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Renting an RV in Alaska after cruise


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My husband and I have booked a cruise ending in Seward in July, 2019.  We are celebrating our 40th Anniversary and this is a "bucket list" trip.

Rather than go through Holland America for the land portion of our trip, we thought it would be fun to rent an RV for six days from Anchorage. Cruise ends in Seward and we'd bus up to the Ted Stevens airport and pick up the RV from ABC Motorhome Rentals.

We've tent and popped-up-camped many years ago, but never camped in an RV.  I've researched renting a car and staying at B&B's etc., but it seems very expensive and I like the idea of having flexibility and that RV camping might be more economical in the long-run, not to mention the experience.

Our plan is to head north to Denali from Anchorage for 2 nights then head back down to the Kenai Peninsula for 4 nights in various locations.  We'd like to perhaps fish, go river rafting/kayak and hike.

We love nature and would like to stay in parks rather than more commercial campgrounds, but I'm concerned about not having access to hook-ups as we do not have experience with these kind of vehicles, generators, dumping etc. etc.  My husband and I aren't very savvy about mechanics, etc.  

Any feedback, suggestions, experiences are greatly appreciated.  We're going to make the decision whether or not to book a rental pretty soon.


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The first time we rented a motorhome we knew nothing except what the dealer showed us just before departure. We took a 3 week trip in that RV and did just fine. You will, too.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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You are not going till July. Try renting an RV a couple of times near home  before you leave and take a couple of weekend trips. It will give you some experience and you will know for sure if renting an RV is for you before you take your trip. 

2015 Itasca Ellipse 42QD

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock Edition

2021 Harley Street Glide Special 


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X2 on what Twotoes said. 

You will be In Alaska at the peak of tourist season. The travel times and traffic will be slower than you plan. Denali,  now is the time to make reservations for camping in the park . You should be able to find spots otherwise. 

We plan to travel from Gulf Shores AL this summer to Alaska. 

I’ve been twice once sight seeing one nothing but fishing. Still haven’t seen enough Alaska is kind of addicting! 

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I say "go for it"!  We took the ferry up one year and rented for a month traveling with two friends who flew up before flying back ourselves.  We used Great Alaskan Holidays and they use newer RVs.  The rental company will show you all you need to know. In the meantime, read these RV forums to get an idea of what's involved with RVing.  Look at some YouTubes. You can read about every system on the RV and "how to", including dumping the tanks. The little Class C's that you rent are very easy to drive and fit in everywhere. You'll have lots of fun and you'll see many other renters and RVers to ask questions. RVers are friendly folks and are most always willing to help.

Regarding Denali.... when we rented that year we just drove into the park and got a site. They have 3 campgrounds and with your short RV you will get a site.  The second time we made the trip we drove up.  We rarely make reservations for anywhere but we knew we wanted to stay at the farthest campground in Denali - Teklanika, for 5 nights.  Even for mid-summer we only made reservations two weeks prior when we could better judge when we'd be there.  As it turned out we were in the area early so on a whim we boondocked at a lovely spot near Denali and early the next morning drove into the park.  We easily secured an additional 5 nights in the front campground, Riley Creek - without reservations. This was for our 40' motorhome.  We spend 10 nights in Denali and saw 'THE" mountain in full sun 7 of 10 days in July.  We also saw every one of the big animals - some more than once.  Since you're on a tight timeframe I do suggest you make reservations but you'll get sites to stay.  Keep in mind that you don't need full hookup sites (water, electric, sewer).  That will give you additional options like finding a beautiful place to pull over for the night without hookups.  The fuel stations sometimes have dumping facilities with water fill and even on the Kenai the big grocery store near Soldotna has a dump station/water fill.  You will have an onboard generator so electric hookup isn't needed.

Enjoy your trip!!

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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Pick one or the other.  Either Denali or the Kenai Peninsula, I recommend Denali.  It is a very long one days drive from Denali to either Homer or Seward.  From Denali it is 450 to Homer and 360 to Seward.  Figure 12 hours or more to Homer and 10 to Seward.  RV driving is a lot slower than car. 

At Denali spend your 6 days in the park. Make your 1st nights reservations at Riley Creek and the rest of your days at Teklanika Campgound. About Teklanika (Tek) look at part 2 of our blog link below.   Or you can just stay at Riley Creek for your stay.  

Lots of details in our Blog from 2016 when we spent almost 2 weeks in the park:  



Here is the index page for our blog of our AK trip.  There are details on our stay in both Homer and Seward for more info if you decide you want to go the Kenai. 

BTW it takes 2-3 hours to pick up the RV so include that on the day you pick up the RV.  Of course you are going to have a few more hours to get from Seward to Anchorage, then time to drive the RV to where you will spend the night. 

Also take a look at: https://www.greatalaskanholidays.com/  for your RV rental.  It was 20 years ago, but we had a good rental from them.

Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G 
2020 Chevy Colorado Toad
San Antonio, TX


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Check the schedule VERY closely, as you may need an overnight in Anchorage before you can pick up your MH.   It is a bit different than getting a car at the airport, as there is a class in what it does and how it does it.  As noted above, it takes hours.

The smaller Class C will fit in a lot of sites in State and Forest Service campgrounds.  Water and waste tanks should be good for 4+ days.  .There are waste dump and water available at Fred Meyer in Soldotna, and at other places.  

You will wear yourself out with your plan just driving.  Go North or go South.  An option is North to Denali, on to Fairbanks, south to Valdez, and back to Anchorage.  Note that right there is 4 days of driving.  Fishing and raft trips are available in Gulkana.  Fishing is available in Valdez.

In the alternate, go south to the Kenai and Homer, and spend time on the Kenai River, and possibly take in Whittier on the way by.

You are right that the MH rental is a good choice.  Rooms anywhere in July are booked months in advance and are pricey.  

If you want to try to see it all, consider extending your trip tp 10 days or 2 weeks.  Have fun.

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