When you stay at the Anchorage Ship Creek RV Park, you’re just a few blocks from the heart of downtown Anchorage, but you also get to hang out right where the locals fish. The famed Ship Creek offers plenty of action for anglers, birders and spectators.
Want to let the kids romp on a beach beneath a million-dollar view of mile-high peaks? Paddle a pristine lake? Tucked into the woods at the northern foot of Eklutna Lake in Chugach State Park, this campground offers families unique access to a mountain wilderness valley laced with interesting features and 25-mile network of multi-use trails.
Nalu means “wave” in Hawaiian, and the Glacier Nalu Campground Resort combines the stunning scenery of Alaska with the relaxed atmosphere of Hawaii. Whether you’re traveling by RV or tent camping, this spacious, 12.5-acre park—surrounded by large spruce trees with a creek running through it—is perfect for couples or families who want to experience outdoor living.
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
UPDATE: The campground will be temporarily closed beginning in 2019 due to the danger posed by trees infested with spruce-bark beetles. Rotting trees have been toppling. State parks plans to reopen the campground after the hazardous trees have been removed.
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.
Ocean Shores offers amazing views from all of its sites—plus, it’s warmer here than on the Homer Spit, since it’s not as windy. Most sites come with a picnic table and three shared fire rings overlooking the bay. You’ll also find cable TV and Wi-Fi, as well as coin-operated showers and laundry.
Glacier View offers ATV Tours and other sports like ziplining—flying through the air at up to 60 mph—and trekking or climbing on the ice of the spectacular Matanuska Glacier. Then head to the diner at the Glacier View RV Park.
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.
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.
Long popular with families who seek a wilderness-like setting without leaving the urban area, the place has a reputation for cleanliness and serenity. But you have to make peace with the river: it is loud. 57 campsites are nestled along three wooded lanes and the interesting gravel bars of Eagle River are never more than a few minutes’ walk away.
The family-run Denali Grizzly Bear Resort offers a variety of accommodations, great amenities, and amazing views of mountains and the Nenana River. And its location, six miles south of the Denali National Park Visitors Center but outside the main tourist area, means you’ll have easy park access without feeling crowded. Choose from their hotel rooms, private cabins, or campground.
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.
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
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.
Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend
Biking, hiking, fishing, climbing, wildlife viewing, campfires — and the bore tide spectacle of Turnagain Arm. Few campgrounds anywhere offer as many outdoor options to an adventurous family as Bird Creek Campground in Chugach State Park. Located at Mile 101 on the Seward Highway, the campground features 22 sites for tents or RVs.
This is now called the Kendesnii Campground. This is now a developed campground with 10 sites, with picnic tables, fire rings, trails, and restrooms. Kendesnii Campground is a great place to fish and view wildlife. A hie of about a half mile to the south and over the ridge will take you to Jack Lake and more beautiful views of the Wrangell Mountains.
At Milepost 49, there is a campground with plenty of parking spaces availble for cars and RVs. From the scenic overlook on the upperroad you can spot trumpeter swans and moose in the small lake below. This river access point is the southernmost access point on the 400-mile Fortymile National Wild and Scenic River System.
This BLM-maintained campground sits amid the Tangle Lakes, a series of long, narrow lakes. This is a designated put-in for the 30-mile-long Delta National Wild and Scenic River float trip. There are moose and caribou in the area, many hunters use this as a base camp during the fall hunting season.
This is a great site to take a break for some wildlife viewing or bird watching. There are views of wetlands, a small lake, and boreal forest. Moose are often seen here and caribou migrate through this area in the spring and fall. During spring and summer, look for nesting ducks and trumpeter swans.
If you're not heading right back to Anchorage, here's another great side trip. A scenic 19-mile drive north takes you into the park. Lake Louise is known for its trout and grayling fishing, views of Tazlina Glacier and Lake, and berry picking—harvest wild strawberries and blueberries in July and August, or cranberries come September.
Chena Lake has two distinct personalities: The Lake Park and The River Park. The two parks were created at the same time an earthfill dam was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in response to devastating Chena River floods in 1967. The dam is 7.1 miles long and controls nearly 1,500 miles of watershed that would otherwise freely flow into Fairbanks.
Igloo Creek is one of three tent-only campgrounds in the park. Situated right next to the creek, it is a great place to relax and enjoy the wilderness and the area around the campground offers great hiking opportunities.
Igloo Creek is one of three tent-only campgrounds in the park. Situated right next to the creek, it is a great place to relax…
The park has a few campsites, but no outhouses. The dock at the park provides public access to Mosquito Lake, which offers great fishing, especially for cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden char. The lake fills with migrating ducks in the spring and fall, and trumpeter swans use the lake as a stopover on their migrations. Up to 80 swans have been seen at one time on the lake. In the winter, locals like to ice fish and cross-country ski on the lake and nearby areas.