Alaska: "The Last Frontier" for the RVers

Published: Monday, July 23, 2007

Most people would likely think of Alaska as simply a state filled with snow-capped mountains accompanied by a multitude of ski resorts and freezing cold environment. Yet, the state is more than just that, for it actually has many other great attractions that make it such an interesting place to visit. Yes, there are mountains, ski camps and often icy cold environment, but there also happens to be magnificent lakes, fishing grounds, diverse wildlife, and secured camping grounds, all situated in one single state, sometimes referred to as the land of the midnight sun but more popularly known as simply Alaska.

The Five Regions of Alaska

Hikers and anglers are prominent Alaska fixtures, but campers are significantly growing groups as well, especially as more and more tourists begin to explore the massive wilderness that cover a significantly wide area of Alaska. Visitors who intend to come in to Alaska as RV campers will thus no longer feel isolated and alone because they will eventually discover that their group is most welcome to explore the vastness of the Alaskan state.

To fully appreciate Alaska and all of its attractions, it is quite essential to see the state in regional terms, of which it has five. These are the Far North, the Interior, the Southwest, the Southcentral, and the Inside Passage regions.

The Far North

The Far North region of Alaska holds a vast wilderness area occupied by imposing mountains, unspoiled rivers, and several national parks. Collectively, they regularly attract campers, backpackers, and pure nature lovers who find the entire area simply fascinating. For many RV travelers, though, the drive across Dalton Highway all the way to Deadhorse should prove to be quite eventful. The long stretch of road covers all of 414 miles very much similar to the extreme northern corner of the Alaskan oil pipeline that runs from Prudhoe Bay down to Valdez port. Driving through the highway aboard an RV should be quite an experience because wildlife can be seen all around, wherein upon reaching the end, one can opt to go fishing at a nearby lake and catch one or two Arctic grayling.

The Interior

The region is host to the tallest mountain in Alaska, Mount McKinley. Quite naturally, a lot of wildlife activities take place in and around the area. RV campers will particularly find the many tundras of the region good places to stop by and watch fabulous species of birds fly by, led by the Willow Ptarmigan, Alaska's national bird.

One other notable place within the Interior region is the Denali National Park set near the national highway where various forms of wildlife are known to roam freely. Driving through the area aboard an RV needs to be done with caution as a grizzly bear or a wild boar can suddenly jump out from nowhere.

The Southwest

There are over 240 different species of birds that are known to reside in this particular region of Alaska. This has made bird watching the main outdoor activity regularly engaged in by many tourists in these parts. Aboard an RV or out of it, tourists will definitely have a grand time watching various birds swoop down near them or fly across the clear Alaska skies.

Alternatively, one can opt to observe in deep awe the many volcanoes that line along the horizon of the Katmai National Park, a popular tourist attraction that reportedly came into being as a result of an eruption of an ancient Alaskan volcano, the Novarupta, in 1912. Additionally, one can choose to explore the many wonders that can be found at Aleutian Islands, a chain of windswept isles where fishing is a popular sport. Giant halibuts and various salmon species like coho, sockeye, and chum are quite abundant in the waters of the Aleutian.

The Southcentral

The vast majority of Alaskans live in and around this particular region. Surrounded by majestic mountains and serene lakes, Southcentral Alaska has a remote but unique wilderness area because it has several connecting links to major Alaska roads. This has made hiking one of its more popular outdoor offerings. Mt. McKinley is particularly accessible through the southcentral region of Alaska, specifically through the town of Talkeetna, and hikers will simply be overwhelmed once they get to tour the fantastic vistas of the mountain.

Another popular outdoor activity of the region is fishing, for which three Alaska regional towns have become famous for. These include Seward, Deep Creek, and Homer, with the latter playing host to a wide variety of halibuts, particularly the barn door, an exceptionally fine species of the halibut known for its huge size. Chartered boats regularly tour the three towns bringing anglers to the most suitable area where they can easily catch the prized white fish.

The Inside Passage

Just like in the other regions of Alaska, the Inside Passage offers traditional outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and bird watching. However, unlike the other regions, the Inside Passage is rich in Alaska history as seen in its many totem poles that are found in various locations in the region and which are actually cultural influences of several Indian tribes such as the Tsimshian, the Tlingit, and the Haida who were among the early settlers of Alaska. Meanwhile, Russian explorers left their legacy in the form of ancient churches that feature impressive onion-shaped domes and adorned with gleaming icons. Getting to see these structures should able provide tourists with a good view into the early history of Inside Passage and of Alaska itself.

The Cities of Alaska

The individual cities of Alaska each offers a diverse array of outdoor opportunities that will certainly delight all types of travelers including those aboard RVs. Actually, with the many exciting outdoor activities available in practically every major Alaskan city, camping is an option that tourists should seriously consider when visiting the land of the midnight sun.


Fairbanks is one Alaskan city where various outdoor events distributed all throughout the year are known to take place annually. A great number of these events feature a lot of excitement and thrills, providing local residents and more particularly foreign tourists several opportunities where they can learn more about the fun side of Alaska. A good example of this would be the annual bird-watching event held at Creamers Field Migratory Bird Refuge where hundreds of migratory birds are known to flock to during certain times of a given year. Additionally, another similar event is said to take place during the fall at the Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival. In both cases, outdoor lovers, including campers, will definitely have a grand time because the events promise to be quite spectacular.

In the case of campers on the hunt for extreme adventure, they can try taking along their RVs and cruise along the famed Dalton Highway, a long stretch of road that offers scenic views of the Alaskan Highway and is actually intended for adventure-seeking tourists. Or they can opt to park their RVs and take a leisurely walk along the many Fairbanks national parks, including the theme-based Pioneer Park where several ancient buildings like the Episcopal Church and the house of famous Alaskan judge James Wickersham have been relocated to serve as popular tourist attractions.

Fairbanks also happens to be the second biggest Alaskan city and is the official residence of the University of Alaska. This is actually a good alternative site that outdoor enthusiasts should try visiting because it houses the Georgeson Botanical Gardens and the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station, two centers that feature unique and rare Alaskan flora and fauna.


Homer is easily the ultimate outdoor adventure paradise in Alaska simply because it offers numerous opportunities for sports like the extreme kayaking and canoeing in addition to the simpler forms like fishing, boating, and bird-watching. The latter should prove to be quite engaging for most campers as they can easily park their RVs and watch in trance-like awe as hundreds of migratory shorebirds make a stop-over at nearby Kachemak Bay and feed along the mud flats and the rocky outcroppings found at the bay to nourish their body and sustain them as they head north. The annual event has even spawned the so-called Shorebird Festival, where designated spotters keep watch for rare bird species.

Apart from the birds, Homer is also particularly proud of its fishing attraction. The place has become a convergence point of many anglers from all across the world because its waters feature quite an extensive array of marine life, making this particular outdoor activity one that land-based campers can easily try their hands on.

Another popular water-based outdoor activity in Homer is kayaking with the Halibut Cove as the ideal setting. The sport provides numerous opportunities to explore the wonders of the cove that would not be possible through other means. Kayak has become quite popular in Homer that during the summer, the city hosts the annual Kachemak Kayak Fest where the best boat riders are known to participate in.

If the waters of Homer are not particularly attractive, one can simply try another outdoor activity – hiking, with the Kachemak Bay State Park as the perfect venue. The park boasts of green mountains, crystal glaciers, and a thick forest area that should ably satisfy the naturally adventurous spirit of the typical hiker, especially since it covers a vast 400,000 acres.


This particular Alaskan city, found in the southwestern region offers a unique outdoor activity for many interested RV campers. The activity is water bird watching which campers should particularly watch out for during the spring season because it is quite a spectacle to see a great of multitude of shorebirds likes ducks and geese coming together at the nearby Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge primarily for nesting reasons. The center has become a significant shorebird nesting place particularly because it covers an unbelievable 20 million acres, said to be the biggest in the entire US.

Apart from migratory shorebirds, the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge also plays host to a wide variety of wild animals like black bears, moose, caribou, musk ox, and wolves. In addition, it features long stretches of streams and lakes that have become the habitat of at least 44 different fish species including the five distinct types of North American Pacific salmon.

Visiting Time

All the four distinct seasons in the North American continent are ideal time for an Alaskan visit. The many outdoor activities that are held in Alaska are numerous and diverse and there are specific events that are especially suitable for each season. For instance, winter time in Juneau is an absolute snow paradise as there are many ski resorts in the area that offer excellent cross-country skiing. Summer, meanwhile, is the season for boat rides, personified by the Kachemak Kayak Fest held annually in Homer. When autumn comes along, Fairbanks is the place to visit for many campers to catch the spectacular migration of birds at the Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival. During the winter, Fairbanks holds another spectacle, the magnificent aurora borealis, that is visible starting September and lasts until early April of the following year.

The Chicken Gold Camp and Outpost

Situated in the central part of Chicken city in Alaska, the Chicken Gold Camp and Outpost boasts of well-maintained camp facilities that include showers, a dump station, tent sites, and a pavilion. An espresso bar, a cafe, and a gift store are also available apart from a particularly huge barbecue grill intended for those who adore the scent and flavor of grilled meat.

Wireless Internet can also be availed of within the camp that also features several pull-through's fully powered by a 20 amp electrical service. However, for RV campers who simply want to experience pure outdoor fun, there are many activities that they can partake of, which includes hiking, fishing, boating, and the highly-interesting gold panning.

Cantwell RV Park

Located along Cantwell Station Road in the city of Cantwell, this particular RV Park has the rare distinction of being quite near the Denali National Park taking only about 30 minutes of driving time to reach it. The park has become quite popular as a suitable fishing area and also offers various hiking trails, activities that should suit most RV campers.

There are about 76 RV sites available at Cantwell RV Park that can reportedly accommodate all possible RV sizes. It features restrooms, laundry facilities, a dump station and access features for people with disabilities. Local attractions like the nearby Denali National Park can be accessed through a short 30-minute drive although the camp offers paid shuttle services that will lead visitors straight to the park.

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