Are you thinking about planning a trip to Alaska? Not sure how to plan a trip to Alaska? Don’t worry, this guide will help you plan a 7 day Alaska itinerary.
We recently went to Alaska and I am excited to share with you some of the best places to visit in Alaska.
Now, Alaska is a big state and you can not possibly do everything in a week. In this Alaska itinerary, we will include the most popular tourist areas and create a day by day schedule for those areas. We also include other popular Alaska cities and list some of the things you can do in each area.
This Alaska vacation itinerary is going to help you plan a trip to Alaska with ease! Let’s explore all the fun things there is to do each day of your one week Alaska trip.
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Plan a Trip to Alaska
Planning a trip to Alaska takes a little work. There are a few questions you might have as you get started on your Alaska itinerary. I will try to answer as many as I can. This will help you know how to start planning a trip to Alaska. If you have additional questions please comment below or ask in our Facebook group.
How Many Days Do I Need in Alaska?
Honestly, I really think 10 is the magic number of days you need in Alaska. However, we are putting together a 7 day Alaska itinerary so we will go with that!!!
What Month is Best to Go to Alaska?
Personally, I think summer time is the best time to visit Alaska. We loved going during the summer solstices (end of June) but if you want to fish the salmon do not travel up the rivers until July. If your intention is to see the northern lights then a winter trip is what you want.
What is the Tourist Season in Alaska?
Tourist season is from May – September. Most cruise ships will start their Alaska cruises in May. Tour companies will offer excursions from May – September.
What are the Most Visited Towns in Alaska?
Many people love going to the national parks in Alaska. These are not specifically in a city.
What is the Best Airport to Fly Into?
Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau are the main airports in Alaska. Anchorage typically will be the least expensive option. It is also the biggest airport in the state.
How Do I Get Around in Alaska?
When planning a trip to Alaska you will need to consider what transportation option works best for you. Let’s explore a few options.
Rent a Car
Most airports will have car rental counters where you can rent a car. I would recommend booking your car in advance. One of the most important tips in planning a trip to Alaska is to book well in advance!!! Alaska had a car rental shortage in 2021 and it was almost impossible to rent a car during tourist season.
RVshare and outdoorsy are great options if you would like to rent an RV and explore Alaska. These companies allow individuals to rent out their RV’s. It is a great option because your lodging is taken care of as well as your transportation. That is really helpful when planning a trip to Alaska!
The Alaska Railroad is a fabulous option for transportation. The most common railway line is from Seward all the way to Denali National Park. There is a luxury option that includes a glass dome. The view is amazing.
Just FYI, taking the train will take several more hours compared to driving a car.
Many people prefer to see Alaska by going on a cruise. Alaska Cruises are amazing. The beauty from the ocean is unbelievable. At each stop you will get a taste of each city you visit. An Alaska cruise will allow you to see more of the coastal cities.
Honestly, a cruise is a great option if you feel overwhelmed with planning a trip to Alaska. Princess Cruise lines also offer land excursions. This will allow you to see Denali National Park and other major landmarks that are more inland. However, this convenience comes with a much higher price tag.
What are the Best Accommodations in Alaska?
Finding accommodations in Alaska can be tricky if visiting some of the more well known tourist attractions. At Denali National Park there are many cabins but some do not have websites. It can be difficult to book online. However, booking.com had many more options than other travel websites.
Princess Cruise lines have more luxury lodge options that are included in their land excursions.
We booked in advance in both Fairbanks and Anchorage and did not have any problems. We usually stay at Marriott. As it became closer to our trip, the hotels we booked were full.
Day 1 - Alaska Itinerary - Anchorage
Many tourists who come to Alaska will fly into Anchorage. The majority of people who live in Alaska live in this city. There are so many things to do in Anchorage you can easily spend 3 days exploring in and around the area. Let’s start our 7 day Alaska itinerary in Anchorage.
Items on Your Alaska Itinerary – Day 1
- Coastal Trail
- Alaska Wild Berry Products
- Wild Scoops
- Trolley Ride
- Ship Creek Fisheries Center
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail follows the Cook Inlet. It runs from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park.
You can easily rent bikes in downtown Anchorage and hop on the trail. We did this and it was perfect. If you don’t love to ride bikes, like my son, they have electric bikes available to rent as well or you can walk.
The trail is 11 miles long. We rented bikes for 1 hour and explored 30 minutes down the coastal trail then turned around and came back. If you are ambitious and make it to Kincaid Park, you will be in for a treat.
Kincaid Park is one of the biggest parks in Anchorage with over 40 miles of walking trails and 20 miles of bike trails. It is a great area to observe Alaska wildlife. It also has an exceptional view of the airplanes taking off and landing at the airport.
Museums in Anchorage
You will not have time to do every single museum in Anchorage. If you love learning and would like to include a few museums in your Alaska itinerary, you have a few options.
Museums in Anchorage
- Anchorage Museum
- Alaska Veterans Museum
- Wasilla Museum and Visitor Center
- Oscar Anderson House Museum
- Alaska Jewish Museum
- Alaska Aviation Museum
- Inupiat Heritage Center
- Alaska Heritage Native Center
A few members of our group decided to do the Alaska Heritage Center and thought it was really cool.
While in Anchorage you need to stop by Wild Scoops! This is a local ice cream shop. I love stopping and eating at local treasures! Wild scoops have fun flavors everyone will love.
Wild Scoops (open year round)
530 E Benson Blvd #7
Anchorage, AK 99503
Wild Scoops (only open in the Spring/Summer)
429 E St
Anchorage, AK 99501
Trolley Ride Around Anchorage
If you want to explore Anchorage take a trolley ride around town. You can jump off at any stop and see the city! If you are planning an Alaska trip and really want to see Anchorage this is the way to go!
If you come during the right time of year you can fish. July is the best time for salmon. We were a little early in the season and unfortunately the best times according to the tide table to fish were 1:00am…..I like to sleep too much so we missed out on the opportunity.
However, there is a fish hatchery near the Eagle River in Anchorage. The Fish Creek hatchery is only open certain days of the week. You will be able to see lots of fish which might not be as cool as fishing but pretty close!
Day 1 pretty much covered all of Anchorage. If you want to hang out another day in Anchorage look at Day 5. These are amazing activities near Anchorage. In this itinerary we will head south.
Alaska Itinerary - Day 2 - Head South - Girdwood
The ultimate plan is to head to Seward. The drive from Anchorage to Seward is one of the most beautiful drives in Alaska. Plan the entire day for driving and sightseeing along the way.
Items on your Alaska Itinerary – Day 2
As you head down the Seward Highway, Beluga Point will be located at mile marker 110.
Road Trip Stop
This will be your first stop on your road trip. Mid- July through October Beluga whales follow the salmon upstream. There are typically around 300 Beluga whales swimming in this area during late summer.
Hiking in Girdwood
The next stop is Girdwood. Girdwood is a halfway point from Anchorage to Seward. There are some fun hikes to explore in the area. It is a good place to add to your Alaska itinerary.
Alyeska Aerial Tram
Alyeska is a ski resort. You can take an aerial tram to the top of the mountain and hike or bike down. It is a beautiful ride. You will most likely see bears and moose from the aerial view. The ride is about 7 minutes to the top. At the top, the panorama view of Turnagain Arm and the Chugach mountain peaks is incredible.
Chugach State Park
Chugach State Park is located along the drive to Seward. It has some amazing trails. However, they are mostly intermediate and advanced trails. A small parking fee is required. This is a great place to explore.
Portage Glacier is also a highlight of this area. You can hike there but most people opt for a boat ride tour to see it.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation
If you have some animal lovers in your life the Wildlife Conservation Center is a great stop. It is a drive through observation area. You can see all kinds of Alaska wildlife as well as interact with them.
All the animals at the conservation center have been injured or orphaned.
Under 6 is free
Wildlife Boat Tour
Once you make it to Seward you will want to explore the Kenai peninsula. One of the best ways to see it is by boat. There are a few tours available. Some are longer than others. You will have to see what is right for you.
We had lots of little kids with us. We knew their attention spans would not last a full day. We opted for a 4 hour wildlife tour. We were able to see so much. We saw
- Mountain Goats
It is really cold no matter what time of year you visit. The ocean breeze is intense. The tour will take you close to a Bear Glacier. The closer to the glacier the colder it gets.
Another fun way to explore Resurrection Bay is by Kayak. There are Kayak tours available. There is an age requirement.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is a must see. Most of the park can be viewed by your boat tour however, there is another area where you can hike. As you enter Seward, you will see a sign that says Kenai Fjords National Park.
We had no idea that there were areas of the park where you could hike. We decided to go hike Kenai Fjords National Park. There is a 1 mile hike that takes you to Exit glacier. It is an easy hike and very beautiful.
You can also hike Harding Icefield Trail. It is more intense.
Bear Weir Creek
One of the best things to do in Seward area is the Bear Creek Weir. It is located at mile marker 6.6. There are hundreds of salmon! You can pull over on the side of the road and see salmon jumping out of the river. It is so cool! It is also free!
If you are planning an Alaska trip to fish this is the area where you will do it.
Plan an Alaska Trip – Fishing Charter
Seward has some of the best fishing charters in all of Alaska. You will want to plan this well in advance. Some people plan the entire 7 day Alaska itinerary in Seward just to fish.
If fishing is your love, I recommended staying in Seward and fishing at least 3 days of your Alaska itinerary.
As a reference we were able to drive to Seward, do a boat tour, explore the town, eat, hike Kenai Fjords National Park, go to Bear Creek Weir, and drive all the way back to Anchorage in one day. It was a long day but we also had the summer solstices on our side. So it didn’t feel as late as it was.
Alaska Itinerary Day 4 - Travel
Once you finish up in Seward you will then head back to Anchorage. If you decide to fish this may be your final day and you are ready to head home.
Scenic Drive to Anchorage
If you didn’t get a chance to do everything on the list on your way to Seward, add some of the items for the return trip. Once you arrive in Anchorage, you should still have some daylight to explore more of the city.
Matanuska Glacier is an unbelievable experience. It is located a little over 2 hours from Anchorage. It is a glacier that is on private property. You will need a guide to access the glacier. My friend recently went and said it was the best thing they did on their trip.
You will want to purchase a tour or make reservations ahead of time. The only way to see this glacier is with a tour group.
Hatcher pass is a very popular hike. The views are incredible. It is an hour and 15 minutes from Anchorage. The hike is about 2 miles roundtrip. It begins at the Summit Lake Recreation area.
Eagle River Nature Center
The Eagle River Nature Center was one of my family’s favorite hikes in Alaska. It is absolutely beautiful. It is located about 34 minutes from Anchorage. We actually saw a bear with her cub during the hike. The hike was about 2 miles roundtrip.
I highly recommend exploring this area! We loved it!
Plan an Alaska Trip
Day 5 could have been done at the beginning of your trip when you arrived in Anchorage. It can also be included after your return from Seward. Day 6 will take us north to Denali National Park.
FYI, Hatcher Pass is on the way to Denali National Park. You could easily get up and go on Day 6.
Alaska Itinerary - Day 6 - Denali National Park
Denali National Park is fabulous! If you have the time you should make the trip. I would recommend spending 2-3 day in Denali National Park but in this 7 day Alaska itinerary we only have time for 1.5 days. It is a 4 hour drive from Anchorage so you will have to get up early and hit the road. You will be able to spend half a day there.
Items on your Alaska Itinerary – Day 6
- Denali National Park
- Maybe Talkeetna
Denali National Park
Driving to Denali National Park is long, but so worth it. Make a stop at Denali State Park before you arrive at Denali National Park. The state park is where you will actually see “Denali” best. There is a great lookout point at the state park. (it is right off the main road) Denali is very difficult to see from the National Park.
Talkeetna – Charter Plane
If you want to fly over Denali you will need to make a detour to Talkeetna where the flight center is located. My husband did this and he loved it. It was amazing. (if the pilot ask, sit in the front)
Talkeetna is a cool little town. In the summer there are vendors and cute shops that line the streets. You can also take a river rafting trip that is a little cheaper than areas closer to Denali. The river is not as rough in this area.
Denali National Park
The hikes at Denali National Park are amazing. There is an 8 hour bus tour but if you do not have the time we found that the first 15 miles (where cars are allowed) entertained us for an entire day. We hiked, played with sled dogs, and explored every area. With kids taking an 8 hour bus tour was not an option.
Plan An Alaska Trip
Day 6 could also be a mostly driving day. You could stop in Talkeetna and explore and then head to your accommodation in Denali. You would actually explore Denali National Park on Day 7.
Alaska Itinerary Day 7 - Denali
Day 7 includes exploring Denali National Park and then heading back towards the Airport. Depending on cost you might consider flying into Anchorage and out of Fairbanks. Fairbanks is only 2 hours away from Denali National Park.
Items on your Alaska Itinerary – Day7
- Maybe Talkeetna
- Maybe Iditarod Museum
If you are heading back to Anchorage you could add a stop in Talkeetna (if you didn’t stop on your way to Denali). I also recommend going to the Iditarod Museum. It is a tiny museum and will not take more than 30 minutes.
The Iditarod museum highlights the dog sled races in Alaska. One thing we loved was you can actually go on dog sled rides. It was so fun to race with the dogs. It was only $10 to ride too!
Plan an Alaska Trip
This concludes the 7 day Alaska itinerary. Obviously, you can mix all this information up and create your own version. If Anchorage, Seward, and Denali are not the areas of Alaska you want to visit don’t worry. We will now highlight other cites and landmarks and list a few fun things to do in each one.
Day Trip to Katmai
Katmai National Park is located in King Salmon, Alaska. The only way to get there is by air taxi. You can get an air taxi from Anchorage, Homer, and Kodiak.
Katmai is my dream. You can easily add this to your 7 day Alaska itinerary, as a day trip. This is the area where you will see hundreds of bears eating salmon out on the river (This is a seasonal occurrence, Late June – September)
You will want to reserve your air taxi ticket ahead of time. Getting to Katmai National Park is expensive.
Ketchikan, Alaska is a destination to be explored on its own, if you are flying directly into Ketchikan. Mainly because it is hard to drive anywhere from Ketchikan. Juneau is the closest major city and it would take almost 19 hours to drive there. It is also a cruise ship stop.
Because Ketchikan is a cruise port there are some amazing things to do. Many excursions and tours are offered in this area.
Options for your Alaska Itinerary
Fairbanks is a great place to explore. It is about 6 hours north of Anchorage. You could add Fairbanks to your Alaska itinerary if you plan to go to Denali National Park. It is located about 2 hours north of Denali National Park.
We also explored North Pole, Alaska and visited Santa!
Fairbanks is actually a really fun place to visit in the wintertime. The northern lights are visible. The city has 10 blocks of ice sculptures and an outdoor ice playground. You can snowmobile , ice fish, and go on a dog sled ride.
Options for your Alaska Itinerary:
The Arctic Circle is an area of latitude. In Alaska, it is special because it divides the Arctic and the Northern temperate zones. You can add this stop to your Alaska itinerary if you want to explore the Yukon River, Trans Alaska Pipeline, and the Dalton Highway.
Options for your Alaska Itinerary:
Alaska National Park Tour
There are 8 National Parks in Alaska. Many people want to visit as many of them as possible. The parks include:
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Denali National Park
- Wrangell-Saint Elias
- Katmai National Park and Preserve
- Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
- Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
- Sitka National Historical Park
- Kobuk Valley National Park
It would take a lot more time than 7 days to visit all of these parks. They are very spread out. You probably would want to spend a few days at each park as well. These are some of the best national parks in the USA and are worth visiting if you get the chance!
Plan a Trip to Alaska
I have given you my best Alaska trip planning advice!!! Hopefully, this post gives you plenty of ideas of how you want to form your 7 day Alaska itinerary! There are so many options to choose from and things to do in Alaska!
Have fun planning an Alaska trip. If you have any questions just ask!!! If you need help packing for Alaska, I have you covered there as well.
If you have any questions join my Facebook Travel Community. You can ask any questions you have about upcoming trips and everyone is happy to help you plan your trip. I also try to give exclusive travel deals that companies send me. It is a great group to join!