See Our Area On the Cheap
If your vacation’s budget got you to Alaska but doesn’t have a lot of padding, there are sooooo many things you can do and see in our area that costs hardly anything. There are a couple of recommendations, too, if you can “splurge” on one or two exciting adventures.
1. Stay at Alaska Garden Gate B&B in the economy rapartments. What you get: a comfortable apartment with nice views in a beautiful setting, with a yummy continental breakfast that will last you to or through lunch. The cost can be as low as $99/night including the breakfast for two people–there just aren’t many places around this part of the state that can beat that. If several of you are traveling together, it could make sense for you to cook-in for some of your meals since all our cottages and apartments offer kitchens and kitchenware.
2. Plan to spend a lot of time driving just because everywhere you go is so beautiful and interesting. Or, if you prefer to be out on your own two feet, you can hike in new areas each day and never run out of trails and places to explore. Take drives out the Glenn Highway Scenic Byway and stop for all the road-side plaques which tell about the natural features or cultural information. Hatcher Pass is a great area to explore. The drive to Talkeetna and Denali is very nice.
3. Places to go for little or no money: hang out in Talkeetna and people-watch or window shop. Wander around downtown Palmer, between the Visitor Center, shops, and Vagabond Blues, the coffee spot. See the farms around Palmer. Go to the Iditarod Headquarters and take the $5 cart ride with the sled dogs. You might like the Transportation Museum by Wasilla. Fred Meyer is the epicenter of peoples’ lives here and a good cultural translation of what it’s like to live here in the Mat-Su Valley. You can tell a lot by that store. At Denali, consider just taking the shuttle bus. You can get on and off whenever you want and stand a good chance of seeing wildlife that way, too.
4. Eat: hit the grocery stores for deli items. Vagabond Blues has excellent soups served with a huge hunk of delicious breads. In most restaurants, consider splitting an entree because portions tend to be large. Be sure to get in some halibut or salmon at some point.
Things you really, really should consider doing, even on a tight budget:
1. Go flightseeing around Denali with Talkeetna Air Taxi. Their least-expensive options area about $180, but there are $20-Off discount cards at the B&B. This is something you can experience nowhere else. You’ll be awed.
2. An easier chunk to bite off is to hike on the Matanuska Glacier. The entrance price is about $20. Don’t pay and go in if you just want to see it for 5 minutes then leave. But if you’d like to take a self-guided hike up onto the glacier and back towards the hidden lakes and features few people ever get to see, $2- can be a bargain to hike on an actual gigantic glacier (and it makes for great photos for your Christmas cards!).
3. If you can squeeze in one more adventure, you should go ATV’ing through the backcountry to the Knik Glacier. You’ll really be “out there in it” and know that you’re seeing the real Alaska.