Image: Horsetail Falls en route to Valdez, Alaska
You may think WTF? I get it! How is that an awesome vacation? Um, isn’t there like nothing in Alaska? EXACTLY. Did you see reindeer? YES!
Before you close your browser, listen up ma. My goal is to see as much of this beautiful earth as possible and share it with my family. I’ve spent time in Vegas, partied + loved it. I’ve seen the history of Boston, loved it. I’ve been to east China and got complete culture shock, but think I could do it again and love it ;) I've promised to make my life about experiences of all sorts and share them with real humans.
Now, this trip was different. We decided to rent an RV for 15 nights, yes with 5 kids! I told you we were crazy. We wanted to see a lot, have tons of freedom, and the thought of sitting in a hotel room with our boisterous crew was not an option. The RV was actually cheaper than renting a hotel room and a car!
We had little to no itinerary when we arrived. In fact, our only plans were to stop and grab a modem thing so we could occasionally work and stock up on food at Walmart. Hardly enough to fill up fifteen whole days! Anyone wanna snuggle?
We arrived to pick up our RV at check in around 11 am. We were exhausted from flying and I remember being in a small room to watch the informational video before they would give us the RV keys. My husband and I both fell asleep and I’m pretty sure the staff could tell through the ahem, glass windows. The kids had all the energy and were seemingly wide awake. We figured they caught enough of the info and decided to journey on!
When we got into the RV for the first time, the kids were asking if we could live in it forever. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to make you feel better or worse about your life choices as a parent? Nonetheless, their excitement was contagious and we were all ready for 2 weeks of, well, we still needed to plan that actually.
I remember what it felt like to first venture down the road in what felt like a house on wheels. I was a bit panicked actually, SLOW IT DOWN HUNNY! Our RV was pretty giant, 30+ feet and it’d shake on the windy highways. I would (suspiciously) sneak to the back bed and snuggle our two littlest every time we hit the road. My husband seemed really sure that I agreed to drive at some point, but I begged him to allow me to champion the snuggling the entire trip because I didn’t trust myself with a 30-foot road monster. Was he crazy?
Fair is fair.
Scared is scared.
We flew into Anchorage and quickly googled best destinations in Alaska to form the official game plan. We decided on Kenai, Fairbanks, Valdez, Seward, and Whittier. It seemed like a good outline for our trip without committing us to drive hundreds of miles each day.
Timeout, do you know how big the state of Alaska is? I knew it was big, but I didn’t realize just HOW BIG it was until we got there. According to World Atlas, Alaska is not only the biggest state in the USA, but it’s as big as the 22 smallest states combined.
In relation to the entire map of Alaska, we barely scraped the surface. In fact, I would LOVE to go back and cover some more! I was obsessed with just how beautiful it was. The air felt so clean and fresh and there was so much water around us. Freshwater in the mountains and of course the ocean around the coasts. It was such a rich blue color and I remember the shock of how cold it was. We had actually planned a polar plunge and all wimped out!
We went there in June, so we were all in awe of the near 24 hours of light. In fact, the older kids were like, technically, we never have to go to bed! I vividly remember driving past Denali at midnight on our way up to Fairbanks and it was light out! Unforgettable.
We loved the ability to park our camper mostly anywhere and ‘camp out’ for the night. We’d pull out our chairs, the kids would run around, and we’d just be enjoying our perfect moments together surrounded by Alaska's epic beauty. There was so much freedom and a feeling of simplicity that I just couldn't get enough of.
Here is our itinerary and what we loved most in Alaska:
Day 1: Flew in, picked up RV by 11.
We were trying to figure out how the RV thing works, where do we park, do we need a permit? We discovered that Walmart would let you park in their parking lot for up to 24 hours. Cha-Ching! Thank you, Walmart!