Do I really need to rent a car in Alaska?

Q: Does Alaska have enough public transit that I can avoid renting a car?
A: There are a lot of advantages in renting a car—in terms of keeping both costs down and your options open. Alaska.org has a great page with anything you might need to know about Driving Alaska.
That said, if you’re willing to do a little planning, you can totally get by without a car. Taking group land tours, for instance, means that someone is always doing the driving for you. If you want to stay on your own, though, you can still use transit to piece together large portions of the state. Some of Alaska’s biggest destinations—Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage and Denali—are all found along the Alaska Railroad line. Here are the main, non-car ways to cover ground:

• Look for a free shuttle.Some attractions—such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center here in Anchorage– offer free shuttle buses for visitors, which is great if you’re just in town for a day or so before or after your cruise.

• Hop the bus. This isn’t Greyhound country, but there is a plethora of smaller bus lines that serve distinct areas, such as Anchorage, Seward, Denali and Fairbanks. Their sizes range from a large van to a Greyhound-sized bus, and prices span anywhere from $45 for a roundtrip to $185 for a one-way ticket. See Alaska.org for information Alaska Bus Lines.

• Fly. If you want to reach remote areas and don’t have time for an 8- to 10-hour drive, you have a few options for flying. Alaska has a few of “in-state” carriers (some operated by Alaska Airlines), commuter-style planes that serve smaller areas. You can also book an “air taxi” or a mail plane”—perhaps a six-seater that might carry passengers on day, freight the next—and can vary wildly in price, from $40 or $50 a leg to a few hundred, depending on where you’re going. You can learn more about the different carriers at Alaska’s Airlines at Alaska.org.
For information on other transit, including railroads, see the Alaska Railroad.

Posted by AskBob