The 10 Best RV Trips to Take in Alaska

There’s pretty much no place more picturesque than Alaska to take an RV road trip in America. The state’s spectacular landscapes and laid-back locals put Alaska at the top of many travelers’ lists, and for good reason. Plus, it’s one of the few places you can visit in the summer where you can still wear your scarves, boots, and jackets!

Whether you’re a long-time RV owner or just renting a camper for your vacation, Alaska is home to many great RV parks and campgrounds in some of the country’s most scenic destinations. And from Denali National Park to the Matanuska Glacier, you’ll find plenty of must-see sights along the way.

Ready to dive in and start planning your trip? Here’s our free Alaska RV travel guide, with what we think just might be the 10 best stops across the state.

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1. Denali National Park

First up on the Alaska RV trip itinerary is Denali National Park. If you’re planning a trip to the so-called Last Frontier, it’s almost certain you came for the views and, at 6 million acres, there’s no shortage of sights to see within Denali. The park is open year round, but the peak season usually runs from late May until early September. Whether you choose to explore Denali by bus or helicopter (private vehicles aren’t allowed on most of the road), you’re likely to spot bears, moose, and caribou along the way. Park rangers also lead group hiking tours for those looking for a bit more guidance during their time in the park. And don’t leave without paying a visit to the on-site kennels to check out Denali’s own sled dogs! They’re one of the park’s biggest attractions and most beloved creatures.

Location: Mile 237, Highway 3, Denali Park, AK 99755

Contact: (907) 683-9532

Price: $10 per person entrance fee, free for children 15 and under (fee good for seven days at the park)

Website: https://www.nps.gov/dena/

Where to Stay:

Three of the park’s onsite campgrounds (the Riley Creek Campground, Savage River Campground, and Teklanika River Campground) are open to RVs, though Savage River and Teklanika River are only open during the summer months. Unfortunately, none of the three can accommodate RVs larger than 40 feet, so if your camper is longer, you’ll have to look outside the park. Luckily, there are plenty of options within a short drive. Denali Rainbow Village is the closest full-service RV park, while McKinley RV and Campground offers 50 campsites with full hookups and pull-through sites. Don’t worry if renting an RV is still on your agenda, as finding rentals nearby is a cinch.

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2. The Santa Claus House

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, you can still have a charmed time at the real North Pole, just south of Fairbanks. The tiny city was incorporated in 1953, and its 2,000 or so residents now live on streets like Snowman Lane and Kris Kringle Drive. While the town brings holiday cheer to travelers throughout the entire year, things really get buzzing in the weeks before Christmas, when the local post office receives countless letters to Santa. The biggest attraction (naturally) is the Santa Claus House, where you’ll find live reindeer, 9,000 square feet of Christmas shopping, and a three-story-tall Santa statue out front. Even in July, you’ll be humming Christmas carols all the way home.

Location: 101 St Nicholas Dr, North Pole, AK 99705

Contact: (800) 588-4078

Website: http://www.santaclaushouse.com/

Where to Stay:

After a day of cocoa and Christmas carols, head over to the nearby Riverview RV Park on the Chena River. The campground has 160 sites with full hookups and on-site laundry facilities. But if you’d rather drive on to Fairbanks, there are plenty of other campgrounds in the area to choose from.

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3. Matanuska Glacier Hike

There are glaciers throughout Alaska, but the 24-mile-long Matanuska Glacier has the distinction of being the largest U.S. glacier accessible by vehicle. Take advantage by booking a guided glacier tour with Matanuska Glacier Adventures of Alaska, where you’re bound to have a once in a lifetime experience. As one of the best RV trips Alaska has to offer, you’ll hike through the ancient ice and learn more about how glaciers form and grow. All your equipment and gear is included, though you’ll definitely want to bundle up in your warmest layers!

Location: 66500 Glacier Park Rd, Sutton, AK 99674

Contact: (888) 253-4480

Price: $100 for a guided tour, $30 for unguided access

Website: http://matanuskaglacieradventures.us

Where to Stay:

After a long day at the glaciers, head out to the Grand View Cafe and RV Park , which has 25 RV campsites (19 of which are pull-through). Grand View is only open from May to September, though, so if you’re traveling outside of those dates, try the family-owned Pinnacle Mountain RV Park, which is open throughout the year and has both an on-site grocery store and restaurant.

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4. The Northern Lights in Fairbanks

Looking for Alaska RV trip ideas that are simply unforgettable? Head to Fairbanks to catch the Northern Lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis) in all their glory. Most people take a trip to Alaska during the warmer summer months, but if you’re one of the rare travelers who pay a visit after September, all the better — the Northern Lights are best seen in the late fall, winter, and early spring. Fairbanks is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the lights, which illuminate the sky in shades of aqua, green, yellow, and red. As they say, the best things in life are free, so grab a bite to eat and ask a local where they like to go to check out the lights. Then, bundle up, make a Thermos of coffee, and head out for a night of peace and quiet.

Location: Fairbanks, AK

Website: http://www.alaska.org/things-to-do/northern-lights-viewing

Where to Stay:

There are plenty of RV campgrounds around Fairbanks so don’t worry about finding a place to stay! River’s Edge RV Park has 167 sites as well as both full and basic hookups. There’s also the Chena River Wayside RV Park, which offers 56 back-in RV sites and free WiFi. The state-run campground is located on 26 acres of a scenic wooded forest right along the Chena River. For more options near Fairbanks, check out this list of the 10 best campgrounds in Alaska.

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5. Totem Bight State Historic Park

Next up on our list of Alaska RV road trips is the Totem Bight State Historic Park, located just north of Ketchikan in Borough, Alaska. The U.S. Forest Service began restoration of dozens of abandoned Native American totem poles in 1938, leading to the eventual creation of the replicas now found at the Totem Bight site. Learn more about the cultures of the Tlingit and Haida Indians while taking in the sights of the natural surroundings and ocean view.

Location: 9883 N Tongass Hwy, Ketchikan, AK 99901

Contact: (907) 247-8574

Price: free

Website: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/totembgh.htm

Where to Stay: 

Your best bet for RV camping near Ketchikan is the nearby Clover Pass Resort, which offers full hookups, coin laundry, and its own shuttle to nearby attractions. Recreational fishers will also enjoy the salmon and halibut that can be caught on site. And if you’re itching to get out on the water, boat rentals are available for a reasonable cost.

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6. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

If you’re looking for ideas for Alaska RV trips with kids, look no further than the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Spanning 200 acres, the center serves to teach the public about the state’s vast array of wildlife. More than just an educational center, though, AWCC is also a sanctuary that cares for orphaned and injured animals, including bison, black bears, eagles, deer, and foxes. Free animal programs are offered throughout the week to show visitors how the center’s staff nurses animals back to recovery and cares for them once they’re healthy.

Location: Mile 79 Seward Highway, Portage, AK 99587

Contact: (907) 783-2025

Price: $15 for adults, $10 for youth ages 7 to 17, and free for children 6 and under

Discounts: seniors, military

Website: https://www.alaskawildlife.org/

Where to Stay:

Only four minutes down the road from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is the family-owned and operated Portage Valley RV Park, the only RV campground in the area with electric and water. After that, your next best bet is about 20 minutes away at the Bird Creek Motel and RV Park, where you’ll find eight RV campsites with 20-amp power and water.

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7. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

After locals discovered gold in northwest Canada in 1896, nearly 100,000 men made the pilgrimage up north, hoping to strike it big. Many of them came through Skagway, Alaska, where they loaded up on the required year’s worth of supplies, equipment, and food to avoid starvation. While it later became a ghost town, much of the historic downtown has been preserved by the National Park Service as a way to remember one of the country’s most iconic moments in time. Whether you’re a history buff or just passing through, there’s plenty to do at the park, including taking a guided tour of downtown, hiking the nearby Chilkoot Trail, or checking out some of the interactive exhibits at the visitors’ center.

Location: 291 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840

Contact: (907) 983-9200

Price: free

Website: https://www.nps.gov/klgo/index.htm

Where to Stay:

Pullen Creek RV Park is just one block away from the Klondike Gold Rush park and offers 34 gravel sites and 12 harbor sites with electric and water hookups. You can also check out the Garden City RV Park, which is walking distance to Skagway’s historic district.

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8. The Homer Spit

It may sound weird, but the Homer Spit is actually just a four-and-half mile piece of land that juts out into the Kachemak Bay. And there’s good reason why it comes recommended near the top of almost any list of Alaska RV vacations. The boat harbor is surrounded by sweeping views of glacier-capped mountains and miles upon miles of mirror-smooth water. There’s something for everyone at the Spit, from shopping to boating to fishing, and if you catch something you like, there are even restaurants that will cook up your catch. Homer is also known as the arts capital of Alaska, so be sure to check out the galleries while you’re there. Before you leave, take the 23-mile trip north to Anchor Point, which is the westernmost point in the U.S. that’s accessible by road.

Location: Homer Spit, Homer, AK 99603

Website: http://www.alaska.org/detail/the-homer-spit

Where to Stay:

The City of Homer operates its own RV park from April 1 to October 30 on a first-come, first-serve basis. But if the campground is full, the Alaska Heritage RV Park is conveniently located right next to the Spit’s famous fishing hole. Alaska Heritage has full hookups, free WiFi, coin laundry, an espresso bar, and even its own half-mile of private beach. And because it’s right on the water, the views are unbeatable.

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9. Chena Hot Springs

After zipping around Alaska’s glaciers and ice-capped mountains, give yourself permission to warm up at the Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks. With an average year-round water temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s a surreal experience plunging into the bath-like water in one of the chilliest places in the world. Some even believe the water, with its mix of steam and minerals, has healing powers. When you’re ready to cool down again, head over to the Chena Hot Springs Resort’s Aurora Ice Museum, where you can check out incredible ice sculptures from world champion ice carvers Steve and Heather Brice. Cap the night off with an appletini in a carved ice martini glass at the Aurora Ice Bar to end a relaxing day you’ll never forget.

Location: 56.5 Chena Hot Springs Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99711

Contact: (907) 451-8104

Price: $15 for adult entrance to the springs, $15 for entrance to the Aurora Ice Museum

Discounts: seniors, children

Website: https://chenahotsprings.com

Where to Stay:

If you’re traveling from May 15 to September 15, you can stay right on the premises at one of the springs’ 24 campsites. No electric or plumbing hookups are available, but the campground does have drinking water and a dump station available for guests. Looking for something slightly more accommodating? The nearby Northern Moosed RV Park & Campground has pull-through campsites with both full and partial hookups, while the Riverview RV Park has 160 full hookup sites, the majority of which are pull-throughs that can accommodate RVs as large as 70 feet. You can also try the “C” Lazy Moose RV Park down the road, which has full hookups as well as laundry facilities and WiFi.

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10. Alaskan Brewing Co.

Located in Juneau, Alaskan Brewing Co. is (as you might guess) the oldest brewery in Alaska. Started in 1986 by Marcy and Geoff Larson, Alaskan now brews seven beers year round, with about eight other rotating seasonal and limited edition varieties. Alaskan Amber is the brewery’s most well-known classic, but its Summer Ale, Mocha Milk Stout, and Icy Bay IPA are also worth trying. The tasting room welcomes guests throughout the year and tours are given to visitors every day at the beginning of each hour. When you’re done, belly up to the bar for a single beer or flight, or better yet, grab a six-pack to go — Alaskan is only available in 19 states, so take some home for future enjoyment.

Location: 5429 Shaune Dr, Juneau, AK 99801

Contact: (907) 780-5866

Price: $20 for a guided tour with seven samples

Website: https://alaskanbeer.com/visit/

Where to Stay:

Not far up the road is the pet-friendly Spruce Meadow RV Park, which has 47 campsites with full hookups and WiFi. You can also try the Auke Bay RV Park, another pet-friendly campground with electric and water hookups.

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That’s it!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Alaska RV travel tips! Remember that our picks aren’t listed in geographical order, so if you’re planning on traveling from one destination to another, be sure to create your own map so you can find the route that best makes sense for your trip. Less time spent in your RV means more time for actual sightseeing and exploring!

Since many businesses are seasonal in Alaska, it’s typically a good idea to call ahead to specific campgrounds or sites before you make the drive. Generally speaking, most places are open between mid-May and mid-September, when the weather is nice and visitors pour in from all over the world. If you’re hearty enough to travel during the off-season, more power to you! Just be aware that finding a meal or a campground may be more of a struggle than if you were traveling in the summer.

That’s it for our Alaska RV trip planner! Whether you find yourself at the Chena Hot Springs or the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, we think you’ll agree that there’s no shortage of incredible sights to see during the span of your RV road trip. No matter where your travels take you, we wish you a fun and relaxing time in The Last Frontier.

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