Here comes the sun, ba da da da! The sun is out in full force today, reminding us that summer is nearly here and making me so antsy to take a vacation. We just planned a road trip for this summer (first family road trip, wish us luck) and I'm thinking back on some of our favorite getaways from the past few years. Today, I'm digging through the archives to our trip to Alaska from two summers ago, so everyone else can join me in daydreaming about vacation (and having The Beatles stuck in your head. You're welcome.)
If you've never been to Alaska, it's time to jump on Kayak and take a look at some flights. If you're at all interested in outdoorsy activities (hiking, camping, kayaking, biking, skiing, fishing, picnicking) or just enjoy gorgeous scenery, awesome seafood, and friendly people, Alaska is a must-see. One of my very best friends lives in Anchorage and she and her husband graciously played host for part of our stay, so you can benefit from the local tips they shared with us.
One of the first things I did on this vacation was run the Mayor's Midnight Sun Half Marathon. This was my first half and it was a STRUGGLE (we were battling strong winds and rain the whole race, there was a portion of trail running through the forest on hills that were basically a mud slide, and the race ends with about a dozen hills). Still, I remember this race pretty fondly and I've seen it on a couple of "bucket list races" lists, so it wasn't all bad.
Anchorage is a really fun city, full of quirky local spots. We spent a lot of our time at our friends' home, but loved catching a movie at the Bear Path Theatrepub (movie theater with beer and great food, with tables set in front of the movie seats). It's also fast and easy to get to great lookouts and hiking spots near the city--one of our favorites was Baluga Bay, where we stopped on the way to go fishing and grab lunch in Girdwood (an adorable town not far from Anchorage).
Kell was still pretty small on this trip, so we kept the hiking to some manageable, shorter trails (except for an accidental hike in Homer where we ended up in the middle of a bog, and had to climb on fallen trees and stumps to avoid stepping in the knee-high mud). There were lots of trails right around the Anchorage area that gave us a taste of hiking and offered great views while still being family-friendly. This one was right by Baluga Bay.
After we spent a few days in Anchorage, we rented a car and headed off to Homer. We loved this little town--the seafood spots on the spit served amazing baskets of fish and chips and clam chowder, and we had a blast combing the beach and taking in the amazing views. Plus, the drive between Anchorage and Homer is beautiful--we pulled over several times to check out the views and stretch our legs.
We didn't go Halibut fishing in Homer, but we did do a day trip that went across Kachemak Bay and included ocean kayaking and tidepooling. We saw so many cool ocean creatures when the tide was low (I had no idea there were starfish in Alaska, and you can see in the photo below just how excited I was about it) and we had tons of fun paddling around in the ocean kayaks. If you're into fishing the trips out of Homer are amazing, but they're also pretty expensive and not necessarily worth it if you're traveling with an eight-year-old. Spending the day with starfish, bald eagles, and otter was more our speed this time around.
The craziest thing about looking back on these photos is how different Kelly looks. Wild how little you notice them changing day to day, but look back a couple of years and he's a whole different kid. This trip down memory lane makes me even more excited for our trip this summer!