5 Reasons Why You Need to Take an Alaskan Road Trip

June 10, 2021

Happy Thursday friends! I hope that your week is finishing well! Today I wanted to start sharing with y'all some recap posts on the last Alaskan Road Trip that we did in 2019 and I hope that it encourages you to consider taking a road trip of your own this summer to this beautiful part of the world. With the world slowly opening back up to travel, the places that we went to and explored are a really good option, especially for those (who like myself) are extremely cautious with health reasons as we were outside and separated away so much. 

If you have ever explored visiting Alaska than you know that there are lots of ways that you could travel throughout The Last Frontier! You could choose a cruise (a very popular option and one that I am excited to do someday!), take the Alaskan Train, or take a bus trip. You could even choose to hop around from city to city by plane if you wanted to! All of these options are wonderful, but part of the uniqueness of the two road trips that I designed was the opportunity to fall in love with Alaska in a different way as it opened up so many opportunities that the other options wouldn't have and so today I wanted to share 5 reasons you need to take an Alaskan Road Trip! So here they are...
1. Freedom to Stop, See, and Do What You Want To
The number 1 reason why a road trip is a wonderful thing to do throughout Alaska is that it gives you the complete freedom to stop, see, and do what you want to do. You can choose what time you want to get up in the morning and what time you want to arrive somewhere. If you see something along the way that looks interesting or incredible to do you have the freedom to do it. If you find something that you really love and want to spend more time at a place you can do so because you are not on someone else's time schedule restrictions. You will never have to miss out on exploring anything or having an unplanned adventure (some of the best in my opinion!) because you have the freedom to stop and go as you wish. 

If you read through my posts of our Alaskan Road Trip in 2018 than you know that this is true. Our intinerary was planned for many things (you can find our 9 day Alaskan Road Trip itinerary 2018 by clicking  HERE -stay tuned for the 2019 itinerary!) and hotel/lodge reservations were set, but our days were free to explore as we traveled to our different locations which gave us beautiful adventures. One of my favorite parts was the freedom to choose to do the Worthington Glacier Ridge Hike. I hadn't planned that as part of our itinerary but it turned out to be one of my favorite hikes of the trip!
2. Freedom to Change Plans
Closely tied to #1 is the freedom you have to change your plans as you want or need to. Sometimes you get to a place and you realize that you love the area and want to stay an extra night. Or maybe you found out about a new place to explore that you hadn't planned on before. You can easily change your plans during a road trip. 

One of my favorite "plan changes" that I made during the trip in 2018 was to spend time hiking around Eklutna Lake. I had planned to spend more time hiking a bit farther out than Anchorage, but when I woke up I decided that I wanted something a bit closer to Anchorage and decided to explore Eklutna Lake (it is less than an hour from Anchorage if you are interested in checking it out!). It was the best decision and it was simply stunning. I love the freedom that a road trip gives to change your plans as you want or need. (If you are interested in reading more about Anchorage you can find my Anchorage City Guide HERE!)
In 2019 a similar thing occurred on our girls road trip in Whittier. Originally we were just going to go through the tunnel (HERE), grab lunch at the Whittier Inn (HERE) and quickly explore before leaving for Seward. When we got to Whittier though it was adorable and we ended up slowly walking around, exploring different shops, and just leisurely spending our time there before lining up to head back through the tunnel. It was the best way to spend the first full day in Alaska after our long trip from the east coast, and all three of us loved the casual and beautiful experience. (You can watch a YouTube video of our time HERE)
3. The Freedom to Have an Alaskan Adventure outside Typical Tourist Locations
One of the best things about doing a road trip throughout Alaska is that you get to have a beautiful Alaskan Adventure outside of the typical tourist locations. Instead of just seeing certain ports or certain cities, you can choose to go into the wild and see things that only the locals do. You can get off the "main road" or past the "main location" of where the trains and buses usually go. You can get to know the locals, get to know the culture better, get to know people, and get to stay and eat at places that are not frequented by tourists but have amazing local roots. 

Two of my favorite adventures in Alaska have been driving the Denali Highway and the McCarthy Highway. was driving on the Denali Highway. 
First, the Denali Highway is something that I fell in love with in 2018. It is the #2 drive in the world for good reason. The pictures that I posted about this beautiful road (you can read Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE, and Part 3 HERE and a video of the entire thing HERE) were unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It was simply stunning...and it was so incredible that I included it again in the 2019 trip so that my sister and Sue could see it. One thing that was really neat about the trip in 2019 was that we came the opposite way then when I had driven in 2018 and it was incredible that we literally got to see Denali on our trip. We stopped and took so many pictures because it was stunning. I can't wait to share more with you in this series.
Second, the McCarthy Highway. For those who have driven it, you are smiling along with me and saying to simply leave the words there without any additional explanation. *smiles* But if you haven't driven it... you need to it. It is unlike any other thing in the world and unlike any "highway" you will experience. If you are considering it I would highly suggest reading my post all about it HERE as I think it will explain it in a lot of detail and some helpful hints. It is definitely for those with an adventuresome spirit. *smiles* I loved it. 

But you won't see these incredible highways if you take the train or a different type of transportation in your Alaskan Adventure. This is a strictly road trip adventure option...and to be honest this point alone makes me want to shout, "take the road trip"! *smiles*
4. This Can Make Visiting Alaska More Affordable
One of the things that I hear a lot from people about taking a trip to Alaska is that they feel it would be impossible because of the costs involved. If finances are a restriction than taking a road trip is a perfect solution for you. For our 9 day road trip we traveled almost 2500+ in the car and I spent less than $150 in gas money and for the 2019 trip we traveled triple the miles as I had in 2018 and I only spent $275 in gas money. If you are looking to save even more money- you could definitely even sleep in your car. This can save you a ton of money in purchasing tickets that are often expensive. Concerned about car rental prices? They are more expensive than other places you visit but when you break the cost down by day it is still cheaper than the other options. 
If you are looking for a recommendation for car rentals I can't recommend enough Alaska 4x4. The first year we didn't go through them and I would say it was my biggest regret. I loved working with them in 2019. I wrote a whole review of them HERE, but I honestly would never go back and visit Alaska and rent from anyone else but them in the future. 
5. The Opportunity to Stop and Record the Beauty of What You are Seeing
I can't begin to tell you how many hundreds of times I stopped the car to snap pictures. Around every corner was a new breathtaking view that was absolutely priceless. To have the opportunity to stop, take pictures, and spend some moments in that beauty without being rushed was absolutely incredible and something I will cherish forever.

So y'all- definitely start planning your road trip to Alaska today! You will not regret it as it will be the experience of a lifetime! And don't forget to check out my post on 5 Things you Must Know About Driving in Alaska which holds some extra tips for your trip! You can find the post HERE

Want to step forward and plan your trip but not sure how? Check out all of the Alaska Road Trip posts from our trips in 2018 and 2019 which you can find them in the Alaska travel section on my blog by clicking HERE or you can click on the specific links below:

Anchorage: // Hyatt Place Anchorage-Midtown Video // Beluga Point // 
// Hyatt Place Anchorage-Midtown// Room 209 Hyatt Place Anchorage-Midtown //
// Anchorage Travel Guide//

Chugach Mountains (Alaska 1-South Drive): // Seward Highway Drive (Turnagain Arm Drive)//
// Along the Matanuska River on Alaska 1-South// A Beautiful Lake Adventure Near Chickaloon//
// A Cloudy & Beautiful Drive on Alaska 1-South//

Chugach Mountains: // Eklutna Lake//


Cooper Landing (Kenai Peninsula): // Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge Nature Hike// 
// Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge //

Denali State Park Area: //Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge (Pursuit Collection)// Denali Highway Video// 
// One Last Adventure on the Denali Highway// The Denali Highway: Part Two //
// The Denali Highway: Part One// 
//The Drive to Cantwell// Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge //

Girdwood:  // Winner Creek Trail Video// Winner Creek Trail //


Hatcher Pass Area: // Hatcher Pass Video// Hatcher Pass // Little Susitna River //

Homer (Kenai Peninsula) Area: // Homer Video// Homer Spit// Homer Lighthouse// Bishop's Beach//
// A Brief History of Homer //

Kennicott/McCarthy Area: //Root Glacier Hike //Kennicott // Kennicott Glacier // 
// Kennecott vs. Kennicott Spelling // The McCarthy Highway // 
// An Unfortunate Review of the Kennicott Glacier Lodge //

Seward: //Holgate Glacier// Kenai Fjords Whale Watching Tour//
//A Beautiful Morning Walk in Seward/An Evening Walk at Seward Windsong Lodge// 
//Resurrection Roadhouse Restaurant at Seward Windsong Lodge//
//Seward Windsong Lodge/Room 408 at Seward Windsong Lodge//

Seward Highway Area: //Beluga Point// Scenic Seward Highway Drive (Turnagain Arm Drive)//

Talkeetna: //Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge (Pursuit Collection)//

Thompson Pass Area: // Thompson Pass Area Video 
// Worthington Glacier Hike//
//Worthington Glacier//
// Among the Alaskan Fireweed on A4-S: A Beautiful Symbol of Hope in the Hard Seasons of Life //
// A Brief History of & Drive on Alaska 4-South of the Richardson Highway//Klutina River//
// The Beginning Drive to Thompson Pass// 

Whittier: /Whittier YouTube Video/The Town of Whittier /
//Whittier Tunnel (Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel) //

Wrangell-St. Elias Park Area:
 //The McCarthy Highway // Copper River Princess Lodge //

1 comment

  1. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work. monterey kayak tour

    ReplyDelete