpine Trail which is 4 miles long, but it’s pretty challenging as you have 1,500 feet of total ascent.
- Hike the Mountain Vista Trail which is a 0.6-mile easy loop, and it is located at mile 13 of Denali Park Road. It offers great views of the mountains.
Go Hiking in Denali
In Denali, you can hike off-trail. So you can take a transit bus into the park and spend the day hiking through the wilderness, as there are no marked trails. Then you can return on another transit bus. If you plan to go backpacking in the backcountry of Denali you must have a permit. There is no telephone coverage or internet in the park, no electricity, and no shops. Check out our Alaska Packing List before you hit the trails.
Camping in Denali
It’s amazing to experience! But you must be prepared for camping in Denali as it’s pure wilderness. Check our detailed article about Denali campgrounds. Moreover, you must book your site in advance. You will get to your chosen campsite by park bus, which departs from Denali Bus Depot at scheduled times. There are six campgrounds, but Wonder Lake Campground will be closed in the 2023 season. But, if you only have ten days on your Alaska itinerary, there is no point in packing a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, a tent just for one or two nights in Denali National Park. So we suggest you choose other activities.
Book the ATV Adventure
Wilderness ATV Adventure in Denali is a great option if you like to have a lot of fun, and if you like to get dirty. This is something for you! Chris took this trip and he had a lot of fun. Actually, they are not riding inside the park itself, but just outside the border. But the experience is pleasant. You will have fun riding ATV, hear some stories and information about the park from the guide, and have a chance to see beautiful views. We recommend going on this Wilderness ATV Adventure. It is optimal.
Go White Water Rafting
White-water rafting adventure on the Nenana River is only for brave ones. And to be honest, we did not try it for ourselves. But we decided to mention it just in case you love water. We talked to people who were delighted with rafting on the river, but we haven’t tried this adventure ourselves. There are a couple of types of such rafting tours in Denali. Beginners can choose Class I – II Rafting Tour.
Visit Healy – Magic Bus 142 from Into the Wild
The thing we suggest you should do during your stay in the Denali area is to visit Healy. There is a famous Magic Bus 142 (replica used in the movie) to see and take a picture with it. More on this you can find in our separate article. From Denali National Park you need 15-30 minutes to get to the Magic Bus 142. The Magic Bus 142 is located next to the brewery. In addition to the beer, the place also serves great food and has a very atmospheric interior (photo below). It’s worth your stop.
Visit Sled Dog Kennels
Denali is the only national park where visitors can meet working sled dogs. Denali National Park has had sled dogs since 1922. The sled dog kennels, located about 3 miles inside the park at park headquarters, are open year-round. You can meet 30 dogs that live and work in Denali. During the summer months, sled dog demonstrations are offered daily. it’s worth visiting Denali’s Alaskan huskies.
Our recommendations for spending your first day in Denali
For your first day in Denali, we recommend:
- Book one of the above-mentioned bus tours. Buy a tour in the morning, as the animals and birds are most active in the morning, so you will have a chance to see wildlife. It is best to drive up to mile 43.
- Visit the Denali Visitors Center, as they often have interesting programs during the summer. There is also a nice exhibition. What’s more, if you plan camping or backpacking in Denali you should go there to check weather conditions, warnings, and pick-up permits.
- Drive to Healy and see the Magic Bus 142 – replica of the movie Into the Wild.
- Spend the afternoon at Denali Village.
Day 4 Alaska Itinerary – Explore Denali National Park
This is your second day at Denali National Park. What to do?
- Drive in your car to the Savage River area at the Mile 15 of Denali Park Road. Drive in the morning as parking is limited, and there is more wildlife in the morning hours. Do one or two of the trails we mentioned around the Savage River area.
- Then return to the visitor center, from where you also have some interesting routes to choose from. Hike the Horseshoe Lake Trail which is an easy 2 miles round trip. Or hike the Mount Healy Overlook Trail. It is a 5-mile out-and-back hike and it’s moderate.
- In the afternoon, go on an ATV tour or rafting.
- But if you don’t feel like going on extra trips, we recommend you visit Sled Dog Kennels.
Day 5 Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Drive to Seward via Palmer
Day 5 in our 10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023 is a taught day for the driver. Start your drive early in the morning. The trip should take about 6.5 hours, and the distance is 355 miles. Because this Alaska Road Trip Itinerary is for only 10 days, we decided to compress it somehow for you to see more, even at the cost of such a long drive. But we suggest you also do some exciting activities along this route. So you get to Seward before evening. You can also reschedule suggested stops for the way back, as it’s impossible to visit all recommended below places during one day of driving.
Drive to Palmer
From Denali to Palmer are 200 miles and 3 hours and 30 minutes of driving. We suggest you stop in the Palmer for quick lunch. Depending on your interests you can choose some activities.
Visit The Musk Ox Farm
The nonprofit Musk Ox Farm is dedicated to domesticating the musk ox, an Ice Age mammal that once roamed the earth alongside saber-toothed tigers and wooly mammoths. It is a beautiful place worth visiting, especially if you are traveling with kids. In high season, it’s worth booking a tour. You will need at least 1 hour to visit the farm. The price was $14 per Adult in 2022.
Visit Independence Mine State Historical Park
This abandoned gold mine is a testament to Alaska’s rich gold rush history. It is worth a visit, but you will need at least 2 – 3 hours for this trip to get there from Palmer, tour the mine, and drive back to Palmer. Independence Mine State Historical Park is a huge abandoned gold mine located at the top of Hatcher Pass, a photogenic alpine passage that cuts through the Talkeetna Mountains. Admission is just $5 per car. You can join a guided tour, but you can also visit this place on your own. Hatcher Pass is amazing and full of hiking trails, but if you only have 10 days for your Alaska itinerary for 2023 we recommend visiting only the mine.
Visit Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is located at mile 79 of the Seward Highway. It is a sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education, research, and quality animal care. Here you can see brown bears, moose, wood bison, muskoxen, wolves, and more – a perfect stopover, especially if you are traveling with children. You need about 2 hours to visit this place.
Lodging in Seward
Seward has some lodging options, but as well it is the top-rated destination in high season. Thus you should consider booking ahead at one of the places: Breeze Inn Motel, or Best Western Plus Edgewater.
If you decided to rent a motorhome, you have a beautiful waterfront campground – Seward Waterfront RV Park. If you want to have an excellent site on the first line from the water, we recommend arriving early and booking it.
Food in Seward
Ray’s Waterfront ($$$$) – Very expensive restaurant, but for us, it was not the best seafood restaurant in Seward. You are paying for the location, which is stunning. If you are hungry, you should order some fresh fish (salmon or halibut) and maybe crab cakes – you can’t be wrong with those.
The Cookery ($$$) – This place is maybe not located as lovely as Ray’s, but for us won with the food quality and taste! We love oysters. If you don’t like them, maybe try mushroom toast. Or stay with regular halibut and salmon.
Gold Rush Bistro ($$) – The little cheaper option, but again very tasty. Assuming you don’t like seafood, you can come here and have just a burger or sandwich. They do not serve alcohol.
Day 6 of 10 Days Alaska Itinerary – Explore Kenai Fjords National Park
When you are in Seward, the best thing you can do is explore Kenai Fjords National Park and Preserve. Kenai Fjords National Park offers breathtaking scenery, as it’s a place where mountains, ice, and the ocean meet. It’s full of wildlife, ice fields, and birds. It’s difficult to choose activities to experience in the park, as there are so many, that you can spend one week here without boring. But you have only one day in this Alaska 10-day itinerary. So we try to suggest to you the best activities in Kenai.
You can explore the park on foot, as there are many hiking trails. Or you can take a cruise, where you can see a lot of wildlife and the impressive landscape of the ice fields. You can also take a kayak tour in front of a glacier or a helicopter ride, or go fishing.
Take a Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise
Seward: Kenai Fjords Half–Day Wildlife Cruise is a perfect option if you have only 10 days for your Alaska road trip, and the schedule is tight. Watch for whales, puffins, sea otters, and more on a half-day wildlife cruise through Resurrection Bay. Travel to the best whale and wildlife viewing areas in the region on a fully narrated tour with local, experienced captains and crew. Book a trip for the morning when nature is most active.
Go for a Hike to Exit Glacier
It’s great to explore Kenai on land. The best way is to hike the trails at the base of Exit Glacier. You can hike on your own or try ice climbing with a guide.
- Short trails lead to different views of Exit Glacier, beginning at the Exit Glacier Nature Center and the parking lot. Easy and short hikes are Glacier View Loop Trail and Glacier Overlook Trail.
- The most challenging is the Harding Icefield Trail. It is an 8.2-mile out-and-back day hike that begins in the Exit Glacier area. The trail begins on the valley floor and winds through cottonwood and alder forests and meadows, eventually reaching well above the tree line to stunning views of the Icefield. We did not make this hike because the weather broke down during our last stay in Seward. So we still have this hike on our bucket list.
Take a Kayak Tour
In case you don’t like hiking or cruises and prefer paddling, we recommend beautiful shorter kayak trips organized by Miller’s Landing. They have plenty of options, and in case of short trips, they take you by water taxi to your kayaking destination, so you don’t waste time paddling less exciting areas. One of the tours we recommend is Fun Wildlife Paddle, which will take you to the coastline towards Tonsina Beach. On this tour, your guide is focusing on looking for wildlife, like sea otters, bald eagles, sea lions, and different sea birds. It happens to encounter even a black bear. The tour lasts about two hours. Feel free to check their other options.
Day 7 Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Drive to Anchor Point, then Homer
On this day of your 10-day Alaska itinerary, you should say goodbye to amazing Seward and head to Homer, which is for us the most beautiful town in Alaska. From Seward to Homer Spit are 170 miles and 3 hours and 30 minutes of driving. We suggest you leave Seward early in the morning, as amazing places and activities are waiting for you in Homer.
Spot Bald Eagles and Seals at Anchor Point
20 miles before Homer, we suggest you stop for a while at Anchor Point. In this place, there is a big chance to spot bald eagles and seals. If the weather is good, you can see snowy volcanic mountains on the other side of Cook Inlet. We had the luck to photograph an eagle with the mountain in the background. Be there as early as possible, as there are better chances to spot bald eagles.
Anchor Point might be as well an excellent place to go for a bear-watching tour to the other side of the Cook Inlet in Chinitna Bay in Lake Clark National Park. If you are here between May and early September, you might consider a half-day tour. It should fit into this itinerary, but if you have more time go for a full day because only a boat ride to the other side of the Inlet takes a couple of hours. In this article, we share our experiences from bear viewing in Alaska.
Explore Homer and Homer Spit
After enjoying the magnificent seaside at Anchor Point, you can go to Homer. We recommend leaving your car in your booked lodging and then walking through the city. It might be hard to find a parking spot in the high season. In case you are going with a motorhome, go directly to the campground and leave your vehicle there for the next two nights. We suggest taking a walk around the town. The views are amazing. Homer is full of atmospheric restaurants, souvenir shops, and delicious food. Below are our recommendations.
There are not too many hotels/lodges on the spit itself so you might end up lodging in the city itself. If you book ahead of time, you can still have a chance to get Otter Beach Lodges or Land’s End Resort at the very end of the spit. Otherwise, we recommend one of the Aspen Suites Hotel. They are located not precisely within walking distance to the very end of the spit, but if you like going along the beach, it is still not that far. In case you decided on a motorhome, or sleep in a tent, there’s one nice campground at the very end of the spit – Homer Spit Campground. We recommend staying there.
Food in Homer
Captain’s Patties ($$$) – Here you can try fish & chips. But if you want something more sophisticated, why don’t you order a king crab or seafood platter? You can buy fresh fish here and if you are traveling with a motorhome, prepare it yourself later.
Homer Spit Oyster Bar ($$$) – Small charming place a little bit away from the center of the spit. Of course, they specialize in oysters, and they are great. If you go in a happy hour, there is a chance to get much more, so be careful. You can buy some oysters to go here as well.
You should go for a drink to the very famous Salty Dawg Saloon ($$). Even if you do not plan to drink, enter there and see those dollar bills everywhere.
Little Mermaid ($) – This restaurant has an outstanding price/quality ratio, so it’s our first choice in Homer. You can go classic here with halibut or salmon, but you can try as well as citrus salad or grilled rockfish tacos. Chowder is delicious, as well.
Day 8 Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Explore Homer
When in Homer, you have plenty of opportunities to spend active time here. You must think about what you did in Seward like kayaking or wildlife cruise and decide what you want to do in Homer. If you have no luck and did not see any wildlife on the journey or took not perfect pictures, do not worry. It’s another opportunity here, as Kachemak Bay is full of wildlife! If you had no time for kayaking in Seward or decided to do another thing, do not worry! Here you have another kayaking opportunity.
Take an Alaska Wildlife Tour in Kachemak Bay
We made this Wildlife Tour in Kachemak Bay during our last Alaska road trip, and it was a great experience for an affordable price. The boats are small, they can accommodate up to 6 passengers so it’s a great experience as the boat comes close to wildlife. In addition, our captain was a real passionate expert on wildlife in Alaska.
Go Fishing in Homer
Another idea is instead to spend this day fishing halibut. If you want to go fishing, you must plan ahead as usual. There are two things to consider. One is a fishing license that you must buy separately. And you can do it in many places in Homer. But as well it is a good idea to buy it online and print it at home. You can do it here. Check current prices and conditions.
Second, you should find your charter. We have experience with Homer Ocean Charters, and they did a great job. They teach you how to catch halibut, help you to get it on board, and gut it for you on the way back to the harbor. They have different kinds of tours, but we recommend the whole day – it’s a bigger chance to catch your halibut and spot some wildlife on the way.
Day 9 Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Drive to Hope, Whittier, and Girdwood
We know it’s a pity to leave Homer, but you planned only 10 days of Alaska Itinerary, so it has to happen. On that day, your goal is to see some other gems of the Kenai Peninsula.
What we recommend doing on this day is choosing a road through Kalifornsky Beach and Kenai to Soldotna. This beach is fantastic, and you will have a chance for some more wildlife there.
From Kenai head to Hope. This is a tiny and charming town with a magnificent view of the bay and glaciers. You will spend about an hour seeing old buildings and maybe having a coffee or lunch at the Sea View Cafe. You can try to spot some eagles at the seaside. If you see photography potential there, you have time to use it. One hour should be enough to see this place.
From Hope, you should go to Whittier. There is a couple of amazing glaciers on the way, and the town itself is very original. People are living here literally in one building. It is the 14-story Hodge Building completed in 1957 and contains 150 two-and-three-bedroom apartments plus bachelor efficiency units.
Take the Alyeska tram in Girdwood
From Whittier, we recommend going to Girdwood and spending here the rest of the day. If the weather is good, it’s worth taking the Alyeska Aerial tram to Alyeska mountain. You will have a chance to spot some wildlife on the way and for sure beautiful mountains and glaciers.
Lodging in Girdwood
If you are traveling in a regular car, you can sleep here at Hotel Alyeska. There are not too many options here, and the ones available are relatively expensive. In case you decided to go with a motorhome, we suggest staying in Bird Creek Campground because there are no campgrounds in Girdwood itself. A budget option is staying for a night in Anchorage, which is only 45 minutes of driving from Girdwood.
Food in Girdwood
We believe you would like to eat something else than seafood here 😉 You can try one of those restaurants:
Double Musky Inn ($$) – This is a cajun/creole kitchen, and you should try pepper steak, gumbo soup, or jambalaya. We recommend you do make a reservation because the place might be a little crowded sometimes.
Coast Pizza ($) – if you are fed up with seafood, maybe pizza is a good idea? And the one here is worth eating. It is cheap and tasty.
Day 10 Alaska Itinerary for 2023 – Return to Anchorage
This day is your last day of the 10 Days Alaska Itinerary. Depending on your flight departure time, you can plan some more activities in Anchorage or stay longer in the Girdwood area. From Girdwood to Anchorage is only 40 miles. Around Anchorage are exciting hiking trails, or you can experience the city itself. Back to day 1 and choose the activities which suit you best.
Do you have a few extra days in your Alaska Itinerary for 2023?
Our 10 Days Alaska Itinerary for 2023 is now over. But if you have a few extra days on your Alaska Road Trip, below are some of our tips on how to spend them. Alaska offers tons of magical and exciting places. Impossible to see everything in 10 days because of the distance. You can stay longer in each of the places we described above. Or you can add to your Alaska Itinerary new places.
So if you have a few extra days, you can consider several options:
Take a Matanuska Glacier Tour from Anchorage
If you have more time in Anchorage one of the best experiences in the area is Matanuska Glacier (picture above). The glacier is 27 miles long and 4 miles wide and is the largest by-road-accessible glacier in the United States. It lies about 100 miles northeast of Anchorage in Glacier View. You can go on a guided tour there which was a fantastic experience. Exploring the Matanuska Glacier on a hiking tour that traverses the glacier’s picturesque terrain was fantastic. You don’t have to worry about the helmet and crampons because everything was provided by the tour operator.
Soak and relax at Chena Hot Spring Resort
If you prefer staying longer in the north of Alaska visit Fairbanks. If you dream about chilling and relaxing make sure to add to your Alaska Itinerary for 2023 Chena Hot Spring Resort. The location is great, and it is also one of the best spots to observe the Northern Lights. Check out our photos and tips here.
Visit the biggest US national park – Wrangell-St. Elias
Another idea is to visit Wrangell St. Elias National Park, which is the biggest US National Park. It’s an amazing place covered by glaciers and with an old Kennecott copper mine inside. Check our photos and tips.
Experience Bear-Watching in Katmai National Park or Clark Lake National Park
From Homer, you can book a bear-watching tour to Clark Lake National Park, which was a great experience. Or you can choose Brooks Falls Bear Experience. If you only have 1 day extra and you dream of watching bears catch salmon, this could be the adventure of your life. We spent there a few days. Here are our photos from bear watching in Katmai National Park. But if you have one day only this tour option from Homer is the perfect solution. This is not a cheap trip.
We organized it on our own, but it was expensive, and our regular plane was canceled twice. And you have to get from Anchorage to King Salmon first. So, the option of an organized trip is a great idea. You can plan this trip on your own as we did, but read our detailed guide on how to prepare for this adventure, as it’s challenging. Katmai is worth your time and money, so if you can afford it, add it to your Alaska itinerary for 2023. Please, check out our articles, where we share tips and current prices:
- Visiting Katmai National Park – How to Plan a Perfect Trip?
- 13 Best Things to do in Katmai National Park
Cross the Arctic Circle and take the drive via Dalton Highway
Our recent trip to Alaska focused on the famous Dalton Highway and the attractions along this route, such as crossing the Arctic Circle and visiting the most remote and least visited US national park, the Gates of Arctic National Park. But only plan this route if you have at least seven days to do it because it’s a demanding and challenging journey from Fairbanks. Almost 500 miles one way from Fairbanks. We have prepared a separate guide for this route: Dalton Highway Alaska Comprehensive Guide and Safety Tips for Driving the Dalton Highway.
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