Epic wildlife, soaring summits, and tundra stretching as far as the eye can see: everything is bigger in Alaska. Journey to the far north—where the sun never quite sets in the summer—and make the most of long days on hiking and wildlife-viewing excursions in the Alaskan wilderness. Explore Denali and Kenai Fjords National Parks, where kids will set out on educational adventures to claim their junior ranger badges.
- Travel Style : National Geographic Family Journeys
- Service Level : Upgraded
- Physical Grading : 3 - Average
- Merchandising : New Trips
- Trip Type : Small Group
- What's Included:Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Denali Immersive Lunch and Lecture, Denali National Park and Preserve
Your Family Journeys Moment: Husky Homestead, Denali
Your Family Journeys Moment: Denali Immersive Presentation and Hike, Denali National Park and Preserve. Arrival transfer. Alaska SeaLife Center admission. Kenai Fjords National Park cruise. Mount Alyeska tram. Denali National Park transit bus to Eielson Visitor Center. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
- Highlights:Set out on a wildlife safari through Denali National Park and Preserve to spot the resident “big five”—grizzlies, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and wolves, Visit the famed Alaska SeaLife Center for an up-close look at playful sea otters, colorful puffins, and leggy octopi, Watch champion sled dogs train for the upcoming racing season and learn about Iditarod traditions, Cruise Kenai Fjords National Park to see a glacier flowing straight into the sea.
- Dossier Disclaimer:The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
- Itinerary Disclaimer:While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
- Itinerary Notes:Prices are based on double occupancy; all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will accommodate triples/quads whenever possible. Please call for further details.
Family Journeys are designed for groups traveling with children between the ages of 7 and 17. Your group must include a child in order to book, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Important Notes:1.TRAVEL DAYS
In order to cover the vast distance in North America to be able to visit several different places along our trip, we will have a couple of long driving days.
2. WALKS AND HIKES - OPTIONAL
All walks and hikes proposed by our CEO will be easy to moderate level. You may choose to participate or not, but exploring our national parks on foot is part of our way of travelling. It’s a healthy way to discover North America’s beauty and landscape.
3. LEGAL DRINKING AGE
Please note that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Many bars and clubs will ask for ID at the door, therefore listening to live music in certain bars or spending a night out is not possible when you are under the legal age, even if you don't plan on consuming alcohol. Drinking laws are strictly enforced and our CEOs are unable to help those under age obtain alcohol of any kind.
While this should not stop those under legal drinking age from booking a tour, it is important to note that if a traveller is under-age there are certain optional nighttime activities that they may not legally be able to participate in. When trying to book the right trip, we recommend that travellers under legal drinking age take this into consideration when booking a tour that visits several big cities.
4. Family Insurance
Options for family travel insurance are available. Please enquire with your Family Trip Specialist for more information.
- Group Leader Description:All National Geographic Family Journeys with G Adventures group trips are accompanied by two of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense; you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
- Group Size Notes:20
- Meals Included:8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner
- Meals:Eating is a big part of traveling and we encourage you to experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Its important to remember, that food may be different from what you are used to at home and that some things may not be available in other countries.
Some meals are included in the trip price, while others are not, to allow flexibility and choice to you and your family. For non-included meals our CEOs will still make arrangements for the group to eat together, which allows you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and approximate budget (per person) for meals not included.
Throughout this trip, breakfast is included daily (ranging from continental to buffet depending on the trip), as are healthy, local snacks. Tap water is safe and drinkable everywhere. Please remember to bring your own refillable bottle and refill at the start of each day.
Note that any special meal requirements or dietary restrictions need to be specified at time of booking.
- Transport:Private vehicle, catamaran, shuttle bus, hiking
- About our Transportation:For this trip we use one to two 15-passenger vans for up to 12 people plus the CEO/Driver. For groups of 8 and more travellers per vehicle, we also use a trailer to carry luggage. These durable vehicles allow us to drive on most types of roads in North America.
Each van has a front passenger seat and 4 benches that will accommodate 3 people each with mandatory seat belts to keep us secure and safe. No standing is permitted in these vehicles.
This is not a physically demanding journey, but with limited space in the van, long drive days can be difficult. Please take note of the travel times and distances in the above itinerary. There is air conditioning to cool things down on warm days to keep everyone more comfortable. Despite some of the long days, most travellers feel that the diversity of the North American landscape, culture and wildlife are all well worth the experience!
- Solo Travellers:We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Odd number adult travellers in your family will be paired in twin accommodation with another adult traveller of the same sex for the duration of the trip.
- Accommodation:Hotels (8 nts)
- My Own Room:Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
- About Accommodation:Rooming is based on double occupancy (2 passengers per room); all other room configurations are on request and cannot be guaranteed. We will try to accommodate triples/quad requests whenever possible and its important to note that rooming configuration can change from city-to-city.
Please note hotels in Alaska may be a bit more rustic or dated than hotels at the same accommodation level in the rest the USA.
- Joining Hotel:For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
- Joining Instructions:An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation in our joining hotel.
Your tour CEO will be waiting for you with a National Geographic Journeys sign with your name on it, and they will be waiting for you outside the luggage hall. In the unlikely case, you are unable to find the guide after 30 minutes, please call our our local support line.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly, the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.
- Arrival Complications:We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
- What to Take:You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be clearly labelled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, sports bag, or backpack. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. Porters are not often available, so be prepared to carry your own bags.
- Packing List:Cold weather:
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light waterproof jacket. For days in the outdoors, layering is key. We recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, clothes.
Alaska can have unpredictable weather with snow and heavy rain even in Summer time. Spring time can be snowy (until end of June) and fall season could start as soon as mid-August. Make sure you have clothing for all conditions.
We’re working with our accommodation partners to reduce single-use plastic on our tours by providing safe drinking water for refillable bottles wherever possible. Find out more about our Plastics Partnership Project here.
- Laundry:Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your CEO where the closest laundromat is. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry, so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
- Spending Money:Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
- Money Exchange:The United States currency is the US Dollar (USD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in the US and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card in the USA, you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US Dollars as cash (preferably smaller bills, 5's, 10's and 20's), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is very difficult to find in the USA and most banks do not accommodate.
Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
- Emergency Fund:Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
- Tipping:Local tipping is included on this Family trip which covers local guides, drivers and gratuity for included meals. At the end of your trip if you felt your two Chief Experience Officers did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline; per CEO $5-10 USD per person, per day can be used as a guide.
For non-included meals in restaurant, a guideline is 15-20% of cost of bill.
- Optional Activities:Seward
- Helicopter & Dog Sledding on a Glacier (519USD per person)
- Kayaking on Resurrection Bay (79USD per person)
- Hike on the Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield
Denali National Park and Preserve
- Denali Eielson Stroll
- Denali Scenic Flight with Optional Glacier Landing (220-420USD per person)
- Rafting on the Nenana River- McKinley Scenic Run (72-97USD per person)
- Safety and Security:Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
- A Couple of Rules:Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they engage in any form of paid sex work.
- Travel Insurance:Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
- Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation:The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
- Feedback:After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
- Minimum Age:Minimum age of 7 years for this trip.
- International Flights:Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Itinerary (9 days)
Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.
Travel down the scenic Seward Highway, past Turnagain Arm, where one of the largest bore tides in the world surges a massive wave into the waterway each day. Continue to Seward for a visit to the famed Alaska SeaLife Center, an aquarium that collaborates with National Geographic on wildlife initiatives. The afternoon is free to explore Seward; or opt for adventure in the Alaskan wilderness while hiking, kayaking, or even dogsledding across a glacier!
Board a catamaran for a cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park, where nearly 40 glaciers flow down coastal mountains, forging icy pathways into the sea. Our boat takes us to the exit ramp for one of these massive ice sheets, where we may see—and hear—great chunks of ice fall straight into the water. Kenai is also a wildlife-lover’s paradise, home to orcas and humpbacks, puffins, porpoises, and much more. Enjoy lunch on board, and meet our accompanying park ranger, who will guide young travelers toward earning their first junior ranger badge of the trip!
On our journey back north, we’ll stop to explore the wilds surrounding the mountain town of Girdwood. Make your way along a winding boardwalk through the northernmost rainforest in North America; then board a hand-operated tram and take turns pulling your family along a rope strung high above a rushing river. Later, ride the gondola up Mount Alyeska for a look at hanging glaciers clinging to high mountain cliffs. Continue to Talkeetna, a quirky town that welcomes many a mountaineer hoping to conquer Denali’s lofty summit.
Talkeetna/Denali National Park and Preserve
As we travel toward Denali National Park, we get ever closer to Denali—or “the great one”—North America’s highest peak. Even among the soaring summits of the Alaska Range, Denali dominates the horizon. At the gateway to the park, pick up junior ranger packets then meet a field educator at the Denali Education Center to learn about the surrounding ecosystems and the native people who have survived in these harsh conditions for centuries. This afternoon, we’ll travel to the home of a true Alaskan hero, Jeff King, who has won the grueling, 998-mile Iditarod dogsledding race four times! Snuggle a husky puppy and watch grown champion sled dogs go through their summer training routine.
Denali National Park and Preserve
This morning, venture into the heart of Denali National Park and Preserve on a wildlife safari. The park’s incredible creatures stand out against the sparse landscape, and a drive along the park road is often the best way to see them. As we drive to the Eielson Visitor Center, make it your mission to spot Denali’s “big five:” grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and elusive wolves. Opt to join a ranger on a hike for a closer look at the treeless tundra and hearty plants that grow here. The return trip to our hotel offers another chance for wildlife-viewing.
Denali National Park and Preserve
This morning, meet up with an Alaska resident to hear all about life in America’s northernmost state. Then set off for a hike with a naturalist guide from the Denali Education Center. Kids will have the opportunity to wrap up their junior ranger activities. Enjoy a free afternoon to relax, or opt to fly above Denali’s soaring summit on a helicopter flight-seeing excursion.
Denali National Park and Preserve/Anchorage
Enjoy a free morning to get in a final hike or an optional scenic river float before setting out on our drive back to Anchorage. Join the group for a farewell dinner this evening.
Depart at any time.