Exploring Alaska by RV: 10 Tips + Resources

Exploring Alaska by RV: 10 Tips + Resources

We took our 2019 Winnebago Navion 24D up the Alaska Highway in July of 2019 and spent a month and a half exploring the beautiful state. Today, we’ll share with you 10 (plus bonus!) things you must know before planning your trip up to the 49th state in an RV.

A lot of you have asked where our Alaska Vlogs are, and the truth is, we didn’t HAVE a YouTube channel back then. ? While it feels like forever already, we launched our Newstate Nomads channel in 2020, and can’t thank everyone enough for joining us on our journeys! Since you’re along for the ride, we’re going to do our best to give you what you want. Starting with our experiences planning and traveling up to Alaska in July, 2019. Today we share some of our lessons learned and favorite parts of rving through alaska with our top 10 tips!

It’s a long journey to get there but totally worth it.

TIP#1 Don’t rush up to Alaska!

Muncho Lake

Make sure you have enough time to enjoy the drive up because there are SO many things to see and do before you even get to Alaska (we unfortunately didn’t take our own advice on this and drove from Washington state to Alaska in 7 days. That’s almost 2000 miles!). We had previously scheduled some of our friends to meet up with us in Anchorage to RV around the state with us, so we were in a major hurry. Point is: Don’t be like us. Take your time.

A few of our favorite things:

  • Chetwynd (chainsaw carvings!)
  • Liard Hot Springs
  • Sign Post Forest
  • Checking out parts of the original Alaska Canada Highway
Liard Hot Springs

TIP #2: Don’t Just Buy The Milepost

There’s a holy grail of RVing through Alaska called The Milepost. The level of detail in this book is off the charts… it gives you a mile by mile guide to traversing the Alaska highway plus all the major roads and routes in the state and Western Canada. This might come as a shock but TIP #2 for us is not to rely on this book because it can be a bit overwhelming. Instead, (and this may be the best tip on this list!) make sure you stop at the visitor center at the official start of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek. Not only to get your awesome Alaska Highway sign picture, but they have a super condensed version of the milepost in a neat little brochure. This was so helpful in mapping out gas stops, campgrounds, and other must see spots along the way. Here is a scan of our copy from 2019.

Dawson Creek, BC: Official Start of the Alaska Higway

Speaking of books, based on other recommendations, we picked up a copy of Mike and Teri Church’s Travelers Guide to Alaskan Camping. This is NOT a replacement for The Milepost, instead it is condensed with excellent info on camping based on the most popular routes in and on the way to Alaska. We frequently opened the Church’s book BEFORE consulting The Milepost to find camping info. The most recent edition we can find is still from 2017, but we feel it is absolutely worth the purchase.

TIP #3: When You See a Gas State… FILL UP!

The Alaska Highway is extremely isolated. We would drive for hours without seeing another person, so you never want to be without gas. There’s also little to no cell phone reception on large parts of the drive. We went three full days without connectivity so you don’t want to be in a position where you’re waiting on the side of the road for help. 

TIP #4: Take it Slow in Construction Areas

There’s a LOT of talk in the RV world about how terrible the drive is and some pretty mixed reviews. Are there rough spots? Definitely. But it is it going to destroy your rig? That depends on how you drive! 

You get really good at spotting frost heaves which are sort of like inverted speed bumps where the road has buckled and sunk due to the ice and snow in the winter. There are often several miles of roadway where the pavement has been removed. Every year crews replace large sections of highway because the weather simply damages it that badly. This goes for both the drive through Canada on the Alaska Highway and once you’re exploring the state. Driving in these sections can be really rough on your rig and they are completely gravel surfaces, but if you take it slow (which a lot of times you’re forced to because there will be a pilot car) you will be fine!

You always want to have your eyes peeled for bears, moose, bison and more! And also to watch out for them on the roads… because the Alaska highway is so remote, a lot of time large herds of animals can be found crossing the highway. 

TIP #5: Mandatory Pet Health Certificates

Hiking to Portage Poss Glacier

Alaska requires a certified Health Certificate from a vet prior to entering their state with your dogs. We got Piper and Ella’s in Washington State at a PetSmart Banfield Vet Location, it cost about $200 total. There is a specific form your vet will need to fill out and sign after examining your dog. We were never asked for the paperwork, but if you are caught without it, you could be fined or have other implications. 

TIP #6: Camping Galore!

You really can camp almost anywhere in Alaska. Unless there are local regulations (for example in the city limits of Anchorage). We did a mix of  campground camping and boondocking while in Alaska, the state has very relaxed laws regarding camping. Pull offs and rest areas are fair game. We found a beautiful pull off one night that even had a fire pit and was right on the river. One of our favorite boondocking spots was just outside of Valdez on a glacier filled lake. We also camped inside Denali National Park at one of their campgrounds. So it’s a great state to try a variety of camping styles! 

TIP #7: Prices May Vary

Prices in anchorage are very comparable to prices in the lower 48 (Target, Walmart, Bass Pro, etc.) however in more remote areas the cost of fuel and food can be much higher. Because of the short season, a lot of restaurants and tourist attractions have much higher prices since they can only serve customers 3-4 months out of the entire year. 

TIP #8: Phone Connectivity Can Be a Challenge

Connectivity inside of Alaska is very limited and you can frequently make a call but don’t anticipate watching netflix in the rv. Of the carriers that are available in the lower 48, only AT&T, Verizon have towers. TMobile and Sprint roam on an Alaska carrier called GCI, so you should check the coverage maps on their website before venturing out into areas. Large sections of the state do not have any coverage, most are 3G/calls only. 

TIP #9: The Sun Never Sets

Be prepared for almost 24 hours of daylight. This can be challenging to adjust to. At first, it was really awesome! There is so much daylight that you feel like you can keep hiking, exploring and adventuring all night long. But obviously that catches up to you. I’m a light sleeper and it never really got dark at night, which was an adjustment in the beginning. We have pretty decent blackout shades on the RV, but even so… it always looked like dusk or dawn overnight. At least through the middle of August. You might want to consider additional blackout shades or sleeping with an eye mask to help. 

TIP #10: Soak it All In!

Always have your camera ready! There is so much incredible beauty from the scenery to the wildlife. We look back on these pictures and videos and are in awe at what we got to experience. Take it all in and enjoy every minute of it. Alaska is an incredibly special part of our country.

BONUS TIP #11: Be Bear Aware!

hat’s a way of life in Alaska. Whether it’s properly containing food in campgrounds or being on the lookout for them on hikes… bear activity is real. We learned an important, life saving tip from a ranger in Denali National Park…. HEY BEAR! You always want to make as much noise as possible when you’re out hiking. Also, make sure you carry Bear Spray. It needs to be labeled specifically as bear spray otherwise it’s considered a weapon in Canada.

Resources

Process your FMM (tourist visa) in advance:
Have Discover Baja do it for you
Apply for FMM yourself

Facebook Groups:
RVing to Alaska (2019) Facebook Group
View to Alaska Facebook Group

Guide Books:

Traveler’s Guide to Alaskan Camping (2020 Edition)

The Milepost 2020 Edition

DISCLOSURE: We receive compensation for use of our affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Picture of Katelyn & Howard Newstate

Katelyn & Howard Newstate

Howard and Katelyn Newstate have traveled over 80,000 miles in their Winnebago Navion Class C RV, exploring from Alaska to mainland Mexico since 2018. Joined by their adventure pups, Piper, Ella and Scout, they share how to “Live Like a Local” in every New State they explore. For more information on their travels or the 51 Parks in 52 Weeks tour, visit NewstateNomads.com/NationalParks

National Parks Tour

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🐾⚠️ DOG FAM.. important info!!!

There are big changes coming August 1 for international travel with your dogs. This means all of you who are going to Canada, Alaska and Mexico this Summer! 

🔗 More info at newstatenomads.com/dogtravel (link in our bio)

#dogtravel #alaskatravel #travelwithdogs #mexicotravel #rvdogs #fulltimervers #rvlife #rvliving #rving #rvwithdogs
Best overnight stay ever!? 😍🦙

During our time in Bowling Green, Kentucky, we put our @harvesthosts membership to good use with a stay at Alive N' Fuzzy Alpaca Farm! 

We helped bring all the alpacas up to the barn for the evening and even got to take some on a walk. Just be careful... they spit! (ask Howard, he knows 🤣)

The farm is home to dozens of alpacas, gander geese, a retired mule, Peaches the dog, chickens and one llama! It was one of our favorite stays ever and very convenient to all the main attractions in Bowling Green! 🙌🥰🦙 

#harvesthosts #bowlinggreen #bowlinggreenky #kentucky #rvliving #rving #rvlife #winnebagolife #alpaca #alpacafarm #uniquestays #roadtrip #kentuckyroadtrip
We just hit 100,000 miles in the RV! 🎉🚐💨

Safe to say, we stopped to look around 😍 

Those 100,000 miles in our @winnebagorvs Navion = two driving trips to Alaska, all across Canada, mainland Mexico and back and forth across the lower 48 more times than we can count. It's been a good run 🥹❤️

#rvliving #rvlife #fulltimetravel #fulltimervers #fulltimervlife #fulltimerv #winnebagolife #winnebago #rvdogs #exploremore #motorhomelife #rving #rvlifestyle
There's so much to see & do in St. Augustine BUT

If you're short on time, these are our can't miss recommendations:

1. Stroll down Aviles Street, which just so happens to be the oldest street in the Nation! 

2. While you're on this historic side street, pop into @forgottentonic_sta for amazing craft cocktails and delicious food. The blackened chicken egg rolls are *chef's kiss* 👌

3. Take the @flaglercollege Historic Legacy Tour. It's $17 pp and lasts about an hour, but you get access to areas the general public can't go. You'll get to see the largest collection of Tiffany glass and 11 Tiffany chandeliers ✨

4. Step back in time at @castillonps where you can watch a cannon demonstration and learn from the amazing interpretative volunteers. The fort was constructed in the late 1600s 🤯

5. Visit @staugustinedistillery for a tasting & a tour. They have free options or different experiences you can book. It was so fun and we learned a lot about the distilling process!

6. If you're an RVer like us, try to snag a spot at @anastasiastatepark or just visit for the day! Easy beach access and beautiful campsites, what more do you need? 😍

Save this reel for your St. Augustine adventures! 

#staugustine #thingstodoinflorida #staugustinefl #castillodesanmarcos #flaglercollege #staugustinebars 

Things to do in St. Augustine | St. Augustine Florida | Things to do in Florida
When I tell people that I'm an introvert, they are often surprised. 😅

We share our life on YouTube, I'm a former news reporter (whose job it was to talk to people and tell their stories), yet I get SO much anxiety over meeting new people, networking, or showing up to something... gasp....alone. 😱 It makes me sooo uncomfortable, but that's where we often do our best growing and evolving.

And that uncomfy stuff... I had to do it ALL this past weekend at #WITSUtah. But it was the best👏 decision 👏 ever. 👏

WITS stands for the 'Women in Travel Summit' put on by the team @sheswanderful. It brings creators, bloggers, influencers, brands, destinations, etc. from the travel space all together to meet, grow & learn from each other. 

I left with so many new friends and new ideas. And most importantly, I left feeling that spark again. There's something about being in a room (or on a zipline platform) with smart, creative women who all share a common passion. 

I'm ready (and SO excited) for the future 🎉 and to keep doing what I love, sharing stories from the road. ❤️ And I can't thank you enough for following along as we do that! 🙌🥹

#witsutah #getoutofyourcomfortzone #travellife #wits #womenintravel #travel #exploremore #travelconference
I'm SO excited to be in Salt Lake City for my first @sheswanderful WITS Summit! 

It's going to be a fun weekend of learning, meeting other awesome women and talking all things travel! ✈️❤️ Plus, Salt Lake City is beautiful right now! 😍

@wanderfulcreators 
#witsutah

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