Have you picked out your great Alaska adventure yet? I’ve covered some stand-out staycations in the last few weeks, but there are more offers that keep popping up. Literally every day, there’s a new deal or a list of offers available this summer. Many (but not all) are offered exclusively to Alaskans.
New players this week include many of Alaska’s destination marketing organizations, such as Visit Anchorage, Explore Fairbanks and the Alaska Travel Industry Association. All of these organizations have polled their members and put together long lists of special offers. Some of the deals are ho-hum, while others are positively garage-sale bargains. Some of the deals are listed on more than one list, because some travel companies belong to more than one organization.
Visit Anchorage has more than 30 offers listed on a new web page for its Stay and Play campaign. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Regal Air is offering a 25% discount on bear viewing in June. There’s a two-person minimum for the trip over to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.
2. Phillips Cruises and the Alaska Railroad offer a package to ride the rails from Anchorage to Whittier. Then you sail on the Klondike Express for the 26 Glaciers Cruise. The regular adult fare is $284, and it’s on sale for $221 per person. This package starts on July 3, when the train starts running. If you want to go before then, Phillips Cruises is offering a $25 discount on its cruise in conjunction with its Klondike Club for frequent sailors.
3. Alaska Tour and Travel is offering free round-trip transportation between Anchorage and Seward when you purchase a Kenai Fjords cruise from them. It’s a mail-in rebate, but you can avoid driving down and back in one day. Both Major Marine Tours and Kenai Fjords Tours are offering discounts between 30% and 40% on the cruise.
The Alaska Travel Industry Association has a big list of deals all over the state. The campaign is called Show Up For Alaska and features a photo contest where travelers can win tickets on Alaska Airlines. I found some nice packages.
1. GoNorth RV Rental in Anchorage and Fairbanks is offering a 50% discount off the base rates for Alaskans, plus 50 free miles per day. The company has truck campers as well as RVs between 19 and 24 feet long. The company is offering 75% off for frontline workers in the COVID-19 battle. There’s a four-night minimum rental.
2. MICA Guides offers adventures on the Matanuska Glacier. For Alaska residents, the company is offering a 20% discount on select glacier treks.
3. John Hall’s Alaska usually has busloads of travelers exploring every part of the state. This year, not so much. So the company put together a couple of itineraries: one to Homer and one to Denali National Park and Preserve from Anchorage. Each package includes transportation from Anchorage on one of the company’s deluxe coaches with just 12 to 16 passengers, to accommodate social distancing. Two nights at a hotel also are included. There’s a company representative on hand to book tours and excursions. The Homer package is $275 per person, double occupancy. The Denali package is $375 per person, double occupancy.
Explore Fairbanks has a modified spreadsheet of travel companies that are open for business and which ones offer special Alaska resident discounts. Here’s what I found:
1. Chena Hot Springs Resort is offering 50% off rooms all summer long. It’s a beautiful 60-mile drive from Fairbanks to Chena Hot Springs.
2. Closer to town, River’s Edge Resort is right on the Chena River. Everybody gets a private cabin, and rates start at $99 per night.
3. At Trail Breaker Kennel, check out the puppies and meet the mushers. Alaska residents can trim 20% off the $59 tour.
The Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau has a whole list of deals for businesses in the Valley, in Talkeetna and even up the Glenn Highway.
1. Hatcher Pass Cabins is offering a 20% discount for Alaskans. The cabins are right next to the entrance of Hatcher Pass.
2. Drill Team Six Fishing Excursions offers a 10% discount to Alaska residents. The company offers river fishing and lake fishing.
Then there are other offers that haven’t made it onto the list.
Down in Ketchikan, Chinook Shores Lodge is offering a $49 Club 49 discount on boat rentals in nearby Knudsen Cove. The lodge offers 21-foot North River Seahawk boats for fishing in nearby waters for salmon and halibut. The regular rate is $350 per day, less $49.
Chinook Shores also offers a self-guided fishing package for a family of four. It includes a private waterfront beach house with a 23-foot boat. All gear and fish processing is included. Anglers need to get their own groceries on arrival. The three-night package is $1,200 per person, less $147 ($49 per day).
The Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge on Fox Island outside of Seward has a second-night free offer. The lodge is 12 miles by boat outside of Seward, located in Resurrection Bay. The lodge is all-inclusive, complete with gourmet meals and guided kayaking and other activities. The private waterfront cabins sleep up to four people. The first night is $695 per person. The second night is free. The cost includes a wildlife and glacier cruise.
Denali Backcountry Lodge, located at the end of the Denali Park Road in Kantishna, also is having a second-night-free sale. Your package starts with a bus tour that takes you all the way back from the Denali National Park entrance to Kantishna, more than 90 miles. There are plenty of stops along the way for wildlife viewing or just to stretch your legs. All meals are included, as well as accommodations in private cabins. The first night is $575 per person. The second night is free.
One of the side effects of the weird summer of 2020 is that many Alaskans will have an opportunity to explore the state — pretty much all to ourselves. And the Alaska resident sale prices are pretty good!
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