I had a guest reach out to me a few weeks ago with the same sentiment I've heard from guests over and over again: "There is so much information in the internet that I am overloaded sometimes and not sure where to look." Well, you've landed in the EXACT right place and I've got plenty of planning recommendations for you! These links are the ones that I refer guests to over and over and over again. They're tried and true and here to help you!
The MILEPOST. The Milepost is a must-buy book if you are planning your trip to Alaska well in advance, or if you are road-tripping either to the state or when you arrive. This book is heavy duty and incredibly detailed with stops along the way that even as a lifelong Alaskan, I've NEVER heard of!! I am a huge advocate for purchasing the book (which you can do on Amazon!) but they also have an online travel directory and more articles than you know what to do with. They put out a copy of the book each year, so it tries to stay as up-to-date as possible! Even a copy a few years backdated will be helpful in planning exactly which Alaska towns you want to stop at, or which ones you want to skip.
Discover Denali. This local visitors center is a huge help in planning your trip to Denali! You can request a free Denali visitors guide here or you can view a digital version of the guide as well. Discover Denali also has helpful planning tools on their site, including a Denali 101 page that answers visitor's most frequently asked questions and more information about the communities within the Denali Borough. We're a proud member of Discover Denali and often refer guests to their website for more information regarding tours, places to eat, and places to stay (though we are a little biased in that area! ;) )
Alaska Magazine. Okay, I get it, we are all trying to reduce paper waste and spend our money wisely - BUT - if you are planning a trip to Alaska at least a year in advance, a subscription to Alaska Magazine might be worth it for you! We recently subscribed to the magazine to have it at the Hideaway for guests to browse during their stay. I love every issue of the magazine we've received so far!! (As a Denali girl, I'm partial to their Interior Alaska articles, but there's plenty more!) There are articles about living an Alaskan lifestyle, tours and charters to do while visiting the state, how to enjoy the state as a family or individual that travels, and many more Alaska tips. The subscription was $18 for 10 issues throughout the year. I'm a sucker for the beautiful photos in print, but you can also opt for a e-subscription if you'd like. You can start receiving your piece of Alaska in the mail by subscribing to Alaska Magazine here.
Denali Chamber of Commerce. A sister company to Discover Denali, The Denali Chamber of Commerce is a great resource if you're looking for a particular type of business in the greater Denali area. You can browse businesses in the area by category which can save you hours of time if you know the general category of help you're looking for. For example, as of the day of publishing this post, if you click on the category "Rental Car" you'll get two hits: one for a U-Haul company and one for Denali Slingshot Rentals which is a LOT of fun, but likely not the sort of car you're looking for at the beginning of travel stages. This cracks me up!
Facebook Group - The Alaska Life Alaska Travel Group. This group carries an abundance of information! One of the things I love most about The Alaska Life is how they've carefully crafted a community where both Alaskans and those who hope to visit Alaska someday love to participate. This group has 16.5K members as of the publishing of this post, and it seems to be growing daily! Uniquely situated, this group has advice from Alaskans, from those who are planning or have visited recently, and also has input from business owners like myself! Alaska is so vast that it's really helpful to post specific questions instead of more vauge ones. Instead of saying "What's there to do in Denali?" ask "I'm traveling to Denali in July with my husband and our two teenagers, ages 17 & 19. What should we do while we're there?" The more specific you can be, the more helpful answers you'll get!!
Facebook Group - Denali National Park Travel Group. I know, I know... TWO recommendations for Facebook Groups? Insane! But they really are helpful. This one is much more specific to Denali National Park and has a wide array of people interacting. There are business owners (like myself!) sharing our businesses or local businesses that we support to other travelers. This group also tends to get a lot of traffic from recent travelers of photos of their adventures or recent, real-time recommendations of "Eat at THIS restaurant, we just had the most fabulous service there!!"
Alaska.org is a plethora of helpful planning information! For example, you can select "Things to Do" and then "Parks, Trails and Hiking Tours" and then select "Denali Hiking Trails" for an extremely thorough list of the best hiking trails in Denali National Park!! This list is so robust, they might even have the Denali National Park's website beat.
Lastly, Ask your Alaskan contacts!! There are SO many times that I'm so grateful guests have asked for my recommendations! One particular family I recall was traveling with twin 7 year old boys and were planning to do two different all day bus trips. I quickly suggested a new plan - drive to Savage River, do some hikes there to run off energy, then hit Riley Creek Mercantile on your way home for some ice cream. And they agreed that was a much better plan for their family. When in doubt, please ask for my recommendations - I LOVE to help!!
Happy planning! Kami