I’ve been traveling with my four kids for more than twenty years and although they are older now everywhere I go I am thinking in the back of my head, “What would I do here if my kids were still little?” Traveling with young kids is both the most rewarding and the most anxiety inducing experience you can have. I’ve learned that in order for it to be rewarding kids need two main ingredients: food and exercise. You can throw in a little bit of culture, nature, history and everything else, but at the root of a good day with travelling kids it’s really all about food and exercise. And with that in mind here is a sample perfect plan for a day in Anchorage with kids.

For other ideas on how to plan your kids day in Anchorage visit Top Ten Things to Do in Anchorage with Kids

Before you head out make sure you have layers of clothing. Alaska weather is fickle at best and it can go from driving rain to bright sunshine in just minutes– so pack well. For summer/fall outings we suggest a nice size backpack with the following:

  1. Lightweight waterproof jackets
  2. Small Umbrellas
  3. Lightweight sweatshirts/fleece
  4. Baseball hat or sun hat
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Insect repellent
  7. Snacks
  8. Water/Juice

After eating a hearty breakfast head over to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail access point at Elderberry Park. There are several parking options close to the trailhead which is located by the Oscar Anderson House. This tiny house museum was the home of the 18th arrival to the tent city of Anchorage. It’s small and sweet and some older kids might enjoy it more than others so it’s not biggie if you skip it. This video is a good introduction to help you decide.

The Oscar Anderson House has remained virtually unchanged since 1915

Anyway after visiting the museum you can head to Pablo’s Bike Shop where you will find everything you need to rent for a day on the trail with your kids. They have a wide selection of bikes for all ages as well as option for toddlers to ride along with you. The prices are reasonable and the service is great.

Now head back down to the trail with you bikes and go! How far you go is entirely dependent on what your family wants. It will take you around an hour and fifteen minutes are regular pace to get to Kincaid Park (around 11 miles round trip) where you can meander a bit before heading back to the bike shop. Or for a shorter ride turn around at the Earthquake Park.

Along the coastal trail enjoy the views of Cook Inlet and if you are lucky you can spot a moose or other wildlife along the trail. On the opposite side of the trail is the railroad. Depending on how far you go you also will get a great view of the planes taking off from the airport. It’s every small kids dream route– wildlife, water, birds, trains, planes……

After returning the bikes to Pablo’s head next door to IHOH— the International House of Hot Dogs. Depending on how adventurous your kids are you can try the reindeer dogs which are delicious. They taste normal enough that your kids will enjoy them, but with a bit of a reindeer kick to make it extra Alaskan! Picky eaters can’t go wrong with a corn dog or a regular beef dog. They also have the best fries ever– nice and crispy on the outside and perfectly seasoned.

And for the best dessert at the end of a long bike ride head over to Wild Scoops where you can enjoy some homemade Alaskan ice cream in unique (and also classic) flavors. Wild Scoops has the absolute best ice cream I have ever tasted– and I have eaten ice cream all over the world! Try a few flavors before deciding which one you want for your cone. The Sleeping Lady is my FAVORITE!

Really, there are a million combinations to a perfect day in Anchorage with kids. This post on other ideas will help you plan your perfect day in Anchorage with kids, but don’t forget the two main ingredients– food and exercise. Kids need to wiggle and they need to eat.

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About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website penciltreks.com. Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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