Well friends, we are finally at the last stop on our Alaskan adventure of a lifetime – Fairbanks! We had a three hour motorcoach ride from Denali to Fairbanks to start the day. Like with ALL of our other forms of transit through Holland America – ships, trains, and motorcoaches – the bus was perfectly clean and comfortable and our guide was engaging and knowledgable. He was local to Fairbanks and a school bus driver during the rest of the year. We loved learning from him about his life in Alaska and hearing about each of the towns and landmarks along our journey. Really, Holland America could not have had better guides during the land journey!
Visiting Vancouver & A 49th State Alaska Adventure
- Vancouver: Rosewood Hotel Georgia
- Vancouver: Excursions & Dining, including Grand City Tour, Salmon Hatchery, Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Alaska: Holland America Line and the Noordam Ship
- Alaska: Ketchikan Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Juneau Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Skagway Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Glacier Bay Experience
- Alaska: Anchorage Glass Dome Train, Accommodations, Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Denali McKinley Explorer, Accommodations, Excursions & Dining
- Alaska: Fairbanks Accommodations, Excursions & Dining
We made one stop in our bus ride in the town of Nenana. There were bathrooms, snacks and even huskies on hand, as well as a small museum about the town.
Riverboat Discovery Cruise
The highlight of our day in Fairbanks was the Riverboat Discovery Cruise, which was included as part of our land and sea package.
The first order of business was our lunch seating, around 1PM. We were seated in a dining hall and served family style. We were starving and everything was good.
We got to see an Alaskan bush pilot take off and land right next to our boat! He told stories of village life and explained the role planes play in remote Alaska. We had seen countless float planes during our trip, but never one this close and in a educational manner.
The next stop was visiting the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher. The kids (and adults) loved this one! You don’t disembark the boat, but rather pull right up to shore and learn about kennel life and the challenges to building a champion doglsed team.
The kids loved seeing the reindeer just off the shore!
The highlight of the excursion was getting off at the Chena Village where we were immersed in frontier living. This guided walking tour of an Athabascan Indian village was led by the most well spoken teens! They shared how their own Athabascan ancestors skillfully survived for over 10,000 years and how they adapted to village life and Western culture in the past century. There was even a chance to interact with some of the dogs from Susan Butcher’s kennel, and we met her daughter and got a book signed (to the boys AND Elsa) to carry home.
Tip: You will want to sit on the left hand side of the boat for the best viewing of pretty much everything on this tour!
Westmark Fairbanks Hotel
We arrived at our Fairbanks hotel, also owned by Holland America, and were fine with the accommodations. They were clean and quite spacious, but nothing to write home about decor wise. We only had until about 11 PM before having to depart for the airport so we took a quick nap, showers and rearranged some of our luggage for the trip home. We had one last meal together in the hotel restaurant before catching our shuttle to the airport.
Our flight pulled up around 2AM and our grand Alaskan adventure had come to a close. We left the 49th state with so much appreciation for their way of life, the way the respect and honor their heritage and the beauty that abounds from coastal towns to the cities to the mountains and interior. It was a trip we will never forget and one that will be hard to ever top. There is a big world out there, but there is so much to explore, learn and appreciate about the USA!
For those of you that have followed along all week on my recap, thanks for sticking around. This blog is intended to share with readers, to support my travel business and, most importantly for me, journal the life and adventures of my family to hopefully have to look back on for years to come. <3
As a Virtuoso affiliated travel adviser, I have global connections with the best hotels, cruise lines, airlines and tour companies, and I secure exclusive amenities for my luxury clients. I have recently refocused my travel business primarily on Disney destinations, but am always happy to book and consult on destinations I have personally visited, as well as other Virtuoso resorts and all major cruise lines. Contact me to learn more and start designing your dream vacation today!
DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED