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Vancouver, Seward, Anchorage and Fairbanks

nickthehunter
Nomad II
Nomad II
We are planning a bucket list vacation which will takes us to several areas in Canada and Alaska. We are planning on several days each in the above listed areas. We are looking for recommendations on (don't miss out on) things to see and do (indoor or outdoor) in those areas. As we are planning this adventure to occur in early to mid September, weather will be an issue so we would like to avoid activities in which enjoyment can be weather dependant. For instance, While we thouroughly enjoy hiking, a long hike in the rain and snow does not sound like much fun. However, a short jaunt to see a spectacular waterfall in light rain wouldn't deter us.
9 REPLIES 9

SideHillSoup
Explorer
Explorer
Nice trip
2018 Northern Lite 8-11 EX Dry Bath
2017 Sierra SLE, 3500 HD / 4x4 / Duramax with a 6 speed Allison Trans
Torklift Super Hitch 20K, 48" Super Truss, front and rear frame mounted tie downs
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PA12DRVR
Explorer
Explorer
nickthehunter wrote:
Thank you, I’m getting some good info - don’t stop.
Just to note, we are flying to Vancouver and taking a cruise to Seward. After Seward begins our road trip portion.. We will however be spending a few days in Vancouver before boarding ship.


Although it depends a bit on the route / itinerary, have the supplies (film, cards, whatever) to take lots of photos on the trip from Vancouver to Seward. there are some cruises (I understand, haven't done it) that drop anchor in the panhandle cities (JNU, KTN, etc) in the early morning then depart in the evening (6 pm -ish) and sail at night...hopefully yours travels during the day so you can see the sights.

Will you be renting a car from Seward / Los Anchorage? Makes it a bit easier to move around but a bit more dependent on open lodging. The earlier poster who noted the "boring" (my words) Interior is largely correct for "sightseeing". Not much to see / do in the Fairbanks area other than a riverboat cruise, a couple museums, and hunting trips. However, if time permits, a road trip to Deadhorse/ Arctic Circle gets into country that is different that any part of the L48 and the drive down the Richardson (i.e. the "Old Road") from circa Big Delta to Glennallen is pretty scenic.

Mid-September (if you need lodging) will likely mean that you overnight in Los Anchorage, Talkeetna, Healy, or Squarebanks. Many of the lodges and so forth between those places will be closed by the time you get to that part of your trip. I believe McKinley / Denali Nat Park may still be open but the nearby lodging might take some snooping to find an open place. The "glitter gulch" compound just outside the park entrance tends to rapidly shutdown in Mid-September.

If it's of interest, I'd begin inquiring sooner rather than later about available flight seeing options from Talkeetna / Healy / Denali Park for that time of year. Similar "tourist" stuff (riverboat cruises, etc) may be limited due to the late season. Fishing trips will still be in full swing (if that's your thing) but they should be looked into as well just to ensure there's room. Given your itinerary, I'd suggest (again...if of interest) you take your Seward time and slot in any wildlife cruises, fishing, or glacier cruises on that end. Leave the trip to Los Anchorage and Fairbanks for road-based sightseeing and any flight seeing.
CRL
My RV is a 1946 PA-12
Back in the GWN

Mike134
Explorer
Explorer
Spent 12 days in Alaska and the interior was a disappointment. If I'd been blindfolded and dropped there could not have told you if I was in Michigan or Alaska. Now the coastal areas...........breathless
2019 F150 4X4 1903 payload
2018 Adventurer 21RBS 7700 GVWR.

nickthehunter
Nomad II
Nomad II
Thank you, I’m getting some good info - don’t stop.
Just to note, we are flying to Vancouver and taking a cruise to Seward. After Seward begins our road trip portion.. We will however be spending a few days in Vancouver before boarding ship.

PA12DRVR
Explorer
Explorer
Speaking strictly for the Alaska part....it's hard to make recommendations without a bit of narrowing it down: are activities (i.e. hiking, climbing, fishing, hunting ) preferred or observation? By mid-September in Alaska, the "tourist" attractions are beginning to shut down: many flight seeing operators, excursions, fuel/lodge infrastructure, etc.

I'd suggest some variant of a wildlife / scenic excursion out of Seward into the Kenai Fjords Nat. Park. I believe they run those through mid- if not the end of September, but I haven't taken one in a couple of years, so can't be sure. Unfortunately, in mid-September, both bear viewing and whale watching (if either are of interest) are pretty sketchy or non-existent....you can always see resident bears or resident Orcas / porpoise / seals / sea lions, but the big bear gatherings or the gray whale migrations are over.

Whittier (sort of on the way to Seward from Los Anchorage) offers glacier viewing tours through September. Focused on glaciers, so any wildlife is luck of the draw.

If McKinley / Denali sightseeing is of interest, I believe there are still options in Mid-September from both Anchorage and the Denali area....and seeing Denali on a clear fall day is pretty spectacular.

If you have an interest in fishing, while weather conditions get generically dicey in September, there are lots of options for saltwater (silver salmon, halibut...although tailing off, possibly rockfish, etc) and freshwater (Silvers, trout) fishing. Freshwater would be from Anchorage or the nearby Mat-Su area (Willow, Wasilla) or Kenai Peninsula (Soldotna, Kenai), while saltwater would be very do-able from Seward.

Just for road sightseeing, even as a dyed-in-the-wool "there's nowhere like Alaska" guy, the trip on the highway past / through Kluane is incredibly spectacular. In Alaska, presuming clear days, the stretch between circa Trapper Creek to Nenana (on the Parks Highway) is incredibly scenic. Similarly, the Seward Highway from Los Anchorage to Hope can be very scenic. Not on your list, but the Richardson from Glennallen to Valdez is arguably one of the most scenic drives in AK and the stretch (on the Glenn) between Palmer and Eureka is also quite scenic. Lastly, in mid-September you'll be fighting the hunters (legit and lazy road hunters) but the Denali Highway (between Cantwell on the Parks and Paxson on the Richardson) is my favorite drive in Alaska.
CRL
My RV is a 1946 PA-12
Back in the GWN

StirCrazy
Nomad III
Nomad III
happycamper1942 wrote:
Last summer we went to Wells Gray Provincial Park in BC and it was one on the best trips I've had in my long camping years.. There are lots of waterfalls and beautiful things to see, most of which are accessible by short hikes, There are two good provincial campground in the large park and some private ones close to it. Check it out online.


wells gray is a fantastic place to go. I have lived an hour and a bit away since I left Victoria for the last 13 years and last year was the first time I went.

be prepared for Bears to wander around your site haha.. we stayed inside for about 20 min till he moved on the one morning
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RetiredRealtorR
Explorer
Explorer
Book a whale watching excursion, most likely in Seward. I guarantee you won't regret it.
. . . never confuse education with intelligence, nor motion with progress

happycamper1942
Explorer
Explorer
Last summer we went to Wells Gray Provincial Park in BC and it was one on the best trips I've had in my long camping years.. There are lots of waterfalls and beautiful things to see, most of which are accessible by short hikes, There are two good provincial campground in the large park and some private ones close to it. Check it out online.
2008 Ford F350 crew cab short box PSD, 2021 TravelAir 90W camper

SideHillSoup
Explorer
Explorer
I see cruise not camping, deleted post.
2018 Northern Lite 8-11 EX Dry Bath
2017 Sierra SLE, 3500 HD / 4x4 / Duramax with a 6 speed Allison Trans
Torklift Super Hitch 20K, 48" Super Truss, front and rear frame mounted tie downs
Fast Gun Long Range SS Turnbuckles, Fast Gun locks