RV trip in Alaska

Old Apr 23rd, 2021, 10:10 PM
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RV trip in Alaska

We are planning an RV trip in Alaska this July. Our family (2 adults + 3 teenagers) will arrive on July 2 and tour Anchorage area for several days before a friend's family join us on July 5th. Here are our RV trip plans:

Day 1: check out RV, drive to Palmer area for tour, then drive to Matanuska Glacier State Recreation area to stay overnight. (2-h drive).
Day 2:
Visit Matanuska Glacier, then drive to Valdez, stay the night in Valdez (3.5-h drive)
Day 3: Stay in Valdez. Tour around.
Day 4: Take the Richardson, tour Horsetail Falls, Worthington Glacier, drive to Delta Junction (6-h) or Fairbanks to stay the night (8-h).
Day 5: drive to Denali National Park, camp in the park (2.5-h if we stay at Fairbanks the night before, or 4.5-h if we stay at Delta Junction).
Day 6: stay in Denali Park. Tour.
Day 7: Drive to Girdwood (6-h drive)
Day 8-13: tour Seward, Homer, Girdwood, Anchorage, back home.

We booked Denali campsite and tour tickets so other plans will have to fit into this schedule. Currently my main concern is Day 4, we will drive from Valdez to Fairbanks area. We are debating whether to stay in Delta Junction overnight (so that the driving time won't be too long - 6-h), or drive 8-h all the way to Fairbanks (so that we can have more fun at Fairbanks the night and the next day). Delta Junction seems no fun compared to Fairbanks, it does not have a lot of RV park options either.

Appreciate any comments / suggestions.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 01:45 AM
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Have you driven an rv before? I know when we drive ours that a six hour drive could be 9 hours.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 08:21 AM
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Just quick -- I hope Gardyloo and others see your thread - they will have tons of info. I've only been to Alaska twice and didn't camp or RV either trip so don't have huge advice to give. However I do know one thing -- it appears you've used GoogleMap or some other on-line calculator to find your drive times - right? IMO/IME your drive estimates need to be probably 20% longer in an RV (maybe even more in summer with the heavy recreational traffic and construction). GoogleMap is often overly optimistic even for a car, let alone an RV.

Not clear if both families are in the one Vehicle but if so, it will be a large one so driving will to be even slower.
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Old Apr 24th, 2021, 09:06 AM
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So is this basically a two-family two-RV experience? What are your plans for Anchorage for the three days before your friends arrive?

I think the plan is probably okay, depending on the details for the last five or six days. Like Janis says, Google maps' estimated times tend to be optimistic, sometimes wildly so, but as you're traveling in July you'll have very long daylight hours, so a drive from, say, Valdez to Fairbanks is doable in one (long) day, as is the drive from Denali NP to Girdwood. Just remember that most roads in Alaska are two-lane and I know one of my pet peeves (and I'm not alone) is getting stuck on some scenic stretch of highway, e.g. along Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage, behind a string of RVs where one or more of the drivers is insensitive to the elephant parade behind them.

A general comment on a big-family RV as a means of seeing Alaska is that not all RVs offer much in the way of windows for the passengers, and driving in Alaska is all about the views. I'm presuming you've done the math between an RV vs. a big SUV + motels, but just in case you haven't, I'd really do it, and add some consideration of the options it might give you in terms of flexibility or convenience. Or maybe a hybrid plan - RV for the Valdez/Denali portion then ordinary vehicles for the Kenai portion?

While I'm not a huge fan of the publication in general, a copy of The Milepost (even an older second-hand one) might be of use to you, in terms of pointing out some of the roadside (or available with a short detour) sights and points of interest you might be passing. Your route covers pretty much all the paved main highways in southcentral and interior Alaska (except for the Alcan between the border and Tok) so it's hardly terra incognita, but there are still worthwhile stops that might not be obvious, such as the interesting Native village of Eklutna (between Anchorage and Palmer) or the old mining village of Hope, between Portage and Cooper Landing. I'd also be sure to include a glacier cruise out of Whittier and/or a Kenai Fjords cruise out of Seward.

I think that in the absence of cruise visitors (who can overpower places like Denali and Seward) this year is going to be a little weird in Alaska, so by all means give us a trip report if at all possible. Happy planning!
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Old Apr 25th, 2021, 10:58 AM
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Thanks for all your replies.

We wills stay in Anchorage downtown hotel the first 3 nights (including July 4th), tour downtown and vicinity. Maybe trolley tour and Chugach State Park. Any suggestions for the 2.5 days, including July 4th activities appreciated.

On July 5th, we will pick up two RV (24 & 28 feet) and start the RV tour. This is the first time for us to drive RV, and we mostly copy a friend's previous itinerary. The 2 pre-teen girls are so excited and plan to write daily journals during the trip (without parent asking!).


We benefited a lot from this forum in the past. Promise to write a trip report this year!
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