The city of Anchorage lies on the Alaskan seacoast backed by soaring, snow-covered volcanic peaks in perhaps the most dramatic location of any American conurbation. Moose and the occasional bear are seen in the streets, and the short, mild summers are balanced by freezing winters. Touring the northern wildernesses by RV rental is a unique experience, and Anchorage is home to a number of companies specialising in hiring RVs to nature-lovers.
The low-density city covers a huge area, most of which is mountainous and uninhabitable, with its built-up area set on a coastal lowland bay surrounded by treacherous mudflats and rocky tidal fjords. On its southern edge is protected Chugach National Forest, and summer is a time for walkers, hikers, bikers, wildlife-watchers and eco-tourists. Evenings in the city focus on micro-brewery bars and a surprisingly good choice of restaurants.
The stupendous natural beauty of the region is its main attraction, although wild-life watchers need only to visit the hilly suburbs to see brown and black bears, moose and a variety of birdlife. For a safer glimpse of Alaska's fauna, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is the place for its conservation efforts and refuge for ill, orphaned and injured animals including bison, elk, bears, eagles and more.
Those wishing to know more about the region's indigenous cultures will enjoy the Alaska Native Heritage Center with its traditional performances, cultural events and displays of fast-fading lifestyles and heritage. Artworks, kayaks and other heritage artefacts are displayed, and native guides are happy to answer visitors' questions.
Anchorage Zoo is a charming, small facility accessed by a summer shuttle bus from the downtown district, and is home to grizzly bears, bald eagles, musk oxen and even a polar bear. Outside the inhabited part of Anchorage is Katmai National Park and its flocks of Dall sheep, similar to the sheep inhabiting the Rocky Mountains. A spectacular coastal walking trail runs along Cook Inlet for 22kms, taking you past Lake Hood with its seaplane base.
Anchorage Ship Creek RV Park just a few blocks from the downtown district offers electric hookups on dry sites, restrooms and showers, WiFi access and laundry facilities as well as disabled access and amenities.
Golden Nugget RV Park, is located near shopping malls, restaurants and downtown Anchorage's bars and pubs. As well as hookup facilities, trash disposal and hot showers, the site offers evening entertainment, BBQs and other events and is known for its friendly service.
Midtown RV Camper Park on East Northern Lights Boulevard is set right in the heart of Anchorage's shopping, dining and entertainment district. The Sullivan Arena with its concert is a few blocks away, and the site is easily accessed via the Seward Highway.
Summer driving in Anchorage is straightforward due to its grid-based road system, although visitors from the UK will need to get used to driving on the right. The Alaska Route 1 state highway runs through the city, giving direct access to the surrounding wildernesses, and local roads are well-maintained in summer, but often impassable during the winter months.
- Speed limits in the city: 32kph.
- Speed limits on national roads: 104kph.
- Help number: 911.