Sep 042011
Top Ten Things to Do with Teens and Tweens in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula

Whether you arrive by ship or fly direct to Anchorage it is definitely worth taking a few days (or more) to explore the area around Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula.  We spent a little over a week in the area and felt like we barely scratched the surface.   Depending on what else you are doing on your visit to Alaska with teens or tweens you can pick and choose from our top ten list or try to fit them all in.   Each of the links below will take you to a more detailed article about our experiences traveling around the area.  Each article includes lots of photos as well. Best Teen and Tween Activities in and around Anchorage Hike Flattop Mountain – allow at least 2 1/2 hours to reach the summit and [...]

Sep 022011
Teens Enjoy the Wildflowers of Alaska!

The summer growing season in Alaska is short, but the longer days and warmer weather provide perfect conditions for wildflowers in late June and early July.  #1 Son kept an eye on the flora and fauna during our visit to Alaska.  This photo essay showcases some of his favorites starting with wildflowers seen on his hike to the summit of Flattop Mountain. Wildflowers at Flattop Mountain  Bike riding along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail provided many opportunities to stop and smell the roses. At the top of the Mt. Alyeska tram ride we found flowers growing next to snow fields.   We were surprised to find such delicate blooms in such rugged terrain. Close up of flowers on Mt Alyeska The lower elevations of the Kenai near Soldotna bloomed as [...]

Aug 292011
Hatcher Pass and Willow Creek: A Daytrip North of Anchorage with Teens

Most of our time in Alaska centered around spending time with cousins in Anchorage and exploring the Kenai Peninsula.  We did however, find one day to explore north of Anchorage, combining a visit to the historic Independence Gold Mine, a drive through the high altitude Hatcher Pass and a float trip on Willow Creek.  It was quite a day!   If you go, be sure to leave early, bring your rain gear, and check to be sure the pass is open.  We drove it in early July and it had only opened a few days before we arrived.  Heading north on the Palmer-Fishhook Road out of Palmer,  make sure your gas tank is full as you won’t see gas stations for several hours.  The mine is located at about 3,000 foot elevation [...]

Take Time to Visit Girdwood, Mt. Alyeska and Turnagain Arm

 Posted by on August 28, 2011  Comments Off
Aug 282011
Take Time to Visit Girdwood, Mt. Alyeska and Turnagain Arm

In making the tour of Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula, we used Girdwood, AK as a base camp for a couple of nights.  Girdwood is a delightful ski town anchored by the Mt. Alyeska Resort and ski area.  Since we were paying our own way and wanted room for the teens to spread out we opted to rent a condo rather than pay big bucks for a cramped hotel room at the resort.  Girdwood has that old time ski town feel and is the perfect jumping off point for day trips to the sights along the Turnagain Arm, Whittier, and of course, the ride up the Mt. Alyeska Aerial Tram. Beluga Point on the Turnagain Arm near Girdwood Turnagain Arm is an extension of the Cook Inlet that flows for miles all [...]

Aug 222011
Alaska Serenity Lodge, Soldotna Alaska - Review

Once you get outside of Whittier or Seward, most of the towns on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula are pretty small and lodging options mostly consist of campgrounds, local owned and operated motels and small fishing lodges.  For our two nights in Soldotna we wanted someplace affordable (since we paid out of our own pocket), clean, off the main road, with enough space that the teens and parents wouldn’t feel cramped.  We found the Alaska Serenity Lodge on TripAdvisor and after reading the rave reviews booked the top floor of the main lodge building. For the price of a night at the Residence Inn we got a homey apartment with a full kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms, a deck,and  a grill. We also got access to an outdoor hot tub and [...]

Aug 172011
The Soldotna Homestead Museum: A Hidden Gem on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

Many visitors motor straight through Soldotna, Alaska on their way to Homer and the other  picturesque fishing hamlets along the Kenai Peninsula’s western coast.  We were in town to go fishing and bear viewing but with a little time to kill we decided to stop by the Soldotna Homestead Museum at 461 Centennial Park Road near the Soldotna Visitor Center.  The visit ended up being a highlight of our week in Alaska with the teens. The museum consists of about a half dozen historical structures moved from various locations on the Peninsula.  Most were built in log cabin fashion although we learned that there were several different techniques, as each cabin took a different approach to constructing corners.   The buildings include a school, a community hall and several homesteader cabins. Rustic is [...]

Aug 142011
Teens Meet the Native Peoples at the Alaska Native Heritage Center

In between fishing, flying and cruising, we also found time to visit two of Anchorage’s major museums during our recent family vacation visit to Alaska.  The Anchorage Museum is home to the Smithsonian’s Arctic culture collection as well as a number of local and travel exhibits.  We spent an hour or two there on a rainy afternoon.   By comparison, the teens and their parents found the Alaska Native Heritage Center to be much more engaging because of the opportunity it provided to talk with representatives of eleven of Alaska’s native peoples.  If you only have time for one, we recommend spending a few hours at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The Center houses a relatively small collection of indoor displays that showcase native cultures, the pressures they face and the ways the different native groups [...]