ALASKA TRAVEL GUIDE: Anchorage, Girdwood, and Seward
BREATHTAKING -- That is one word that I can use to describe Alaska. Between the mountain views, the perfect blankets of snow, the kind locals, and yummy food... this trip was one of my top favorites. Sharing a recap of our time in Anchorage, Girdwood, and Seward -- where we stayed, the activities we did, the views we saw, etc. -- to make planning your trip to Alaska a little bit easier.
I have to say, Anchorage was a BLAST. It is not the most ideal place to visit in April because it's known as "break up" season -- where the snow is melting and it can look a little bleh at times if caught at the wrong time. Well, Abbi and I caught it at a great time!
For the two days we spent in Anchorage, we stayed at the Lakefront Anchorage, a Millennium Hotel and Resort branch, with the most GORGEOUS wildlife decor. Their rooms were cozy with the Lakefront view, and prime location from the airport (only about ten minutes away!). They also have an airport shuttle, are a central location for many local excursions and attractions, and plenty of parking available if you decided to rent a car. The Lakefront is often used for weddings, business meetings, and special events!
Our favorite place to stop for breakfast was "The Flying Machine" where our go to selections were the "Gold Miners Breakfast Sandwich" and the "Alaskan Seafood Benedict." For dinner, we went to the "Fancy Moose Lounge" which is a popular restaurant + bar for not just tourists, but locals too! Their nachos, margaritas, and mojito's were AMAZING. They have a few other restaurants that will begin to open up once summertime rolls around. If you're making a trip to Anchorage, The Lakefront Anchorage has distinct Alaskan Beauty!
Abbi and I had the privilege of seeing downtown Anchorage for their "day" life and nightlife! If you're into souvenir shops like we are, take a trip downtown during the day to get all of your Last Frontier keepsakes. There is a souvenir shop on just about every corner. For nightlife, here are a few of their top bars/breweries: Williwaw Social, F Street Station, Bernie's Bungalow, Whale's Tail, and 49th State Brewing.
There are SO many unique outlooks and hikes in Anchorage! Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to do them all, but we managed to check off a few -- Point Woronzof Outlook and Thunderbird Falls Trail (We quite literally almost died on this hike lol we were NOT prepared for the ice). A few other hotspots that we weren't able to see but are on the top list are: Flattop Mountain and Sunnyside trail, Upper Rabbit Creek/Trail, Bear Valley, Kincaid Park, Hidden Lake, and Anchorage Overlook Trail.
Food/Drink in Anchorage:
Rounding up some of the top favorite restaurants for foodies in Anchorage:
- Moose's Tooth Pub: the BEST pizza & beer joint!
- Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse: This is an Alaskan staple!
- Sullivan's Steakhouse: Very sophisticated and they have live music!
We had the best recommendations from Danika (@girl.in.alaska on instagram), so be sure to give her a follow if you're planning a trip to Alaska! She also a travel agent so she can set up your entire trip -- cause it can be STRESSFUL.
We spent one full day in Girdwood and honestly wished we could have stayed longer because it was SO uniquely gorgeous. If you're driving from Anchorage, prepare to be amazed. It was such a picture perfect drive the entire way. If you have time, take a pitstop at Beluga Point or McHugh Creek for a photo op! We had some cell phone service issues during our time in Girdwood, so be sure to let your fam know in advance just in case they don't hear from ya for a bit. Girdwood is roughly 45 minutes from Anchorage, so super easy and doable for a day trip! Make sure to glance up at the mountains you're driving next to and you'll catch some Dall Sheep taking all the risks on the edge of the mountains -- You can't miss them!
We had the pleasure of going on one of the most thrilling experiences with Alaskan Wild Guides, Snow Machine Tour! For those who live in areas where it never snows, known this as "snow mobiles".... we were kindly told that calling them snow mobiles screamed that we were tourists and that they call them "Snow Machines" or "Sleds." So, make note of that if you're visiting Alaska -- you'll sound cool lol :) This was one of my favorite part of the trip hands down. I am such an adrenaline junkie, so this was right up my alley. They have a quick briefing at the beginning to show you what to do and how to drive, then we took off and rode for several hours! We explored all the pristine wilderness had to offer and even saw a few glaciers and avalanches. We stopped a few times for photo ops, lunch break, cool view spots, etc. At the end of the tour, they take you to a completely open piece where you can freely play around with the machines and be a bit riskier! In the summertime, they switch over to Jetski tours/experiences! This family owned business is so passionate about the outdoors and sharing all that Girdwood has to offer.
We only spent the day in Girdwood so we did not stay overnight, however if we would have it is a no brainer we would have stayed at the Alyeska Resort. This resort is famous for gorgeous Alaskan weddings and legendary family ski/snowboarding trips. This is the place to be in Girdwood with unlimited summer and winter activities, a beautiful spa, plenty of shops, and yummy dining options. If you're an animal lover, not far away from the Alyeska Resort is the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. At this center you can find Bison, Moose, Grizzly Bear, Coyotes, Fox, Elk, Lynx, Muskox, Wolves, and even Reindeer! This center even has a special segment on National Geographic. Totally worth a trip over there if you have the time and are interested in wildlife.
A few foodie favorites in Girdwood are: Chair 5, Seven Glaciers, and Double Musky -- which is where Abbi and I went for dinner before driving down to Seward!
We got to Seward late so we went right into our Hotel and went to bed so we would be rested for our next day full of adventure! Seward is about 1 1/2 - 2 hours south of Girdwood.
Harbor 360 Hotel
We stayed at the Harbor 360 Hotel and it was such a cute spot! We loved their convenient complimentary breakfast, adorable gift shop, and spectacular views of the Resurrection Bay! It is the premier waterfront hotel in the scenic harbor town of Seward located directly on the Seward Small Boat Harbor. This quant hotel is locally-owned and offers stunning 360 views of the surrounding Kenai Mountains. Within walking distance, you'll find several excursion options including glacier & wildlife cruises, kayaking, fishing, and hiking.
On our busy day in Seward, we took a 4 hour Spring Wildlife Cruise around the Resurrection Bay with Major Marine Tours! The views and history were so spectacular and we were able to catch views of marine life in action such as: bald eagles, sea otters, seals, many porpoises, and.... A HUMPBACK WHALE!!!! This Wildlife tour was such a unique way to catch the wildlife up close and personal in their natural habitat. The Kenia Fjords Cruise company is locally owned and very passionate about Alaska's marine life. They have a variety of tours and excursions depending on the season so you are bound to find something you love no matter when you arrive on the inlet! *PRO TIP: If you get sea sick, I highly recommend coming prepared with preventatives! It can get a bit rough out there especially if it's a windy day. If you forget, they do sell it on the boat so not to worry.
This southern port city on the Kenai Peninsula is a gateway for the Kenai Fjords National Park. It is surrounded by mountain peaks, glaciers, and lots of marine life. Seward tends to be the most busy during the summer time! There are also so many unique photo opportunities in Seward to take advantage of with the stunning views and cute southern town vibes.
Throughout our trip, we had the opportunity to work together with Hertz Alaska! They had the best customer service, the rental process was so simplified, and the vehicle was very durable and safe with the road conditions. I'd highly recommend renting a car in Alaska so you have the opportunity to explore around at your convenience and leisure. It's important to keep in mind that they are an independent licensee of Hertz System Inc. and they cover the areas of Anchorage down to Seward! If you're visiting the Anchorage area, check into renting a vehicle from Hertz Alaska!
The next morning we got up early to make our way to the airport for our next Alaskan adventure.... FAIRBANKS! I will be writing a travel guide specifically for Fairbanks next week so make sure to subscribe to my blog so you won't miss it. You'll see all the adventures with the Hot Springs, Dog Sledding, Ice Museum, and more.
I hope this travel guide inspires you to get out there and see all that this beautiful world has to offer! Alaska was absolutely stunning and did not disappoint. If you have yet to do so, add it to the top of your bucket list and get to planning! I hope you love The Last Frontier just as much as I did!
XOXO - Amber