Camping in Alaska
By Alex Murphy
Alaska is a dream destination for many travelers, especially those who love the outdoors. Known as "the Last Frontier," the state is covered in wilderness with endless miles of National Parks and destinations far off the grid, making the Alaska camping experience unlike anything else.
It's important to note, Alaska is not for the average visitor, and it's also important to have the right camping gear and take steps to be prepared for bear country.
See a map of all camping in Alaska.
Alaska National Parks
Alaska is home to some of the least visited National Parks and some of the most famous in the world, including Denali National Park & Preserve. This massive park is centered around the mountain it's named for, which is the tallest peak in the country. Denali is bigger than several states and is famous for the Alaska backcountry with grizzlies and other wildlife. This park also has some of the best campgrounds in the state.
Starting with Riley Creek Campground has the most campsites in Denali National Park and is popular for its proximity to the park entrance. Another popular camping spot is Teklanika River Campground which has both tent sites and campsites for RVs.
While less of a household name, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which borders Canada, can bring experiences as big and wild as Denali. Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest National Park by area that the NPS manages. This park has several camping options.
History buffs will enjoy Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, commemorating the gold rush just before the turn of the 20th Century. While there is no camping within the park, there are several spots outside in nearby Skagway, AK.
Alaska State Parks
Not surprisingly, the Alaska State Parks system is the largest in the country. This massive state offers more than 100 options covering all regions of the state from the coast to the interior. This leaves a lot to discover and explore for anyone hoping to find a unique getaway.
Kachemak Bay State Park was the first in the state and is still a popular destination with its diverse ecosystem on the Kenai Peninsula. Plus, it's a short distance from Kenai Fjords National Park, another popular place to visit.
Another popular spot for tent camping and RV camping, according to Campendium users, is Discovery Campground, located inside Captain Cook Recreation Area.
Free Camping in Alaska
Free camping in Alaska is easy to come by as so much of the state remains wilderness. This includes RV sites near cities and a few chances to find a truly off the grid remote campground.
Valdez Glacier, a city park, has spectacular views, while stops like Deadman Lake Campground is a wildlife refuge with easy water access for boaters. The free camping options in Alaska are seemingly endless.
RV Parks in Alaska
Visitors can find RV parks in Alaska throughout the state and near parks and cities like Anchorage.
National Forests in Alaska
Despite all the public land, there are only two officially designated National Forests in the state. That includes Chugach National Forest, which is closer to Anchorage, and Tongass National Forest, which is closer to Juneau. Both are massive areas combining mountains, wilderness and access to Alaska's coast.