Scott McMurren

Do you hear that hissing sound? That's the air leaking out of the glorious balloon known as summer. The weather rolls in. The temperatures dip. It’s getting dark at night. Face it: Winter’s coming.

Still, there are some great days ahead, particularly in the first half of September. So layer up and check out more deals for traveling around Alaska.

The Alaska Railroad offers a “value season” for their trains between Anchorage and Denali. Ride the rails Sept. 1-13 for $129 each way. Compare that to the high-season rate of $163 each way in Adventure Class. There is an additional 20 percent discount for Alaska residents...

Scott McMurren

Do you want to know the best places for a fall trip? Right here in Alaska? Please don’t ask me — it’s a long list. Let’s just work on the trips that start with a K.

1) Kantishna. This is the old mining community located at the end of the 95-mile road through Denali National Park and Preserve. The only mining going on now is by guests who try their hand at gold panning in the creek. But Kantishna is a great destination if you want to see a side of Denali that few others visit. This is where Wonder Lake is — and where many of those iconic Denali photos are taken. There are several lodges, including Kantishna Roadhouse, Camp Denali, North Face Lodge and the Denali Backcountry Lodge. Each lodge has its own shuttle, so you get a tour of the park road as part of your stay...

Scott McMurren

Summer’s almost over. That’s terrible news, unless you’re shopping for airline tickets. That’s because airfares between Alaska and the Lower 48 are cheap.

Mind you, there have been great fares all summer long. But all of the airlines are fighting each other to get the last summertime travelers. That’s the big reason fares are dropping from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau...

Scott McMurren

Things are changing again at Ravn Alaska , the state’s largest regional airline.

Ravn actually is a compilation of three different air carriers: Frontier Flying Service, Era Aviation and Hageland Aviation. Ravn used to be known as Era Alaska until they changed their name in January 2014.

Bob Hajdukovich, Ravn’s CEO, has secured financing from a New York-based private equity firm to buy out his partners and recapitalize the airline...

Scott McMurren

On a recent JetBlue flight from Portland to Anchorage, my seatmate confided, “I feel like I’m cheating on Alaska Airlines by flying JetBlue .”

She was one of the mothers accompanying a girls soccer team back home after games in Seattle and Portland. When asked if JetBlue did a good job, the consensus of the moms on board was two thumbs up, particularly considering the low prices.

“I’d definitely fly them again,” said Becky Martin of Anchorage, one of the chaperones. One of the young soccer players added that she liked the seating arrangement better than on Alaska Airlines. “There’s more room,” she said...

Scott McMurren

Fairbanks is a year-round destination for travelers from around the world. In fact, there was a party last week on the Riverboat Discovery honoring Condor Airlines ’ 15 years of nonstop service from Fairbanks to Frankfurt, Germany.

On the international front, the Europeans arrive in Fairbanks , also known as the Golden Heart City, during the summer on Condor’s flights. Tourists from Asia tend to arrive in the winter on charter flights from Japan and Korea...

Scott McMurren

Traveling to Juneau is always fun, especially in the summer. There are several must-do adventures on my list that anyone can enjoy:

1. The Mount Roberts Tram . This high-speed lift takes travelers 1,800 feet straight up Mount Roberts for a million-dollar view. Depending on the weather, you can huddle in the mountain terminal, which features a restaurant and a coffee stand. But you’ll be happier if you strike out on the trail. There are several vistas where you can see the Alaska Airlines jets flying by at eye level, in addition to an occasional flightseeing helicopter...

Scott McMurren

JUNEAU — The damp mist is hugging the mountains in Juneau, but that didn’t stop our Alaska Airlines pilot from finding a hole in the clouds and easing our 737 in for a smooth landing first thing this morning...

Scott McMurren

When I meet travelers at airports, restaurants or the grocery line, they often ask: “What’s the best website to find good travel deals?”

Although it is a simple question, the answer is difficult. In fact, there is no one “silver bullet” website for the best travel deals. Because of the various distribution channels, bargains can -- and do -- pop up in unexpected places.

There are some websites that I check more than once each day. There are others that I check less frequently. Sometimes readers and other travelers alert me to great bargains. Here are some of my favorite sites:...

Scott McMurren

There are many paths through Alaska’s wilderness. Some are paved, most are not. Where the highways end, rivers begin. And eventually, the rivers meet the sea.

Adventurers have many options throughout the state to see some awesome landscapes, land some incredible fish and see some big wildlife. Along the way, you’ll probably learn about the history of the region and its ecosystem. Some trips last all day. Others are 10-12 days and involve camping, flights and lots of bug dope...

Scott McMurren

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