For many campers, Alaska has a special place on the travel bucket list. They don’t call it America’s last frontier for nothing!
This huge state is full of diverse and stunning landscapes — and not so full of people. It has the lowest population density of any state in America, which means you have ample opportunity to get lost in the wilderness and away from it all.
Alaska is one of the only places in America where you can see the famous Northern Lights, and it’s also probably your best bet if you want to try moose jerky or bear meat. Ever wondered what it’s like to see the sun shining close to midnight? Alaska’s got your back.
Alaska’s also the place to be if you’re hankering to try your hand at salmon fishing, glaciering, or even dog sledding — but it’s also the perfect spot to get outside, even if all you want to do is go on a hike.
There are so many unique and wonderful things to experience in this exceptional state that we couldn’t possibly list even a small fraction of them — although we do have a list of some of our favorite Alaska RV parks for you to enjoy. But one fun thing to do while you’re camping in Alaska is to participate in one of the state’s outdoors and RV shows, which bring the outdoors community together to learn and help each other.
RV shows are a fun way to learn more about camping and also to discover some new products and services you might not have already known about. The exhibits will include several different Alaska RV dealers and other related businesses as well as representatives from local government agencies concerned with protecting and preserving the outdoors. While you’re there, you’ll learn more about new camping technologies and options while also having the opportunity to see and hear seminars and author presentations from wildlife speakers and experts.
But what are the best RV shows and outdoor expos in Alaska? If you’re used to the quietude of Alaska, you may wonder, “Are there any RV shows near me?”
Although the state’s remote nature means there aren’t that many gatherings there, the ones it does host are not to be missed.
1. The Great Alaska Sportsman Show
Although the Great Alaska Sportsman Show isn’t an RV expo specifically, it’s the state’s premier event for outdoorsy folks of all stripes — and that includes campers! Vendors will offer helpful advice and equipment for all sorts of fun outdoor activities, from hunting and fishing to wilderness hiking and backpacking.
Why You’ll Love the Great Alaska Sportsman Show
One of the largest RV shows for outdoor adventurers and campers, the Great Alaska Sportsman show actually requires the use of not one, but two arenas in downtown Anchorage. Don’t worry about parking, though — you can save money and time by taking advantage of the event’s free shuttle bus service, which will run from the Midtown Walmart and Northway Mall parking lots. (Parking is free, too!)
The shuttles will start running an hour before the doors open each day and continue to make trips until 60 minutes after closing time, so you’ll have plenty of time to see and experience everything that the Great Alaska Sportsman Show has to offer.
And chances are, you won’t be disappointed! Floor vendors will be happy to walk you through any questions you have about outdoor equipment from tackle to tactical climbing gear, so you’ll be prepared to take on your next great Alaskan adventure. Plus, the kids will have fun too with the thoughtfully designed, family-friendly activities, including archery and laser ranges, a hands-on rifle range, and even a special children’s fishing pond.
On a more serious note, the Great Alaska Sportsman Show also hosts popular seminars and Q-and-A sessions with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Representatives will talk through important issues with regards to hunting and fishing and also be on hand to answer audience questions and provide informational materials.
The Great Alaska Sportsman Show Information
Location: Sullivan & Ben Boeke Arenas, Anchorage, Alaska
Address: 1600 Gambell Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501
Phone Number: (907) 562-9911
Fax Number: (907) 562-9889
Dates: April 3 – 5, 2020
- Friday April 3: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Saturday April 4: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Sunday April 5: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Price: Adults 13 and older will pay $11 ($10 entry and $1 city tax); kids 12 and under get in for $3
Discounts: Score a great deal by purchasing a multi-day pass for $18, which could save you up to $26 if you come all four days!
2. The Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show
If you’re looking for a camping show that features motorhomes, RVs and travel trailers, look no further than the Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show, held in late March in the town of Wasilla. But this event is so much more than a camper and RV show — it also features tons of vendors, seminars, and activities focusing on anything and everything to do and explore outdoors.
Why You’ll Love the Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show
The Mat-Su Outdoorsman show features one of Alaska’s RV dealers as a primary sponsor. Bring in the new year with some updated gear and a great time engaging with the community!
The Mat-Su Outdoorsman show features hundreds of vendors offering both goods and services — and yes, there will be RVs on the sales floor to explore. Better yet, you won’t break the bank getting in: military members are free all weekend when they flash valid ID, and even full price admission is only five dollars. Parking at the sports center is also free and easy, and the website lists simple directions to help you find the location.
Did we mention kids under 12 get in free? Good thing, too, since the Mat-Su Outdoorsman and RV camper show is bound to be a fun experience for the whole family. While you enjoy wandering through the many exhibits, the kids can keep busy at the laser shooting range. (Aw, who are we kidding… you “big kids” might end up trying your hand at it, too!)
The Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show will also feature a variety of seminars on outdoor topics and book signings by Alaska outdoor authors. You can see the full lineup on this page, but here are just a few interesting options:
- Wilderness Living – 30 Years in the Remote Alaskan Bush, Friday at 2 p.m. with Mark Richards of Resident Hunters of Alaska
- Solar Electrical Systems for Offgrid Cabins or Homes, Friday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at noon with BJ of Susitna Energy Systems
- Bear Baiting 101, Saturday at noon with Brian Vesco of Sportsman’s Warehouse
- Pet Safety around Traps, Sunday at 11 a.m. with representatives from the Alaska Trappers Association
From upping your boondocking game to keeping your campsite safe from wild animals, these seminars are totally useful for RV owners whether or not you want to try your hand at a little fishing or big game hunting.
The Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show Information
Location: Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center, Wasilla, Alaska
Address: 1001 South Clapp Street, Wasilla, Alaska 99654
Phone Number: (907) 376-6474
Fax Number: (907) 373-6474
Email: [email protected]
Price: Adults 12 and older will pay just $5 to enter, and kids under 12 are FREE
Discounts: Get FREE entry with your military ID, or show up Sunday between 10 and 11 a.m. for free entry compliments of Rene Russ, Financial Advisor at Waddell and Reed.
3. The Fairbanks Outdoor Show
Think nothing exciting happens deep within Alaska’s interior? Think again. This yearly outdoor show has a loyal following and includes tons of outdoors-related vendors, helping you with everything from ATVs and fishing charters to, yes, trailers and camping equipment.
Why You’ll Love the Fairbanks Outdoors Show
Although there isn’t a 2020 show being advertised yet, this outdoors show has been held annually in Fairbanks for well over twenty years, so we don’t think it’s going anywhere! Historically, the show runs in late spring and features an affordable entry fee. (In 2014, it was just $5!)
Along with a whole heap of vendors specializing in every outdoor activity you can think of (and some you probably can’t), the Fairbanks Outdoors Show also features informative talks and seminars on topics like halibut fishing, pack rafting, wildlife management, and even taxidermy — and that’s just to name a few. Several vendors even come in from the lower 48 states for the travel trailer show.
The organizers also set up a casting pool to allow people to practice their fly fishing skills with renowned experts, putting all that theoretical information to pragmatic work. Show-goers may also be entered into a drawing to win a variety of exciting and valuable prizes. For instance, in 2014, one lucky winner received the “boat package” from the Boat Shop, including a 16-foot, flat-bottomed boat with a 25-horsepower four-stroke Yamaha engine… and the trailer to haul it. The whole prize was valued at just under $10,000. Not bad for a random windfall!
Fairbanks Outdoors Show Information
Unfortunately, the 2020 show hasn’t been announced yet — but here’s what we do know about where this event was held in the past.
Location: Carlson Center, Fairbanks, Alaska
Address: 2010 2nd Avenue, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
Alaska is a special state for a lot of reasons, and taking an RV trip there is a long-time dream for many dedicated campers. Everything about the state demands your full attention, and traveling there, even by motorhome, isn’t exactly easy. Even from Seattle, you’re looking at a full 24 hours of driving just to get into its borders!
But this special landscape rewards your efforts with the types of sights, sounds, and experiences you simply can’t get anywhere else. Alaska’s incredible diversity of plant and animal life and extreme environment make many campers feel like it’s truly the last wild place on earth. If you want to, you should definitely spend the time, energy, and money on seeing it for yourself!
Obviously, we at RVshare love RVing — but in the case of an Alaskan trip, the motorhome travel style really does lend itself well to the purpose. There’s a lot to see in Alaska, and if you’re stuck traveling by plane, you’ll likely only see a few big cities and perhaps a little bit of the countryside close to their limits. And in a regular car, you’ll have to figure out where to sleep each night as you drive yourself across the breadth of the state.
In a camper, you never have to worry about finding a place to sleep, even if you’re on a long road in between two remote locations. If worst comes to worst, you can pull off and find some public land where you can set up camp. You’ll have all the comforts of home along with your for the ride, and in a place like Alaska — which can be challenging as much as it’s beautiful — those little indulgences can make your trip a whole lot better.
If you don’t have an RV of your own, or if you don’t relish the idea of driving all the way into Alaska’s interior from your faroff home origin, there’s good news: You can rent an RV that’s already in Alaska by using the peer-to-peer RV market. That way, you can fly in and not have to worry about the long haul through the Yukon, but still enjoy all the benefits of camping in a motorhome while you’re in the state itself.
RVshare has tons of listings of RVs available for rent by owner in Alaska, and many of them are surprisingly affordably priced. Plus, when you rent from a private owner, you know the rig is well loved and looked-after — because, of course, those people utilize the vehicle for their own vacations and adventures!
Renting an RV to explore Alaska is also a great way to give the lifestyle a trial before you take the plunge and buy a motorhome of your own — not to mention the perfect way to attend your favorite motorhome show while you’re there. After all, there are many different types and styles of RVs on the market to choose from, and which one is right for you will depend on your specific needs and travel style.
No matter how you get into and around Alaska, we know you’ll enjoy exploring this unique American treasure. Bon voyage!