Part Three: Roadtrip Itineraries for One Week In Alaska: Kenai Peninsula Roadtrip.
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Of course these one week in Alaska itineraries are all suggestions and can be altered to your liking. Cheers to adventuring the last frontier!
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A Kenai Peninsula Roadtrip: Glaciers, Fjords and South Central’s Coastal Areas.
This is the best of south-central Alaska. This journey will take you to the highlights of the Kenai Peninsula roadtrip in one week including Whittier, Seward, Kenai, Soldotna, Seward, Homer and more.
Day 1: Anchorage to Whittier.
As mentioned before in the previous articles in this series you’ll probably arrive in Anchorage super early in the morning (12am-2am). Grab your rental car and head for a nearby hotel or hostel to rest up. When you’re finally rested, stop by any stores you need to gran any food or supplies you may want, although items will be widely available in most your destinations on this road trip.
You’ll begin your Kenai Peninsula roadtrip by heading south. The drive between Anchorage and the tunnel to Whittier is only a little over an hour south on the Seward highway for 60 miles. To read about Seward Highway safety click here. You will likely stop at a number of the scenic stops along the highway on your first day of your Kenai Peninsula roadtrip (there are many mentioned in the first itinerary) and Girdwood definitely warrants a stop. Girdwood is very close to the Whittier tunnel and has several good restaurants and short hikes, and a very short walk to the Virgin Creek Falls.
To get to the tunnel from the Seward highway take Portage Glacier Road (will be on your left, and is very well signed). You can easily stop off for the short hike to Byron Glacier and the viewing point for Portage Glacier on this road. The tunnel lets cars through on the half hour from 5:30AM to 10:30PM daily and cars can return from Whittier on the hour between 6:00AM and 11:00PM. It’s best to arrive 10 minutes before and you will be charged $13 each way for use to the tunnel.
The scenery on one side of the tunnel to the other are dramatically different and personally I think the Prince William Sound side is one of the prettiest scenes in Alaska. If wanting to splurge a little, opt for a Prince William Sound glacier cruise, great ones available include Major Marine’s Blackstone Glacier cruise and Surprise Glacier cruise. They range from $130 to $170+ per person and are half day cruises. There are a couple places to camp for the night around Whittier, or you could opt to leave back out the tunnel and find camping in route to Seward.
Day 2: Exit Glacier and Seward.
The total drive time today will be around 1 hour 45 minutes and 90 miles. There are several beautiful places you may want to stop off on the way to Seward making the drive a bit longer. Another great option is to take the turn off for Exit Glacier and go explore the face of the glacier or if feeling adventurous, do the strenuous 8.4 mile roundtrip hike up to Harding Icefield. Make sure to bring plenty of water, proper footwear and some bear spray. There are plenty of places to camp along the road to the glacier as well as designated campsites for a fee, and the same around the town of Seward.
Day 3: Seward.
Take today to explore the little town of Seward. You could check out the Sealife Center (Adult 13 yrs+: $24.95, Senior 65 yrs+: $21.95, Child 4-12 yrs: $12.95 Kids 3 and Under are Free), walk to downtown area, visit the beach, or even go on a Kenai Fjords wildlife and glacier cruise.
Day 4: Cooper Landing and Kenai/Soldotna.
Take off from Seward to Cooper Landing with a short 1 hour long, 50 mile drive. Cooper Landing is a picturesque area worthy of a stop. If wanting to sneak in some world famous combat fishing, the nearby Russian River is the place to do it, (make sure you have an Alaska fishing license!) The next leg from Cooper Landing to Soldtna and nearby Kenai is only 45 miles and should take roughly an hour. Plenty more fishing opportunities can be had in Kenai and Soldotna which both offer many areas to camp as well as hotels.
Day 5-6: Homer, Kachemak Bay, Seldovia.
The drive from Soldotna to Homer should take about 1.5 hours to make it the 75 mile distance. Some areas to stop include Kasilof, Ninilchik, and Anchor Point before arriving into Homer. Use these two days to explore the fun little town of Homer, Kachemak Bay and Seldovia. Take a halibut charter out of Homer if you want to get some fishing in (expect to pay $150-300+ per person). Take a scenic cruise of the stunning Kachemak Bay (will run $75+ per person), or kayak the beautiful Halibut Cove (expect to pay $150-200 per person including tour and gear rental), if you are an experienced kayaker you can opt to rent a kayak for about $40 per day for a single or $60 per day for a double. You can also take the ferry to Seldovia to explore the small community and nearby area. One way ferry tickets run $40 for adults, kids 3-13 yrs $25, Seniors 60 yrs+ #30 and kids under 2 yrs are free. There are additional charges for gear such as bicycles and kayaks.
Day 7: Drive back to Anchorage, fly home.
Make you way back to Anchorage. The drive from Homer to Anchorage will take about 5 hours for the 220 miles. Use this day to sightsee along the trip back to Anchorage for anything you missed on the journery down.
*This Kenai Peninsula road trip could be altered slightly starting in Seward and doing a loop back to Anchorage after an Inside Passage cruise form Seattle, or the itinerary as is would be a great tour of south central Alaska before boarding a cruise top the Inside Passage in Seward.
Want more ideas for one week in Alaska itineraries?
Check out the following posts in the ‘One Week In Alaska’ series:
Part 4: The Big Loop: Anchorage to Fairbanks & Back. Available after August 10.
Part 5: The Little Loop: Anchorage to Denali & Back, including the Denali Highway. Available after August 15.
Part 6: The Best of Wrangell St. Elias and Prince William Sound. Available after August 20.
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