One of the big questions our team gets is what is the difference between a land trip to Alaska, or a cruise/sea trip to Alaska.
These Are Some Of The Key Differences
#1 You will take a longer flight to reach either Anchorage or Fairbanks to start your trip. These are two of the most popular starting points for a land trip. I flew to Anchorage from Dallas this last week, and it was a 6 plus hour flight each way… It is worth the longer flight!
#2 In the summer, it is daylight most of the time, making it very easy to experience more during your trip. We had to force ourselves to sleep, but the good news is if you have the energy, you can easily stay out doing stuff for 12 to 15 hours per day. We ate dinner at a pizza place one night at 11:00pm, and people were still up and out eating in the daylight close to midnight.
#3 You get to see a lot more wilderness the further you go into Alaska.
#4 You get to see Denali, which is unbelievably amazing.
#5 You have time to go on much longer fishing trips and excursions.
#6 You have time to ride the train and do longer excursions.
It can be common in Alaska to go on 10 plus hour bus rides into Denali, and fishing trips can last more than 12 hours! There are lots of long hikes that you can go on, and there are train rides that you can take off the beaten path and see areas that can’t be seen unless you are on a train.
For me, the biggest draw for a land trip or land and sea trip to Alaska is getting to see Denali.
You see more wildlife normally on trips further inland in Alaska.
Denali National Park Details:
😲 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness (larger than the state of New Jersey)
📍 Located halfway between Anchorage and Fairbanks
⛰️ Home to Denali (Mt. McKinley) North America’s tallest peak at 20,310 ft.
🐻 Home to the “big 5”: grizzly bears, wolves, moose, Dall sheep, and caribou
🥾 Activities include hiking, biking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, and flightseeing
🚗 Only the first 15 miles of the park are open to private vehicles. The only way to see the rest is by foot, bike, or bus tour.
💖 Be prepared to be blown away by the beauty of this national park and possibly shed a few tears of joy and gratitude.
✈️ Do the flight tour and glacier landing. It is a small plane and may be intimidating, but it is a life changing experience.
⛰️ The Talkeetna Lodge offers the best views of Denali. Stay at least 2 nights for the best chance to see Denali and ask for the “mountain wake up call.”
👚 Dress in layers. The weather in Denali can change in seconds. Be sure to pack a coat, vest, t-shirts, rain gear, tank tops, and comfortable shoes so you are prepared for the changing conditions.
🐾 Visit the sled dogs! Denali is the only national park with a team of working sled dogs. They have the summer off to welcome visitors.
🏆 You may get to join the 30% club! Everyone that visits Denali wants to see the mountain, but only 30% will. It is so tall that it creates its own weather so is often covered in clouds. The best times to view Denali are late at night or early in the morning (hence the “mountain wake up call” offered at Talkeetna Lodge). The longer you stay and the more you explore, the greater the chance that you will join the 30% club!
🚞 The Alaska Railroad is a great way to get to Denali from Anchorage.
If you can’t decide between a land or sea, no worries our team can help you book a combo land and sea trip.
If you would like help planning an Alaska adventure on a cruise, land trip, fishing trip, or a combo land and sea trip, our team would love to help you plan. We specialize in Alaska and we would love to put our expert knowledge to work planning a trip with you.
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