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Out There: Discovering Alaska

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We know because we’ve been: “Out There” is a series of inspiring travel spotlights from AAA travel advisors and employees.

Alaska is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The largest state is where memorable experiences are an everyday occurrence. The great Alaskan outdoors offer both thrills and relaxation. Wildlife can be spotted from land, air and sea, and Alaskan Native culture and history comes alive through tours and festivals.

It’s the sense of discovery that defines the Alaskan experience and help it live up to its name: the Final Frontier.

A few AAA travel advisors recently got to visit Alaska as part of the Out There 2.0 program.Their trip was hosted by our travel partner Travel Alaska.

By visiting a destination, the travel team gains in-depth, firsthand knowledge to help you plan your vacations and get the most from your experiences. Here’s what AAA travel advisor Kim Roberts had to say about her trip.

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Tell us a little about yourself.

I am an associate travel advisor with AAA Northeast. I have been with AAA for almost six years. I enjoy my family, camping, hiking, exploring new places, kayaking, traveling and quilting.

Where have you traveled before?

I have traveled the East Coast of the United States, Canada, Colorado, Vermont and now Alaska.  My favorite destinations are national parks. While I love traveling to theme parks and resorts, I really love the outdoors.

out there: alaska

What was Alaska like?

Our trip to Alaska was nothing short of amazing!  We flew into Anchorage and were transferred to the Copper Whale Inn, a very nice accommodation built in 1939. Then, we went to a welcome dinner at the restaurant Orzo. The fresh seafood was fabulous.

In the morning, we went on a Deluxe City Trolley Tour through Anchorage Trolly Tours. This amazing two-hour tour took us around the city of Alaska stopping at several vantage points. We ended up seeing a moose alongside the road, which was very exciting!

We visited the Anchorage Museum and learned about the native Alaskans, and from there we were transported to the Alaska Glacier Lodge and Tours where we each were able to stay in our own deluxe cabin.

out there: alaska

Alaskan Helicopter Tours sent the group off for a thrilling adventure in a five-person helicopter to a glacier. We got to walk the glacier and drink from a glacier river and lake. The scenery was breathtaking, and we were able to see some Dall sheep and golden eagles. We also went on a summer dog sled adventure tour through Snowhook Adventure Guides of Alaska and got to meet the dogs and new puppies. The dogs train all year.

I think my favorite museum was the Alaska Native Heritage Center. We were treated to a journey through 10,000 years of Alaska Native History and culture through art, dance, Native games demos, exhibits, traditional Native dwellings and films. There were several vendors there and we had the chance to purchase some beautiful jewelry and other items.

The group then boarded the Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park. We rode in a glass-dome railcar in premium class and were treated to breakfast, lunch and two drinks. The views were absolutely stunning from the glass-dome roof!

We stayed at the Grizzly Bear Lodge in Denali, where each of our rooms had a porch overlooking a riverbank. The next morning, we were up bright and early for a tundra wilderness tour. The guide on this tour was fantastic. We were able to see a couple of grizzly bears, Dall Sheep, golden eagles and many types of birds and other wildlife. It was the most amazing bus ride I have ever been on.

Of course, I can’t forget the auroras! We were there during aurora-viewing season and visited Aurora Pointe on two evenings. This venue offered indoor accommodations, free beverages and snacks, a program on the northern lights and several experts to help you get the most out of your experience. On our first night, the northern lights did not cooperate and reveal themselves, but the second night they were out in full force! I was in such awe that I shed a few tears. But that wasn’t the only time.

On our tour of the Alaska Pipeline and a gold dredge, we got a few history lessons and got to pan for gold – but I didn’t get rich! I only found about $6.00 worth of gold, which I had made into a necklace. Talk about a special keepsake!

out there: alaska

The Northern Alaska Tour Company took us on a small plane trip to the Artic Circle. Only about 2% of people who visit Alaska ever do this, so it was a unique experience.

There was even a stop at the Santa Claus House where we met Santa himself. I told him that I had been good all yearlong! Then we stopped at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, which had a stunning car collection. I am not a big antique auto fan, but I could have stayed there for several hours.

The group did a site inspection at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge and then it was time for us to say goodbye.

What was it like to vacation with Travel Alaska?

This travel partner kept us busy the entire time. I could have stayed another week! The meals were outstanding, as were the accommodations. We were treated like royalty.

The leaders of our group were super friendly and knowledgeable and set up an incredible agenda for us. They are very easy to reach for any questions you might have.

 What was your favorite part of your trip?

My favorite part of the trip was Denali National Park. Alaska and Denali National Park are now in my heart. I would recommend travel to this state and destination to everyone!

Let a AAA travel advisor help you plan your Alaska vacation.


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