Guest Author - Dawn Engler
So many tourists that visit Alaska travel by cruise, cruise/tour, or by arrangements made with touring companies. Itís not the only option! If you have some time, do it yourself! You can drive in from the United States and Canada in your own vehicle. What about flying into Anchorage, then rent a car and hotel, motel, or cabin your overnights? Thereís the option of renting an RV and camping. There are many private, state and federal parks that have campsites available. Many of Alaskaís roads are designated in part or whole as Scenic Byways. These roads have beauty, breathe history, and offer a multitude of recreational opportunities. Each highway has more than enough things to do and see, and could make a separate vacation if it was planned right!
The Alaska Marine Highway follows the lower portion of Alaska, along the Inside Passage, around the Gulf of Alaska and out the Aleutian Islands. Could get pricey loading your vehicle onto the ferry and moving from place to place, but it can be done! Take the Haines Highway from the marine terminal for bald eagle action right along the Chilkat River to the Canada border.
Letís say you decide to fly into Anchorage. You have a few options from here. The Glenn Highway heads east to Eureka Summit and you can continue onto Tok from there. Head a little more east and hop on the Taylor Highway to Chicken and further on you grab Top of the World Highway (no really, you can see for miles up here). From here you can travel for 100 miles north to Eagle or 45 miles east to the Canada Border. Also leaving from Anchorage, you can also take the Parks Highway off the Glenn Highway and it will take you Denali National Park and further north to Fairbanks. The Seward Highway will take you south to, of all places, Seward. From here you can grab the Sterling Highway along the Kenai River to Homer Spit.
From Fairbanks north is the Dalton Highway, which is essentially the road to Prudhoe Bay. Fairbanks south to Valdez is the Richardson Highway (don't forget to stop at the North Pole). Pretty much the full length of Dalton and Richardson Highways were used as access roads for the building of the pipeline. Want to get pretty darn close to the Arctic Circle? Go north from Fairbanks, and travel the Steese Highway to Circle, Alaska.
The multitude of highways can get confusing. Follow the Scenic Highways Series for more specific information on getting around Alaska.