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.
Labor Day Weekend to Memorial Day Weekend
Camping by this 108-acre lake inside the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area near Willow feels like you’ve reached the end of the road. To the west stretches unbroken wilderness to the Alaska Range and beyond. And yet, the 97 sites in this friendly, heavily treed campground offer all the regular campground amenities of outhouses, fire rings, picnic tables and water pump.
On the north side of the Knik River Bridge, turn off the main roadway and drive down the riverbed.This is a good area to get out and hike around, you can walk beside the glacially-fed Knik River while under the dominant peaks of the Chugach Mountains and Pioneer Peak.
Part of the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge, this trail meanders through tidal flats and wetlands. Highlights are great views of the mountains surrounding Palmer (Pioneer Peak, the Chugach and Talkeetna ranges) and excellent bird watching.
Be careful, it’s easy to miss this turn-off as you drop down the hill, but look out for the sign “Caribou Creek Recreational Area.” This seldom-used campground is a quiet place to camp, away from highway noise. It has fire rings and picnic tables, and there’s a trail to the creek. It’s a one-mile walk to the water. It’s a nice stream and it’s More...