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Discovering the Nearby Towns around Denali National Park: Where to Stay and Dine

Denali National Park is a breathtaking expanse of wild Alaska, known for its diverse wildlife and dramatic landscapes, including North America's tallest peak, Denali. For those planning a visit, the experience is enhanced by staying in one of the neighboring towns, where local hotels and restaurants offer a taste of Alaskan hospitality. Here we explore these towns and the culinary delights that await you.

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Published onDecember 13, 2023
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Discovering the Nearby Towns around Denali National Park: Where to Stay and Dine

Denali National Park is a breathtaking expanse of wild Alaska, known for its diverse wildlife and dramatic landscapes, including North America's tallest peak, Denali. For those planning a visit, the experience is enhanced by staying in one of the neighboring towns, where local hotels and restaurants offer a taste of Alaskan hospitality. Here we explore these towns and the culinary delights that await you.

Healy

Located just 11 miles north of the Denali National Park entrance, Healy is the closest town which offers numerous lodging and dining options. With its convenient location, travelers can find a range of accommodations from cozy bed and breakfasts to full-service hotels like the Denali Park Hotel. Local dining includes The 49th State Brewing Company, which serves locally brewed beer and pub fare with an Alaskan twist, and Rose's Café, known for its hearty breakfasts and homemade pies.

Cantwell

About 29 miles south of the park's entrance lies Cantwell. It’s a small community positioned at the intersection of the Parks Highway and Denali Highway. Accommodations here are limited but tend to be less crowded than those closer to the park. The Cantwell Lodge is an option for tourists seeking a quiet, rustic experience.

Talkeetna

Approximately 150 miles south of Denali National Park, Talkeetna is a charming town with a distinct personality, owing to its history as a district headquarters for the Alaska Railroad. It's a further drive, but well worth it for those looking to experience a broader slice of Alaskan life. The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge offers stunning views of Denali alongside luxury accommodations. Dining options like Talkeetna Roadhouse with its famous sourdough pancakes, and Denali Brewing Company offering scrumptious pub grub and a selection of craft beers, cater to a range of tastes.

Fairbanks

Approximately 120 miles to the northeast of Denali is the city of Fairbanks, offering a variety of hotels and restaurants. Chena Hot Springs Resort is perfect for relaxation after a strenuous hike, while Pike's Waterfront Lodge provides comfort close to the airport. Culinary adventurers must try The Pump House; their Alaska King Crab legs are a delight and for a more local experience, Chatanika Lodge's quirky decor complements their homestyle cooking.

Anchorage

Although around 240 miles south of Denali, Anchorage is a significant urban center providing ample accommodations and dining choices. It’s a feasible base for those willing to travel to the park by car or train. The Hotel Captain Cook offers luxury stays, while the rustic Anchorage Grand Hotel presents a more budget-friendly option. For fresh seafood, look no further than Simon & Seafort's Saloon & Grill, or for inventive dishes, try the Moose's Tooth Pub & Pizzeria for its legendary pizzas.

Local Delicacies to Try

When in the area, sampling local Alaskan cuisine is a must. Be on the lookout for:

  • Alaskan Salmon: Try it smoked, grilled, or even in a salmon bake.
  • Reindeer Sausage: A unique Alaskan twist on traditional sausages.
  • King Crab: An Alaskan favorite that is often fresh and locally sourced.
  • Berry Cobbler: Local berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and the elusive cloudberry make delicious desserts.
  • Birch Syrup: A unique sweet treat, similar to maple syrup, used in a variety of dishes and condiments.

Helpful Websites

For more information on accommodations, dining, and local attractions near Denali National Park, the following websites can offer comprehensive guidance:

Remember, when planning your trip to this majestic part of the world, it's important to book accommodations and activities well in advance, especially during the peak summer months. No matter which town you choose as your base, you’re guaranteed to find warm Alaskan hospitality and a culinary scene that’s as wild and diverse as the landscapes of Denali itself.

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