There’s nothing quite like camping in the woods with the family when you’re a kid. The crackling campfire and gooey s’mores. Biking around the campground loop. Running through the forest and gathering wood. Catching (and landing) that first fish. Here we offer details for nine great public family campgrounds within a 90-minute drive from Anchorage.
Set in a handsome birch forest overlooking Turnagain Arm, this campground in Chugach National Forest close to the historic village of Hope is a family classic. The 34 sites offer all the usual amenities (picnic table, campfire ring, outhouses, water pump) and are laid out with an eye toward privacy. Just 81 miles from Anchorage.
Biking, fish viewing, a natural history center and a flat hike to a glacier are within easy reach of this quiet, intimate campground in Portage Valley at the head of Turnagain Arm in the Chugach National Forest. The 12 sites in the graveled, wooded Black Bear are yards from the Trail of Blue Ice — a non-motorized multi-use trail that traverses the valley floor.
If you want to camp beside subalpine Upper Summit Lake close to trumpeter swans and fishing for rainbows, take the family to this campground deep in the Kenai Mountains off Mile 46 of the Seward Highway. The 35 sites are spread along a loop in the alder, willow and spruce woods on the hillside above the lake, with clear-running Tenderfoot Creek passing through
Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend
Bertha Creek Campground is a great choice for a low-key campout in a recreational gold-panning area on a quiet loop where the kids won’t get lost. Located just south of Turnagain Pass in the Kenai Mountains about 65 miles south of Anchorage, the campground is tucked into an open forest beside the confluence of Bertha and Granite creeks at the base of steep mountains.
The six-room B&B, in a log building, is strictly no-frills, but you’ll find clean, comfortable rooms with one double bed and one twin bed. While they may be basic, you won’t find more affordable lodging in the area—there’s even a continental breakfast. It’s the perfect choice for hardcore fishermen and adventurers who want a warm, clean, affordable room to return to in the evening.
Quartz Creek campground is situated on the banks of sparkling Kenai Lake. This is a great spot to cool off on a hot day. Kenai Lake has a good sandy swimming beach and a trail that follows along nearby Quartz Creek. Cast your line for some awesome fly-fishing at the creek or look for the nearby horse stable for a scenic ride. If you want to try your hand at gold panning, head up the road to Crescent Creek campground. Here you'll find a quiet spot for some good fishing at Crescent Creek and Crescent Lake. Both campgrounds offer maintained sites, fire rings and flush toilets.