Where to stay in Anchorage: camping + accommodation
Complete guide on where to staying Anchorage from campgrounds to accommodation. You can save this for later, Pin it

If you’re looking to head to Anchorage and want to be in a prime location to adventure in the outdoors, look no further! This complete guide to camping and accommodation in Anchorage will help you find the perfect place whether you’re a dirtbag looking for the cheapest hostel, a camper who wants the most scenic campground, or an upscale outdoorsmen who wants bag peaks but relax in a nice hotel afterward.

If you had to visit only one place in Alaska, you may be shocked to hear that Anchorage is the place to go. Yep, the biggest city in Alaska is an amazing place to visit but not because of Anchorage itself. What makes Anchorage so special is that it is an incredible basecamp for adventuring in Alaska. If you’re coming for the raw beauty and epic adventures of The Last Frontier, the only better place to visit would be the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage is a darn close second.

Anchorage, and Alaska as a whole, is a unique ecosystem. The city is a port and surrounding the south and west sides of the region is the ocean yet it’s also right at the base of one of the most jagged and accessible mountain ranges I’ve ever seen, the Chugach Range.

You’ve also got unique natural feature of the Turnagain Arm, a narrow turquoise blue inlet with massive mountains on each side and is a great place for spotting whales and other sea life. Connected to the Anchorage area just before you enter the Kenai Peninsula is the glacial hotspot of Portage Pass and to the north of Anchorage, Hatcher Pass, a stunning, compressed valley with endless outdoor activities year round. Denali is only 3 hours away and you could make a day trip to Homer and be back in time for dinner.

The point is, downtown Anchorage ain’t much but the things that surround the city are EPIC and the adventure opportunities are endless.

Related: 25 Epic Things to do Near Anchorage

Camping in Anchorage: Places to Stay

Eklutna Lake Campground

Price: $15
Number of Sites: 50
Tents: Yes
Max RV Length: No max but I wouldn’t recommend anything over 30′
Accepts Reservations: No, first-come first-serve

Eklutna Lake is one of most beautiful campgrounds in all of Alaska. The campground isn’t too far from Anchorage yet it remains to be a very quiet peaceful campground. The sites at Eklutna Lake are forested and have picnic tables + fire pits however, what makes this campground amazing is the Eklutna Lake itself which is less than a 5 minute walk from your campsite.

The lake is spectacular, especially when seen from above on the Twin Lakes Trail. From the shores, you can see beautiful peaks and glaciers and it’s a great place to relax, go for a swim, and watch sunrise or sunset. At least 1 night at Eklutna Lake is recommended because of all amazing adventures that start right at your doorstep like Twin Peak Trail.

Besides cabins and group campsites, there are 50 campsites available on a first-come first-serve basis and the max length of stay is 14 consecutive nights. There is water, toilets, and picnic shelters at the beach area.

Adventures Nearby:

  • Twin Peaks Trail to Overlook
  • East Twin Peak or Pepper Peak
  • Eklutna High Ridge Traverse
  • Mountain bike the Eklutna Lake trail
  • Fishing
  • Boating

Eagle River Campgrounds

Price: $20
Number of Sites: 57
Tents: Yes
Max RV Length: No max, Large RVs welcome
Typically Open: May through September
Accepts Reservations: Half are reservable
Reserve here

This is a campground we didn’t get a chance to stay at ourselves however we did spend a little bit of time in Eagle River.

Though it’s still an Alaska State Park, this is campground isn’t as wild as much as Eklutna. The campground has paved sites, picnic tables, flush toilets, fire pits and dump station. The campground is still scenic and lies along the Eagle River where you can fish and explore.

Photos above via LifetimeAdventures.net

This campground isn’t as much of a destination but rather a good base to go explore hikes in Chugach the next day.

Adventures Nearby:

  • 20 minute drive from Mount Baldy Trailhead
  • 15 minutes for Mount Magnificent + Tucker Peak Trailhead
  • 20 minutes to Eagle River Nature Center (see hikes from here)

Notable Mention:

Black Spruce Campground is right by Eagle River Campground however is only open to use by those with Military ID.

Centennial Campground

Price: $25 w/o electricity; $35 w/ electricity
Number of Sites: 88
Tents: Yes
Max RV Length: No max, Large RVs welcome
Typically Open: End of May to September
Accepts Reservations: 14 RV sites and 20 tent sites are reservable
Reserve here

Centennial Campground is not a great campground and I honestly wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re like us and you came to Alaska to go explore the great outdoors and after a week on the trailing in the mountains, you really want a warm shower. Centennial, which is a municipal campground, is the only campground near Anchorage that has showers. In addition, it has a dump station, wifi, a playground, a camp store, and cell reception (which is a rarity for us).

Showers and electricity are really the only reason to stay here. The showers are free and unlimited however a few of us ended up with lukewarm showers. The Wifi actually worked which was nice.

Fortunately, this campground is still relatively inexpensive and you’re still close to a lot of other Anchorage adventures.

Adventure nearby:

Bird Creek Campground

Price: $20
Number of Sites: 28
Tents: Yes
Max RV Length: 35′ max
Typically Open: End of May to September
Accepts Reservations: No, first-come first-serve

Bird Creek and this entire section of the Seward Highway are a can’t miss spot on any trip to Alaska. Bird Creek is much different than any other campground on this list. Bird Creek is oceanfront along Turnagain Arm with amazing coastal opportunities.

The campground has picnic tables, fire pits, and toilets, Staying here gives you quick access to one of my favorite activities in Anchorage, the Bird to Gird Bike Path. The Bird to Gird bike path is one of the best things to do near Anchorage and takes a coastal route from Indian (only a few minutes drive further on the Seward Hwy) as the west junction, to Bird Point, to Girdwood as the east junction.

The bike path is incredibly scenic and remains to be a hidden gem with low crowds. If you don’t want to bike all the way to Girdwood you can also just ride 7 miles to Bird Point.

Besides the bike path, Rainbow Peak, one of the most popular summits in Anchorage, is right across the street and can be hiked directly from your doorstep which is pretty awesome.

You can also hike along Turnagain Arm Trail or head down the road less than 5 minutes to Falls Creek Trail or the prestigious Bird Ridge Trail, arguably the hardest hike in the area.

Finally, you’re a super short drive from our favorite mountain town in Alaska, Girdwood, home of Alyeska Ski Resort.

Adventures nearby:

  • 7 minutes to Bird to Gird Bike Path
  • 2 minutes before the campground is Beluga Point
  • 7 minutes to Bird Ridge trail
  • 3 Minutes to Falls Creek trail
  • Direct Access to Turnagain Arm trail
  • Direct Access to Rainbow Peak trail
  • Direct Access to fishing in the creek
  • 15 minutes from adventure hub, Girdwood

Campgrounds Just Outside Anchorage

Girdwood/Alyeska Parking Lot

Price: $10
Number of Sites: Around 40
Tents: No
Max RV Length: Big rig friendly
Typically Open: Summer season at Alyeska Resort
Accepts Reservations: No

Girdwood is my favorite town in all of Alaska and even though this town has it’s own name, it’s really still apart of the Anchorage area. While there is no designated “campground” in Girdwood, the best kept secret of this small mountain town is the parking lot on the south side of Alyeska Resort that allows RV camping all summer long (except for the first weekend in July) for up to 7 consecutive nights.

Camping Girdwood, Anchorage Alaska
Sunsets and mountains from the Alyeska Daylodge Parking Lot

While there are no facilities, the location here is amazing. Girdwood in general is super pedestrian and bike friendly. You can explore the bike paths and even ride the scenic Gird to Bird route. You’re close to some amazing hikes like the Winner Creek Hand Tram and Crow Pass. You can walk out your door and explore the pretty forested neighborhoods on the way to Virgin Creek Falls.

You’re within walking distance of Girdwood Brewery, which has great beer, food trucks, and is family friendly. You can also walk to grab fresh sourdough and coffee at The Bake Shop or grab wine at local liquor store next door, La Bodega. Feeling up for some fine cuisine? Don’t miss Jack Sprat and its modern architecture and seasonal dishes. You can grab groceries in town or stop by the health food store. If you’re looking for a more low key restaurant, head to Chair 5 for burgers and pizza.

Adventures Nearby

  • 20 minutes from Crow Pass trailhead
  • 20 minute walk to Virgin Creek Falls
  • Direct access to bike paths
  • Direct access to Alyeska downhill bike park
  • 5 minutes from Winner Creek Hand Tram trailhead
  • 15 minutes from Bird Ridge trailhead
  • Direct access to the Gird to Bird bike path

Black Bear + Williwaw Campground

Price: $14 at Black Bear; $18 (single)/$28 (double) at Williwaw
Number of Sites: 12 at Black Bear, 60 at Williwaw
Tents: Yes, at both campgrounds
Max RV Length: No RVs at Black Bear; no max length at Williwaw
Typically Open: Year round (no trash, water, or fees from mid May to fall)
Accepts Reservations: First-come first-serve at Black Bear; Half reservable at Williwaw
Reserve Williwaw here

Black Bear and Williwaw Campgrounds are the furthest from Anchorage yet they’re still only an hour from downtown. These two campgrounds, located in the forest just as you turn onto the road for Portage Pass, are your typical National Forest Campgrounds: scenic, secluded, and peaceful.

These campgrounds are really enjoyable to relax at and are good places to stay if you’re wanting to explore Portage Pass. See our related blog for hiking Portage Pass.

Camping Williwaw Campground, Anchorage Alaska
Williwaw Campground
Photo via thedyrt.com

While Black Bear Campground is for tents only, Williwaw is big rig friendly though neither provide electricity.

Both these campgrounds are right by the beautiful bike path, the Trail of Blue Ice which runs from the road junction all the way to the Portage Visitor Center.

Learn more about Portage Pass adventures by clicking here.

Nearby Adventures

Finger Lake State Rec Site

Price: $20 for regular; $25 for premium
Number of Sites: 24
Tents: Yes
Max RV Length: 35 feet
Typically Open: Mid May to mid October
Accepts Reservations: Not specific but a portion of their sites are available to reserve
Reserve here (Sites cost an additional $5 when reserved)

Just on the outskirts of northern Anchorage is the area of Palmer and Wasilla, where you’ll find Finger Lake Recreation Area. This state recreation area is still scenic but is less immersed in the mountains than the other campgrounds mentioned.

This is a really good destination in itself and many Anchorage locals spend the weekends here on the lake. That being said, if you want to explore the Chugach Mountains, this isn’t as good of a place to stay simply due to the proximity. It is much closer to Hatcher Pass however, I don’t see why you wouldn’t just camp in Hatcher Pass if that’s the area you want to explore.

The campground doesn’t have any electricity but has typical facilities like toilets and water.

Adventures Nearby:

  • 18 minutes from W Butte trail
  • 25 minutes from Pioneer Ridge trail
  • 17 minutes from Matanuska Peak/Lazy Mountain trailhead
  • 17 minutes from Matanuska Greenbelt Trail system

Big Bear Campground + RV Park

Price: $30-55 spending on site
Number of Sites: 53
Tents: Yes, only 6 tent sites
Max RV Length: Any size rig
Typically Open: Year round
Accepts Reservations: Yes
Reserve here

Also located in Wasilla, this RV Park is suitable for if you’re looking for amenities. Again, it’s not necessarily in a prime location, it’s located right along the highway in Wasilla, however if you’re an RV Park person, this is the only upscale RV Park in the Anchorage area.

The campground does have electricity, a laundry room, showers, a playground, and a picnic pavilion with propane bbqs open for use.

Pro Tip

If you’re a #vanlifer like us, then you may not want to camp here however, you may want to utilize the showers which you can pay for even if you’re not a registered camper. Showers are $5 per person.

Adventures Nearby

  • 22 minutes from W Butte trail
  • 30 minutes from Pioneer Ridge trail
  • 20 minutes from Matanuska Peak/Lazy Mountain trailhead
  • 12 minutes from Matanuska Greenbelt Trail system

Accommodation in Anchorage

The Lakefront Anchorage: Most Scenic Place to Stay

Price: $$
Best For: Families or couples who want a scenic, upscale accommodation
Reserve here

The Lakefront is one of the most scenic places you could stay in Anchorage and perhaps the most centrally located of all the places mentioned in this blog.

The Lakefront Anchorage, places to stay
Seaplanes take off and land frequently on Lake Spenard, the location of The Lakefront Hotel
Photo via Booking.com

As the name says, this hotel/resort is located right on the shores of Lake Spenard making for spectacular views from any of the 3 hotel restaurants, one of which is a lovely outdoor patio.

The accommodation is much like a ski lodge with upscale rooms, a family friendly feel, and a cozy atmosphere.

The Lakefront Anchorage, places to stay
Outdoor patio restaurant at The Lakefront
Photo via Booking.com

Location wise, this hotel is closest to the amazing trail network of Kincaid Park which is probably one of the best MTB trail systems in North America. Here, you’re also right in the middle of all things foodie in Anchorage. You’re close to Wild Scoops, Moose’s Tooth, and Fire Island Bakery just to name a few.

If you’re less of an adventure traveler and are looking to experience scenic Alaska, good food, and some soft adventures, this is the place for you.

Adventures Nearby

  • 10 minutes from Kincaid Park trail system (which is one of the best MTB trail networks in North America)
  • 5 minutes (2 miles) from the Anchorage Coastal trail
  • 20-30 minutes from basically all trailheads in the Anchorage area
  • 45 minutes from Girdwood/Alyeska Ski Resort

Arctic Adventure Hostel

Price: $ (From $40 for single dorm bed – $160 for family room)
Best For: Budget travelers
Reserve here

This accommodation is really standard when it comes to hostels. It’s not a luxury destination but a small cheap basecamp perfect if you’re looking to get out and explore.

For a hostel, it’s exceptionally clean, quiet and family friendly. There are male dorms, female dorms, private rooms, and family rooms that fit up to 6.

As budget travelers, being able to cook your own food is very important and with the large, well stocked community kitchen, it’s easy to save money and indulge in home cooked food. Cooking not your thing? At Arctic Adventure Hostel you’re also within a 15 minute walk of a foodie centric shopping center which has Moose’s Tooth, Great Harvest Bakery, Wild Scoops, plus a grocery store, liqueur store, Walmart, REI, and plenty of small coffee shops.

If you’re an adventurer who’s trying to maximize their time to adventure in the Chugach Range and doesn’t mind staying in a very basic hostel, this is the place for you. With a low cost place to sleep, you can spend most of your day hiking, biking, fishing, or climbing all throughout the Anchorage area.

Adventures Nearby

  • 15 minutes from Kincaid Park trail system
  • 10 minutes (2 miles) from the Anchorage Coastal trail
  • 20-30 minutes from trailheads in the Chugach Range
  • 45 minutes from Girdwood/Alyeska Ski Resort

A Goldenview Bed & Breakfast

Price: Starting at $125
Best For: Couples
Reserve here

This charming little bed and breakfast on the south side of Anchorage isn’t just a perfect getaway, it’s a great location to be close to the most beautiful adventures in the area.

A Goldenview Bed & Breakfast Anchorage Places to Stay
A spacious patio and garden at A Goldenvew B&B
Photo via Booking.com

The B&B is located only 5 minutes from Anchorage’s most popular peak hikes such as Flattop Mountain, O’Malley Peak, and McHugh Peak. In addition, you’re only 5 minutes away from the coastal Seward Highway, which runs along Turnagain Arm.

While you can’t walk out your door and go out to eat, you are within a short distance of downtown Anchorage if you feel like exploring breweries, sweets treats, and farmers markets.

The rooms at A Goldenview are neat and well furnished making them feel like your very own home. Other features include an outdoor hot tub, a shared kitchen, and a spacious garden and patio.

Adventures Nearby

  • 5 minutes from Coastal Seward Highway
  • 10 minutes to Glen Alps trailhead (Flattop Mtn + O’Malley peak)
  • 15 minutes from Rabbit Lake Trailhead
  • 15 Minutes from Rainbow trailhead
  • 10 minutes from Beluga point
  • 40 minutes from Girdwood/Alyeska Ski Resort

Vintage Downtown Apartment

Price: Starting at $125
Best For: Travelers who prefer to stay in homes/apartments
Reserve here

Maybe you’re more of an AirBnb traveler. If this is you, then you will love this charming vintage apartment that’s only a 15 minute walk from downtown Anchorage and is right next to Anchorage bike path. You are also only a 5 minute walk from the popular community park, Delaney Park

Vintage Apartment Anchorage Places to Stay
Quaint and charming apartment in Anchorage with a pretty garden surrounding
Photo via Booking.com

The apartment, which sleep up to 5, is modern but not overly luxurious. It includes a spacious living room, a washing machine, and fully equipped kitchen. Rooms include a queen bed, a sofa bed, and extra bed upon request.

This is a great place for small groups of families who aren’t looking to spend their entire day exploring. It’s still close to adventures but it’s a comfortable place to spend your day as well.

Adventures Nearby

  • 15 minutes from Kincaid Park trail system
  • Direct access to Anchorage bike paths (including Anchorage Coastal trail)
  • 15 minute walk from Downtown
  • 20-30 minutes from trailheads in the Chugach Range
  • 45 minutes from Girdwood/Alyeska Ski Resort

Best Places to Stay Near Anchorage

In case you can’t tell by now, I LOVE Girdwood and no trip to Anchorage is complete without spending some time there. Whether you’re going to be camping or not, Girdwood has an option for you.

Hotel Alyeska Anchorage Places to Stay
Hotel Alyeska, the base of dozens of amazing adventures Photo via Booking.com

In retrospect, I wish I had known ahead of time how amazing Girdwood was because I would’ve spent a night at Hotel Alyeska. I’m not even a hotel person (we camped through all of Alaska after all) but this hotel is amazing. It’s located of course at the base of the ski resort so you can go on a dozen different hikes, bikes rides, or downhill mountain bike right from your room.

In addition, during our walk through the neighborhood to find Virgin Creek falls, we discovered that the houses in Girdwood are some of the stunning we’ve ever seen. There are dozens of incredible vacation homes in Girdwood and if you’re not a resort person, these beautiful rentals are sure to still feel luxurious. Some top vacation rentals in the area are:

Looking for other accommodation?

If none of these places sound like your groove, use the search tool below to find other places to stay in the Anchorage Area.

Booking.com

Hope this helped you plan your trip to Anchorage, Alaska. Be sure to check out our related resources below for other Anchorage + Alaska tips, itineraries, and things to do.

If you have any questions about camping in Anchorage or places to stay, please let us know in the comments! We’re happy to help.

Alaska Resources

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