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Top Solo Travel Destination-Alaska: I created a combined land and sea package. The first half of the trip was in Fairbanks and the Denali National Park. The second half was an Inner Passage cruise.
When I flew into Fairbanks, it was 72 degree with lots of sunshine. To my surprise. I could eat dinner outside in shirtsleeves! The first day I took a local river tour. The cruise was on a modern version of a Mississippi River paddle boat. I could see caribou/reindeer and other wildlife lurking around the bushes and trees on shore. As I ventured on, there were tiny seaplanes taking off and landing in small lakes.
The next stop was Denali National Park, That is the site of the tallest US mountain. It was known in recent past as Mt. McKinley. However, in 2015, Denali, as it was widely known, became the official name. Getting there was a real treat. I took a glass-top train. It wound its way for several hours to Denali. The view ranged from deep gorges to lush forest. The Park, itself, had comfortable cabins, hiking trails and a choice of restaurants.
From Denali, I took a day trip to the small town of Talkeetna. One of its well-known features? The fiddlehead ferns! They are not just for viewing in the countryside but for eating. No need to try out your culinary skills. They are widely served in local restaurants.
As the week came to a close, I headed to Anchorage. Next was a cruise southward through the Inside Passage.
Having spent a lot of time on a 37 foot sailboat in the Atlantic Ocean, most of the cruise was smooth sailing. However, there was one day with 5-7 foot waves. I suddenly realized I was not on terra firma!
The first stop was Skagway. A highlight of that day was a special afternoon train ride through the White Pass and Yukon Route. Bears lumbered by while we headed up an impossibility high cliff. At the top, the US was on one side of the train and Canada on the other. Skagway, itself, was right out of the Old West. The day tour took me to its 19th cemetery.Although tranquilly nestled in the trees, it is the resting place of some colorful and not so peaceable “gunslingers”. Most famous, or infamous, was Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith II. He had a lively career in crime as a con artist in the “lower 48” before moving to Alaska. Curiously, his most famous venture was a soap racket. Hard to imagine but true according to local lore!
The next and most impressive stop was Glacier Bay and its surrounding national park. I was surprised to see that glaciers are not really white. They actually have more of a light green or turquoise hue. Unfortunately, with global warming, I frequently saw ice cascading into the sea as the glaciers melted in part. As we floated through icebergs, I did hope that technology had really advanced since the Titanic! Sailing around Glacier Bay, I had an inspired moment. I decided to join two fellow travelers in the hot tub on the open-air deck. The only problem? Once we were soaking wet, towels were beyond reach. Worse yet, it was a long run back to the inside!
Alaska’s capital, Juneau, was the next stop. The highlight of that stop was actually outside the town visiting the Mendenhall Glacier. The parkland was surrounded by enormous wild flowers that typified an Alaskan summer.
Sitka, the only town on the route facing the Gulf of Alaska, followed. It provided the first opportunity to see early totem poles. The last stop was more intriguing. Ketchikan and its Saxman Park are famous for the varied, numerous totem poles. As colorful and remarkable as they were, their use was varied from house poles to memorial and mortuary purposes.
A special finish to this solo travel package was spending a few days in Canada. Vancouver is both a very modern, bustling city and also a home to totem poles and traditional arts, very much like Alaska’s.
Why do we say this is a “Top Solo Travel Destination-Alaska”? Because of
- the majestic mountains and glaciers
- the abundant wild flowers that grow like “Jack in the Beanstalk” during the long daylight hours in summer
- the waterways where you can cruise alongside whales
- the opportunity for trekking up Denali to lounging watching the sun almost set
- the wide range of budget options make it work for a wide range of visitors.
Top Solo Travel Destination-Alaska: Things I Learned About Alaska:
During the summer months, the temperature in the SE is mild in the 60’s and 70’s. It felt no cooler than a trip to New England at that time of year.
From the US East Coast and even Midwest or South, it is a long distance. Connecting is generally through Seattle or Vancouver. The best solution? Take a day or two sightseeing en route to have some down time.
Forget the rental car! In many places, there are no roads so plan ahead. The trains and buses work well and give a view of the local scenery. Small planes are common. However, the weather can change quickly. Do check out your pilot’s experience before hopping on board.
Top Solo Travel Destination-Alaska: Alaskan Vacations: Planning your days:
In summer, the sun does goes down eventually in the Southeast. However, around 11 PM, there is still some daylight. When I woke up around 5 AM, the sun was so bright it was like a day at Miami Beach! As a result, days start early. When I ventured into my hotel lobby in Fairbanks, I was surprised to see it was filled with other early risers ready to go on tour.
If you book a cruise, I recommend having a balcony. However, you need a really good blackout shade to get some sleep with sun streaming in. I sat on the balcony at times but do take a jacket!
Other Ways to See Alaska:
Create an independent land tour:
- Fly to Fairbanks. In cold weather go dog sledding. In warmer weather, take day tours to see wildlife.
- Choose an alternate Southeast Alaska destination starting in Anchorage. Connect with local tours that include active sports like kayaking.
- Study key Native American sites and culture.
- See the Arctic Circle in summer.
- In winter, witness the Aurora Borealis.
- Plan an extended trip to Vancouver, Victoria in western Canada or to Seattle, Washington.
How to Find Deals to Visit Alaska:
Go to our Travel Packages and see, for example, Ecotour Deal Alaska MT Sobek. For more information on tours and places to stay, go to our free, user-friendly SoloTravelPricingTracker.net.