Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
mkkao924

2 to 3 days in Seward without a car, is it possible?

Recommended Posts

I am starting to plan our June 2020 trip to Alaska, and we have about 3 to 4 days pre-cruise from Seward that we can spend in Kenai area.

 

Due to the high car rental cost (we have 8 people, so most likely 2 cars, and only two can drive among the 8...), we will try to travel by bus/train as much as possible.

 

We have some things that we like:

1. We have 3 children under 8, so some animal / wildlife activities would be nice.

2. We like to see glaciers up close.

 

That being said, this is what I have in mind so far:

Day 1 (Thursday): Arrive ANC late afternoon or evening, check in to hotel in Anchorage, visit city around (not sure how yet...)

Day 2 (Friday): Use private transfer for a whole day tour to Seward, with stops along the way. Check in to Seward hotel / vacation rental.

Day 3 - 4 (Saturday / Sunday): Kenai Fjord Cruise + Ididaride dog sled + Alaska Sea Life Center

Day 4 (Sunday): Board cruise in the afternoon.

 

By doing so, I think what I will miss are:

- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

- Alyeska

- Whittier 26 glacier cruise (or other cruises)

 

My questions are:

1. If we use private transportation from Anchorage and Seward, what are the must stops other than view points?

2. Is there other Seward must-sees that I missed?

3. We picked the Kenai Fjord cruise over Whittier based on the assumption that these two will provide similar experience, is it the case?

4. For the days in Seward, can we survive without a car? I see the 2019 resource thread it was mentioned there is shuttle, but the page is now removed so I can't find more information.

5. Do you think we should add one more day to the itinerary to cover must-sees?

 

Thank you for the help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps you should consider  RT rentals for your first day or 2 in Anchorage.   Maybe stay at an airport area hotel with free shuttle, then use the car  to get to the Wildlife Conservation Center,  Alyeska or 2 days if you include the Whittier cruise.  

No, you don't need a car in Seward.  There's a free shuttle thru town, or,  a cab from the harbor to downtown would be less than $10 ( about 1 1/2 miles).

Does Ididaride provide transportation? If not,  PJs Taxi is in Seward. Or rent a car from Enterprise and make 2 trips.

 

But you really should consider the one-way rental cars to Seward.  It's only 125 miles so pretty easy for the 2 drivers to stay together and make stops along the way.   It's a nice drive, especially along the Turnagain Arm. 

 

Price your options:  1) one-way Hertz rental  vs  2) RT car for a day in Anchorage plus the independent  transfer. 

 

BTW, PJs Taxi does the sightseeing trip between Seward and Anchorage. Give them a call for a price. 

(Seward Bus lines and Park Connection Bus provide service between Seward and Anc, but its transportation only)

 

The resource link:  ( Look at the alaska.org link  under THINGS TO DO,  Scenic Drives,  to find suggested stopping points for the Turnagain Arm.  

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just another opinion on Seward.

 

We had an overnight in Seward. We came down on the bus in the AM was supposed to do the Kenai Fiord cruise but the weather was so bad, and very rough seas that they cancelled it. So that left us with a bunch of hours to kill in Seward in a pouring rain. We took the free shuttle to the Marine Sea life Center. When we tried to get in the door, there were so many people there, just waiting to get in, and we are from NY where crowds are a way of life, we decided, no way and we left. After that we spent a 'wonderful'  hour in the Ace hardware store, another hour or so in a good gelati place and we sort of wandered about some shops, just waiting until 4PM so we could check into our hotel.

It does rain a lot in Seward and it isn't really a place to have nothing to do in. 

 

Just trying to make you aware of what is there and what is not. doing things outside of Seward may be great, but if you have to spend a good deal of time in Seward, well, it just wasn't our type of town. 

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Giantfan13 said:

Just another opinion on Seward.

 

We had an overnight in Seward. We came down on the bus in the AM was supposed to do the Kenai Fiord cruise but the weather was so bad, and very rough seas that they cancelled it. So that left us with a bunch of hours to kill in Seward in a pouring rain. We took the free shuttle to the Marine Sea life Center. When we tried to get in the door, there were so many people there, just waiting to get in, and we are from NY where crowds are a way of life, we decided, no way and we left. After that we spent a 'wonderful'  hour in the Ace hardware store, another hour or so in a good gelati place and we sort of wandered about some shops, just waiting until 4PM so we could check into our hotel.

It does rain a lot in Seward and it isn't really a place to have nothing to do in. 

 

Just trying to make you aware of what is there and what is not. doing things outside of Seward may be great, but if you have to spend a good deal of time in Seward, well, it just wasn't our type of town. 

 

Cheers

Len

When did you visit Seward? Is it always like this, or more often in certain time of the year?

 

I was surprised the sea life center was so crowded, maybe because everybody tried to find a place to wait until the rain stops?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mkkao924 said:

When did you visit Seward? Is it always like this, or more often in certain time of the year?

 

I was surprised the sea life center was so crowded, maybe because everybody tried to find a place to wait until the rain stops?

We didn't realize it rained so much there also, but on questioning several of the locals, rain seems to a usual occurrence. Since this summer was so dry in most of Alaska, they were thrilled by the rain, not us though.

 You would really have to check the Seward weather almanac to see average rainfalls and which are usually the rainiest months. You are exactly right about why the Sea Life Center was so crowded. It looked like whomever was in Seward for our cruise, decided to check it out. From what I understand, many of the excursions with the private people were cancelled because of very rough seas and torrential downpours. 

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2 Private transfer should have a stop at the Wildlife Conservation Center.  You didn’t mention Exit Glacier in Seward but it’s a nice walk on a nice day.  Alyeska is a beautiful resort but not necessary.  You don’t need to go to Whittier since you are doing Kenai Fjords.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, oaktreerb said:

Day 2 Private transfer should have a stop at the Wildlife Conservation Center.  You didn’t mention Exit Glacier in Seward but it’s a nice walk on a nice day.  Alyeska is a beautiful resort but not necessary.  You don’t need to go to Whittier since you are doing Kenai Fjords.

I didn't mention Exit Glacier was because I am not sure if Exit Glacier is much different from Mendenhall which I plan to visit. If we have enough time, we will probably visit Exit Glacier. Looks like the trail is a little bit over a mile, which I am totally fine with, but not sure about my parents who are in their 70s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the link for suggested stopping points along the Turnagain Arm.  Potters Marsh is a nice boardwalk to watch the birds and occasionally a moose.  Bird Ridge is a good spot to watch for Dall sheep.   The Begich Boggs Visitor Center near Portage Glacier/Lake is an interesting spot.  In June there may still be icebergs in the lake

https://www.alaska.org/guide/turnagain-arm-drive

 

If you want the kids to see snow there's an easy hike near Girdwood to Byron Glacier.  In June there should still be snow around for them.  https://alaskatrekker.com/alaska-glaciers/byron-glacier/

 

Visiting Exit Glacier in Seward would require a car or take the $15 shuttle.  For 8 people it would probably be best to rent a car for the day and make 2 trips... it's only 20 minutes from the harbor so easy to make 2 trips.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Just a suggestion for you and, something that might be great for you AND the kids.

 

If you would think about staying in Anchorage for a day and renting a car, about 100 miles to the Northeast, along the Glen Hwy there is a glacier  Matanuska Glacier, a sort of privately owned glacier where, for a fee of $30PP (not sure what the rates are for the kids) you can walk out onto this glacier and spend as much time there as you wish. It is about a mile walk to the actual glacier (although you are walking on the glacier most of the way only it's mostly dirt and planks to get to the actual glacier itself). My DW and I are botjh in our 70's and we made out just fine. The kids will love this as many who were there were sliding all over the place, having a ball. The ride there, on the Glenn Hwy is also a wonderful ride with many scenic spots and a few great towns to visit. We have a marvelous day and it sure beats whatever the cruise lines charge you to go out and walk on a glacier. Something we always wanted to do and now we can scratch that off our bucket list.

Anyway, just suggesting something I know your kids would love.

image.thumb.png.05b7d3cd96d3aded5c537e86c490e64d.png

image.thumb.png.c9a3d9175a7bffa5160039d8f277df28.png

 

image.png

image.png

Edited by Giantfan13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We stayed in Seward for 3 night/4 days, all without a car.  We stayed here: https://www.alaskacollection.com/lodging/seward-windsong-lodge/

 

There's a bus that goes from Anchorage right to the lodge!  And then the Seward shuttle is free to lodge guests.  We used it to get into town for meals as well as assorted places in Seward.  We actually never ate at the lodge as the shuttle was so easy to use -- and there's tons of great food options in town.

 

You can also book excursions directly through the lodge.

DSC01320.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are my thoughts. The private transfer is a great idea to Seward. Don't discount the half day tours. This summer we went with Bear Paw Transportation, group of 8 (with a 6 and 8 year old) from Anchorage to Whittier. Their half day included the Wildlife Conservation Center- definitely recommend it. Kids and adults loved it. This was the perfect kid activity as we walked around for about an hour and they got some energy out. Really loved Bear Paw. Take a good look at the full day itinerary, as they vary greatly from company to company. If the kids are anything like mine, they don't do as well cramped in a car for hours on end. An ideal trip, for us, includes lots of stops for them to get out and move around. The viewpoint stops, at least for us, were for 5-10ish minutes, which wasn't very long.

 

The Alyska tram was neat but my kids only found it mildly interesting. We had a car for a few days before our cruise, so we went there in our own vehicle. We took the tram up, had lunch, looked around for a bit and then left. It was neat but for us, not a must do. Plus, if it isn't a clear day, then you won't be able to see anything.

 

Ididaride was the highlight of our entire trip, for kids and adults. We had friends go a week earlier and it was their highlight as well. I know they have an option that includes transportation.

 

Not sure which Kenai Fjord boat tour you are looking at but here are my thoughts. We went on the 6 hour Major Marine tour. (Book Black Friday weekend- got 40% off, was able to pay for an open ended ticket and then select date later once we knew our exact day). It was a clear day but there is a rough section of open water. Two people (1 adult, 1 kid) were super seasick- not the point of throwing up but very close, even with seasickness meds. Both missed at least an hour or more. Plus side- we saw lots of sea life- tufted puffins, stellar sea lions, harbor seals, otters, various birds, Finn Whales, transient Orcas and eagles. The park ranger on board had binoculars and had Junior Ranger books for the kids to work on to earn a badge, which helped to fill in some time. Did the lunch buffet on board- little spendy but prime rib, salmon and bread were good. Made it easy to not plan out lunch that day. Felt we got our moneys worth. Everyone was feeling better by the time we ate lunch. Got pretty close to the glacier, which was really neat. I'm glad we did it but had some good and bad.

 

We visited both Exit Glacier (near Ididaride) and Byron Glacier (near Girdwood/Wildlife Conservation Center) and here are my thoughts on both. We liked Byron Glacier better. Hike was fairly easy (fairly flat, maybe about an mile?) I was still recovering from tendinitis in my knee and struggled with steps/inclines/walking too far and made it to the base of the glacier just fine. Short walk from end of trail to the glacier. Very family friendly. The visitor center (you pass on the way in) has a junior ranger book for the kids to earn another badge. Harder to get to. Now Exit Glacier (according to their website) has a transfer for a small fee. Due to a mama bear and cub on the shorter path to the glacier, that one was closed (and looks like it still is), so we had to go by the river and do the longer hike. By the time we got to the split for the glacier, the kids were done. We went down by the river and got to see the glacier in the distance and see chunks of ice floating in the river. There is a junior ranger book (same one as the boat tour) but also a patch. To get the patch you check out a backpack (ours had art supplies) and the kids drew/painted pictures of the glacier while sitting on the rocks and had a short book to fill out. Could work to split into two groups- those that are going to the glacier and those that are going part of the way. Kids say they liked Byron Glacier better, since they got to touch the glacier.

 

Seward has a really cute playground on the water- we stayed in Hotel Seward and it was a few blocks away. It was super cute. Sadly, it was closed for maintenance while we were there (2 days of the year) but it was so cute. Saw several sea otters while walking on the path by the water. We did not go to the Sea life center, as everyone felt we saw enough sea life on the boat tour. Our hotel was a short walk to the Sea Bean Cafe, our go to breakfast stop. They had great coffee and a nice assortment of breakfast foods - scrambled eggs for the kids, pastries, smoothie bowls, baked oatmeal which was amazing, bagel with lox or smoked salmon. Ate there 3 days and never had a bad item.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. Super great information! Thanks all for the valuable information.

 

I am indeed prone to seasickness so I will find more about the 5-hour tour which is inside Resurrection Bay. However, my fear is that we can only get up close with longer tour.

 

Matanuska Glacier looks like a great stop, but we need to consider the added cost for this, basically it's $300+ for 2 cars one day, plus $30 pp which is another $240. I am bookmarking it for the future cruise when it's just me and DW and when we drive up to Denali. 🙂

 

Do you think it's possible for the private transfer to add a stop for Bryon Glacier?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done the Resurrection Bay tour twice ( not by choice, but the weather was bad and the capt decided we couldn't go any further).    In the Bay tour you'll pass by an eagles nest, see lots of sea birds, otters, sea lions.  On both trips we also saw mountain goats up in the hills.   I was disappointed with it because I wanted to see the glacier up close. 

( did so on 2 other visits and it was awesome).

But yes, on the tours beyond Resurrection Bay, the boat enters the Gulf of Alaska, and even on a calm day it gets pretty rough.  It doesn't last long .

As for a private transfer, give PJs Taxi in Seward a call .  They do this regularly.  Or look at the anchorage.net web site other transfer options.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/6/2019 at 4:18 PM, mkkao924 said:

Wow. Super great information! Thanks all for the valuable information.

 

I am indeed prone to seasickness so I will find more about the 5-hour tour which is inside Resurrection Bay. However, my fear is that we can only get up close with longer tour.

 

Matanuska Glacier looks like a great stop, but we need to consider the added cost for this, basically it's $300+ for 2 cars one day, plus $30 pp which is another $240. I am bookmarking it for the future cruise when it's just me and DW and when we drive up to Denali. 🙂

 

Do you think it's possible for the private transfer to add a stop for Bryon Glacier?

 

Don't know where you get the figure of $300+ for a 2 car rental? We rented a pickup truck from Budget (hold 5 easily) for about $30 per day. We stayed in Anchorage for 4 days and it cost us $150 total.

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/11/2019 at 4:47 PM, Giantfan13 said:

 

Don't know where you get the figure of $300+ for a 2 car rental? We rented a pickup truck from Budget (hold 5 easily) for about $30 per day. We stayed in Anchorage for 4 days and it cost us $150 total.

 

Cheers

Len

Maybe it's a different time of the year?

 

image.thumb.png.888ff7968f3d7e58befdb24349f8caa5.pngI got the above quote from Costco Travel, for 6/4/2020 to 6/6/2020, 2 days, and it's $178.88.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't seek out the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center personally. The only reason we stopped there on our PJs Taxi transfer to Anchorage was because we needed to use the bathroom. We were 3 adults and 3 kids (ages 10, 10 and 8). We have an amazing zoo near us with black bears, caribou, moose, etc. There were gobs of cruise line transfer buses and people everywhere. The bathrooms were nice and are situated in the area where the bears are on exhibit. The bear area and nice bathrooms were paid for by Princess Cruise Lines (there is a huge sign advertising it). The bear part was nicely done, but the rest wasn't anything special if you have a decent zoo near you (or have been to some good ones elsewhere). I personally don't think it's worth a special trip - but if you are driving by it's not an awful diversion to get out and stretch your legs - if you can time it to not be with tour busses it would be even better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/14/2019 at 5:24 PM, mkkao924 said:

Maybe it's a different time of the year?

 

image.thumb.png.888ff7968f3d7e58befdb24349f8caa5.pngI got the above quote from Costco Travel, for 6/4/2020 to 6/6/2020, 2 days, and it's $178.88.

Don't doubt th9is is the price as of today. I did a quick check and there were cheaper rentals, but all were extremely high. I can guarantee that once you get to within 4 months of the trip, the cars will be al least half of what you were quoted. Depending on the car, you will be able to get a decent size car for well under $100 a day. 

 

Cheers

 

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...