Go RV Rentals Guide to RVing in Alaska

Table of Contents

alaska rv parksTraveling to Alaska by RV and exploring this remote paradise is truly a life-changing experience. Nowhere will you see the majestic operations of nature more clearly than in the Last Frontier. Here, towering mountains, sublime glaciers, a cast of tooth-and-claw wildlife, wild coastlines, and charming seaside towns create the perfect setting for an epic RV voyage.

If you’re planning an RV trip to Alaska, this guide offers great insights into how to get there, when to go, where to visit, what to expect, what to pack, and how much to budget. We will also highlight the total distance, quick facts, best RV parks, top camper rentals, as well as some helpful tips for RVing to Alaska.

Don’t want to drive all the way? Book your
Alaska RV Rental today! Go RV Rentals features motorhome and camper rentals in Anchorage and Fairbanks and several other locations in Alaska. 

An Overview of Alaska + Interesting Facts about Alaska

Alaska is the largest US state (663,268 square miles), and it’s more than double the size of the second-largest state, Texas. It’s situated in the northwest corner of North America, separated from the contiguous United States by Canada. Canada borders it to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Quick Facts About Alaska

  • The name Alaska originates from the indigenous Aleut word “alaxsxaq”, meaning peninsula. It’s also said to mean great lands.
  • Alaska is more than 2,000 miles away from the nearest mainland US state, Washington.
  • The first Alaskan settlers traveled from Asia over 10,000 years ago.
  • The first European settlement was established in 1784 by Russian fur traders.
  • US purchased Alaska’s land from Russia for 7.2 million dollars in 1867.
  • It has a population of around 735,000 people and receives around 3 million visitors annually.
  • Natives make up 18% of the state’s population, and there are 200+ different indigenous languages.
  • The state’s three largest cities are Anchorage, Juneau (capital), and Fairbanks.
  • It has around 100,000 glaciers, 3 million lakes, 12,000 rivers, and over 46,600 miles of tidal shoreline.
  • Alaska is home to North America’s tallest mountain, Denali (Mount McKinley), which reaches an elevation of 20,310 ft. It also has 17 of North America’s highest peaks.
  • It has 8 national parks, with the most iconic being Denali National Park & Preserve.
  • The big five call Alaska Home—the world’s largest grizzly bear species, moose, caribou, wolves, and Dall sheep. It also has black bears, bald eagles, humpback whales, orcas, and gray whales.
  • You can view the Aurora Borealis (Northern lights) in Alaska. They are beautiful dancing waves of light.
  • The state has over 130 volcanoes.
  • Once the main transportation mode, Dog mushing is now Alaska’s state sport.
  • Alaska’s State nickname is “The Last Frontier” because it still has unexplored territory. It’s also called the Land of the Midnight Sun. Because from May to August, some communities receive 24-hour sunlight for over two and a half months.
  • Its main industries are oil and natural gas production, mining, fishing, forestry, and tourism.

Best Time to RV in Alaska

rving to alaskaThe best time to visit Alaska by RV is during the summer between mid-May and mid-September. Temperatures are in the 60’s to low 70’s. July offers the perfect combination of good weather and long days. Indeed, it’s also the best time for wildlife viewing. RVers who want to save some cash should visit during the shoulder seasons in May or September, as prices are lower. 

How Much Time Do You Need to Tour Alaska in an RV?

How many days for an Alaska RV vacation? 30 to 60 days is a reasonable time to see most attractions in Alaska. Alternatively, you can fly in, rent an RV, explore some top attractions in 7 to 14 days, then fly out. If you want to drive from the US mainland, Alaska is not a trip you can do within a two or three-week vacation because of the distance. 

How Long Does It Take To Drive To Alaska?

It takes between 6 and 10 days to drive from the contiguous US to Alaska. Around 6 days if you start from Seattle, WA, and 10 days from Miami, Florida. And that’s if you’re driving for up to 8 hours a day. 

Driving Distance from the Nearest Lower 48 State to Alaska by RV 

Alaska is around 2,000 miles away from the nearest state, Washington. If you add the total distance to Alaska and back to the Lower 48, plus the miles you’ll cover exploring Alaska, you could easily drive 6,000 to 8,000 miles. Ultimately, it depends on how many places you plan to tour.

How to Get to Alaska in a Camper: Best RV Route to Alaska

From the US, you need to first enter Canada to reach Alaska by RV. You can choose from over 100 border crossings to enter Canada. Once you arrive in the Great White North, the most direct route to Alaska is through the Alaska-Canada Highway (Alaska Highway or AlCan). 

It starts in Mile Zero Dawson Creek in British Colombia (over 800 miles from Seattle), then travels in a northwesterly direction to the AlCan–Beaver Creek Border Crossing. It then enters Alaska and ends in Delta Junction. The road has two lanes, is paved the entire length, and has plenty of gas stations, provincial parks, and amenities. It’s also open year-round.

However, road construction is possible at any point due to the harsh winters. So you may encounter some stretches of gravel and frost heaves. Note that there’s plenty of wildlife wandering along the road, so watch out. In total, the Alaska Highway stretches 1,387 miles, and around 80% of the road is in Canada. 

Here is a detailed guide with campgrounds, activities, and other points of interest along the Alaska Highway.

RVers can also consider driving the Trans-Canada Highway if coming from the Eastern side of the Lower 48.

What Are the Other Ways to Get Your RV to Alaska?

alaska rv rental

If you don’t have the time to RV the Alaska highway, here are some other options:

  • Put Your RV on the Alaska Ferry – This ferry runs from Bellingham, WA, and leisurely passes through several towns along the coast. You can bring your RV, but you can’t sleep in it, so you’ll need to rent a cabin. The ferry allows you to see unique regions otherwise inaccessible to RVs. The cost is between $2,000 and $6,000, depending on your group size, RV size, and where you want to disembark in Alaska.
  • Ship Your RV to Alaska – Put your rig onboard a cargo ship to Anchorage using a company like Tote Maritime. However, you won’t be allowed to accompany your RV. The ship departs from Tacoma, WA, twice a week and arrives in Alaska in 3 days. The price ranges between $4,000 and $7,000, depending on your RV’s size. Notably, shipping your RV back will cost half the price.
  • Fly and Rent an RV in Alaska – If you prefer to fly in and drive an RV rental, the major airports in Alaska are Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Anchorage, Fairbanks International Airport, and Juneau International Airport.

What is the Best Size RV for Alaska?

You can drive any RV size to the Last Frontier and explore most of the popular areas. However, a mid-size unit may be the best RV for Alaska. It will allow you to venture into more places, maneuvering it will be less demanding, and it will offer better gas mileage. Also, accessing off-beat boondocking locations won’t be a hassle. If you are a first-time RVer, or nervous about driving a mammoth RV, consider a small unit.

Best RV Trips to Take in Alaska

best rv route to alaska

There are so many things to see during an RV trip to Alaska. Here are the most exciting destinations to add to your Alaska RV trip itinerary.

Denali National Park & Preserve: Legendary Wildlife and Big Adventures

The crown jewel of Alaska, Denali National Park (
see our Denali guide here) encompasses six million acres of pristine wilderness dominated by the towering peak of Denali, North America’s highest summit. This untamed expanse is a haven for diverse wildlife, taiga forests, tundras, deep canyons, and braided rivers. RVers can explore the wilderness through a single road winding deep into the park. 

Kenai Peninsula: Kenai Fjords NP & Homer

Known as Alaska’s Playground, the Kenai Peninsula offers a symphony of natural wonders: towering mountains, pristine glaciers, and lush forests. Kenai Fjords National Park showcases the best of the region, from tidewater glaciers to marine wildlife. 

This paradise delivers world-class fishing and river rafting. The charming towns of Seward and Homer serve as a gateway to this wilderness. While there, visit the Alaska SeaLife Center to learn about marine mammal rehabilitation and head to Miller’s Landing to spy on wildlife. 

Juneau: Mendenhall Lake & Tracy Arm Fjord

Juneau, the capital of Alaska, rests in a rugged coastal region with steep mountains and deep fjords. The terrain makes it difficult to build roads. So, it’s the only state capital in the US with no road access. You can only reach it by airplane or boat. 

Visitors can spot humpback whales in Mendenhall Lake or kayak alongside the steep rock walls of Tracy Arm Fjord (a narrow waterway surrounded by craggy cliffs). Alternatively, hike the scenic trails of Mount Roberts. You can also admire the city’s eclectic mix of architecture and learn about Alaska’s native history at the Alaska State Museum.

Mendenhall Glacier: One of the Most Beautiful and Accessible Glaciers

Nestled near Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier is a stunning natural wonder stretching 13.6 miles within the Tongas National Forest. This awe-inspiring river of ice captivates visitors with its otherworldly blue hues and colossal ice formations. The glacier ends at Mendenhall Lake and can be easily seen from the Mendenhall Visitor Center. Go kayaking for an up-close encounter with the glacier’s crevasses and ice cave.

Fairbanks: The Northern Lights

Boasting the frontier spirit, Fairbanks is the perfect place in Alaska to catch the Northern Lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis) in all their glory. Additionally, it’s the best place to experience the legendary midnight sun. A phenomenon where the sun shines nearly all day. 

While there, check out the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Aurora Ice Museum, the Georgeson Botanical Garden, and the nearby Chena River State Recreation Area. After exploring Alaska’s glaciers and ice-capped mountains, warm up in the bath-like waters of Chena Hot Springs.

Anchorage: Cultural and Urban Offerings

Anchorage (Alaska’s largest city) is a vibrant urban hub where wilderness and metropolitan charm converge. It offers access to a plethora of outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and wildlife viewing. It has over 200 municipal parks and 120-plus miles of paved trails. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail provides stunning views of the inlet and city skyline. 

Visitors also appreciate the culinary and brewery scene. Don’t miss cultural attractions such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The Alaska Zoo is a top highlight, as it’s the only zoo in North America that focuses on animals from the northern and Arctic regions. It’s home to wolves, moose, wolverines, caribou, and Dall sheep. Moreover, the popular Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is just an hour’s drive away. This 200-acre refuge is home to black and brown bears, moose, caribou, coyotes, wolves, foxes, and musk ox.

Skagway: Brims With Gold Rush History

Skagway beckons with its gold rush legacy and stunning scenery. It’s a gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, preserving the town’s boomtown spirit and iconic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Stroll along Broadway Street, lined with charming buildings from the late 19th century, housing museums and shops. 

The Best Alaska RV Road Trip Itinerary

For easy trip planning, here is a brief itinerary for exploring Alaska by RV.

  • 15-Day Alaska By RV Itinerary Starting from Anchorage – Day 1: Anchorage to Talkeetna, Day 2 & 3: Denali NP, Day 4&5: Fairbanks, Day 6: Cooper Center, Day 7 & 8: Valdez & Prince William Sound, Day 9: Seward, Day 10: Kenai Fjords NP, Day 11 & 12: Seward & Cooper Landing Day 13 & 14: Homer, Day 15: Anchorage.

Every stop in this Alaska itinerary has an outstanding array of things to do. From fishing charters, glacier tours, bear viewing trips, hikes, sea kayaking, rafting, tide pooling, jet boating, ATV adventures, zip lining, flightseeing, and scenic drives to museum experiences. 

What’s the Average Alaska RV Trip Cost?

rv to alaska

In 2024, the average Alaska by RV cost ranges between $10,000 and 15,000 for a 2-3 person 60-day, 7,500-mile trip. Gas will cost $5,000 (10 mpg, $5 per gallon in Canada), RV parks $3,000 ($50 per night), food & restaurants $3,000, entertainment/tours/cruises/souvenirs $2,000, and an emergency fund of $1,000. 

And that’s if you’re driving your own RV. If you rent a camper in Alaska, expect to spend an extra $200 to 300 per day. You can cut RV park costs by boondocking, as there are so many wonderful places to pull over along a lake or river in Alaska. 

RV Camping Options in Alaska

alaska rv campgrounds

Here are the top private and public RV campgrounds in Alaska:

  • Diamond M Ranch Resort Between Kenai and Soldotna – Campfire socials, farm tours, river hikes, fishing, full hookups, bathhouses, WiFi, and excursions. $60 to $110 nightly.
  • Eagle’s Rest RV Park & Cabins in Valdez – This Alaska RV park has a convenience store, a laundromat, cable, WiFi, and full hookups. Further, it has magnificent mountain views and towering waterfalls. $65 to $80.
  • Heritage RV Park in Homer – Waterfront sites, full hookups, hot showers, satellite TV, free WiFi, Espresso bar, and a laundry room. $75 to $85.
  • Stoney Creek RV Park in Seward – Full hookups, satellite TV, nature trail, showers, laundry, WiFi, fire pits, and a phone jack. $70 to $80.
  • Anchorage North KOA in Palmer – It’s one of the best KOA RV parks in Alaska with full hookups, yard games, a playground, WiFi, a pavilion, and laundry. You’ll also have a camp store, propane, nature trail, and dog park. $70 to $80.
  • Some of the best public Alaska RV campgrounds are Riley Creek RV in Denali, Eagle River in Chugach SP, Eagle Beach SRA in Juneau, Clam Gulch SRA in Kenai, Rosehip in Fairbanks, and Byers Lake in Trapper Creek.

Where to Rent an RV in Alaska

alaska rv trip itinerary

If driving long distances isn’t your cup of tea, you may opt to leave your rig at home, fly into Alaska, and rent an RV. With ouR site Go RV Rentals, you can find just about any type of RV rental in Alaska. Let’s explore some top RVs for rent in Alaska:

Tips for RVing in Alaska

Here are some helpful tips on how to plan an RV trip to Alaska.

Tips for Preparing for an Alaska RV Road Trip

  • Schedule a full RV inspection and service all components of your RV before the trip to Alaska. The 6k to 8k mile journey will take a toll on your rig. Also, get some quality tires.
  • Alaska rains a lot, so reseal the roof and windows and carry sealant.
  • Make sure you are confident enough to drive, park, and back up your RV in various road conditions. If you’re not, go on shorter trips before heading to Alaska.
  • Install systems that will secure your items from rattling, moving, and falling.
  • In your Alaska RV packing list, include layers like short and long-sleeved shirts and a warm jacket. Bring rain gear, sun gear, insect repellent, waterproof boots, a flashlight, a camera, and a first aid kit. Don’t forget outdoor gear for hiking and fishing.
  • For your rig, bring a spare tire, tire chains, a toolbox, a tow strap, a vehicle jack, a snow shovel, a tire air pump, and jumper cables. Also, pack a rock repair kit to fix rock chips in the windshield.
  • Map your travel route before you leave.
  • Be flexible and allocate enough time for the trip as there is so much to see, plus attractions are a long distance from each other. 

Tips for Driving an RV Through Canada to Alaska

best size rv for alaska

  • Be familiar with Canadian laws and border regulations, plus towing and seat belt requirements. Check out our guide on RVing in Canada.
  • Items like firearms, dairy products, live bait, fireworks, cannabis, and firewood are restricted in Canada.
  • Get familiar with kilometer measurements, as the speed limit in Canada is in kph. 100 kph converts to 62 mph.
  • If traveling with pets, make sure all shots are up to date, and remember a pet health certificate from a vet is mandatory.
  • Be prepared to answer questions from the border patrol.

Tips for Internet Access in Alaska

  • Most of Alaska has poor or nonexistent cell service.
  • Verizon and AT&T both have decent coverage in most populated areas and along most sections of the Alaska Highway.
  • GCI is the local carrier, with a focus on Alaskan coverage. It serves over 90% of Alaska’s residents.
  • Check GCI’s coverage map to figure out what service to expect.
  • Bring a GPS with pre-downloaded maps, plus paper maps.
  • SpaceX expanded Starlink service to Alaska and Northern Canada. But you can’t entirely rely on Satellite Internet.
  • Many populated areas have WiFi hotspots, and some Campgrounds in Alaska offer free internet access. Check The Milepost for detailed information.
  • For more information on how to stay connected with the best RV internet, check out our guide.

Other Alaska RV Travel Tips

Here’s some additional RVing in Alaska advice:

  • Stay gassed up, as there are lots of remote stretches where you’ll drive for hours without finding a gas station.
  • Drive slow, and be cautious of damaged road sections. Also, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the road.
  • Prices in Alaska are super expensive, so budget for it.
  • Check to see if the credit card you plan on using has a foreign use charge (usually 3% per transaction). If it does, get a card that doesn’t have one.
  • Expect to have a lot of mosquitos in June and July, so bring repellent, cover up with long sleeves, pants, and a hat. Consider a quick-set-up screen room for relaxing outdoors.
  • Always be bear aware when outdoors.
  • Prepare for 24 hrs of daylight. Bring blackout curtains or sleep masks to block out sunlight at night.
  • Don’t be in a hurry. Enjoy the scenery and expect to be held up in areas where crews are out repairing winter damage.
  • For Alaska RVing resources, “The Milepost” and “Alaskan Camping” are great books with details on amenities, services, and attractions. There are also lots of Alaska RV travel blogs you can check out. Other helpful tools are “RVing To Alaska” Facebook Group – By Gary and Stacey Quimby. In addition, use RVing apps like Campendium and iOverlander.
  • First-time RVers who aren’t confident can travel in professionally planned and led RV caravans. The organizers pre-plan everything, and you always have support along with you in the event of problems. The downside is you have to follow their itinerary.
  • If you’re pulling a travel trailer to Alaska, ensure your camper’s brakes are working and adjusted according to the load. Further, stay within your RV’s weight limits and check the proper placement and balance of your load. Don’t be tempted to overload because you’re going on a lengthy trip.

FAQs About RVing in Alaska

travel to alaska by rv

Here are some frequently asked questions about traveling to Alaska by RV:

How Much Does it Cost to Rent an RV in Alaska?

RV rentals in Alaska cost around $200-300 per night. Travel trailers are the most affordable, starting at $120, while some upscale Class As go for as much as $600. Campervans and Class C RVs run around $250 to $325 per night.

Can I Deliver an RV to Alaska for Free?

Driving an RV to Alaska for free is possible. At the beginning of camping season, some Alaska RV transportation companies hire skilled and experienced drivers to drive or tow campers from the Lower 48 states to the Last Frontier. However, you need to meet their strict requirements before they hire you.

Can I Ferry My RV on Train to Alaska?

Currently, there are no trains to Alaska, and the state is not accessible from the contiguous US by rail. However, there are railroad tours within Alaska. If you really don’t like driving, but you want to use your RV in Alaska, ferry it by ship or hire a professional company that drives RVs to Alaska on behalf of dealerships.

An RV Road Trip to Alaska Should Be On Every RV Owner’s Bucket List

Traveling to Alaska by RV is an expedition that many RVers long to take on. If you’re one of the lucky RV owners preparing for the quest, this Alaska RV trip blog post has everything you need to know about the destination. Use it to organize a safe, smooth, and rewarding vacation.