How to Spend a Long Weekend in Alaska

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Alaska Solo


UPDATED 3/28/22

Wondering where to go for a long weekend in Alaska? Enjoy best outdoor, Alaska adventures in Anchorage and Seward using this Alaska 3 day itinerary from my Alaska solo travel. Ditch the 3 day Alaska cruise from Anchorage. These 3 days make for the perfect short Alaska trip.


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Yep, Alaska is not ‘on the beaten path’ of the rest of the U.S. Many people think that since Alaska is much farther than other U.S. states they have to carve out a lot of time to visit. Not true.

A long Alaska weekend getaway is doable and worth your while.

Additionally, Alaska is safe to travel alone. Heck, I did it, and in my late 40’s.


Mountains from Seward Highway Alaska
Seward Highway

I planned this solo travel to Alaska myself (like all of my travel itineraries). I am so glad I did this trip to Alaska. I had a great time. It was truly unforgettable.

Afterwards, I gave this same Alaska 3 day itinerary to a friend who used it with her boyfriend and two children. Like me, they had a wonderful time.


Mountains and lake Girdwood Alaska
Girdwood

Note, I chose this first trip to Alaska over visiting Denali National Park only because I really wanted to see Alaskan sea life. Denali is still on my bucket list.

If you use this Alaska solo travel itinerary for your solo, or solo female travel, I know you’re going to love your weekend trip to Alaska, too.


More USA Travel Tips & Ideas


When to Go to Alaska

The best time to visit Alaska is in the summer (June to early September) for the best weather, opportunities to see the northern lights and whale migrations, and to partake in the most outdoor activities. 

The days in Anchorage and locations close by begin to cool during August, and most tours stop operating for the year in early September. 

I went during Labor Day weekend. I cannot express enough how much I lucked out on the weather.  Alaska had just ended 30 consistent days of rain. The rain stopped the day before I arrived and started again the night I left.  How lucky was I?


Moose Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

What to Bring to Alaska


Alaska Solo Travel Essentials


CORR Travel Tips

Do not over exert yourself. This itinerary is leisurely but the amount of exercise you choose to do is up to you.


Traveling to Alaska

Depending on where you fly from, flights to Alaska can be limited. For this 3 day Alaska itinerary, it’s best to have 3 full days.

Working on limited vacation time so, I chose flying into Anchorage on a Thursday after a day of work arriving Anchorage late at night. I stayed the first night only in Anchorage in order to start my 3 perfect days in Alaska fresh the following day.

I also took the red-eye flight home Sunday night to allow for a full, third day.


Eco Travel Tips

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2. Additionally, you can purchase carbon offsets through your airline to lower your carbon footprint.

In addition to Booking.com’s Anchorage’s Travel Sustainable properties and Seward’s Travel Sustainable properties, Green Globe and Green Key Global also have eco-friendly certified lodging options.


Arrange an Anchorage airport rental car for easy pick up and drop off.


Budget Travel Tips

Weekday and red-eye flights to Alaska could save you money.

If you stay overnight in Anchorage, stay at a sustainable Anchorage airport hotel with shuttle service. It can pick you up and drop you off at the airport the next morning to pick up your rental car. It will save you a day’s rental car charge and doesn’t add much time to the itinerary.



3 Days in Alaska Solo Travel Itinerary

Day 1 – Anchorage to Seward

The distance to Seward is only 127 miles, which is about 2.5 hours by car.  So, you have a lot of time after breakfast to make the most of Day 1 on this solo trip to Alaska by making several stops between Anchorage and Seward allowing for memorable Alaskan sights and activities.


Seward Highway

You will drive south along the Seward Highway, a designated National Scenic Byway with some of the best scenery in the U.S. And I’ve seen my fair share of the U.S.

Here is the opportune time to stop and walk along water for spotting wildlife such as beluga whales, moose and goats along the Turnagain Arm.


Beluga Point

About twenty minutes south of Anchorage you’ll arrive at Beluga Point (also known as ANC-054, Milepost 110), a spot along the Cook Inlet of Seward Highway known for spotting beluga whales mid-July through August. Stretch your legs and see if you can spot some whales from shore.

Hop back in the car and 15 minutes further you can stop at Bird Point. The Seward Highway offers plenty of access points to hiking trailheads to break up your leisurely drive and offering opportunities for pictures.


Beluga Point sign Alaska
Beluga Point

Girdwood / Alyeska Tram

From Bird Point it’s 13 minutes to Girdwood and the Alyeska Aerial Tram. Park at the Alyeska Resort and access the tram.

The tram is open daily mid-May to mid-October.  The seven-minute ride provides breathtaking views and hiking and dining options at the top.

If you do not wish to dine at the top, Girdwood provides other lunch options, like The Bake Shop. Explore more of Girdwood’s activities and eats to suit your tastes.


Portage Glacier

After a nice one-to-two hours in Girdwood, continue your drive 22 minutes on the Seward Highway to the Begich-Boggs Visitor Center, open May to mid-September, in Portage. 

Learn about the Portage Glacier formation and other geological history with a film exhibit that shows every hour. If wish, take a Portage Glacier cruise. Cruises depart three times daily and last an hour.


Man at Portage Ice Shelf Long weekend in Alaska
Portage Ice Shelf

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

When ready, hop back in the car for a quick 8-minute ride to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) where rescued injured or orphaned animals recover, or live permanently, on an over 200-acre habitat.

The AWCC provides educational programs and preservation of Alaska’s wildlife. Allow at least an hour here. Check online for their feeding and tour schedules so you don’t miss the ones you want to see.


3 Bears at Alaksa Wildlife Conservation Center
Brown bear viewing, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Lynx feeding Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Lynx feeding, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center


Arrive Seward

After an educational and scenic afternoon, drive the last leg of the day’s Alaska road trip (about an hour and a half) to arrive in Seward.


Seward Alaska on the water
Seward


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Where to Stay in Seward

Seward is a small town so I advise making Seward accommodation reservations sooner than later. Seward can book up.

I stayed at the Hotel Seward, which was a nice establishment with good food, a friendly staff, and in a very walkable section of town near the water and the Alaska Sea Life Center.

You can just leave your car parked here for the remainder of your time in Seward if you wish.


Where to Eat in Seward

Fresh local, international, and vegan-friendly cuisine options across all budget types are available in Seward. Here are my Seward restaurant suggestions that are bound to please for day or night dining in Seward:


Things to Do in Seward

Ready to enjoy more of the great outdoors? Fabulous, because Seward is not going to disappoint. Seward lies on Resurrection Bay with many Resurrection Bay tours available to the Kenai Fjords National Park.

Kenai Fjords National Park is a must do in Alaska and there are many ways to enjoy the national park:

If you’re feeling more active on your solo trip to Alaska, you can add kayaking:

I chose the full day cruise with kayaking and lunch. The scenery and wildlife experience was completely worth it. Make sure you book well in advance.

I highly recommend this tour. Check out the video and see why:



Day 2 – Seward, Resurrection Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park

Plan to wake up early for this long, fun-filled day. Grab your breakfast snack and coffee to-go as you walk 20 minutes to the Adventure Center and small boat harbor (don’t bother with driving and parking).

The boat departs promptly at 8:00 am from the small boat harbor (confirm your departure time), so be sure to show up early to check in or they will leave without you. You did not travel to Alaska to miss out, did you?


Small boat harbor Seward Alaska long weekend
Small boat harbor, Seward

The boat’s first stop is Fox Island where you can either choose to kayak for the morning or stay on the boat for the morning tour around the Kenai Fjords National Park.

If you choose to kayak, which I highly recommend, the guided sea kayaking tour includes orientation. Don’t worry, you can be a beginner kayaker. In fact, I did my first kayaking on this very trip. I’m hooked!


Fox Island long weekend in Alaska
Fox Island

White and yellow jellyfish in water Alaska
Jellyfish, Fox Island

The Sunny Cove guides provide kayaking instruction, boots and dry bags.

All you need to do is show up excited (it’s not hard to do), dressed in layers, and carrying your waterproof rain gear, hat and gloves (depending on weather) to be ready to paddle you way to an amazing morning on Resurrection Bay.


Wildlife instruction for kayakers on water Alaska
Sunny Cove guide wildlife instruction

Kayaks are in pairs and I was provided a partner as a sole female traveler. I consider this excursion in Alaska for singles ideal. It’s a great way to meet people.

Our guides were great. We were blessed to see multiple sea otters and bald eagles, and even had a tag-along sea lion. The fresh Alaska air, calm water, and mountain visibility were nothing less than spectacular. Don’t forget to check out the kayaking video.

After working up an appetite, you join the rest of the boat tourists for a grilled wild Alaska salmon and prime rib lunch at Fox Island Day Lodge (with plenty of sides for non-meat eaters). 

After lunch, kayakers join the boat for the remainder of the day’s Resurrection Bay cruise to glimpse sights of mountain goats, puffins, sea lions, otters, and whales (depending on time of year).


Rocks Kenai Fjords Alaska weekend
Kenai Fjords

Rock cliffs Kenai Fjords Alaska weekend
Kenai Fjords

You will be back at the Seward small boat harbor by 4:30 pm, which provides plenty of time to walk back to your hotel for a rest, and enjoy the Alaska Sea Life Center, another must in Seward, followed by dinner and a walk around the water. 


Alaska Sea Life Center Seward Alaska weekend
Alaska Sea Life Center, Seward

Day 3 – Seward to Anchorage

Your last day traveling in Alaska gives you a few options before your late night flight departures Anchorage.

You could spend the day in Seward by grabbing coffee and breakfast at Zudy’s Café to fuel up for a hike in Caines Head State Park before driving straight to Anchorage Airport.

You could head out early and spend the entire day in Anchorage.

I, however, chose to breakfast and check out early to drive back to the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood for a morning hike on the Winner Creek Trail before an afternoon in Anchorage.

Winner Creek is a popular hike in Girdwood starting at the base of the Alyeska Resort aerial tram. Explore the northern rainforest and mountains streams in this 2.5 mile hike. Guided hikes are also available.

If you didn’t do the aerial tram on your way to Seward, here’s your second chance.


Winner Creek Trail Girdwood Alaska hiking
Winner Creek Trail

If you like, lunch again in Girdwood or wait for a late lunch in Anchorage. Anchorage has many great places to choose from, especially if you’re into micro brewery beer.


Things to Do in Anchorage

Anchorage provides other activities enjoyable to pass the time before your flight leaves. I took the opportunity to explore downtown Anchorage and try the local beers. I’ll let you choose how best to wrap up your last day of your long weekend.



Anchorage Hiking

Venture to Chugach State Park just on the outskirts of Anchorage.  Hike the quintessential Flattop Mountain widely regarded as the most climbed mountain in Alaska.

Start at the Glen Alps Trailhead about twenty minutes from downtown Anchorage. The trail is approximately three miles and 1,500 feet of elevation gain. It provides great city views.


Anchorage Bicycling

Take a break from hiking and rent a bike at Pablo Bicycle Rentals. You can rent a hybrid bike inexpensively for two or three hours to explore downtown Anchorage or ride along the Anchorage Coastal Trail.


Downtown Anchorage

Park the car and take a stroll in downtown Anchorage which provides parks, shopping, restaurants and nightlife.  Check out what’s happening in Anchorage during your long weekend in Alaska.


Anchorage Local Breweries

Ready for lunch (or dinner)?  Support the Anchorage local breweries.  Most provide either small fare or full menus and are touted for delicious brews.  Don’t take my word for it, check out the reviews.

Some suggested Anchorage breweries are:

Perhaps try a beer tour and tasting at Anchorage Craft Brewery or a biking and brewery tour.

In downtown Anchorage, wrap up the day with dinner and drinks at Glacier Brewhouse – a tasty way to end your fabulously successful, long weekend in Alaska.


Let Me Hear From You

I would love to hear if this long weekend in Alaska solo travel itinerary was helpful or if you actually used my Alaska itinerary. Post me your comments or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!




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