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  1. Default Travel Advice for 13 day road trip

    Hello All,

    Me and my family (wife, 2 girls-12 and 7) are moving (military) and will be driving from Anchorage, AK to Jacksonville, Fla starting in July and have 13 travel days. We will drive through the AK Highway and not take the ferry. We want to make the best out of this road trip by doing as much site seeing as we can. When we first drove to Anchorage from Fla, I just used GPS to get us there with no pre-planning for site seeing (drove abt 9 hrs a day, found nearest hotel and started over the next day). One of the places we want to go see is Mt Rushmore and if possible, Mall of America. So if anyone can help me make the best out of my 13 days, it would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Surprisingly, That's Not a Lot of Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You would think, at first blush, that having nearly two weeks for a drive would be plenty. But this drive is of such magnitude, especially when figuring in the detours necessary to get to Mount Rushmore and Mall of America, that you won't have a lot of time to spare. You'll need a full ten days just for the driving portion leaving you only three days to spend sight seeing, shopping, and other R&R stops en route.

    The logistics are relatively straight forward. You'd head up to Tok and then follow the Alaska Highway all the way to Dawson Creek BC, then AB-43 to Edmonton and AB-2 down to I-15 in Montana. If you then take US-87 from Great Falls to Billings, you'll be in shape to make a stop at Little Bighorn National Battlefield, as well as visit Devils Tower and Badlands National Park, both in the Mount Rushmore area. Continuing east on I-90, MN-60/US-169 will get you to Minneapolis and Mall of America. Thin it's 'simply' a matter of following I-90/I-39/I-74/I-57/I-24/I-75/I-10 down west of Chicago ant then through Nashville and Atlanta to Jacksonville.

    Other than on the Alaska and northern Canada portions of this trip where I'd recommend that you make reservations for the first few nights' stays (at Koldern and Watson Lake YT, Fort Nelson BC, and Valley View AB), you should be fine just finding lodging each night depending on how much time you want to spend seeing sites along the way. Other than the two spots you've already mentioned, the other place where it might make sense to plan on spending a bit of time is in Banff National Park northwest of Calgary. It's a great place and would help break the trip up, giving you your first real taste of 'civilization' after completing the Alaska Highway.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-06-2013 at 02:55 PM. Reason: Fixed link

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Been there, done that.... the bumper sticker.....the Alaska Highway, that is. AZBuck is correct that this seems like such an easy trip to do in that time frame. However, toss in the things that we experienced on the AK Highway: construction (there are two seasons on the highway: winter, and construction), frost heaves (even in summer), gravel portions here and there (because of said construction), and the fact that this is a 2-land highway, not an interstate. You'll have more daylight hours, but that can be a problem if you "keep on driving just because it's light out" and you tire yourself out.

    Do take an hour out at Dawson Creek, at the AK Highway Visitors center, if you didn't do that on the way up. It's a nice break from the road and very interesting history.

    We came through Jasper and Banff on the way down. The Icefields Parkway is gorgeous. My daughter was 13 at the time, and back then she looked and said, "oh, pretty." Now she realizes that it was about the most beautiful place she's ever been, and she appreciates that we took her and her sister there. Perhaps you will have the same experience!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Been there, done that as well...... three times!

    Allow me to add my tuppence worth. Even though you have lived in AK all this time, I still think it is worth getting hold of a copy of The Milepost (readily available in AK) for the information it has about the various routes between AK and the lower 48. The book comes with a map showing all these routes. Spend a little time reading about what services and sights are along which route.

    You say you will be following the Alcan, will that be from Fairbanks? or it's official terminal at Delta Junction. If you have not already been there, it would be worth starting there. Whitehorse is a lovely city, and definitely worth a stopover. Be sure to stop, even if only for a few moments at the most photographed church in the YT (page 4). This lovely little haven of peace made from one of the worker's huts, is indeed a place to 'rest a while'. It is in Haines Jnctn, just off where the highway does a sharp right.... a block or so north of the traffic lights.

    Besides the towns spread evenly along the way, Whitehorse, Watson Lakes, Fort Nelson, Dawson Creek, you will find that there is a lot of accommodation along the road, between major stops. All mentioned in The Milepost.

    And when you get to Mono Lake, be sure to call in at Jack's Place (page 8). It does not have a sign. It does not have its name up. But it does have excellent food and service. It is on the east side of the road, not all that far south of Mono Lake. It is unique.

    As mentioned above, the Icefield's Parkway from Jasper to Bannf is not to be missed. A relatively short, but none the less, magnificent drive. Don't rush it. So many pull offs. So much to see. So many photo opportunities.

    Have a great and safe trip.


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