I've been there twice. Our favorite was Skagway but it's not easy to get to unless you cruise there. Juneau is a great city, make sure she takes a bus to the Medenhall glacier, lot of cool stuff there.
We've been to Ketchikan and Sitka too, beautiful state. I hope she has a great time and fire off any questions if you wish.
If I was only going to go to one place, and wasn't going to take either a cruise or the AK Maritime Highway, then I would opt for Ketchikan. Of all of southeast Alaska, it's the prettiest, and has the most different things to do.
Juneau isn't bad, either, but is a bit smaller; the funny thing I've always liked is that the majority of bald eagles can be seen just outside the McDonald's parking lot.
The other alternative, if you don't mind travelling that far, would be to go out on the Kenai peninsula. September is a bit late in the year for some wildlife, but there are still a number of lodges and the like that will be open which cater to tourists and especially photographers. There are also a number of such places in northern British Columbia that offer both fishing and photo safari trips which are quite nice, let me know if you're interested in those.
The one thing to remember is that a lot of Alaskan tourism depends on the cruise ship season. So come September, a lot of things start to close down, with the exception of the huge trade in Japanese tourism to Fairbanks to see the aurora.
She has always wanted to go to Alaska... As far as wild life goes, don't thinks she's much into it, she lived in mountains for years in BC... She looking for a tour or something of the sort... Anything anyone can recommend...
Ketchican is a great suggestion. If you are just staying there, quite often the best time to get tours is when the cruise ships dock there. That is when all of the independent tour guide are out in force and the tours are affordable.
Duck44 gave some great suggestions with pictures. Check online and maybe go to AAA for some tips. Have fun!
Ya know....the area just south of Anchorage doesn't suck either. Out on the Turnagain arm the mountains come right up out of the ocean and if you hit it on a nice autumn morning when the leaves are changing....it's like driving around the fjords of Norway or Finland. Really pretty spectacular.
I used to live in Fairbanks eight years ago and visit every summer. September may not be the best time to go. The leaves have already changed and it is getting colder. Like Wotan said, many touristy businesses close after the cruise boats go away. Even in Fairbanks, a lot of the tourist stuff closes, like panning for gold and boat rides down the Chena River. In my opinion, June is the perfect month. The mosquitoes are not bad yet and the weather is perfect. July sees swarms of mosquitoes and it rains in August. But that is mostly in Fairbanks.
Anchorage is a nice city with a lot of things to do and places to see. It is a city, but it definitly has the Alaska feel to it. Juneau is my favoirit town and Sitka is beautiful too. For some adventure, head on over to Nome, where the sled dog race, the Iditarod, ends. That is a true Alaskan town.
Alaska is a beautiful state, but remember, it is huge. You need to pick one or two spots to visit, because most places can only be reached by air, and to fly all over a state that is 1/3 the size of the rest of the country, can be very expensive. Hope your mother has a wonderful time. Let us know how her trip went.
Alright... My mother in law is wanting to go to Alaska in September... Any suggestions? She's not finding alot of information from our local travel people... What good are they?!?!?!
Let me know...
I grew up on the Kenai penninsula in a small town called Anchor Point, it's about a 15 minute drive to a more well known town called Homer which is very tourist friendly and home to the famous "Homer spit" and the best halibut fishing in the US. I would recommend trying to squeeze in your trip at the end of Aug or the very start of Sept (before weather starts to get pretty chilly) so that you still get to see the beautiful foliage around the state. If you fly into Anchorage you can take a charter bus (a beautiful 300 mile drive or about 4-5 hour's) or a small plane (short flight) into Homer which I usually describe as an artist community. There is a small museum, bakeries, art galleries, tons of local crafts to purchase and the boardwalk which has places to eat, shop and stay, right on the water. I love Homer! It is so homey and quaint and real, and full of artists! There are also several B&B's to stay at if you want to schedule a fishing charter or ferry day trip across the bay... Anyways, I could go on and on, but maybe go here and decide for yourself...
Homer used to be alot more quieter, but it has become very tourist friendly in the past 6-7 years (with B&B's and whatnot), so if your mom-in-law is looking to have the Alaska experience without getting too rustic it's a nice trip....
I can't really add huge amounts of helpful info to this, but... me and my family went on a cruise in May, 3 years ago, and had the most wonderful time. We've read that May is the driest month in the year, and we certainly enjoyed warm weather (although it might have just been a freak heat wave. ). On a cruise you just get to see so MUCH of Alaska (ok, well... the coastline, anyways. but that's still ALOT of things to see ). Um, if you do go on a cruise, STAY AWAY from Princess Cruise Line! At all cost! We had the most unimpressive experience with them.
After our cruise (which went north from Vancouver- another wonderful place to visit; definitely take a couple days to spend in that beautiful city), we drove north to the Denali area. We stayed at the Denali Lake View Inn, which was clean, with very spacious rooms, and the most beautiful view of the mountains.
I dunno... in short, we had an excellent time up there and are so ready to go again. I hope this helped. If not, oh well. I'm sorry if I confused you, if I did. (Hey- can ya blame me for being a little on the cautious side, here? )
I agree with the Sitka and Ketchikan suggestions. Also, Denali Park. Glacier Bay.
I lived in Sitka for 2.5 years and in Kodiak for 2.5 years.
Check out Homer if you can, and I too, love Skagway. That's my favorite Alaskan location, after Sitka.
When I was 8, I crash-landed in a C-130 (my friend's dad was a Coast Guard pilot and he was flying us) at Cordova and we took a helicopter to Valdez to get another plane out to Kodiak. Scariest thing that I barely remember!
Early September is Alaska's summer. That's the best time to go! It's so beautiful.