A Travel Price Comparison for Alaska Denali National Park vs. Anchorage for Hiking, Backpackers, Couples, and Attractions

Should you visit Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Denali National Park and Anchorage can help you decide which place is right for you.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is a vast, rugged, and spectacular park. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for hiking.

Anchorage

Anchorage is a artsy, nature-oriented, and outdoorsy city. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Visitors also love the museums, food, and hiking.

Denali National Park and Anchorage: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Denali (Mount McKinley)
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less hiking options
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Anchorage. Although Denali National Park and Anchorage are popular destinations, Anchorage has more sights and attractions for tourists. Anchorage is very popular for its museums, food, nightlife, hiking, and shopping, while Denali National Park attracts visitors for its resorts. Denali National Park is famous for its vast wilderness and iconic Alaskan wildlife. Anchorage is famous for its breathtaking natural beauty, impressive wildlife, stunning hiking trails, and unique local culture. It is also well known for Chugach State Park.

How is Denali National Park different from Anchorage?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Anchorage and Denali National Park. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Anchorage is very good for its historical sights. However, Denali National Park is not known for its sights and museums.

Anchorage offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. While most people visit for the outdoor experiences, there are a few museums where you can learn about the local culture and wildlife. Popular museums include the the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, the Alaska Aviation Museum, and the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature.

Denali National Park offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Denali's Museum Collection includes more than 25,000 different items that reflect the region's history, culture, and geology.


Is the Food Better in Denali National Park or Anchorage? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Anchorage is very good for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Denali National Park is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Anchorage has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. Food is expensive in town, but there are some unique local specialties that you must try. Many restaurants offer fresh seafood and local meats. Favorites include yak meat, king crab, and fresh oysters.

Denali National Park may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. During the summer months there are restaurants open along Highway 3 as well as the Morino Grill near the Denali Visitor Center.

Is Denali National Park or Anchorage Better for Nightlife?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Anchorage is adequate for nightlife and partying. However, Denali National Park is not known for its evening party scene.

Anchorage doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. The town's nightlife mostly consists of local bars where you can hang out. Check out Koot's, which is a longstanding favorite.

People don't go to Denali National Park for the nightlife. Visitors come to the park to see the nature, not for the nightlife.

Is Denali National Park or Anchorage Better for Resorts?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Denali National Park is a park with good options for its resorts. However, Anchorage is not a resort destination.

Denali National Park has a handful of resorts to choose from. Most visitors stay nearby the Denali Park Entrance. It has the most affordable hotels and lodges, some of which have a lot of personality. Alternatively, you could stay in the more remote area of Kantishna. These lodges are more expensive and all-inclusive, but they are also far away from most conveniences.

Anchorage is not a resort destination.


Is Denali National Park or Anchorage Better for Hiking?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Anchorage is a must-visit destination for hiking. Also, Denali National Park is not as popular, but is still a nice park for the nearby hiking options.

Many people visit Anchorage specifically for its hiking. The town is surrounded by wilderness and it's not hard to escape into nature. You can choose between short walks, long day trips, and multi-day treks, with everything in between available as well. There are more than 300 miles of hiking trails near town and several favorites include Byron Glacier Trail, Thunderbird Falls Trail, and Flattop Mountain.

Denali National Park has hiking trails worth exploring. If you're looking for a marked trail, there are limited options within the park. Those that do exist are located near the park entrance and are usually just a couple of miles long. Off-trail hiking is what makes for the most memorable experience. Make sure you stop off at the visitor center for information and knowledge before you venture into the wilderness without a trail. For obvious reasons, you should fully understand what this entails before beginning your adventure.

Is the Shopping Better in Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Anchorage is very good for its shopping opportunities. However, Denali National Park is not known for its shopping areas.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Anchorage. There are plenty of local gift shops and boutiques where you can pick up local Alaskan crafts and products. There's no sales tax, but prices can still be a bit steep. But if you're looking for something uniquely local to remember your trip, you don't have to look hard.

Denali National Park has some good spots for those that want to go shopping. There are several park stores and shops in and near the park where you can pick up gifts, books, and souvenirs.

Is Denali National Park or Anchorage Better for Families?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

You'll find nice kid-friendly activities in either Denali National Park or Anchorage.

Denali National Park offers lots of family activities. Most people visit the park as part of a tour, so it's important to book a tour that is designed with families in mind. This will help ensure the kids stay entertained even during long bus rides.

Anchorage is a family-friendly place to visit. Kids who appreciate nature will appreciate this unique setting. Everyone will enjoy a glacier cruise, but you can hang out with the locals in Westchester Lagoon, see the animals at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and learn about the area at the Anchorage Museum.


Is Denali National Park or Anchorage Better for Couples?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Both Denali National Park and Anchorage are superb destinations to visit as a couple.

Denali National Park is a great park if you're traveling as a couple. Couples who enjoy outdoor adventures and stunning scenery will find the ultimate romance in this impressive park.

Anchorage is a very popular place to visit for couples. The city makes a good base for couples who want to explore the surrounding beauty. The landscapes make a beautiful backdrop for a romantic trip, and the adventure activities will make for an unforgettable experience. There are plenty of outdoor activities and adventure sports that couples can enjoy together and the beauty of the region is breathtaking.

Is Denali National Park or Anchorage Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Denali National Park is an unbeatable place for backpackers. Also, Anchorage is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Denali National Park is a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers. There are millions of acres in the park as well as campgrounds, hostels, and vast backcountry (which requires a permit).

Plenty of backpackers visit Anchorage. There are a few good budget places to stay, and backpackers will also have plenty of outdoor wilderness to explore near town. It's important to remember that Alaska is known for its challenging wilderness so, unless you're experienced, you should take a guide.

Is Denali National Park or Anchorage Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Denali National Park is a moderate park for its public transit. However, Anchorage is not a good city for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit is generally limited in Denali National Park. There are free shuttle buses that leave from the entrance area, but many visitors organize a tour to get around.

Public transit is quite limited in Anchorage. There is the People Mover bus system that transports riders around town, but to truly experience the region, you must have a car.


Is Denali National Park or Anchorage a more walkable city?

Denali National Park
Anchorage

Anchorage is adequate for its high level of walkability. However, Denali National Park is not known for its ease of walking around.

Anchorage is generally not a very walkable city. The downtown area is compact so you can wander to the nearby shops and restaurants on foot, but most people visit with the goal of exploring outside of town. For that you need a car.

Denali National Park is not a walkable park. The park is vast and you need some form of transportation to get around, whether it's a private vehicle or a pre-arranged tour.

For even more information, also check out Is Denali National Park Worth Visiting? and Is Anchorage Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Anchorage or Denali National Park?

How long in Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Denali National Park and Anchorage. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Denali National Park than in Anchorage. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Denali National Park, and 1-3 days is enough time in Anchorage.

Families should spend more time in Anchorage than Denali National Park. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Anchorage, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Anchorage than Denali National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Anchorage that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Anchorage than Denali National Park if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Anchorage.


  • How many days in Denali National Park or Anchorage? Ideal Length of Stay
    Denali National Park 2-4 
    Anchorage 1-3

One day in Denali National Park or Anchorage?

You'll find around the park of Denali National Park. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Many travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the beautiful destination of Anchorage. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Anchorage has to offer.

A weekend in Denali National Park or Anchorage?

You'll find around the spectacular destination of Denali National Park. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this park has to offer. This park offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Anchorage is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Travelers enjoy the when visiting the rugged park of Denali National Park. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Many people visit Anchorage for five days. You'll find museums and food around the beautiful city of Anchorage. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Denali National Park is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

The cultural destination of Anchorage offers food and shopping. Hikers are also drawn to this area. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage, The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Anchorage or Denali National Park?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Denali National Park is $218, while the average daily cost in Anchorage is $191. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Denali National Park and Anchorage in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Denali National Park $116
    Anchorage $117
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Denali National Park $232
    Anchorage $234
Compare Hotels in Denali National Park and Anchorage

Looking for a hotel in Denali National Park or Anchorage? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Denali National Park


Hotels in Anchorage


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Anchorage Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Denali National Park $76
    Anchorage $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Denali National Park

Also for Denali National Park, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Shuttle Transfer: Anchorage ↔ Denali National Park: $150

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Anchorage

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Anchorage:

  • SUV-Private Transfer, Anchorage to Whittier Cruise Ship Terminal: $299
  • SUV-Private Transfer, Whittier Cruise ship to Anchorage: $299
  • Private Transfer Anchorage Airport (ANC) to Whittier Cruise Port: $232
  • Anchorage to Seward- Pre-Cruise Curated Wildlife Tour +Transfer: $219
  • Seward to Anchorage- Post Cruise Curated Wildlife Tour +Transfer: $197
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Anchorage Airport ANC: $62

Is it cheaper to fly into Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Prices for flights to both Anchorage and Denali National Park change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Denali National Park $57
    Anchorage $50

Typical Food Prices in Anchorage

Some typical examples of dining costs in Anchorage are as follows:


  • Bread
    $4.25
  • Breakfast for Two
    $17

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Anchorage

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Anchorage.

  • City of Anchorage SIGHTSEEING & FOOD Tour: $190

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Denali National Park $30
    Anchorage $30

Tours and Activities in Denali National Park

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Denali National Park.

  • 2.5-Hour Denali Wilderness ATV Adventure Tour: $79
  • Midnight Sun ATV Adventure 2.5 Hour Tour: $79
  • Denali ATV Trailblazer 3.5 Hour Tour : $114
  • 3 Hour Naturalist Walking Tour in Denali National Park: $119
  • Denali National Park Walking Tour: $125
  • Wilds of Alaska Classic ATV Adventure: $140
  • Classic ATV Adventure with Back Country Dining: $150
  • Alaskan Back Country Side by Side ATV Adventure with Meal: $150
  • Denali Park Zipline Adventure: $165
  • 5-Hour Mountain Hiking Tour in Denali: $169
  • Half-Day Sled Dog Experience: $175
  • 4 Hour Off-Trail Wilderness Wonders Hiking Tour in Denali: $199

Typical Entertainment Prices in Anchorage

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Anchorage are as follows:


  • 1 Day Bike Rental
    $33
  • 1/2 Day Rafting Trip
    $105

Tours and Activities in Anchorage

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Anchorage are as follows:

  • Adventurers Ready To Jump Into the Void Alaska Style Wanted: $39
  • Spenard Neighborhood FOOD & TRUE CRIME Walking Tour: $150
  • 26 Glacier Tour, Self-Drive from Anchorage, AK: $226
  • 3 Hour Ladies Only Kayak Tour in Knik River: $130
  • Advanced Snowshoeing Adventure: $238
  • Alaska 9 Day Ocean Wildlife to Interior Wilderness Adventure: $6,999
  • Alaska Wildlife Day Tour with Free Hotel Pickup: $115
  • Alaska Wildlife Tour: $110
  • Alaska's Most Scenic E-Bike Adventure: $224
  • Anchorage Aurora Tour and Northern Lights Photo: $295
  • Anchorage Brews Tour: $169
  • Anchorage City Tour w/ Taste of Wild Smoked Salmon & Reindeer Sausage: $69

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Denali National Park $12
    Anchorage $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Anchorage

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Anchorage:

  • Chocolate and Wine Tasting Tour: $109
  • Half-Day Anchorage Craft Brewery Tour and Tastings: $179


When comparing the travel costs between Denali National Park and Anchorage, we can see that Denali National Park is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Denali National Park Expensive? and Is Anchorage Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Denali National Park or Anchorage?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Denali National Park or Anchorage in the Summer?

Both Anchorage and Denali National Park during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Denali National Park for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Anchorage in the summer for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Denali National Park is generally around the same temperature as Anchorage. Daily temperatures in Denali National Park average around 60°F (15°C), and Anchorage fluctuates around 59°F (15°C).

Denali National Park usually gets more rain in July than Anchorage. Denali National Park gets 3.6 inches (92 mm) of rain, while Anchorage receives 1.7 inches (44 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Denali National Park 60°F (15°C) 
    Anchorage 59°F (15°C)

Should I visit Denali National Park or Anchorage in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Denali National Park and Anchorage. Many visitors come to Denali National Park in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Anchorage for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Anchorage can be very cold during autumn. Denali National Park can get quite cold in the autumn. Denali National Park is much colder than Anchorage in the autumn. The daily temperature in Denali National Park averages around 32°F (0°C) in October, and Anchorage fluctuates around 35°F (2°C).

In October, Denali National Park usually receives more rain than Anchorage. Denali National Park gets 3.1 inches (79 mm) of rain, while Anchorage receives 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Denali National Park 32°F (0°C) 
    Anchorage 35°F (2°C)

Should I visit Denali National Park or Anchorage in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Denali National Park as well as Anchorage. Most visitors come to Denali National Park for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Anchorage because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Anchorage can be very cold. Denali National Park can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Denali National Park is cooler than Anchorage. Typically, the winter temperatures in Denali National Park in January average around 11°F (-12°C), and Anchorage averages at about 15°F (-9°C).

Denali National Park usually gets more rain in January than Anchorage. Denali National Park gets 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain, while Anchorage receives 0.7 inches (19 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Denali National Park 11°F (-12°C) 
    Anchorage 15°F (-9°C)

Should I visit Denali National Park or Anchorage in the Spring?

Both Anchorage and Denali National Park are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The spring months attract visitors to Denali National Park because of the natural beauty. Also, the natural beauty are the main draw to Anchorage this time of year.

It's quite cold in Anchorage in the spring. The weather in Denali National Park can be very cold. In April, Denali National Park is generally much colder than Anchorage. Daily temperatures in Denali National Park average around 34°F (1°C), and Anchorage fluctuates around 36°F (2°C).

In April, Denali National Park usually receives more rain than Anchorage. Denali National Park gets 1.6 inches (41 mm) of rain, while Anchorage receives 0.7 inches (18 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Denali National Park 34°F (1°C) 
    Anchorage 36°F (2°C)

Typical Weather for Anchorage and Denali National Park

Denali National Park Anchorage
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 11°F (-12°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm) 15°F (-9°C) 0.7 inches (19 mm)
Feb 16°F (-9°C) 1.4 inches (37 mm) 19°F (-7°C) 0.8 inches (21 mm)
Mar 23°F (-5°C) 1.5 inches (37 mm) 26°F (-3°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
Apr 34°F (1°C) 1.6 inches (41 mm) 36°F (2°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
May 46°F (8°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm) 47°F (8°C) 0.8 inches (20 mm)
Jun 56°F (13°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 55°F (13°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
Jul 60°F (15°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 59°F (15°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm)
Aug 56°F (14°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Sep 47°F (9°C) 4.2 inches (108 mm) 49°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Oct 32°F (0°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 35°F (2°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
Nov 18°F (-8°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 22°F (-6°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
Dec 13°F (-11°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm) 17°F (-8°C) 1.1 inches (28 mm)