Train, Bus and Rental CarsComparing the bus, rental car and Alaska Railorad.

Compare Railroad, Motorcoach and Rental Cars

For most Alaska summer travelers, the three primary transportation options are the Alaska Railroad, scheduled bus service, and rental cars. Each mode of transportation has its own merits, and likely your final choice will depend on what type of traveler you are, your itinerary, and your budget. You may also be surprised to find out that the best choice may be combining two, or even all three options.

Alaska Railroad

It is hard to beat the train for traveling in comfort and style.  The Alaska Railroad cuts right through some of Alaska’s most spectacular scenery. At the southern end you have the town of Seward and gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Heading north the train travels through Anchorage and Talkeetna, to Mt. Denali and Denali National Park, before ending in the golden heart city of Fairbanks.  You can read more on the Alaska Railroad here, and below are a few highlights...

  • Get up and walk around
  • Enjoy a meal or drink
  • Socialize with traveling companions
  • Excellent viewing from the dome
  • Outdoor viewing platforms
  • Visit with host guide

Park Connection Motorcoach

The Park Connection offers scheduled bus service between Seward, Whittier, Anchorage, Talkeetna and Denali Park. With multiple runs each day, the convenient, time and money saving aspect of the motorcoach appeals to the practical side of most travelers. Another key feature,  you can travel from Denali or Talkeetna to Whittier or Seward in the same day… an overnight in Anchorage is required to do that by rail. Here are some of the motorcoach advantages...

  • Less time
  • Less money
  • Same day service Denali or Talkeetna to Seward or Whittier
  • More departure times
  • Different scenery

Rental Cars

Sometimes you just want to do your own thing, perhaps get off the beaten path to an area not served by the train. You will find most of the national rental car companies represented at the Anchorage airport. If you are going to rent a car, consider booking the train for just one portion. Read the next paragraph for additional information. Some positives...

  • Do you own thing
  • Make as many stops as you like
  • Go to places not served by the train

Best of Both Worlds

The vast majority of our roundtrip guests, as well as those traveling to both Seward and Denali Park, combine motorcoach travel with the Alaska Railroad. Consider an itinerary that calls for travel roundtrip from Anchorage to Denali Park. By traveling one direction by motorcoach you can save time, money and see additional scenery. What if your plans call for travel to Seward and Denali Park? You could depart Anchorage for Seward on the train, spend a night or two, and then travel to Talkeetna by motorcoach. Spend the night then continue on to Denali Park for two nights, before returning to Anchorage by rail. You will have traveled between all cities by both rail and motorcoach, saving time, money and seeing additional scenery. Not to mention avoiding an extra night in Anchorage if traveling all by rail.

While less common, we do have many guests that combine all three modes of transportation.  Say you want to go to Wrangell St. Elias National Park, you will need a car, and you may visit Denali National Park on that portion of the trip as well. You could return your car in Anchorage afterwards and travel to Seward by train.  Or what if you want to explore the Kenai Peninsula by car traveling to Seward and Homer. You may want to return the car in Anchorage and travel to Talkeetna and Denali Park by bus and rail.

We Can Help

We can book trains, motorcoach, rental cars, as well as hotels and tours. See this page for booking options or give us a call at 800.266.8625.