We will arrive a full day and half before our cruisetour begins in Fairbanks. Can anyone tell us what would be the best use of our time and money. We have thought of renting a car and driving toward Denili. We will be on the June 18th Holland American cruisetour ending with Steward to Vancouvar on the Statendam (June 24). Thanks for any ideas. (the cruisetour already has us going to the gold mine and the riverboat)
We will be a few days ahead of you on the carnival Cruise line leaving Seward on the 13 of June.
We will be in Alaska for 8 days before our Cruise. So, we are flying into Anchorage and renting a SUV, and doing the whole loop: ie... Denali Tundra tour, River Boat Discovery III, Fairbanks, Drive to the Artic Circle, Wrangell-St. Elias and 2 days in Anchorage.
If I may ask, why are you flying into Fairbanks and not Anchorage? There is more to see and do in Anchorage!
If I was flying to Fairbanks I would not rent a car to drive to Denali. Consider taking the Train and stay for one night then ride to Anchorage, then, to Seward. (Just a Thought)
You will be getting on the ship as we are getting off, to begin our Cruise Tour. We added 2 days in Fairbanks to the end of our tour, and I'm still not sure what to do there. I've heard that the drive to Chena Hot Springs is nice.
I do not recommend the Denali Tundra tour, this goes only to Tolkat mile 53. I don't recommend any trip shorter than to Eielson mile 66 via the park shuttle bus. Best mountain viewing and wildlife is after Tolkat. You are going all that way, why not see the most??? Also some motor home companies do not allow driving on the Haul Road- verify that your rental will.
While in Fairbanks for a few days I found plenty to keep me busy, especially if you are renting a car. The drive between Fairbanks and Tok is very nice if you like scenery of trees and rivers and ice (I was there in June). Also if the riverboat Discovery is not included in your cruisetour, this was the most educational and interesting place to be. There is a Musk Ox viewing area at the University Extension farm. I spent quite a bit of time there just watching. They are not at all what I imagined. If you like little hokey things then drive to the North Pole (just a few minutes away) and visit Christmas Village. I just loved the variety of Christmas ornaments and decorations! I understand the university has a very nice museum, but I did not get a chance to go. If Denali is not included in your tour, then definately go there. You can't drive you car more than 15 miles into the park, but they have bus tours of varying lengths that are really very good. The visitor center in Denali has a large number of books and Alaska related items that are of high quality. They are very friendly and eager to answer questions. There are some great gift shops just outside of Denali and some on the inside. If you have time, look around. You will find wonderful carvings and other artwork.
In September, I am taking my parents on cruisetour for their 50th wedding anniversary and am very glad to be going back to Alaska. We are first time cruisers!! I hope you enjoy your trip as much as I did my short stay in Fairbanks.