Alaska’s Finest Self Driving Tour

Independent travel for visitors seeking the best Alaska hotels in popular locations.

Tour Code: 1548CTA

Tour Overview

This independent self-driving tour from Anchorage features Alaska’s finest accommodations. You’ll first stay at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood and spend your day enjoying Alaska’s only Nordic spa, riding the aerial tram up the mountain, or hiking nearby nature trails. Then drive to Whittier for a cruise to view the glaciers of Prince William Sound. Travel north to Talkeetna via the scenic Turnagain Arm and through the Matanuska Valley. Your stay in Talkeenta provides options for scenic flightseeing tours. Afterwards, continue to Denali to enjoy a lodge experience at Tonglen Lake Lodge at the Denali Park entrance. After your Denali fun, return to Anchorage for final urban adventures and possibly an optional bear-viewing tour.

What's Included
  • 5 nights of deluxe accommodation in Girdwood, Talkeetna, and Anchorage
  • 2 nights at the Tonglen Lake Lodge at the Denali Park entrance
  • 7 days midsize car rental with unlimited mileage
  • Prince William Sound glacier cruise with lunch
  • 4-6 hour bus tour into Denali National Park (depending on weather and road conditions)
  • All meals while at Tonglen Lake Lodge as well as onsite activities (vary daily / may include performances, presentations, art exhibits, classes and workshops)
  • All taxes and fees
What's Not Included

Meals other than listed, optional excursions, and gratuities. Nordic Spa admission. Car rental coverage (such as LDW or liability insurance), additional driver fees, gas, and GPS rental. Car rental category upgrades available at additional fee.


Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Anchorage to Girdwood

Today you pick-up your rental car and drive approx. 1 hour to the nearby resort village of Girdwood, nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by the Chugach Mountains and pristine wilderness. Relax and enjoy the remainder of the day pampering yourself in Alyeska’s Nordic spa, riding the aerial tram up the mountain, or taking a walk on a nature trail. The town offers both casual and fine dining choices. Overnight in Girdwood.

Important Note: Please provide us with your flight arrival information at time of booking, so that we can schedule the car rental pick up time correctly.

Day 2

This morning drive south through a one-lane toll tunnel to the small port town of Whittier. Embark on the magnificent 26 Glacier Cruise, which takes you over 135 miles into Prince William Sound. Here you will see 26 “named glaciers” and many more unnamed. The specially designed catamaran gets you within 500 feet of the face of the tidewater glaciers. Your captain will turn off the ship’s engines so you can “hear” the glaciers move, as well as see the brilliant blues in the ice. Glacier calving, where large pieces of ancient ice break off and fall into the sea, is normally seen during each cruise. You will see three types of glaciers on each trip including Alpine, Piedmont, and Tidewater glaciers. A hot lunch is included while on board. Return to Girdwood after the cruise. Overnight in Girdwood.

Day 3
Girdwood to Talkeetna

Drive north from Girdwood along scenic Turnagain Arm, traveling through Anchorage and the agricultural region of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, to the small, picturesque town of Talkeetna. Historic Talkeetna is best known as the jumping-off point for Denali climbing expeditions. Given clear weather, views of the Mountain are breathtaking. Upon arrival, you will have the rest of the day to explore the town on your own or participate in optional activities such as an exciting jet boat tour, fishing, or a ski-plane flight to Denali (see Tour Add-Ons). Overnight in Talkeetna.

Day 4
Talkeetna to Denali National Park

Continuing northward from Talkeetna, tour the scenic Parks highway along the boundary of Denali State Park and Hurricane Gulch. The massive peaks of the Alaska Range are in view nearly the entire route. At 6 million acres, Denali National Park is one of the world’s last great frontiers for wilderness adventure. In Denali you will stay at Tonglen Lake Lodge, located 7 miles south of the Denali park entrance along the Parks Highway (not inside the park). Tonglen Lake Lodge offers Alaska-style premium lodging for visitors seeking an exclusive Denali experience. Accommodation is in log cabins. Handcrafted log furniture, quilts, pottery, paintings and glass created by uniquely talented local artists accent the cabins, café, gallery and main lodge. Overnight Denali Park entrance (not inside the park). (Dinner included).

Day 5
Denali National Park

Today, depart on a narrated bus tour into Denali National Park. As you travel through the pristine wilderness, look for wildlife, such as bears, caribou, and moose, as well as views of the Mountain. Your experienced driver/guide will provide commentary. The tour is approximately 4-6 hours long and takes you approximately 30 – 43 miles into the park, depending on weather and road conditions. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the Denali area and to enjoy the lodge. On-site activities at Tonglen Lake Lodge are included during your stay. Don’t miss to check out the daily offerings which may include performances, presentations, art exhibits, classes and workshops). Overnight Denali park entrance (not inside the park). (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included).

Day 6
Denali National Park to Anchorage

After breakfast, take more time to explore the Denali Park entrance area or take a flightseeing tour, then drive south to Anchorage. Points of interest along the way include the Iditarod Museum and the Reindeer Farm in Palmer. Overnight in Anchorage. (Breakfast included).

Day 7

Today is yours to explore the city. Go shopping, tour local attractions, or take a hike or bike in one of Anchorage’s many parks. City highlights include the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Anchorage Museum, the Log Cabin Visitor Center, the Alaska Zoo, local breweries, and the Coastal Trail. Experience more by adding an optional bear viewing excursion (see Tour Add-Ons). Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 8
Anchorage Departure

Depending on your departure time, you might have free time for some souvenir shopping or additional excursions. Transfer on your own to the airport for your flight departure, or extend your vacation an additional program.

Tour Map


Dates & Rates

Please provide us with your flight arrival information (arrival time, flight number and name of airline) when you make your reservation. That way we can book the rental car accordingly.

*Child prices are valid for children 6-11 years and under, sharing room with at least 2 full paying adults with existing bedding. Maximum 4 people per room. Minimum age for this program is 6 years.

Our Standard Program Includes:

2 and 3 star hotel accommodations.

The program will include a combination of hotels or motels that are considered moderate to standard tourist class. Please be aware not all hotels have shuttle services.

Standard train car seating on all rail services (reserved seats).

If you would like to book the standard program but with upgraded rail seating, the option and surcharge will be listed when you save to your cart.

Our Upgraded Program Includes:

* 3 and 4 star hotels (best available) wherever possible.

The program will include standard rooms at this category of hotel where possible. Alaska has very limited hotel choices in remote areas and small towns. The properties will typically offer a wider range of services such as a full-service restaurant, room service and perhaps a pool or spa facilities. Please be aware the upgraded accommodations in downtown Anchorage do not have hotel shuttle services. Many of the upgraded hotels also offer guaranteed view rooms for additional cost. If you would like a specific room type, in addition to the upgraded program, please ask us about availability and cost difference.

Deluxe dome train car seating between Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks, or Anchorage and Seward.

All journeys between Anchorage and Whittier are in standard seating as deluxe dome cars are not available on that route.


Tour Add-ons

Browsing optional excursions for the Alaska’s Finest Self Driving Tour:

Chinitna Bay Bear Viewing

Depart from Anchorage by wheeled plane for a 90-minute scenic flight southwest over Cook Inlet toward the Chigmit Mountains. Enjoy spectacular views of the Alaska and Aleutian Mountain Ranges and two active volcanoes – Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Iliamna – […]... Browse itinerary

Katmai and Brooks Falls Bear Viewing

Fly from Anchorage to one of Alaska’s most famous bear viewing destinations, Katmai National Park and Brooks Falls!  Depart Anchorage early on a scheduled flight to King Salmon (approximately 1.5 hours).  On arrival, a local representative will transfer you directly […]... Browse itinerary

Thank you, Melinda, and the rest of your company for organizing this tour for us.  Everything went very smoothly -- there were no issues. It was exactly what we were looking for.  We had a wonderful time in your totally unique state.

Mike | Minnesota