We’d been to Alaska once back in 2005 for a short 5 day trip for my sisters wedding. Fell in love with the beauty of the state ( it’s magical) but only got to experience a small part of it. We always talked about going back there “someday” so last summer we planned a 10 day trip in early June. We knew we wanted to see more so we rented an RV from Great Alaskan Holiday in Anchorage (great rental experience).
We broke the trip up into two separate parts, the first was to head north and spend a few days at Denali National Park, then go south to the Kenai Peninsula. One thing we learned while planning where to stay in Alaska is that most of the places that appealed to us were dry camping campgrounds. I have to say we were a bit nervous about this since our last (and only other RV experiences) were with full hook-ups. But we managed and it wasn’t that bad – you just have to be strategic with things since some of the campgrounds had rules for when generators could run.
Here’s where we stayed.
Eagle River Campground – Eagle River, AK
Since we flew all day to get to Anchorage (where we picked up the RV) we planned to spend our first night just outside of the city. We located Eagle River Campground (courtesy of Google Maps). To be honest the reviews were not that great but we figured it was just a night and we’ve stayed at worse.
The reviews were not correct. Maybe it was because we were there early in the season, but the place was not crowded and it was spacious. The camp host was super nice and our site was fairly large, wooded and private. This campground is about 30 minutes outside of Anchorage in the town of Eagle River and located just off the highway. Convenient, quiet and the town of Eagle River is really nice AND you can reserve your site online!
Riley Creek Campground – Denali National Park
There are a number of RV campgrounds right outside of Denali National park and while researching where to stay we realized that most of them that were closer to the park were large parking lots right along the highway. Really not our thing. So we looked into staying right in the park. In Denali National Park there are three RV campgrounds. Two are very remote and require you to be parked for a minimum of 3 days. The other one, Riley Creek Campground was closer to the entrance of the park and did not have in/out restrictions. We ended up choosing Riley Creek for our 3 day stay. It was amazing.
The first thing we did when we arrived at the campground – before checking in – was to head to the dumping station to fill up with water. As soon as we pulled in, I looked to the right and saw a huge momma moose with her two little babies – only a few hundred feet away. I immediately grabbed the camera and hopped out of the RV. I knew well enough to keep my distance and thankfully I had a great zoom lens to capture the moment. We later learned that the trio was living at the campground and we would see them a lot hanging out in the woods during our stay.
The campground itself had 3 loops and nice wooded spots that were large and semi-private. The one thing that took some getting used to was the restrictions on when you could run the generator (two hours in the morning and four hours at night) which seems like a good deal of time except when you get up late and have 5 minutes to make a pot of coffee 🙂 The campground also had a great general store which enough supplies and a fabulous coffee bar that was just a short walk from our site. We spent three amazing days in the park – did a full day tour of Denali, when ATV’ing and chilled out in the wilderness. For June, the weather was a little cold and rainy, but it didn’t matter. A wonderful place to stay.
Trail River Campground – Moose Pass, AK
After our stay up in Denali we headed down to the Kenai Peninsula for the remainder of our stay. We’d never been to the area and took a gamble on where to camp. Our plan was to spend 3 nights a Trail River Campground – located off of of the Seward Highway about 30 minutes north of the town of Seward. We arrived late in the day on a Thursday, tired from the long drive from Denali (about 333 miles) found our pre-reserved campsite and was looking forward to just chilling.
The campground is fairly large and apparently a great weekend spot for locals. Our spot was just across the way from a large group of folks (a few families) who, along with their dogs and young children were running around have a great time. I have no issues with this, except that we were looking forward to chilling out in nature, spending some quiet time amongst the trees and mountains. We pre-paid for 3 nights and ended up staying one. When we got up the next day our plan was to check out Seward, but we also decided to pack up camp and find another “quieter” campground.
If you are ever fortunate enough to go camping in Alaska (or even to just travel there for vacation) and are planning to do some driving around, I would highly recommend having The Milepost book on hand. The book is referred to as “The bible of of the north country” and it was extremely helpful in us locating another campsite while in the woods with no cell service. We spent the day exploring around Seward while also looking for another place to camp. Ideally we were looking for a campground (not an RV park) and there were several that we drove through. One, located right along Kenai Lake was magical, however the site were too small for our 32ft rig and another we checked out was a little scary. After a few hours we ended up heading to Stoney Creek Campground (which was a more traditional “parking lot” rv park) but since it was early in the season it was fairly empty.
Stoney Creek Campground – Seward, AK
Stoney Creek Campground is located closer to the town of Seward and is set along little creek (hence the name) surrounded by the mountains. We pulled up on a whim, looking for a place to spend the next two nights and the hosts could not have been nicer. Even though it was not our ideal spot, it did offer full hook-ups, which after spending a week dry camping was nice luxury to have. The campground is fairly large and there are a few key spots that are along the creek. Unfortunately, those were all taken when we got there, but the next day a few spots opened up and we were able to spend our last night camping in Alaska, enjoying the land of the midnight sun with a great campfire listening to the creek.