Plug-n-play: Save $1,000 on a 7-day road trip ex-Anchorage!

In Alaska Travelgram by scott

Get a window seat on Alaska Air–don’t miss a thing on your way to the Last Frontier!

Cruise canceled? Come anyway: Check out the 7-day road trip from Anchorage. Save more than $1000 with the Alaska TourSaver! (or 10 Day Ultimate Independent Alaska Adventure – Save over $1700 )

Guest post by Jennie Flaming of Ordinary Adventures

This is a great year to travel to Alaska as an independent traveler! Alaska is ready made for social distancing with wide open landscapes and lots of outdoor adventure for everyone. Are you a traveler who loves scenic road trips through unforgettable landscapes? Hikes? Wildlife? Mountains? Boat trips through the wilderness? Fishing? Alaska has all of this to offer and more!

Alaska TourSaver can help you make it happen by taking the guess work out of figuring out what to do each day and saving you money at every stop!

Two important things you need to know before you dive into planning your Alaska trip in 2021:

  1. To use the amazing deals from the TourSaver coupons are you MUST mention them at the time of booking. Do not just go to their website and book and then show up with the coupon! In addition you will also need to have the coupon on your app when you arrive.
  2. Know and stay up to date on Alaska’s current COVID-19 travel requirements. Proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure is required for all arriving travelers and masks are required in all public indoor spaces and outdoor spaces where social distancing is challenging. Towns and boroughs may have additional restrictions, make sure to stay up to date on these for any areas you intend to visit while in Alaska.

Day 1: Travel to Anchorage

Beautiful downtown Anchorage, framed by Mt. Susitna (or “Sleeping Lady”)

Use the TourSaver Coupon to save 25% on your flight to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines for up to four people. Pick up your rental SUV at Alaska 4×4 Rentals at the airport. Not only will you save money using your TourSaver coupon ($150 on a three or more day rental mid May through the end of September, or $75 on a three or more day rental the rest of the year), you’ll have a fantastic vehicle meant for Alaskan roads. Your SUV will be equipped with a real spare tire and you can drive on gravel roads! Many car rental companies do not allow you to drive on gravel roads but Alaska 4×4 Rentals does. 

Make your way to the Aptel Studio Hotel and check in for your two night stay (two nights for the price of one with your TourSaver coupon). All rooms at the Aptel have a kitchenette, super helpful if you’re looking to save some money by cooking for yourself. 

If you’re not too wiped out from your flight and want to get out and stretch your legs, take yourself for a walk in nearby Russian Jack Park, or Earthquake Park and along the Coastal Trail.

Day 2: Exploring Anchorage

Ride a bike on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.

Spend today exploring the beautiful city of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. There are lots of wonderful things to do that you can use your TourSaver coupons for, depending on what you’re into. A few ideas:

  • Half Day Mountain Bike Tour at Kincaid Park with Alaska Bike Adventures (two for one with your TourSaver coupon)
  • Anchorage Museum – Learn about the unique natural and cultural history of Alaska, including Alaska Native history, culture and art (two for one admission with your TourSaver coupon). 
  • Alaska Zoo – Learn about the incredible animals of the arctic and subarctic in Alaska and around the world (two for one admission with your TourSaver coupon).
  • Alaska Botanical Garden – Alaska has a short growing season and Alaskans know how to make the most of it! The garden includes a wildflower walk full of native plants as well as several other beautifully designed gardens (two for one admission with your TourSaver coupon).
  • Alaska Aviation Museum – A must do for aviation enthusiasts, learn all about the unique history of aviation in Alaska and see lots of restored plans next to Anchorage’s Lake Hood, the largest seaplane base in the world. (two for one admission with TourSaver coupon).
Alaska Aviation Museum

If you have extra time in your day and didn’t do it yesterday, get out for a walk or bike ride (rentals available from Pablo downtown) along the Coastal Trail (below).

Join the locals for excellent and super popular pizza and beer at the Moose’s Tooth for dinner. Be ready to wait awhile, or get it to go!

Overnight at Aptel Studio Hotel.

Day 3 – Portage Glacier and Seward

Today you’ll head out from Anchorage on the most scenic drive of your life to the charming and bustling port of Seward. Driving time to Seward from Anchorage is approximately 2.5 hours.

It’s all views along the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood along Turnagain Arm.

If you’re an early riser, join the crowd for breakfast at Snow City Cafe in downtown Anchorage, or the more old school and equally awesome Gwennie’s Restaurant.

With a full stomach and fully caffeinated (Kaladi Brothers is the preferred local roaster/cafe), hit the road and drive the gorgeous Seward Highway. Along the way, there are numerous opportunities for photo stops which you’ll definitely want to take. 

At the head of Turnagain Arm, stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to see and learn about the wildlife of Alaska. This is a great opportunity to get reliable wildlife photos!

Brown bear at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Continue on to the Portage Valley, about a 10 minute drive off the main highway which heads to Seward. Make sure to use your TourSaver coupon (two for one) to take the Portage Glacier Cruise on the m/v Ptarmigan to get up close and personal with Portage Glacier. Portage Glacier has retreated out of view of the visitor center, but the boat cruise takes you right to it.

Portage Glacier, taken from the m/v Ptarmigan
Pulling up ice from Portage Glacier for a hands-on experience for guests

There are some excellent hikes in the Portage Valley including the Trail of Blue Ice if you want to spend more time.

There are some excellent hikes in the Portage Valley including the Trail of Blue Ice if you want to spend more time.

When you’re ready to leave, continue on to Seward. It’s about an hour and a half of driving time, but give yourself extra time for picture stops as you drive through the incredible mountains of the Kenai Peninsula.

Stay overnight in Seward. We love the Harbor 360 Hotel.

Day 4 – Kenai Fjords National Park

Today you’ll journey to the heart of Kenai Fjords National Park on a unforgettable cruise with Major Marine Tours. We recommend booking the 6 hour cruise, it’s totally worth it to go deeper into the coastal wilderness and lunch is provided. Your TourSaver coupon gives you $30 off per person for up to two people. As you sail into the heart of Kenai Fjords National Park, you’ll see tons of wildlife (whales, sea lions, porpoise, puffins, eagles…maybe even a moose on shore), glaciers and mountains! Your guide will help make sure you don’t miss anything.

Before or after your cruise, make sure to spend some time walking around and taking in the small town of Seward and the excellent Alaska Sealife Center (two for one admission with your TourSaver coupon). You can see and learn all about the remarkable adaptations of Alaska’s marine wildlife here. This aquarium is also a marine research facility and rehabilitation center for wildlife. 

Stay a second night in Seward or consider driving to Soldotna tonight if your fishing trip leaves early. The timing of fishing trips is determined by the tides, so make the two hour and 45 minute drive when it makes sense.

Day 5 – Salmon and Halibut Fishing in Cook Inlet (Ninilchik)

Whether you’re a life long lover of fishing or this will be your first time, don’t miss the chance to go fishing in Alaska. It’s the experience of a lifetime and you can bring home the ultimate souvenir – delicious Alaska seafood!

Waiting for halibut to bite on a fishing charter out of Ninilchik

The best part is you don’t have to figure out where to go or bring any equipment! Your guides will take you to great fishing and provide all the gear, coaching and encouragement you need.

120 pound halibut in the middle caught by the author!

Use your TourSaver coupon to get two for one (this is an incredible deal!) on a halibut or multi species (salmon and cod as well) on a fishing charter with Alaska Destination and Adventures (Ninilchik Charters)!

Your guides will clean your fish for you and will even package, freeze and ship your catch home for you for an additional fee.

After your fishing adventure, head back to Anchorage (4 hour drive). Stop for ice cream at the creatively named Ice Cream Shop in Girdwood on the way back, along with any other stops you didn’t make on the way down or where you’d like to stop again.

Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 6 – Talkeetna

Drive north to Talkeetna through the famously beautiful Hatcher Pass (approximately 3 hours). Take your time and lots of picture stops along the way for epic mountains, Alaskan wildflowers and wildlife. If you’re lucky you’ll even catch views of “the High One”, Denali, herself!

When you arrive, use your TourSaver coupon for flightseeing of remote and rugged Denali National Park with K2 Aviation in Talkeetna. Your flight gives you a bird’s eye view of impressive glaciers and Denali, the highest mountain in North America (weather permitting). Your TourSaver coupon is good for $63 off per person for up to 4 people.

If staying on the ground is more your style, use your TourSaver coupon to enjoy a two hour evening jetboat tour with Mahay’s Jetboat Adventures into the wilderness on the Susitna River! Evening light is perfect for photography and you have an excellent chance of seeing wildlife on this tour!

Spend the night in Talkeetna and enjoy the quirky climber vibe! We love the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge.

The mighty Susitna River near Talkeetna

Day 7— Return to Anchorage and Fly Home

Return to Anchorage driving the shorter route this time (two hours), return your rental car and head for home.

3 Day Bonus to Denali National Park by Train

Denali, “the High One”, the highest mountain in North America

If you have more time to spend in Alaska (lucky you!) then spend it kicking back on the mighty Alaska Railroad for an unforgettable trip to Denali National Park. We suggest three days to give you a full day in the park.Take the scenic Alaska Railroad to the entrance of Denali National Park (two for one with your TourSaver coupon).

The beautiful Alaska Railroad takes you around Alaska without having to drive so you can just focus on the views

When you arrive, check in to the McKinley Park Village for a two night stay (for the price of one with your TourSaver coupon). 

Spend some time taking a walk or a hike or relaxing at the hotel.

On your full day in the park, take the long yet amazing bus tour into Denali National Park. You’ll see wildlife and if you’re lucky, impressive views of Denali.

On the third day, return to Anchorage on the Alaska Railroad (two for the price of one).

Be sure and tell all your friends about your incredible visit to Alaska!

Jennie Flaming is a fourth-generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years and visits the state regularly when there’s not a global pandemic going on! She has worked many years as a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and runs the website Ordinary Adventures, all about low key outdoor adventure and travel in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada. With her husband Jay and adventure hound Stuart, Jennie’s home base is Seattle, where she spends as much time exploring as possible and sharing her discoveries with fellow locals and visitors.

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