Are you on the hunt for the best Alaska road trip itinerary that showcases the best the “Last Frontier” has to offer? When planning your trip, feel free to modify our Alaska Itinerary based on the amount of time you have to spend in the state. We recommend visiting Alaska for at least a week, but two weeks is an ideal amount of time for an Alaska vacation. No matter how long you have to spend in the state, you are in for a real treat when visiting America’s 49th state!
The Ultimate Alaska Road Trip Itinerary
Fly Alaska Air To Anchorage
When we initially considered traveling to Alaska, we never thought we would find cheap flights to Alaska! Considering how far it is away from Florida, we thought the prices would be crazy high. Alaska Air flies direct from Tampa, with one layover in Seattle, and the prices rang in at about $600-$700 per person, round trip. Considering that Alaska is much further from Florida than Europe, we thought this was actually quite an affordable price! We were thinking airfare to Alaska would be more like $1500-$2000 per person.
If you aren’t looking to visit Alaska on a budget or are looking to splurge, Alaska Air offers a wonderfully spacious first class option with meal service on most flights to Alaska. The meals are expertly curated with locally sourced choices and vegetarian options and you have access to unlimited beverage options. Since some flights arrive into Anchorage in the wee hours of the morning, stretching out is never a bad idea! Don’t forget to pack a neck pillow like this crazy cool futuristic one for a comfortable night sleep and bring your airplane blanket if you are in coach!
You are going to want to fly into Anchorage because flights to Anchorage are affordable and the city is centrally located. It is the perfect base to explore and start a road trip!
When renting a car in Alaska, don’t worry about getting anything fancy if you don’t want to. Roads in Alaska are very good so you don’t need a 4×4 car. A simple economy car does the trick if you are looking to visit Alaska on a budget. We did this entire Alaska itinerary in a Nissan Centra with no problems! The car got fabulous gas mileage to boot! Remember that you can spend as little or as long as you want on an Alaskan road trip! From 10 day Alaska Itineraries to short Alaska getaways, take as little or as much time as you need!
A Note About Airbnb
When traveling, we love to stay at Airbnb locations. All of the places to stay on our Alaska road trip itinerary are Airbnbs. This is our personal preference and of course, we want to suggest it to our dear readers! Every location included here is trustworthy and a place that we personally have stayed at. If you are new, check out our “Beginner’s Guide To Airbnb” and also be sure to browse our post on How To Avoid Airbnb Scams in case you choose to book with someone not recommended here. Either way, don’t forget to make use of our FREE Airbnb Coupon worth $40 off your first booking!
Stop 1: Anchorage
You will start and end your Alaska road trip in the city of Anchorage. There are plenty of things to do in Anchorage and the town is full of all the comforts you could ask for such as large grocery stores, a mall, museums, shops etc. while still being very close to all the nature you could possibly want!
If you are looking for some of the best things to do in Anchorage, consider going to the Anchorage Museum which has something for the whole family! Fascinating art and cultural exhibits, a planetarium, and an entire kids section make it a great day trip for all ages! If you want to see more of the city, Anchorage Trolley Tours is a fun and affordable way to take a tour! We learned all about how Anchorage was founded, saw crazy cool local homes, and drove on an actual small plane runway! This was certainly one of the most fun Alaska tours in town and one of our favorite things to do in Anchorage.
Where To Stay In Anchorage
If you are looking for the single best place to stay in Anchorage, take our advice and stay at the “Gorgeous Anchorage Park Strip Townhome.” If you are into luxury, this place is for you! If you want to stay in a great Airbnb with friends or family, the townhome holds 9 guests and has three bathrooms. This location is in the best location in Anchorage and is located right on the cities “Central Park” and a few blocks away from the mall, shops, local restaurants, bars and more and just a short drive away from everything else Anchorage has to offer. If you are in town on the weekend, head to Anchorage’s Saturday Morning Market from the townhome! Don’t forget to bring your super affordable reusable bag!
No expenses were spared on the interior decoration and everything is Tuscan inspired. We have stayed in a lot of Airbnb homes, and we truly felt “at home” in this location. The inside has a slide [come on, how cool is that], a freaking secret room [even cooler!] a Japanese soaking tub, loft area, German shutters so bedrooms go completely dark during the midnight sun, and stunning views of Downtown Anchorage. Trust us and pack some Eucalyptus essential oil for some ultimate relaxation in this bathtub!
Jennifer, your host, is very responsive on Airbnb which made checking in a breeze! She even allowed us to check-in in the middle of the night when we landed. You are able to customize the front-door keycode so it is specific for your use only so you can be certain no one else has the code! The location to Downtown Anchorage makes this the perfect first place to stay for your Alaska itinerary.
Stop 2: Denali
After spending time in Anchorage, the next stop on your Alaska road trip itinerary is to head north to Denali. The drive is a bit long, so make sure to budget at least four hours of driving. Both times we drove from Anchorage to Denali, it was raining, so we had to drive slow. If it is a clear day, you are going to want to stop to see all the stunning mountains once you get further north! When you are in Denali National Park, you have the option to drive your car 14 miles in the park, but after that, you have to either hike or pay to take a National Park bus.
Denali is the highlight of many traveler’s Alaska itinerary, so choose the top things to do in Denali that suit your needs and don’t forget to pack a Balaclava for when the wind picks up! We drove around the roads that were open and had fun at the Music Of Denali Dinner Theatre. The dinner theatre is located at the Denali Princess Lodge and the dinner was delicious and the show was funny and educational. They were serving up locally caught salmon and other meats, but were also able to create custom vegetarian and vegan meals!
Where To Stay Near Denali
There are no Airbnb locations right outside of Denali so if you want to save money on a hotel or if you are trying to book during high season and there are no rooms left, consider staying in Cantwell. About 20 minutes south of the Denali National Park entrance, Cantwell is a small town of less than 300 people. If you choose to stay at the Cantwell Lodge, you will get a chance to experience living like a true rustic Alaskan. The price is affordable and the location is close to Denali, without all the crowds.
Armeda, your host, is there to greet you upon your arrival, and there is an actual landing strip in your front yard! We actually were able to watch small planes land in front of our very eyes…what a truly Alaskan experience! The Cantwell Lodge is surrounded by mountains on every side, and the rooms are clean and cozy. There is a full kitchen with breakfast and a washer and dryer for your use. Cantwell is right on your way up to Denali so it is the perfect little place to stay during your Alaska road trip.
Stop 3: Seward
Seward should top every Alaska itinerary! You can head there from Denali, but that is an 8-hour drive, or you can spend another night or two in Anchorage or the nearby towns of Wasilla or Palmer to cut down on the drive. The drive down the Turnagain Arm is one of the top drives in the world, and the highlight of many Alaska road trips. The road winds underneath glaciers and next to mountains and along the water. If you have time, stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where you can see Bear, Wolves, Moose, Bison, and more up close and safely! You are going to want to pack your GoPro for some cute animal selfies!
When people set out on an Alaska road trip, they want to see glaciers! There is no better Alaska Tour to see glaciers up close and personal than taking a boat ride in Seward! While there are many companies, Major Marine Tours is hands down the best company for Alaska tours of glaciers in Seward. Just by walking the marina docks in Seward, you can see that the Major Marine Tours boats are in top quality condition, while others are rusting, the paint is peeling off, and the interior is older. We were thrilled when we walked up to our clean and modern boat! This is one of those Alaska tours where you are going to want to bring a good camera with you!
We went on the 7.5 hour glacier and wildlife cruise. We have to admit that a 7.5 hour Alaska boat tour was quite long and we did get tired after about four hours, so if you get tired easily, this may not be the best choice for you. That being said, this length of cruise is suggested because you get to see two glaciers and it gives the captain more time to seek out wildlife. We usually have terrible luck with wildlife, but since we had more time, we were able to see many cute sea otters, multiple humpback whales, dal porpoise, and puffins! If you want to see two glaciers and have a higher chance of seeing wildlife, this Seward Glacier tour is the best option for you.
Major Marine Tours also offers the option to add a delicious lunch for $19 per person. The lunch included a buffet of vegan chili, salmon, ribs, rice, salad, fresh bread, and cheesecake and brownies for dessert. Make sure you add some time in your Alaska itinerary to see glaciers!
If you are looking to see glaciers from above instead of at sea, add a helicopter tour to your Alaska itinerary! Flying over mountains, the ocean, and glaciers is one of the top things to do in Alaska and Seward is a wonderful choice for a flight. If you are looking to do a helicopter tour of Seward and the surrounding glaciers, make sure to book with Marathon Helicopters.
We had never flown in a helicopter before and while we know it would offer us stunning views for photography and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we were a little afraid! The owner, Mike, is a professional pilot and his takeoffs and landings were as smooth as butter! You didn’t even know you were moving and the ride was so smooth and fun! We went on a 30-minute glacier landing tour which involved 15 minutes of flying and 15 minutes of landing at the foot of a glacier so remote it doesn’t even have an official name! Don’t forget to pack a windproof jacket if you plan to land on a glacier!
If you have never flown in a helicopter before but hope to add it to your Alaska travel itinerary, Marathon Helicopters is the perfect tour company to get you as addicted to Helicopter tours as we have become! If you are looking for what to do in Alaska that you will never forget, a helicopter tour in Seward will be perfect for you!
Where To Stay Near Seward:
Since you are on an Alaska road trip, you are going to want to see all that Alaska has to offer! Spend the day in Seward, but spend the night in the cute nearby town of Moose Pass! Moose Pass is just minutes away from the main highway from Anchorage, 20 minutes from fishing in Cooper’s Landing, minutes away from Kenai Lake, and less than 25 minutes away from Seward.
The Moose Pass Vacation Home is located in the heart of Moose Pass and is perfect for families or friends traveling together! The view is amazing and moose and bear can often be viewed on the nearby mountains or walking through the town! Although the home is located right on the main road, the interior is quiet so you don’t hear any unwanted noise! The space is large and can hold up to 6 people. Checking in and out was easy and Jeff, our host, was very responsive and helpful.
Jeff also owns and manages the stunning Inn At Tern Lake, so if you would prefer a BnB style home instead of an entire house to yourself, that place is freaking awesome and we stopped by the check it out! His children also run their own Airbnb locations which you can check out here. The family was very nice and we visited all of their properties which is why we can recommend them for where to stay in Moose Pass on your Alaska Road Trip!
Stop 4: Homer
Homer is an essential stop on any Alaska itinerary and is easy to drive to which makes it the perfect place to visit when taking an Alaska road trip. Homer is about a 2-2.5 hour drive from Seward, making it an easy place to drive to. One of the top things to do in Homer is to go fishing for Halibut. Since we don’t fish, we spent our time walking the beach, taking in the stunning mountain and glacier vistas, visiting the famous Salty Dog Saloon, and meandering through Homer’s Wednesday Farmer’s Market. Homer is one of the best places to see in Alaska because of its proximity to the mountains and ocean. Don’t forget to check out Homer’s crazy tides and beautiful sunsets, if you happen to visit when it isn’t raining!
Where to stay in Homer:
When you travel to Homer, you will notice that there are two parts to the town…the mainland, and the famous “Homer Strip.” If you want to be in the heart of all that Homer has to offer and have an up-front view to some of the best things to do in Alaska, make sure to choose to stay on the Homer Spit! Make sure you bring along waterproof shoes to walk along the beaches in Homer.
We stayed at the “The Aurora Room” which was an absolute dream! The home is located on the second floor of a juice shop [which is now closed] on one of the popular boardwalks on the Homer strip. There is an ice-cream store next door, plenty of places to grab fish-n-chips, and a ton of cute shops. This location had sweeping views in multiple directions of the ocean and faced the sun set for perfect views every night! This location is not a big place! It can sleep multiple guests, but the charm of this Airbnb is its location and quaint seafaring atmosphere.
The Aurora Room is just a walk away from all the best things to do on the Homer strip and if Halibut fishing is on your Alaska itinerary, there are plenty of options for you to choose from! Your host is Camarron and he was responsive and made checking in and out a breeze. We were able to check in on our own and had the ability to cook using hot plates and a toaster oven. This is the place to stay if you are looking for some crazy views! Homer is not to be missed on your Alaska road trip!
Stop 5: Soldotna
One of the top Alaska attractions in Soldotna is the Kenai River and the Salmon Fishing Run. Whether you fish or just want to enjoy the town and the stunning [active!] volcanos in the distance, make sure to add Soldotna as part of your Alaska road trip itinerary. On your way to Homer, you will pass through Soldotna, but it is better to leave this part of your Alaska itinerary for on the way back to Anchorage so you can break up the driving time.
The drive from Homer to Soldotna is only 1.5 hours, so you will be hanging out in this cute Alaskan town before you know it! Keep an eye out for Moose and Bear, as animal watching is one of the top things to do in Alaska and Soldotna is the perfect place for wildlife viewing!
Where To Stay In Soldotna
If Soldotna is on your Alaska travel itinerary for the fishing, there is no better place to stay than the “Amazing Log Cabin Lodge On The Kenai River” which is literally right on the river! You have the option to rent out the entire lodge, which fits up to 21 people or to rent out an individual room. If you are traveling with a small group, one room will do. Even better, plan a trip to Alaska with your entire extended family, or an all girls or boys trip and rent out the entire lodge for yourself!
This Airbnb is run by Jennifer, the same host as the Anchorage accommodation we suggested above, and it is rustic luxury at its best. When you stay at the lodge, you have access to a full kitchen with a walk in fridge and freezer [!], a ton of bikes, fishing equipment, a washer and dryer on every floor, a media room, and all the epic views of the Kenai River you could possibly want!
If you aren’t into fishing, stopping in Soldotna and staying at this lodge is still worth stopping on your Alaska road trip because the views are stunning, the river is relaxing, and there is plenty to do for everyone! This Airbnb is the perfect for anyone who loves fishing, rustic luxury, or both!
Stop 6: Anchorage
You will end your Alaska road trip in Anchorage where you started. If you fly Alaska Air, many flights are red eyes, leaving after midnight. The benefit to this is you have the entire day to explore, drive slowly back to Anchorage, and still make your flight back home without missing any fun! When flying a red eye, you are going to want to pack a sleep mask for extra comfort! Alternatively, you can add one extra day in Anchorage to your Alaska itinerary if being closer to the airport the day of your flight is important to you. No matter how long you choose to stay in Alaska, you won’t forget the experiences you had in this beautiful state!
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A special thanks to our partners Alaska Air, Major Marine Tours, Anchorage Tourism, Princess Lodges, and Marathon Helicopters. All opinions are our own and are honest because lying sucks!