The Alaskan Coast in 11 Incredible Days

We first went to Alaska in 1982 and swore we would return. Unfortunately, it took us 27 years to do so.
This post provides:
  • An overview of the highlights of the trip;
  • The itinerary we used to pack as many experiences as possible into it; and
  • Links to the posts that fully describe and give our reactions to each stop.
Our first trip covered many of the basics—Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Denali, Glacier Bay, and a ferry (rather than an organized cruise) up the Inside Passage. This second trip included returns to Anchorage, Juneau, and Glacier Bay. We built this trip around the salmon season.
While we are not committed anglers, we thought it would be fun to fish for salmon and, while we were at it, stock our freezer with our own, hand-caught halibut. Our primary motivation for scheduling this trip in mid-July, however, was to capitalize on another salmon-centric activity—watching bears angle for position and fish for salmon at Brooks Camp, on the remote Kenai Peninsula. And while we were there, we tried a number of new experiences. Since t’was the season, “we did everything salmon”. We fished; ate every conceivable species, permutation, and preparation of salmon; watched professional anglers prepare for “combat fishing; and toured a salmon hatchery, a salmon smokehouse, and a salmon cannery,.
We also took in a number of new-to-us classic Alaskan experiences, such as Homer, Halibut Bay, Hobo Jim, Kenai Fjords National Park, Fjords National Park (at least by land), and most unforgettably:
  • A morning kayaking with whales in Glacier Bay;
  • An all-day cruise up the magnificent Tracy Arm; and most incredibly,
  • A day at Brooks Camp where we watched inherently anti-social bears try to adapt to each other as a means of catching and devouring the salmon required to sustain them through a long, frigid Alaskan winter.
The highlights, and occasional low-lights, of our travels, are detailed in the blogs referenced in the following itinerary—a detailed plan by which we crammed an incredible number of memories into 11 short days.
Day 1 – Anchorage
  • Fly to Anchorage
  • Taste of Alaska Lunch (King Crab Claws and Salmon) at Glacier Brewhouse
  • Anchorage Museum
  • The Anchorage Market (Saturdays and Sunday’s only)
  • Explore Alaskan Shops (art, furs, smoked meats, etc.)
  • Happy hour at historic saloons
  • Dinner at Simon & Seaforts
  • Night at Historic Anchorage Hotel
  • A beautiful 50-mile drive to Portage Glacier
  • Begich-Boggs Visitors Center and Trails
  • Drive 140 miles back to Alyeska Resort
  • Lunch at Aurora Grill
  • 2.2-mile hike up Mount Alyeska
  • Tram back to Alyeska Resort
  • Dinner and view at Seven Glacier’s restaurant
  • Drinks at Seven Glaciers
  • Night at Alyeska Resort
Day 3 – Kenai Peninsula to Homer
  • Drive 165 miles to Clam Gulch or Ninilchik
  • Razor Clam digging or viewing (days of minus tides only)
  • Ninilchik Russian Orthodox Church
  • Stop at smokehouse for smoked salmon/halibut lunch
  • Drive 35 miles to Homer
  • Stop at Anchor Point bluffs for views
  • Homer Spit (oysters at Coal Point, drinks at Salty Dawg)
  • Ferry to/tour of Halibut Cove
  • Dinner at Saltry Restaurant
  • Night at Driftwood Inn
  • All-day salmon and halibut fishing trip
  • Homer Spit (oysters at Coal Point, drinks at Salty Dawg)
  • Dinner at AJ’s OldTown Steakhouse,
  • Hobo Jim performance (Tuesday and Wednesday only)

Day 5 – Kenai Peninsula

  • 168-mile drive from Homer to Seward
  • Stop at a Ninilchik smokehouse for smoked salmon/halibut lunch
  • Stops on way into and at the park in Seward for magnificent views
  • Alaska SeaLife Center
  • Drive 127 miles to Anchorage
  • Dinner at Marx Brothers
  • Night at Airport Hotel
If you want to add another day to this trip, we would recommend you do it at Seward, not for the town itself, but to go on a boat tour, which is the only way to see, Kenai Fjords National Park.
Day 6Brooks Camp
  • All day trip to Brooks Camp (during salmon season, especially July and September)
  • Leave on 7:30 AM flight, return at 8:50 PM
  • Night at Airport Hotel
  • Morning flight to Juneau
  • Tour Gastineau Fish Hatchery *
  • Lunch at Tracy’s King Crab Shack
  • Walk historic Town center
  • Afternoon flight to Glacier Bay
  • Dinner at Glacier Bay Lodge
  • Night at Glacier Bay Lodge
  • Eight-hour cruise of Glacier Bay
  • Walk Coastal Zone Trail
  • Dinner at Glacier Bay Lodge
  • Night at Glacier Bay Lodge
Day 9 – Glacier Bay
  • Morning kayaking around Bartlett Cove
  • Lunch at resort
  • Walk Bartlett River Trail
  • Flight to Juneau
  • Dinner at the Gold Room (Westmark Baronoff Hotel)
  • Night at Westmark Baronoff Hotel
Day 10 – Tracy Arm
  • All-day cruise of Tracy Arm
  • Drinks at Red Dog Saloon
  • Dinner at Twisted Fish
  • Night at Baronoff Westmark Hotel
Day 11 – Juneau
Day 12 – morning flight home
Restaurants and Hotels
*              Denotes stops that are not discussed in the post that discusses the rest of the itinerary for the day.

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