Alaska Family Vacations – Planning the Trip of a Lifetime For the Whole Family
Despite its reputation as a destination for retirees, Alaska is an increasingly popular choice for families. The sheer range of sights and activities that a family can partake in will ensure that a visit to Alaska will be just as memorable for youngsters as it is for their parents. Alaska family vacations require some planning and preparation that may not be as important for other destinations, but with a little foresight it can be a highly enjoyable journey that the family will talk about for years to come.
So Much To Do, So Little Time
Alaska is a huge place with tons of exciting activities available that will easily fill up your entitlement vacation time. One of the best things you can do before your trip is get the whole family involved in the planning process. This will not only help clarify what everyone's expectations are, it will get the kids excited about going in the first place. For many, the 49th state is largely an unknown, and kids particularly may wonder why you would want to go there. But once you start to explore all the great things there are to do, the excitation will build, which will go a long way towards making the trip exceptional.
The Great Great Great Outdoors
One of the largest attractions for most people visiting Alaska is the incredible scenery. Even young kids enjoy looking at mountains and glaciers, and sightseeing is a must. However, kids also like to be active against that backdrop of magnificence, so plan plenty of activities that let them burn energy while enjoying the view. This is easily accomplished in most places, since hiking and walking trails abound. Do not overdo it, however, or you'll end up with a lot of whining. Try to get a sense of what your kids can manage, and break up sightseeing with activity time that just lets them be kids. A visit to a playground or comic-book time may not seem like the thing to do on vacation, but it will go a long way towards making the trip an enjoyable one for all.
Kids love animals, but many have not seen them in their natural habitat. Wildlife viewing is a big part of an Alaska vacation, but animals in the wild are often elusive, and searching for them can be tedious. If possible, try to fit in a trip to the Alaska zoo in Anchorage, preferably early in your vacation. That way, you can introduce your kids to the animals they are about to look for outdoors, and this will go a long way toward increasing their enthusiasm for the search. A good pair of binoculars is a must, but bring along a second pair for the kids if you can, since they are sure to fight over who gets to use them.
There are also many tours available which will greatly increase your chances of spotting wildlife. Bear-viewing and Whale-watching tours are popular and plentiful, and most tours will also try to take in some other species that are known in the vicinity as well. The costs for a whole family can be high, but even one excursion can make your whole vacation really exciting.
The Endless Highway
One very popular activity for adults may not be a great one for kids, and that is to drive Alaska's highways. Renting an RV and cruising the roads is a very common thing in Alaska in the summer, however, the distances are long and the drive can become tedious for kids. If you do opt for this route, make sure that you schedule plenty of stops where the kids can have a chance to play and break up the monotony a little. Also, it is a good idea to bring lots of Alaska-themed activities that they can do in the car, such as coloring books.
If your kids like fishing, or if you want to introduce them to it, this is a great place to do it. There are so many lakes and rivers and streams teeming with fish that it is reasonably they will make a catch. Also it is a great way to break up a drive; pulling over to some pristine lake by the highway and tossing a few casts into the water.
There are plenty of tour-operators that are family friendly, and some have special packages designed with kids in mind. Do not expect a break on the price though; the largest drawback to taking a package tour in Alaska is the price, and discounts for children are practically non-existent. Do your research before signing on.
Alaska family vacations may seem like an impossible goal, but with some careful planning it can become a highly-memorable reality. There are so many great things to do in Alaska, your whole family will feel like you've just scratched the surface before it is time to head for home. But then, there's always next year!
Source by Jan Hanna