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Where to spend 4th of July in Alaska?


Al F

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Where have you spent an interesting and fun 4th of July in Alaska?

 

Our preference would be in a small town rather than Fairbanks, or Anchorage.

 

How about Valdez, Glennallen or maybe Homer?

 

I have heard that Seward has a big celebration, some 30,000 people come to Seward for the 4th. That is probably bigger than our preference would be.

 

However if we could snag a waterfront site in the city campgrounds that might make it worth while to be in the bigger city.

 

Has anyone spent the 4th in Seward?

 

How soon before the 4th would we have to arrive to insure we got a waterfront campsite? Dry camping is preferred.

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Are you mainly looking for somewhere to participate in celebration or just a beautiful spot to spend your 4th?

 

Seaward is crazy beautiful. There is some camping spots a bit Southwest of town around Lowell Point and Caines.. pretty fairly small and secluded. I don't recall the name of the place, but if memory serves there are only a couple of camping areas down around there. You're right on the edge of Kenai NF.

 

Close enough to town to go in for celebration.

 

I would certainly make any reservations as soon as possible.

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In 2014 we were in Seward until a couple of days before the 4th. The city campgrounds were great and no reservation. But the day before we left, folks were coming in taking any available sites and when we pulled out a guy was on our bumper and backed it. The attraction is a run up the mountain and you can see the trail from the c/g we were in. Reading about the race, think some broken limbs, concussions, she is ROUGH! We went on u to Anchorage and stayed in the city park. Nice place, and they were doing a lot of renovation, larger sites etc. The host was fantastic!

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Are you mainly looking for somewhere to participate in celebration or just a beautiful spot to spend your 4th?

Yes! One or the other, or both. The main thrust for posting the topic is looking for a smaller town to stay in and participate/view the local activities. On the other hand Seward seemed to be perhaps an exception, a beautiful view, but very tight and crowded camping areas, with lots of noise & activities. I probably should have created two topics, on for Seward and the other for small towns.

 

Using Days End, and reading other blogs there are lots of beautiful places in AK to get away from the crowds for the 3 big headache weekends, Memorial Day, the 4th, and Labor Day. That may be the option we decide on.

 

Anyways, comments about where folks have spent the weekend of the 4th in Alaska are more than welcome.

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Yes! One or the other, or both. The main thrust for posting the topic is looking for a smaller town to stay in and participate/view the local activities.

 

I really don't think you could go wrong in the Seaward area. Massive celebration for the 4th.. but if you can reserve something down around Cains it might serve 2 purposes. Completely majestic, secluded mornings you'll never forget, but close enough to drive in for the celebrations. I don't think I would be too excited about staying in the in-town CG.

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If you want crowds go to Seward on July 4 weekend. Just as beautiful scenery and on the water is Homer. That would probably be a 'little' calmer. However, leading up to that weekend and probably for a few days after, the Kenai Highway will be a very dangerous road to travel. It gets a lot of accidents normally but on a holiday weekend, I certainly would go about a week earlier and leave at least a few days after. It's the highway for the big salmon fishing areas. It's a two-lane highway, curvy and people drive crazy. I'd even avoid it on any weekend.

 

Palmer is where we stayed and we found it to be very quiet on that weekend. It's an easy day trip to Anchorage and Wasilla to go in and do other things. It's not on main water so that's probably why it's quiet and those of the kinds of places we seek out on the big holidays - away from any kind of water. We went down to Seward and Homer for a month after the holiday then we headed to Denali and Fairbanks.

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When we planned our trip we did not realize how big the celebration is in Seward. We were hoping to stay at the waterfront park but spoke with someone who lives in the area and they said forget it. We booked at Stoney Creek RV Campground about 6 miles from town. They have a free shuttle bus to town.

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You might check out Haines. It's one of our favorite towns in Alaska, but we haven't been there on the 4th of July, so I don't know what celebrations they have.

 

Even if you don't make it for the 4th, be sure to visit before leaving Alaska. We were there at the same time the Southeast Alaskan State Fair and it was a hoot! We really like Salmon Run RV Park out past the ferry terminal. It's dry camping, but you'll have fabulous views of Lutak Inlet. You can watch the ferries come into the ferry terminal and, at night, watch the cruise ships coming down Taiya Inlet into Chilkoot Inlet all lit up like Christmas trees.

 

There are also other places to camp in and around Haines...check out RVParkReviews.com.

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Thanks to all for the info. We probably won't decide until early to mid June on where we will spend the weekend of the 4th. Well, really a week and a half stay since we usually arrive a week before to get a camping spot before everyone else arrives.

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I don't recall the name of the reality TV show I have been watching on DTV, but it films the Alaskan State Troopers on the job. There have been a couple episodes featuring the Kenai Highway on 7/4 holiday weekend. Lots of drinking, drugs, and debouchery by crowds of young folk, mostly tent camping right along the road. It's not a scene we want to be involved in. I would not want to even drive down the highway at that time.

 

Jim

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I agree in general, in that they only show the most sensational "tv worthy" footage and cut all the mundane footage from the vast majority of the officers' time. Cutting 99% of their interactions like that probably leads many viewers to belive they face shootouts and other dramatic or life or death situations every day.

 

That said, I doubt they hire or otherwise conjure up hundreds of drunk youth to do insane stuff, just so they can film it. The officers and the situations and people they deal with are real. Based on what I saw, I would not want to drive there on the 4th of July weekend.

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Cathy & Jim, Thanks for the good info. No matter where we are for the major holiday weekends we don't travel on the weekends.

 

While the TV stuff is usually inflated to show the worst, we may make the decision to not be on the Kenai peninsula in the late June-early July time frame.

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We were in Kenai for the summer of '05 volunteering & the locals there characterized 7/4 in Seward as a giagintic drunken brawl. Troopers closed the Seward hwy at Sterling Junction during that "event" except for residents because there was literally mo place to park! We drove down the next afternoom & the town was trashed. Wouldn't want anything to do with it.

Kenai did have a parade & day-long festival for the more mundane. Whoo Hoo!

Ron

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We were in Kenai for the summer of '05 volunteering & the locals there characterized 7/4 in Seward as a giagintic drunken brawl. Troopers closed the Seward hwy at Sterling Junction during that "event" except for residents because there was literally mo place to park! We drove down the next afternoom & the town was trashed. Wouldn't want anything to do with it.

Kenai did have a parade & day-long festival for the more mundane. Whoo Hoo!

Ron

A smaller town all day festival & parade is along the line of what interests us. Thanks for the info.

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2014 we enjoyed the Seward 4th of July. We had had reservations to stay in Homer over the 4th, but our schedule adjusted during the trip, and we elected to wing it in Seward. So glad we did, as it was one of our best memories of our Alaska trip. A real American 4th of July! Dualing battles between the different church denominations, from full chicken meals at one, to some of the best fresh baked pies we'd ever had from the Methodist, etc. :)!

 

The Race Down The Mountain is just insane to observe.

 

The elementary school opens it's parking lot in a mini fund raiser. We were among a great group of people, some of them have been coming to play softball for over a decade, from Anchorage. Dry camping for sure, but a polite crowd. We were able to park along the end of the parking lot, so we could open our slides and still have a patch of grass to sit on and look up 'at the mountain' the race down.

 

Yes, it does get crowded in Seward, but we will repeat this when we hit Alaska again in we think 2018 or 2019. My try to come in a week earlier, and nab a spot along the harbor, over by the aquarium, as it is not quite as crazy:)! Being a smaller lot.

 

Have a blast!

Smitty

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Only hit the Mt Marathon run in Seward once and it was a mad house...not our cup of tea.

 

Our favorite 4th spot is Big Lagoon on Long Island just off the city of Kodiak (yep you need a boat) where you can move away from the one of the many bonfires to watch the city's fireworks display once it gets dark enough to see them. Lots of folks stay for a few days and catch a few salmon, halibut or crab.

 

Later,

J

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Only hit the Mt Marathon run in Seward once and it was a mad house...not our cup of tea.

 

Our favorite 4th spot is Big Lagoon on Long Island just off the city of Kodiak (yep you need a boat) where you can move away from the one of the many bonfires to watch the city's fireworks display once it gets dark enough to see them. Lots of folks stay for a few days and catch a few salmon, halibut or crab.

 

Later,

J

So, I can load my motorhome on the boat and they will drop us off at Long Island? Sounds like a plan! :rolleyes::) Just kidding. It does sound like a great place to spend the 4th though.

 

I did look at taking the RV to Kodiak a couple of years ago, but it really is pricey!

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Many thanks to those suggesting places to spend the 4th.

 

It is fun to get different opinions about Seward. One was great, other a drunken mob. I love both opinions. Both sides is about what I figured Seward would be.

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