For the Memorial Day weekend, a coworker and I decided to head down to Anchorage for some adventure. The drive down (from Fairbanks) is about 6 hours and the drive of 361 miles down is beautiful. We had great weather for (literally) the entire weekend. Another coworker who has lived in Anchorage was telling us that it’s not uncommon to have a rainy Memorial Day weekend – I think we were pretty lucky.
Kenai and Seward
This was the longest drive we did during the time that was spend in Anchorage. The drive to see the Kenai Fjords National Park and explore Seward is what I image Alaska to look like: spectacular. It was about a 2 hour drive with moderate traffic and at times nearly zero traffic since it is was the very beginning of tourist season. We did see the Alaska Railroad tour several times during the weekend. I certainly want to take a ride on this train before I leave Alaska. Plenty of pictures and videos will be in route.
A recommendation didn’t disappoint when we arrived in Seward: Rays Waterfront. This places rates very high on Google maps and we put it to the test. In my opinion, they had the best halibut chowder I’ve ever had. To be honest I should have gotten a bowl of it but opted for the grilled halibut lunch.
The view while dining was also excellent: a beautiful harbor. After lunch I’d recommend either exploring the harbor and all of it’s small shops or drive to see Exit Glacier.
Exit Glacier is in the Kenai Mountains and is derived from the Harding Ice field. It is one of Kenai Fjords National Park‘s main attractions and is also only about 38 minutes from Ray’s Waterfront restaurant. The glacier is clearly a blue color – stunning view!
The drive back to Anchorage was certainly gorgeous and prompted a few stops for pictures. On a road trip it could be difficult to stop at some of these pull offs to get a few pictures (or better yet a time lapse).
The drive back to Anchorage was made longer with a few of these stops and being hungry. We ended up back in Anchorage pretty late (around 9pm), so we had dinner pretty late. The goal was to try to have pizza at Moose’s Tooth but they were absolutely packed (not a surprise at all). We ended up eating at yet another good recommendation: Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse. A chill pub with live music and a good dive bar atmosphere.
The goal for this day was simple: take a hike on a glacier. Goal accomplished. It was a wild adventure thanks to a guided tour and is and should be on any traveler’s bucket list. Glacier-tours was very easy to work with over the phone and was easily able to slide us into the schedule. Our guide Chris was very friendly, informative and explained the inner working on how glaciers work very well. Absolutely recommend this tour.
The drive back to Anchorage was pleasantly (as expected) scenic and was about 1 hour and 55 minutes. The drive did include a few quick stops to get a few more great pictures – its pretty difficult to capture the vast scale and beauty of this place.
We ended up grabbing dinner on the way home at a small Thai place (Pho and Thai Restaurant) – it was alright but to be honest not amazing. The restaurant (to me) was fairly difficult to find due to its very faded banner in front of the building. We drove by the place once then drove around the build, then was close enough to read the banner. Behind the restaurant was interesting: pretty run down storage units and a camper that some was living out of.
When we got back to the hotel we walked around downtown Anchorage and had a beer at Pioneer Bar. This place defines the term dive bar – super chill atmosphere, small but good section of beers on tap (dark beer anyway), pool tables and a shovel board. We didn’t stay long but it was a good time as we were doing some more exploring of the area.
We did check out Captain Cook’s bar/lounge but it was super busy so we ended up checking out 49th State Brewing. This place was very packed but happen to have two chairs open at the bar. The place didn’t disappoint: large selection of beers on tap as well as drinks. We did end up having some appetizers, halibut & salmon chowder and tried something to (to me anyway): some Alaskan Yak. The Yak-a-dilla was awesome and the coworker’s Yak Burger was great.
After dinner we ended up walking off this food and beer. This is what midnight looks like in Anchorage this time of year. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. The infamous Land of the Midnight Sun.
The drive back to Fairbanks was a good one – we left a bit late in the morning taking our time. The drive was great weather and pretty decent traffic. We did run into a fair amount of construction (as we did on the way down to Anchorage). Not bad though. We did get a good opportunity to get some pics and footage of Denali – absolutely awesome.
An interesting note: on the drive home I did in fact see a green Rivian R1T traveling in the opposite direction. The time lapse footage doesn’t show the rare beast unfortunately as I had the setting on the GoPro at 10 second intervals. I’ll keep combing over the footage just in case I missed it. It sure was awesome to see one in the wild, especially here in Alaska. I do know that back home in Utah there are at least 3 on the road.
Great trip. Keep Roaming. 🙂