Exhibitors: Travel to Alaska and Between Locations
Traveling to Soldotna (Fair date Wednesday, April 29, 2020)
All flights to Soldotna go through a connection in Anchorage. Once you get to Anchorage, you can fly to Soldotna on Ravn Alaska, a commuter airline that is affiliated with Alaska Airlines. Ravn has many 30-minute flights from Anchorage to Kenai every day. (Kenai and Soldotna are “twin cites” about 10 minutes apart.)
If you like to drive, I highly recommend that you drive to Soldotna instead of flying! The 3-hour (145-mile) ride from Anchorage to Soldotna on the Seward Highway and Sterling Highway is nothing less than magnificent, traveling first along breath-taking Turnagain Arm with wonderful views of glacier-capped mountains across the inlet, and then through a mountain pass before you drop down into the forest to drive alongside the glacier-fed, aqua-marine Kenai River.
SIGHTSEEING TIPS: You may want to consider flying in to Alaska early and taking a day to drive (or fly) an additional 70 miles south of Soldotna to enjoy picturesque Homer, “where the road ends and the sea begins.” Homer is the favorite vacation spot of Alaskans themselves, an artistic and scenic small community (pop. 5000) literally at “the end of the road.”
IF YOU DRIVE: If the sky is clear, it is fun to take the tram at Alyeska Resort up to the top of the mountain at 2,300 feet, where you can enjoy the magnificent view of Cook Inlet and have lunch, if you like. Although the Visitor’s Center at Portage Glacier is closed until Memorial Day, it is a short (5 mile) pleasant drive down a side road where you can see glaciers fairly close on the sides of the mountains alongside which you drive.
Traveling from Soldotna to Anchorage (Fair dates Thursday-Friday, April 30-May 1, 2020)
Again, you can drive or fly back to Anchorage from Soldotna. Considered a National Scenic Byway, the route along the Turnagain Arm is full of sightseeing opportunities.
Traveling from Anchorage to Fairbanks (Fair dates Monday-Tuesday, May 4-5, 2020)
SIGHTSEEING TIPS: It is fun to drive to Chena Hot Springs (a little over 1 hour northeast of Fairbanks) to soak in the hot springs, tour the Ice Museum, or take a dog sled ride! Or you can drive a little north of the turn onto Chena Hot Springs Road, where there is an informative pull-out about the Alaska Pipeline, which is above ground there.
Traveling from Fairbanks to Juneau (Fair date Thursday, May 7, 2020)
All flights between Fairbanks and Juneau make a stop in Anchorage. While you can fly to Anchorage on Ravn Alaska or Alaska Airlines, Alaska is the only major airline that flies to Juneau. Juneau can only be reached by air or ferry (from Haines); the flight from Anchorage takes about 90 minutes.
SIGHTSEEING TIPS (Fairbanks-Anchorage): If you drive to Anchorage from Fairbanks, you might enjoy a side trip to Denali National Park, although the best views of Denali (previously Mount McKinley) can actually be found from charming Talkeetna, Alaska.
SIGHTSEEING TIPS (Juneau): Visit Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, 5 miles from the Juneau airport. In addition to the glacier, there is a bear-viewing platform, and you are quite likely to see a black bear there in the spring, particularly in the early evening.
Traveling “Outside” from Juneau
Alaskans call the continental United States “Outside” – always capitalized. Alaska Airlines is the only major airline that has flights out of Juneau. You may get tickets on other airlines that share flights with Alaska Airlines. Remember, you must stay until the Exhibit Hall closes!