Explore > Alaska > Welcome to Alaska

Places Welcoming You

Adventure Bound Alaska
Juneau, Alaska
Alaska Marine Highway System
Ketchikan, Alaska
Diamond M Ranch Resort
Kenai, Alaska

Welcome to Alaska

Alaska’s RV parks are situated in some of the most spectacular places in the world. But because of their locations, many of these parks can provide only some of the amenities that many travelers desire.  At some Alaska parks, the presence of wildlife means that garbage receptacles aren’t placed at each site, or the permafrost in the ground precludes the establishment of sewer systems.

Although these inconveniences can change a park’s Good Sam Rating, the tradeoff is a once-in-a-lifetime trip to some of the most beautiful wilderness areas and fun small towns on the planet. So get in touch with your inner explorer and hit the road for adventure—the payoff is an RV journey that you’ll never forget.

It’s no great surprise that Alaska is so adept at capturing the imagination and inspiring wanderlust. The mere mention of the 49th state’s name brings about visions of stunning, surreal landscapes full of epic glaciers, craggy coastlines and towering alpine peaks. From the outside looking in, it all might seem too good to be true, too wild to be possible. But first-time visitors discover firsthand just how accurate Alaska’s nickname, the Last Frontier, truly is.

This is big, wild country—home to the tallest mountain in North America (Denali, previously known as Mount McKinley), a block of crushed ice and snow larger than Switzerland (Bering Glacier) and the largest national forest in the country (Tongass).

The vastness of Alaska’s untamed wilderness, coupled with its harsh climes, means much of the state is still largely impenetrable. Even the capital, Juneau, isn’t directly accessible by road—you have to fly in or take a ferry. There’s an undeniable romance to that kind of remoteness, but rest assured, the majority of Alaska’s finest sights are still an easy hop, skip or jump away from the likes of Anchorage, Fairbanks and the string of charming towns that can be found throughout the Inside Passage.

2017_ak_welcome_sm_01

Adventure

The moment you step into Alaska, you’ve punched your ticket to a world of once-in-a-lifetime outdoor adventure. Up here, kayaking with gray whales and skiing down glaciers is the Alaskan equivalent of taking an afternoon stroll through the local park.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a short distance from Juneau and a must-visit for all Alaskan visitors. An official World Heritage Site and one of the largest protected areas in the world, Glacier Bay is the best of Alaska in a single, 25-million-acre package. Thick coastal rainforest, dramatic glaciers, picturesque fjords and heaps of wildlife make cruising the bay or hiking its glaciers a truly breathtaking experience.

A few hours south of Anchorage, Kenai Fjords National Park is home to the Harding Ice Field, Exit Glacier and some of the most mesmerizing coastal boat tours in the state. A few hours north of Anchorage, you’ll find vast Denali National Park, home to sweeping views of Denali Mountain, which at 20,310 feet is the tallest peak in North America.

For wildlife watchers and nature photographers, one of the most memorable parks in the state is Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Only accessible by boat or plane, this pristine, protected slice of wilderness is packed with more than 3,500 massive Kodiak bears—many of which stand a towering 14 feet tall when they rise up on their stout hind legs.

Entertainment

The yearly festivities in Alaska kick off in February, with a pair of events that highlight the state’s hardy past and rugged ways. The Yukon Quest sled dog race, which is considered one of the toughest races in the world, stretches 1,000 miles from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon. The Iron Dog Race, meanwhile, takes sled racers on a course that starts in Wasilla and finishes 2,000 miles later in Fairbanks.

June brings Gold Rush Days to Juneau. This popular, multi-day festival is filled with dramatic mining and logging competitions, including rock-slab drilling, log rolling and even ax throwing. There’s also a carnival for kids and educational games that teach gold panning and hand mucking.

In August the Alaska State Fair sets up shop in Palmer, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from far and wide. Musical performances, games for kids, vegetable growing contests and a myriad of world-class exhibits fill the fairgrounds.

In October, Sitka hosts the Alaska Day Festival, which is a weeklong event. It celebrates October 18, 1867—the day Alaska was transferred from Russian control to the United States government. Festivities include a period costume ball, a parade and a series of concerts. The festival concludes with a ceremonial lowering of the Russian flag and raising of the American stars and stripes.

Heritage

Alaska was one of the last states to join the Union but its history runs long and deep.

Like the rest of North America, the state was first inhabited by an assortment of Native Alaskan tribes. In the 1700s, Russian settlements began creeping through the territory, primarily on its southern and coastal flanks. In 1867, Russia sold the land to the United States and, when gold was discovered in the 1890s, a stampede of American settlers joined the multicultural mix.

For a deeper look into the state and its people, head to the University of Alaska’s prestigious Museum of the North or the world-class Anchorage Museum.

What to Expect at Alaska RV Parks

Alaska’s RV parks are situated in some of the most spectacular places in the world. But because of their locations, many of these parks can provide only some of the amenities that many travelers desire. At some Alaska parks, the presence of wildlife means that garbage receptacles aren’t placed at each site, or the permafrost in the ground precludes the establishment of sewer systems.

Although these inconveniences can change a park’s Good Sam Rating, the tradeoff is a once-in-a-lifetime trip to some of the most beautiful wilderness areas and fun small towns on the planet. So get in touch with your inner explorer and hit the road for adventure—the payoff is an RV journey that you’ll never forget.