Frequently Asked Alaska RV Vacation Questions
How far is it to drive to Alaska? How much time does it take? Can I rent an RV there if I want to fly up instead?
Seattle to Anchorage is 2,500 miles. We recommend you allow about two weeks on average, each direction, for that trip. There are many rental RV companies in Alaska, mostly in Anchorage, and that is an excellent alternative. Internet search “Alaska RV Rental” for the latest information on Rental RV companies.
Two good sources for travel in Alaska are “The Milepost” and “Bell’s Alaska Travelguide”. Each are updated yearly but if you have a copy which is less than three years old, you probably don’t need to buy a new one.
The main Alaska Highway is no better and no worse than any other two-lane road in the lower 48. It is all paved and has been for many years. There are always sections that are under construction and improvement, as in any state, but the vast majority of the road is no problem for all vehicles. There are side roads and alternate routes (Cassiar Highway and Top-of-the-World, etc) that are not all paved and can be a challenge for some larger units. This is where the “Milepost” book can help you decide if those conditions are appropriate for you.
If you can fulfill some simple requirements you are fully able to make the trip on your own. Get educated! Buy “The Milepost” book and read it before the trip. Get online and compile info from the different areas. Go to trade shows. Attend seminars. Plan an appropriate time frame for your trip. This is a long trip and consider it a summer adventure. We recommend at least 2 months! Take your time when you are driving. Although most roads are improved and paved, they are not freeway-style where you can travel with the cruise on and eat a sandwich. SLOW DOWN, enjoy the scenery, and you’ll be fine.
There are not as many upper-end parks in Alaska as in the lower 48 but if you plan ahead, you can stay at parks, such as ours, that have these types of items. The “Milepost” ads will give you this info, as well as contacting the Alaska Campground Owners Association and directory.
Unless you carry a one-meter dish, you will likely lose satellite TV reception in the upper third of British Columbia. XM radio will work nearly all the way up, but fades in and out occasionally while in Alaska.
Depending on the criterion you use to ask that question, consider the following guidelines:
- May is our driest month, and not very crowded. Cool dry temps.
- June is the month of longest daylight, very warm, starting to get more people.
- July is warmest month and most fishing activity, also most people.
- August has more moisture but most Alaskan families are back home getting ready for school so it’s not crowded.
- September starts fall, most tourism businesses close Labor Day. Cool but beautiful fall colors.
During the shoulder seasons of May and August, you will likely be able to drive up to most RV parks and get a site without a reservation. Starting in June and certainly in July, historically most RV parks are full every night. During this timeframe we recommend calling ahead as you are to make your move to your next area. Even if you only give the park a two or three day notice, it is probable that the management can create a site for you. If you are traveling with a group of RVs rather than just one, it is imperative to call ahead as much as you can.
Fuel prices in cities and towns of Alaska are about 75 cents per gallon more than most lower 48 locations. In the bush communities (remote areas) fuel prices will be higher. Canada fuel prices are higher, but the exchange rate helps US citizens somewhat. Remote locations can be expensive. Remember, Canada sells in liters.
You must have a passport to drive across the border. If you have had a DUI or similar record you should pre-contact Canadian customs to see if you will be permitted to drive across. Remember, you cannot bring handguns (short barrels) into Canada. You may bring long barrels, but should have the permits filled out before you approach the border crossing and you will have to pay a fee for each weapon. DO NOT bring mace or similar self-protection spray across the border. DO NOT “smart off” or make inappropriate comments to the customs agent who will question you. They will purposely try to anger you and agitate you to see if you have anything to hide.