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Driving the Golden Circle – Alaska & Yukon

There is no better way to see some of the most scenic highways in Alaska, Northern British Columbia and the Yukon than driving the Golden Circle Tour.  Encounter snow covered mountains, majestic fjords, well maintained roads, plentiful wildlife and so much more.  The tour can start from Haines, Whitehorse or Haines Junction or anywhere in between!  We started the loop in Whitehorse, Yukon where you travel west along the Alaska Highway towards Haines Junction, Yukon.  From Haines Junction, Yukon you travel through British Columbia along the Haines Highway to Haines, Alaska.  To get from Haines to Skagway, Alaska you have to take the ferry to cross the scenic Lynn Canal.  Then from Skagway you head north along the famous Klondike Highway back to Whitehorse.  Below is a detailed breakdown of all the places to stop along the beautiful Golden Circle Tour!


Whitehorse, Yukon

Start your Golden Circle Tour journey is Whitehorse, Yukon.  The capital city of the Yukon has so much to offer sitting along the bank of the mighty Yukon River.  From the steaming Takhini Hot Springs,  the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Miles Canyon and   the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site there are so many things you will not want to miss in this vibrant city.  Here is our travel guide to visiting Whitehorse, Yukon to make sure all your questions are covered during your stop in Wilderness City.  Make sure to check out our Top 13 Things to do in Whitehorse, Yukon so you don’t miss a thing.  The hub of the Yukon has everything you need for a single night or multi night stop over including great restaurants, hotels, groceries and more.  The next stop on the Golden Circle Tour is Haines Junction, Yukon.


Haines Junction, Yukon

As you head long the Alaska Highway towards Haines Junction the snowy mountains of the St. Elias Mountian range will begin to come into view and offer an incredible view.  While in Haines Junction make sure to spend a day visiting Kluane National Park & Reserve.  From the many hiking trails in the area to the flightseeing tours that taking you soaring 6000 feet over the mountain tops your visit to Haines Junction will leave you speechless.  On your way out of town make sure to stop in Yukon’s largest ghost town, Silver City.  Haines Junction is where the Alaska and Haines Highway meet, next head down the Haines Highway for a drive you will never forget to Haines, Alaska.


Haines, Alaska

As you travel down the Haines Highway from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska on the Golden Circle Tour you cross through northern British Columbia.  The drive down the highway takes you along the border of Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site dubbed the Kluane/Wrangell-St.Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alesk UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Once you have arrived in Haines, Alaska ensure to check out the Bald Eagle Preserve, go bear watching around Chilkoot Lake and enjoy the beauty the adventure capital – Haines! Your next stop on the Golden Circle Tour is taking the ferry from Haines to Skagway.  The ferry terminal is located right in the harbour of the town and can either take the pedestrian fast ferry or the Alaska Marine Highway System that transports cars across the Lynn Canal.


Skagway

Once you have crossed the majestic fjords of the Lynn Canal on the ferry from Haines to Skagway you arrive in the gold rush town of Skagway, Alaska.  Make sure to spend a least a day in Skagway to enjoy the rich Klondike Gold Rush history.  Skagway was the boomtown gateway to the Trail of ’98 and the Klondike Gold Fields.  Skagway is the northern-most point in Alaska’s Inside Passage.  Home to the White Pass and Yukon Route one of Alaska’s most popular visitor attractions, as well as the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park and many more historical landmarks that bring the Klondike Gold Rush back to life for each and every visitor.  Take a step back in time and experience what it was like for each and everyone of the fortune-seekers that headed north in search of fortune and the new frontier.


Drive Back to Whitehorse

From Skagway you are less than three hours drive back to Whitehorse.  As you drive northbound on the Klondike Highway towards Whitehorse this highway takes you along the historical gold rush route.  You will be crossing back through the Canadian Border in Fraser, British Columbia make sure to pull over and take in the scenery and ever go for a quick kayak ride before you continue on towards Whitehorse.  Make sure to stop mid-way in Carcross for incredible First Nations culture as visit the worlds smallest desert!

 

Visiting Dyea, Alaska – A Photo Guide

The quaint town of Dyea (pronounced Di-eee) was once a place of thousands of gold seekers ventured through to continue their journey on the Chilkoot Trail and now is a quiet town filled with natural beauty.  Located at the foot of the Chilkoot Trail, Dyea was established centuries before the gold rush as a summer camp by the Tlingit Natives from more populated villages down the inlet near present-day Haines.  The Tlingit built the trail over the mountain pass to allow for trade with Yukon and Alaska interior First Nation tribes.In July 1897 the first ships of gold seekers arrived and the city instantly grew to 10,000 amongst the thick spruce and hemlock forest at the edge of a long tidal flat, connected by two mile-long wharves to the ships in the inlet.  Dyea’s boomtown status was short lived and almost completely disappeared how you will find it today – two major events played in this: the avalanche on the Chilkoot Trail in April 1898 and the construction of the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad out of Skagway.

Today as you drive along the winding road that takes you into Dyea you find the entrance to the Chilkoot Trail, the old town site, cemetery for all the avalanche victims and the beautiful tidal flats.  Dyea now exists for independent travellers to explore and often will not find many others around.  Spend some time watching the salmon swim up the river during the summer and watch out of bears who may be looking for their next snack of fresh fish.  Watch the tides go in and out around what is left of the old remains of pilings from the ‘mile long dock’ that are still visible at the south end of the Dyea Flats.

Our drive into Dyea at sunset was incredibly peaceful and would highly recommend this short trip from Skagway, Alaska to anyone who enjoys the peace and quiet and natural beauty of Alaska.

Here are our photos from our sunset adventure in Dyea, Alaska!

12 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Haines, Alaska

This quaint town of Haines, Alaska is a charming port town situated on the Chilkat Intlet.  Here it is no uncommon to have Bald Eagles soar overhead, black bears and grizzly bears catching salmon out of the stream in the local lake and rivers, snowy mountain tops all around you and Arctic tundra meets temperate coastal forest. Haines, Alaska is located at the upper end of North America’s longest and deepest fjord, Lynn Canal.  Home to abundant wildlife including over 260 species of birds that pass through the Chilkat Valley each year as well as black bears and grizzly bears.   Take a walk along the waterfront and take in the crisp blue water along the mossy green rocks as the tide is out or go for a walk at the base of the mountains and breathe in the fresh mountain.  A place for those looking for a peaceful getaway, hikers or adventurers at heart looking for beautiful scenery there is something for everyone in Haines, Alaska.  We did not get a chance to spend a ton of time before we took the ferry over to Skagway but we will be back to spend more time in Haines next time we visit Alaska!

Here are 12 photos that will make you want to visit Haines – The Adventure Capital of Alaska.  

Bear Viewing in Chilkoot Lake – A Photo Guide

With 98% of the United States of Americas bear population living in Alaska it is hard to visit the state and not see one!  We had the opportunity to see a brother and sister that were two year old grizzly bears swimming and eating salmon in the Chilkoot Lake just outside of Haines, Alaska.  These siblings splashed in the water, caught several salmon and enjoyed a nice meal.  It was really unique to be able to watch these two bears in their natural habitat while still staying at a safe distance.

With four salmon runs, starting in mid-June and ending in mid-October makes Chilkoot Lake a prime hotspot to see bears.  Bears frequently come down to the river to feast on the salmon.  Prior to doing any bear view make sure to understand proper bear safety as you could become close very quickly and need to know what to do.  Below are our photos from our experience bear watching in Chilkoot Lake just outside of Haines, Alaska.

Staying at Chicken Gold Camp

If you are travelling along the Top of the World Highway you will be driving right through Chicken, Alaska! Don’t blink or you will miss the turn into this cool little town.  Chicken is home to 7 permanent residents living in an outpost in the wilderness savouring the gold rush days and authentic Alaska experience! Whether you are road tripping in your RV or looking for roofed accommodation Chicken Gold Camp also known as Chicken RV Park has both of those options.  We spent the night at Chicken Gold Camp and had an absolute blast!

Here is our experience staying at Chicken Gold Camp in Chicken, Alaska!

Getting to Chicken Gold Camp

Chicken Gold Camp is located on Airport Road which intersects the Taylor Highway (Alaska #5) at milepost 66.4 in Chicken.  If you are coming from the Top of the World Highway Chicken Gold Camp is 174 km (4 hours) from Dawson City and 67.8 km (50 minutes) from the boarder crossing at Poker Creek.


Amenities at Chicken Gold Camp

Campground – There are 39 electric RV campsites, 32 non-electric RV or tent campsites, rooms and 5 cabins.  There are 20 amp back-in-sites and pull through sites, 30 amp electic pull-through RV sites, Free wireless interent (for limited time daily), free bundle of firewood for each campsite, portable water at the fill up station, coin operated showers, dump station and more!

Rates:

  • $40/night for 20 amp sites
  • $36/night for for 30 amp sites
  • $16/night for non-electric sites
  • $90-$110/night for non-electric cabin
  • $135/night for log cabin with solar electricity
  • $150/night for 2 bedroom apartment with kitchenette

The Chicken Creek Outpost:

The Chicken Creek Outpost houses an interent cafe, espresso bar, gift shop, a cafe that serves home made breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks and spirits and snacks. For all the information on what the Chicken Creek Outpost has to offer check out their website. 


What To Do At Chicken Gold Camp

There are so many great things to do at Chicken Gold Camp! Here is a list of the top activities:

Visit the Pedro Dredge: This national historic site began operating in 1938 and is the most complete gold dredge open to the public on the Alaska road system.  There are daily tours of the dredge in the summer season.

Mine for Gold: You can rent a gold pan for $10 for 4 hours and try your hand at gold mining! You are guaranteed to find some gold as the pay dirt is coming directly from the campgrounds active gold mine that is close by.  We found over 55 specs of gold!

Visit the Cowden Dredge: The Cowden Dredge can be found 4.5km down a trail near Chicken Gold Camp. This dredge is not in great shape and floats in the river now but makes for a great hike!

Explore the Chicken Gold Camp Property: Littered throughout the campground property is tons of history that has been left in its place frozen in time.  From old tractors, dredge buckets, gold rush cabins and more there is so much to see all within a quick walk from the Outpost.

Exploring Chicken, Alaska – A Photo Guide

The small border town of Chicken, Alaska welcomes visitors travelling along the Top of the World Highway and the Taylor Highway.  This small town with a funny name of Chicken has a lot of charm and well worth a stop on your drive through eastern Alaska.

How did a town end up with a name like Chicken? Well in the late 1800’s early miners travelled to the area in search of Gold and food became scare but near the area of South Fork of the 40-Mile River was abundant in Ptarmigan.  The Ptarmigan, now the state bird, resembles a chicken and was the primary source of food for the miners.  In 1902, the town was to be incorporated and the name Ptarmigan was suggested but no one would agree on how to spell it so they decided on Chicken.  Make sure to stop by the Chicken Gold Camp and visit the large chicken on the hill.  While at the Gold Camp make sure to try your hand at panning for gold – we found over 55 specs of gold! For $10 you can rent a pan for 4 hours and give it a shot.  The campground brings over pay dirt directly from their active mine.

Right next to the wash plants where you can pan for gold is the Pedro Dredge that offers guided tours daily during the summer season.  There are a variety of relics from the gold rush era scattered around the dredge including dredge buckets, tractors, cabins, and some great hiking trails that you should plan to spend some time exploring while in Chicken.

Looking to stay the night? We stopped in at the Chicken Creek RV Park also known as Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost that offers pull-through sites with 24 hour power, tent sites, hotel rooms or cabins.  At the RV Park you will find the Goldpanner Gift shop willed with lots of necessities as well as fun chicken themed items.  At the Outpost is where you will find some original, homemade breakfasts, lunches and dinners which we highly suggest you try!  Their homemade food is incredible even their cookies which will just melt in your mouth.

Chicken is the perfect place to spend a day exploring the beautiful town with so much charm but be careful if you blink you might miss is as you travel along the dirt highway.

Here is our Photo Guide to Visiting Chicken, Alaska!

VIDEO: The Last Frontier – Alaska

Join us as we explore Alaska by GoPro, DJI Osmo and DJI Inspire 1 Drone in our Last Frontier- Alaska Video!  We drove from the Top of the World Highway and crossed from the Yukon to Alaska at Poker Creek Boarder Crossing the most northernly land border crossing in the USA where we headed south to Chicken and then Haines, took the ferry to Skagway and had a blast exploring this beautiful state!  Capturing the sunrise each morning as we drove south in Alaska through the mountain ranges in our truck camper was some of our favourite memories.  We had the opportunity to watch 2 young grizzlies catch salmon in Chilkat State Park just outside of Haines, Alaska then hopped on the ferry over to the gold rush town of Skagway.  During our few days in Skagway we made sure to pan for gold, experience this real life gold rush town and take the White Pass & Yukon Route train!  Before heading back into Canada we made sure to make a stop in Dyea and visiting the salt flats at sunrise!

Our time in Alaska may have been short but we experienced a lot along the eastern side of the state and cannot wait to go back and visit more!

Have you had a chance to explore Alaska? Let us know your experiences in this beautiful state!

17 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Clearwater Beach

The beautiful powder white sand and year-round sunshine that is on the Gulf of Mexico is Trip Advisors #1 Beach in the USA is none other than Clearwater Beach.  This popular tourist destination hosts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to its many activities along the palm-lined Beach Walk Promenade to the great eats and entertainment you are in for a treat during your visit at Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater Beach is a year-round destination with warm temperatures in the off-season and hot weather in the summer.  Ranked among the most beautiful places to visit in the United States, Clearwater Beach offers miles of sugar-white sand, crystal clear waters, and warm gulf breezes.  I have visited in all seasons and each season has something special to offer to your visit.  From the Christmas Boat Parades to the sand castle festival these events unique for Florida and specific to Clearwater Beach are are some of the many reasons you should visit this amazing destination.

Below are 17 photos we hope will inspire you to visit this tranquil beach town and experience every moment that Clearwater Beach has to offer from the sunrises to the sunsets and everything in between!

Staying at the New Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is rated Trip Advisors #1 Beach in the USA and brings thousands of visitors a year to enjoy the powder white sand and year-round sunshine.  Breaking into the hotel market is the brand new Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach.

Opening in January of 2017, I had the opportunity to visit this beachfront property shortly after its Grand Opening.

Here’s my experience at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach!

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, like its name suggests, sits right along Clearwater Beach on the main street.  The beach is a quick walk across the street, and all the shops and dining options are located well within walking distance, so you can easily access everything Clearwater Beach has to offer.


Location, Location, Location!

From a location standpoint, the resort could not be in a better spot on Clearwater Beach.  Steps away the popular hotspot Pier 60, all restaurants and bars are within walking distance, and you are steps away from world-class activities and sights.  The resort boasts stunning views of both Gulf of Mexico and Clearwater Bay Marina.

 


The Rooms

These beautifully decorated upscale beach themed rooms have a new and fresh feel to them.  With an abundance of natural light flooding into the room you will be able to feel the warmth of the Florida sun in the comfort and coolness of your own room.  There are a few different room options within the hotel, all offering views of either the Gulf Coast or the marina.  The rooms have a very modern feel, inspired by the pristine powder white sands of the beach and the turquoise waters of the ocean.

If you’re looking for the ultimate view of the beach, the Grand Deluxe Gulf Front rooms are for you. Sitting right on the beach you can watch the waves crash into the sand, and soak in the beautiful Florida sunset each evening.

No matter what option you decide to go for, you’ll get: complimentary bottled water, high-speed internet access, an individual air-conditioning/ heating unit, in-room fridge, complimentary morning newspaper, and much more.


The Food

No matter what you’re looking for, you will find it at the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach.  Their signature restaurant, Ocean Hai, the area’s only Asian-fusion cuisine restaurant offers extremely fresh local seafood, and all dishes showcase locally-sourced ingredients. Located on the gulf-front side of the hotel, you have the opportunity to choose a seat in the shaded outdoor area or in the beautiful indoor dining room.  They also offer a wonderful weekend brunch that I would highly recommend checking out.

Looking for something a little bit more relaxed? Then head over to Dock’s Pool Bar & Grill, where you will be treated to a more casual menu, perfect for a quick bite before you head down to the beach. Make sure to try their frozen cocktails or local craft beer as you soak up the sun at the pool-side bar.

Lastly, whether you are looking for a grab-and-go drink, quick snack, or a place to sit down with friends to enjoy a refreshing drink and light appetizer, eSKPades is the place to check out. Located right in the lobby of the hotel, this great bar features a barista on one side offering Starbucks tea and coffees, ice cream, pastries and sandwiches, and the Lobby Bar on the other. The Lobby Bar offers a light appetizer menu, wine, and other beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

 


 Things To Do

Whether you want to stay in the hotel and relax, head out onto the beach, or explore the surrounding area, there is lots to do in and around the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach.

Looking to stay in at the hotel and get some R&R? Then check out the outdoor heated pool, their state of the art fitness center, or their heavenly spa.

Want to be a bit more adventurous and head outside? The Wyndham Grand sits just to the south of Pier 60. This attraction is a place where you can go fishing, or visit locals who have little stands selling artisan crafts and more. You can also rent jetskis on the beach, go parasailing, and much more! For more on what to do in the area read: The Ultimate Guide to Clearwater Beach in a Weekend.

 

Christmas Boat Parades in Florida

We grew up watching Christmas Parades in our hometowns standing in the chilly December weather with a cup of hot chocolate waiting for Santa to come. This December I experienced another type of Christmas parade – a Holiday Boat Parade!

Dunedin is one among many towns throughout Florida that host Holiday boat parades each year.  During these festive events, you are treated to the beaming lights that reflect on the cool ripples of the Gulf Coast while holiday music floats into the crowds from the lavishly decorated boats.

These Christmas boat parades bring out large crowds of people from the town, and from all around.  One of the highlights of the event comes from the excitement of the children that sit along the docks and sidewalks waving at the boaters as they float by, singing along to the holiday music as they eagerly await for Santa to arrive on the final boat.  I really enjoyed how much the boaters seemed to revel in decorating and sharing their beautifully decorated vessels with the crowd.  You could see the boaters dancing, waving and singing along to the music, and how their enthusiasm was infectious for the crowds.

These parades are staples in Florida, with over 74 holiday boat parades from Pensacola to Key West, thousands come every year to see these events.  This is one of the many holiday traditions that comes with celebration Christmas at the beach.  If you have never had a chance to witness this beautiful spectacle of a Christmas boat parade, it is a must-do in your lifetime.