Jimmy Stewart, playing the role of discouraged George Bailey in the immortal holiday classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ said, “You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are, Uncle Billy? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles.”
I’m inclined to believe him.
What could be more fabulous than filling Christmas stockings with opportunities for Alaska travel – Alaska family travel, to be specific. We know what the kids want; excitement, adventure, cool photos for Instagram! We know what parents want, too; quality time, unplugged experiences for family bonding.
In these last few hours before Santa Claus shows up with a twinkling upon rooftops of the world, how about tossing a few of our favorite Alaska family travel stops under the tree? I think you’ll like what you see.
If viewing Alaska from the air rates high on your family’s must-do list, try a flightseeing adventure from one of our most trusted 49th state companies. Both Rust’s Flying Service in Anchorage and Alpine Air Alaska in Girdwood offer amazing flights year-round over Alaska’s diverse landscapes, for a few minutes or a few hours.
The swirling, twirling aurora borealis has become a hot attraction this past year, due to some amazing solar storms upon our largest star, and Alaska tour companies are all about showing your kids the magnetic pull of the northern lights. If your teens are shutterbugs, try Ronn Murray Photography Tours in Fairbanks. Ronn and his wife Marketa will whisk your crew out to the most amazing places, where lights appear from the heavens and jaws drop, guaranteed.
Big Scenery and Wildlife!
For a more sedate pace, especially with a multigenerational crowd, make plans to climb aboard the Alaska Railroad’s Aurora Winter Train. Traveling north from Anchorage on Saturdays, and south from Fairbanks on Sundays, the blue and yellow AKRR engines power your family through a winter wonderland, with moose, mountains, and sunrises and sets so spectacular, you’ll keep the camera set to ‘on’. Our favorite trip involves a stop in Talkeetna, a little mountain village where hospitality is the motto and charm the atmosphere. Stay at the Talkeetna Roadhouse or Susitna River Lodge and enjoy walking access restaurants, a museum, skiing or snowshoeing trails, and an unobstructed vantage point of mighty Mount McKinley.
Big Summer Plans!
Now is the time to coordinate a summertime excursion into wild wilderness of the Last Frontier. Family camps are becoming a popular option for those who want a more rugged Alaska experience with the added bonus of a hands-on learning. We love the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies in the Kenai Peninsula town of Homer. With a field station at beautiful Peterson Bay across the water from town, families can explore tidepools, hike, kayak, and take a time-out from the busy lives we all seem to lead. If Interior Alaska’s tundra sounds more appealing, try an Alaska Geographic Family Field Seminar, with three days of high-mountain adventure coupled with some geology, flora and fauna identification, and expert educational support.
Bundle the Adventure!
Not sure which Alaska travel experience is right for your family? Still considering dates and seasons? Grab the 2014 Great Alaskan TourSaver – with a full coupon book of 2-for-1 deals all year long, it’s the perfect gift for the family who loves independence and a good deal. At $99, it’s that, and more. Find these books online, as an amazing app, or in any CarrsSafway store in Alaska.
Give the gift of going places this year, and see the world.
George Bailey had it right – it’s a wonderful life of travel out there.