Were you up early to catch our Travel Tuesday segment on KTVA 11 Daybreak? If not, you can watch it HERE, and take note (below) of our top 5 Labor Day weekend hot spots for family fun.
Why should you make plans for a getaway this weekend? Crowds are beginning to thin out, leaves are starting to become a beautiful shade of gold, and there are a host of wonderful opportunities for outdoor exploration. Ready, let’s go!
1) Denali National Park: Pack the warm clothes and rain gear, and go camping! Denali’s colors are beginning to show and the wildlife are in full view as they prepare for winter. Six campgrounds are available inside the park boundaries, three of them suitable for trailers and RVs. Shuttle buses, hiking trails, and the sled dog kennel are all open for your adventures, so take advantage of this less-crowded opportunity. NOTE: Keep an eye on the weather and pack appropriately; Denali has had some snowfall this past week, and it could be chilly!
2) – 3) Alaska Railroad: Two destinations came to mind when I was thinking about the Labor Day weekend: Hurricane Turn departures leave from Talkeetna at noon, and return around 7 p.m. Cross the scenic forests and tundra of this beautiful area with a Hurricane Gulch crossing before heading back to town. It’s about seven hours, and has no services on board, but you do get Conductor Warren, my favorite AKRR pal and narrator extraordinaire. Do bring everything you’ll need to keep kids fed and watered, however. Second, the Glacier Discovery day trip from Anchorage or Portage transports sightseers or hikers to scenic Spencer Glacier with a drive-by to Grandview. Hop off in Spencer, take a hike, raft the Placer river, or paddle Spencer Lake’s glacially-cold water on a guided tour. THere’s even a guided ranger hike for those who want to know more about flora and fauna.
4) Alyeska Resort: Alaska’s biggest ski resort in Girdwood is offering tons of fun this weekend, including the popular Mountain Bike Festival September 3rd through 7th. Take a hike at Winner Creek or the ski area trails; bring your own bikes and ride from the resort to town and play at the playground. Best of all, the Fall Family Overnight Special offers a FREE tram ride for up to 5 guests (a great deal) with an overnight stay. Don’t forget the great swimming pool, too.
5) Aurora-viewing: I love watching the aurora during the months of September/October because it’s warmer outside! Right now, amazing displays have been visible even as far south as Juneau. But – with our cloudy weekend forecast, it might be better to book a true aurora tour with Ronn Murray Photography in Fairbanks. The company just began their season of photography tours, and it’s a GREAT tour for older kids who want to learn more about cameras, photography, and the aurora borealis. Ronn and his wife are excellent teachers, and any kid would be lucky to spend a few hours under their tutelage.
BONUS! The Alaska Zoo is hosting their annual Moose Madness event on Saturday from noon-4 p.m. I’ll be there in time for the moose-calling and spitting contest (and am quite intrigued at what might be required of participants). See if you can call us from zoo grounds and I’ll give you an AKontheGO sticker – we’re cool that way.