The long days and thousands of miles driving the RV have paid off, you survived the Alaska Highway and reached Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. It’s a rewarding and relieving feeling arriving in Anchorage, aside from a sense of accomplishment you will also find yourself taking advantage of it’s many resources. You can find everything from parts and service for your RV to a seven pound chocolate cake at Costco.
Anchorage is a regular city that holds on to it’s frontier roots. Still to this day, people come from hundreds of miles around to restock on supplies!
The Common Misconception
First time visitors can’t get it out of their heads when it comes to thinking, “Anchorage has to be a nice city because it’s in Alaska.” No sugar coating here, I will tell you like it is and most visitors end up agreeing after they have been to Anchorage.
Anchorage has a serious dark side, it has all the same problems of equally sized cities and a few extra for good measure. Forbes recently ranked Anchorage the country’s fifth most dangerous city, to stay safe just exercise good judgement. These problems have been present for decades, and are the reasons why we don’t recommend spending much time in Anchorage.
The other side of the coin
Anchorage is a modern city where you can find just about everything. The pioneering nature of Alaska has brought some amazing mechanical and adventure businesses to Anchorage. If you need something for your RV you can usually find it at Karen’s RV or get it shipped up.
As for shopping you won’t find Rodeo Drive style shopping, but the 5th Avenue Mall is more than adequate. There are also some unique [to Alaska] shops where you can find furs and native artwork.
If you appreciate historic homes, I recommend visiting Government Hill. There are also some Alaskan masterpieces on the Anchorage Hillside. You can kill two birds with one stone, drive up to Flattop Mountain for a bird’s eye view of town and check out some Hillside houses.
48 Hours in Anchorage for RV’ers
Question: Why only 48 hours?
Answer: Alaska is only 30 minutes away from Anchorage. Anchorage is a regular city and you are here to see Alaska. We recommend only staying long enough to restock and take in a couple of the sights. It’s also a great place to get things repaired.
Where To Stay: One word, Cabela’s! The Anchorage Cabela’s welcomes RV’ers for 48 hours at a time, plus it is on the nicer end of town. Feel free to disconnect your trailer or unhook your toad and get comfortable here. There is an onsite dump station, but no water or electricity. Be sure to show Cabela’s a little retail appreciation for parking there. You’ll also find a Target conveniently located in the same shopping center.
What About The RV Parks: Anchorage has horrible RV parks, you won’t find a nice KOA or Thousand Trails in this city. We only stay in an Anchorage RV park when our schedule or the reason for our stay gives us no other choice. You have boondocked plenty of times on your way up, so a couple more nights in boondocking Anchorage won’t make a difference.
How We Know This: We have spent way too much time in Anchorage and see it for what it is, a resource. If you live up here you can’t avoid Anchorage, whether it’s for business, doctor appointments, repairs, or shopping. We have lived in Alaska since 2008 and choose to live in Seward, a small town with a real Alaskan feel.
Top Off & Empty The Tanks: We always stop at the Holiday Station on our way in and out of Anchorage. This station is conveniently located near the Cabela’s and proves to be a “one stop shop” with gas, diesel, propane, trash, dumping, drinking water and a convenience store.
Getting Around: If you have a tow vehicle or toad this is not an issue, if you only have your motorhome then you’ll want to think ahead about how you’ll get around town. I don’t recommend using your motorhome to go sightseeing around Anchorage, navigating the streets and parking is a daunting task. If you don’t mind walking, there is a bus line a mile or two away from the Cabela’s or you could call a taxi. If you must drive your RV, Google Earth is a great resource to check out parking and access before you attempt to go somewhere.
Day One: Arrive in Anchorage in the middle of the day.
- Hit the Costco on Dimond for supplies then take the King St for a shortcut through an industrial park to get to Cabela’s.
- Get comfortable at Cabelas, you are welcome here!
- Run your necessary errands. The Target next door is very convenient.
- Time for dinner. We have a unique palate, but one of the most popular casual restaurants in Anchorage is the Moose’s Tooth.
- Closing down the evening. You can keep the party going or head back to the RV for the night.
Day Two: Exploring Anchorage, what is your fancy?
- Try stretching your legs by doing a walking tour of Downtown Anchorage. Do this one during the middle of the day, there are shady bars in the area that get rowdy at night.
- Check out the local breweries! Anchorage is home to several great breweries, you will not be disappointed.
- Learn about Alaska at the museum. This is an amazing state with rich history and traditions from the natives to the pioneering spirit of those who settled in the Last Frontier.
- The Alaska Botanical Gardens are a beautiful places to take a stroll.
- What about the Alaska Zoo? We prefer our animals not to have cages or fences, but if you have little ones this is a great place to take them.
Day Three: Get ready to go back to Alaska.
- Be sure you show Cabela’s some retail appreciation before you leave.
- Finish running your errands and restocking on supplies.
- Top off and empty your tanks.
- Never leave town without a full tank of fuel. Costco has great prices on fuel and if you have a Vons or Safeway rewards card you can conveniently redeem your fuel rewards at a Carr’s Safeway
You come to Alaska for the natural beauty, not to hang out in a city. The fishing is countless times better outside of Anchorage and our favorite hiking trails don’t go through a city park. Check out our camping recommendations on the Kenai Peninsula.