A veritable bargain at only 7.2 million dollars – that is what the United States paid Russia in 1867 to acquire Alaska. Here is a chance to get your money’s worth! After the purchase, prospectors and salmon fishermen came in droves to make their fortunes here, hoping for a bright future in the icy wilderness. Not until 1912 was Alaska noted as an organized territory, and in 1959 finally declared the 49th state. At 570,380 square miles, it has the largest land area of any U.S. state – over twice as large as Texas. Spectacular and massive landscapes of glaciers, icebergs, rivers, waterfalls, secluded bays and mountains are home to a myriad of wildlife – thousands of Bald Eagles, curious black and wary brown bears, noisy harbor seals, playful sea otters and the giants of the ocean, the humpback whales – you’ll know this treasured land was worth every penny and more!
Degree of Difficulty –
Your adventure begins in Anchorage, the Land of the Midnight Sun, where you’re escorted to your hotel. Tonight, an authentic welcome dinner awaits you. INLET TOWER & SUITES.
Drive to Girdwood and hike through the rain forest of the Winner Creek Trail, full of scenic vistas, soaring mountains and incredible wildlife. Continue to Soldotna for lunch, located on the banks of the Kenai River. Next stop is the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, offering a stunning variety of muskeg lands, alpine areas, and taiga forest. The refuge protects several large mammals, including brown and black bears, moose and caribou, and thousands of migratory and native birds. Located right on the banks of the Kenai River and in the heart of the city of Soldotna, your newly renovated hotel is an ideal refuge. ASPEN HOTEL.
Early in the morning, embark on a bear viewing trip to Wolverine Creek, encompassing 268 square miles of coastal wetlands and tidal mudflats, where the Sockeye and Coho salmon migrations attract bears and nature enthusiasts every summer. This special area supports and protects freshwater streams, lakes, and upland areas for a variety of species, including Pacific salmon, marine mammals, migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, raptors including eagles, hawks and falcons, moose and black and brown bear. After a picnic lunch, transfer to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula, world renowned for majestic views, pristine waters, and eclectic mix of artists and fishermen. Your home for the next two nights is ideally situated on Homer Spit offering stunning views of Kachemak Bay. LANDS END RESORT.
Depart for a short boat ride into the heart of Kachemak Bay State Park, Alaska’s first state park. Hike through distinct ecosystems – mountains, glaciers, forests and ocean, comprise the almost 400,000 acres in the park. Wildlife is plentiful in this area. The rich lagoons and waters just offshore attract whales, sea otters, seals, dolphins and impressive salmon runs. The seashore and tidal marshes are teaming with life; mollusks, anthropoids and sea stars are just a few species that can be seen at low tide. Search for the wide variety of sea birds, including Horned and Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Marbled Murrelets and Common Murres. Following your tour, enjoy lunch with full view of the nearly mile-wide glacier face. LANDS END RESORT.
Today’s drive brings you to the town of Seward. En route, stop to view the toe of Exit Glacier which derives from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains, and received its name because it served as the exit for the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield in 1968. Hike along a well maintained trail that leads to the edge of the glacier, from where you have a dramatic up-close view of a wall of blue ice. This afternoon visit the Alaska SeaLife Center. Your behind-the-scenes tour explores Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center, offering a ‘window on the sea.’ Learn about the diverse sea life of Alaska, and enjoy close encounters with puffins, octopus, sea lions and other sea life. After a full day of exploration transfer to your hotel on Resurrection Bay where your evening is at leisure in this breathtaking setting. BREEZE INN.
Embark on a full-day wildlife cruise (8-1/2 hours) to Kenai Fjords National Park, one of Alaska’s rare treasures. Imagine glaciers carving new valleys and breaking off into the ocean, and whales feeding for their long migrations north and south. Experienced skippers navigate the waters of these glacier-carved valleys, exploring the coastline and tidewater glaciers, seeking out marine life. Salt spray mixes with mountain mist as you explore the ancient stunning seascape. The rugged islands among the fjords are rookeries for millions of nesting migratory birds, such as comical puffins and graceful kittiwakes. Flora and fauna thrive in this dynamic atmosphere. Continue to Fox Island where marine wildlife is abundant: sea lions, otters, whales, Dall’s porpoise, and an endless variety of seabirds that include eagles, puffins, cormorants, and murres. Enjoy a National Park Ranger presentation followed by a salmon and prime rib dinner on the Island before returning to Seward. BREEZE INN.
Your morning is at leisure to relax at the Inn or you may opt to go fishing, kayaking, or hiking in the Kenai Fjords (at additional cost,) and explore in more depth the coastline’s rich wildlife and scenic beauty. After lunch, depart for Anchorage. Take in one last time the most breathtaking sceneries and postcard perfect views just outside your window, and join your group in a farewell dinner. INLET TOWER AND SUITES.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Being our northernmost state, Alaska has tough winters and short summers.Alaska is ideally visited between May and September.
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