Alaska Food Tour: A Sky To Sea Culinary Experience
Access Culinary Trips’ pioneering Alaska food tours are featured in Travel + Leisure’s “New Bucket List.” Learn why our unparalleled Alaska food tour is one of T+L’s 46 trips to take before you die.
Alaska beckons you to her snow-capped mountains as far as the eye can see, ice-blue glaciers, and abundant wildlife roaming free in pristine, wide open spaces. Alaskan culture is a charismatic combination of pioneers and native people, mushers and fishermen, all drawn to this rugged, untamed terrain. Join one of our Alaska food tours and feast your eyes on jaw-dropping vistas along with hand-curated, truly Alaskan experiences that you will never forget.
On this one-of-a-kind Alaska food tour, you’ll explore Alaskan culture through its cuisine as you journey from magnificent Denali to the pristine waters of the Kenai peninsula. Along the way, you’ll cook in exclusive classes with award-winning chefs, board a chartered boat for a wildlife tour and oyster tasting on Kachemak Bay, and visit small family farms whose incredible bounty is making Alaskan produce increasingly local. You will even have an optional morning of glacier adventures that you access by helicopter, raft or on foot. Your incredible journey through Alaska will be shared with an intimate group of no more than 12 guests, and an expert local guide.
Top Alaska Food Tour Experiences:
Alaskan cooking class with James Beard nominated chef, Laura Cole
Visit small family farms
Taste oysters fresh from Kachemak Bay
Cooking class at a wilderness cooking school
Sample birch tree syrup and other birch sap treats
Dine at a 100 year old roadhouse
Get far beyond the cruise ships and experience the “real” Alaska on our ground-breaking food tours. For more information, please call 1-800-567-9400 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Is an Alaska Culinary Tour for You?
Our Alaska food tours are designed for travelers who want to explore Alaska’s gems in a unique and delicious way as they get to know the locals through hand-curated activities. Revel in the variety of experiences on your Alaska tour: the splendor of the Alaska Range and Mt. Denali, cooking classes with two of Alaska’s top chefs, cruising Katchemak Bay, and exploring a glacier by helicopter, dog sled, raft or on foot.
Although our food tours in Alaska are not exceptionally active trips, there will be a bit of walking as well as optional helicopter, raft or hiking excursions. There is also a significant amount of driving on this vacation, so that we can relish some of Alaska’s most incredible experiences.
All of our food tours include a rich combination of delicious ingredients: expert cooking classes, visits to flourishing farms and vibrant markets, and world-class cuisine!
May - Aug
Max group size: 10
Prices from $6,390 USD
Cooking classes with top Alaskan chefs
Optional glacier tours by helicopter, dog sled, raft or on foot
Farms, markets & local restaurants
Boat tour of Katchemak Bay
Stunning Denali, Knik River & Kenai landscapes
Detailed Itinerary … learn more
Food: All breakfasts, 3 lunches & 2 dinners … learn more
Accommodation: 7 nights in comfortable 3-4 star lodges and hotels … learn more
Travel Info … learn more
Recommended Reading … learn more
Your Alaska Culinary Tour Itinerary
DAY 1: Our Alaska Culinary Tours Begin in Fairbanks
Welcome to Alaska! Your tour begins in Fairbanks, where your driver/guide will pick you up at the airport. Perched on the bank of the Chena River, Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest city and serves as a great launching point for Denali National Park, the first stop on all of our Alaska culinary tours! After you check into your room, you’ll have the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers during tonight’s welcome dinner.
Meals included: Dinner
DAY 2: Cooking Class at Denali
This morning we hop in the van and drive to Denali National Park. Just outside the park entrance, in the middle of the wilderness, awaits a true culinary surprise – 229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern. One of Alaska’s most innovative and exciting restaurants, 229 Parks is owned and run by three-time James Beard nominated chef, Laura Cole. With wild blueberries, world class salmon, and gardens made rich by the midnight sun, Laura is constantly experimenting with, creating, and redefining Alaskan cuisine. We could think of no one better to help us explore Alaska’s culture through its cuisine, and we are thrilled that she agreed to offer Alaskan cooking classes exclusively for our guests! Learn how to create a taste of Alaska as Laura regales you with tales of cooking in the Alaskan outback.
After enjoying the delicious lunch you have created with Chef Laura, we’ll check into our Denali hotel and then the afternoon is free for you to explore. Transportation is available for any guests wishing to participate in optional activities, such as flight-seeing over majestic Denali, or a walk on one of the accessible trails inside the park.
Drive time: Approximately 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3: Talkeetna & Beyond
Our Alaska culinary tour continues this morning as we head to Talkeetna, set on the banks of the braided Susitna River. Its proximity to the rugged Alaska Range adds to the ambiance of this rustic town which is well known for its arts community and as the launching point for climbers wishing to summit Denali. Our first stop is a family-style brunch at the quaint Talkeetna Roadhouse, built in 1917, with history steeped in the early mining and fur trade activities that lured settlers into the new Alaska Territory. The pancakes are made from a 1902 sourdough starter and are delicious smothered in local birch syrup.
Now that you have tried the birch syrup, we’re off to the Kahiltna Birchworks factory, a family run business and the world’s largest producer of pure organic birch syrup. We will get to see a tree tapping demonstration, visit the evaporator where the syrups are processed, and of course, check out the tasting room!
In the afternoon, we drive to the Knik River Valley and check into our wilderness lodge where we’ll stay for the next two nights. Our charming cabins overlook the Knik River, surrounded by the towering Chugach Mountains. The setting couldn’t be more spectacular or more perfectly Alaskan. Perhaps enjoy dinner tonight at the lodge’s gourmet restaurant where you can watch wildlife wander by and feast your eyes on the stunning scenery. This magnificent location is truly a highlight on our Alaska culinary tours.
Drive time: Approximately 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Brunch/Lunch, Snacks
Day 4: Optional Glacier Adventures & Afternoon Farm Tour
This morning you’ll have a chance to explore the glaciers of the Chugach range. You might choose helicopter flightseeing that includes a landing on the Knik Glacier, guided dog sledding with a six-time Iditarod musher on the Colony Glacier, or a scenic float on Class II rapids at the face of the Matanuska Glacier. Or, you might just choose to relax at the lodge and enjoy the scenery. Our team can help you pre-book your glacier adventure.
In the afternoon we’ll head to the nearby community of Palmer whose farmers are bringing fresh, local produce to Alaska. We’ll meet local producers and learn about the unique challenges of tilling the soil in the Alaskan frontier, with frigid winters and endless daylight in the summer. Our visit helps support their efforts to develop more local farming in the Last Frontier.
Drive time: Approximately 1 hour
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 5: Homer & The Kenai Peninsula
Now that you’ve experienced Alaska’s rugged interior, it’s time to head to the coast. Today we drive across the stunning Kenai Peninsula to the fun, artsy town of Homer, located on Kachemak Bay. Along the way we’ll stop for views of volcanoes and an informal visit to a historic Russian-era Orthodox Church. For the next two nights we’ll stay in a hotel at the end of the 5-mile long Homer Spit, surrounded by Kachemak Bay. Sit on your deck or walk the beach and you’ll see eagles, otters and seals (and possibly even whales!) frolicking in the bay against a backdrop of snow covered mountains.
Drive time: Approximately 6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 6: Kachemak Bay
Today we’ll board a small boat for a scenic journey through Kachemak Bay. On the way watch for marine life such as sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, whales, and numerous species of bird, all of which inhabit the rich waters of Kachemak Bay. Our first destination will be the cooking school at Tutka Bay Lodge. Located on a repurposed crabbing boat which was originally a World War II-era troop carrier, the cooking school is led by renowned Cordon Bleu chef and cookbook author, Kirsten Dixon. Classes will feature local Alaskan seafood including halibut, salmon, crab, and famous Kachemak Bay oysters and will incorporate Alaska’s seasonal ingredients, such as homegrown vegetables, berries, mushrooms, and Alaskan honey. Enjoy a seaside luncheon made by the group.
Next we’ll head to a local oyster farm where we will learn about Alaska’s unique environment and have the chance to try some of the freshly harvested oysters before heading back to Homer by boat.
This evening is free to explore Homer.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Snack
Day 7: Girdwood
The morning is yours free to explore, perhaps to visit the Bear Creek Winery for a taste of their locally produced fruit wines or to enjoy some optional outdoor adventures.
This afternoon we’ll return north along the scenic Sterling and Seward Highways. Along the way we’ll stop to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a non-profit organization which helps rehabilitate and release injured wildlife. You’ll get to view iconic Alaskan wildlife up close including bears, moose, caribou, musk-ox, and wolves.
We’ll spend our final night at the Alyeska Resort in the small town of Girdwood. This charming community is surrounded by seven glaciers and offers unique alpine and coastal views. Tonight we’ll celebrate all we have seen and done in Alaska with a farewell dinner at a local eatery.
Drive time: Approximately 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Our Alaska Culinary Tour Ends
Alas, our Alaska culinary tour comes to an end after breakfast with group transfers to Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage.
Drive time: Approximately 1 hour
Meals included: Breakfast
Alaska Cooking Tours: Prepare Authentic Alaskan Food
Alaska’s unique geography, climate, and history all simmer together to create the delectable Alaskan cuisine of today. Rich oceans, flowing streams, and crystal clear lakes are homes to the freshest fish and shellfish, while the still pristine wilderness offers an abundance of wild game including moose, caribou, ptarmigan, and even porcupine! In the summer months, up to 20 hours of warm sunlight shines down on impressive greenhouses and gardens that bestow some of the best (and biggest) produce in the world. The relatively cool climate of Alaska year-round also creates the perfect environment for the sweetest berries you will have ever eaten – such as blueberries, raspberries, lingonberries, red currants, and salmonberries.
These local, sustainable ingredients all have their place on the table in modern Alaskan cuisine. Talented chefs influenced by traditional recipes from the early Russian settlers and gold miners, as well as dozens of ethnicities that make up multi-cultural Alaska today, create delectable and innovative dishes you are sure to savor on your Alaska cooking tour. You will have the opportunity to taste many traditional Alaskan foods, like birch sap brittle, oysters, and freshly smoked salmon.
On our Alaska cooking tours, you will explore this state’s wild and unique cuisine through hands-on cooking classes with award winning chefs, a tour and tasting at a family-run birch syrup farm, oyster tasting on Kachemak Bay, and an opportunity to sip locally produced fruit wine in your free time.
Our first Alaskan cooking class is with two-time James Beard nominated chef, Laura Cole. She will invite you into the kitchen of her innovative restaurant, 229 Parks, for an exclusive hands-on opportunity to cook with her! Using mostly local, freshly harvested and sustainably-grown ingredients, the dishes you cook will vary depending on what is in season and available. Perhaps you will get to try your hand at cooking her tasty Reindeer Ragu over house-made ricottta!
Our second cooking class in Alaska is with Cordon Bleu chef and cookbook author, Kirsten Dixon at her exclusive wilderness lodge. Here you will cook with some of Alaska’s famous local seafood – crab, salmon, halibut – as well as seasonal vegetables, berries, and even Alaskan honey! Our cooking class takes place on a re-purposed crabbing boat that was once a World War II-era troop carrier, and lunch is enjoyed with a beautiful ocean view.
Other highlights of our Alaskan cooking tour includes brunch at the historic Talkeetna Roadhouse and a tour of family-run farms who harvest local produce.
Our Alaska cooking tours include daily breakfast, three lunches and two dinners, including the two lunches you will prepare yourself.
Please note: Dining on this tour may be challenging for vegetarian and vegan guests due to the prevalence of meat and seafood dishes.
Alaska Hotels & Lodges
People come to Alaska to enjoy the scenery and the outdoors. When you do find yourself ready to “come inside”, we have found uniquely Alaskan hotels and lodges (often with stunning views) for you to relax in your downtime! All of our Alaska hotels are clean and comfortable, with en suite bathrooms.
Night 1: You will spend your first night in Alaska in Fairbanks at riverfront lodge.
Night 2: You will stay in a Denali hotel located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Nights 3 & 4: These two nights will be in a beautiful wilderness lodge. Surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, your cabin (with fireplace) has an incredible view of the Knik River Valley.
Nights 5 & 6: In Homer, you will stay in a hotel with a stunning views of Kachemak Bay and its marine wildlife.
Night 7: Your last night in Alaska will be in a chateau-style resort nestled in a lush valley surrounded by mountain peaks and spectacular glaciers.
Note: All of our Alaska hotels and lodges are subject to availability and may be changed as needed.
Alaska Travel Information
Arrival and Departure Travel Information
On Day 1 of the tour, you will be picked up at Fairbanks International Airport (FAI). Please plan to arrive at the airport by 5 PM so that you have enough time to make it to the hotel and get settled before the welcome dinner.
This trip will end in Anchorage, so please plan to depart from Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC). One group transfer will be provided and will be based on departure times. We will not know the exact time of the transfer until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than two hours from your flight’s scheduled departure time. In this case, we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.
Pick-up & Drop-off Information
We provide complimentary group airport transfers on the first and last day of the tour. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or to be brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.
We do not book flights or insurance for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALASKA
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.
Please note: proof of insurance is due within 14 days of booking, and delay in receipt may result in late documentation charges.
We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website here.
Age & Fitness Requirements
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Although our culinary vacation in Alaska is not an exceptionally active trip, there will be a bit of walking, entries and exits from a helicopter and a boat, and a dog sled ride. There is also a significant amount of driving on this vacation, so that we can relish some of Alaska’s most incredible experiences. Please contact us with any questions.
HEALTH & SAFETY IN ALASKA
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.
Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items safely stored. Always keep a copy of your ID, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.
Alaska has five distinct regions that can differ widely when it comes to weather. We visit the Interior and South-central regions on our tour. The summer months of July, August and early September are the best times to visit for milder temperatures and extended daylight hours.
This region is a true continental subarctic climate. In July and August temperatures can range from a daytime high of 70°F to a nighttime low of 48°F. Temperatures start to cool down further in early September with daytime highs of 55°F and nighttime lows of 38°F.
This coastal region tends to be a little more mild in the summer months with temperatures ranging from a daytime high of 65°F to a nighttime low of 45°F.
Note: Please be prepared for the possibility of rain on this tour.
WHAT TO TAKE TO ALASKA
We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane.
We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.
We suggest that you bring the following items:
Clothing & Equipment
Season specific clothing including items to layer with
Clothes to wear for optional dinner at upscale restaurant
Comfortable walking shoes
Sunscreen / sunglasses / hat
First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
Meals: All breakfasts, four lunches, and two dinners are included, including the meals you cook yourself.
Please plan to budget at least $15-$25 per lunch and $30-$40 per dinner for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks and drinks.
Tipping: Discretionary tips to your tour staff and service providers for good service are very much appreciated. Here are some guidelines:
Guide: $10 per guest per day
Helicopter Pilot: $10 per guest
Dog Team Musher Guide: $10 per guest
Palmer Farm Guide: $5 per guest
Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!
FINAL NOTES ON YOUR ALASKA CULINARY VACATION
This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.