Have plans for the upcoming long weekend? If not, look no further. And if so, consider rearranging. ;-) Memorial Day weekend is universally known as the “unofficial kick-off to summer” and there is simply no greater way to enjoy the start of it all than to get outside and enjoy nature with friends and family.
The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is where all the magic happens. It is a beautiful destination to enjoy all year round, but especially during the summer months. Between the infamous Kenai River, countless lakes and streams, glaciers, wildlife, hiking and ATV trails, horseback riding, kayaking, etc. The list goes on and on. The unanimous vote: The Kenai absolutely rocks. ;-)
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge alone has campgrounds that offer over 120 RV and tent sites to accommodate a wide range of visitor expectations. Hosts are available in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area at Hidden Lake and Upper Skilak Campgrounds. Free camping in the Skilak area and on Swanson and Swan Lake Roads is available year-round.
Now, if we are going to encourage you to get outside and go camping of course we need to provide you a list of some excellent spots to check out. There are a lot of options outside of the ones we will mention on this blog and you can check out the complete list on our website by clicking HERE.
Get ready to load up, get a little dirt on the tires, indulge in some smores and soak up the sunshine. Caution: Be prepared to go into work Tuesday morning still smelling like campfire. Don’t worry, if your boss is as cool as ours they will probably share in that same “Alaska’s Playground” aroma. And if not, they will secretly be filled with jealousy and nostalgia. ;-)
First up, we always recommend that you check out Kenai Lake near the town of Cooper Landing! This is a large, “zig-zag” shaped lake on the Kenai Peninsula. The lake forms the headwaters of the Kenai River, and is a great destination for camping, fishing and other outdoor activity. Due to its size and shape it is accessible from both the Sterling Highway and the Seward Highway. Quartz Creek Campground, Ptarmigan Creek Campground, Primrose Landing Campground, Copper Creek Campground, Kenai Riverside Campground and Trail River Campground are all great places to checkout if you want to explore the area around the beautiful Kenai Lake.
Explore the natural beauty at Hidden Lake. Hidden Lake extends eight miles into the foothills north of Skilak Lake. In June, sockeye salmon smolts gather in the lake by the hundreds of thousands before migrating down Hidden Creek to Skilak Lake. Up to 30,000 adults return to spawn in June and July. Brown and black bears meander through the dense growth along the creek south of the lake. Hike the 1.2-mile (round trip) Burney’s Trail slowly with ears open for the songs and calls of hermit and thrushes, boreal chickadees, and red-breasted nuthatches. Walk along the lakeshore to the mouth of Hidden Creek to catch a glimpse of muskrats and moose, and to watch yellow-rumped (myrtle) warblers snatch insects from the air.
Float the beautiful Swanson River. Approximately 40 miles long, the Swanson River’s entire course lies within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. In its lower reaches, it passes through the Swanson River Oil Field east of the town of Nikiski before turning sharply north. Near its mouth, it flows through Captain Cook State Recreation Area and under North Kenai Road to enter Cook Inlet. Check out the Swanson River Campground, Rainbow Lake Campground or the Dolly Varden Lake Campground for great spots to kick back and enjoy this beautiful destination.
If the town of Sterling, Alaska is on your radar you might want to check out Moose River RV Park, Alaska Canoe & Campgrounds or Bing’s Landing Campground.
Enjoy the Kenai River and many other great spots from “Alaska’s Kenai River City,” Soldotna, Alaska. A few great places to camp include Centennial Camp Ground, Edgewater Lodge & RV Park, River Terrace RV Park and the Klondike RV Park & Cabins.
South of Soldotna, the town of Kasilof, Alaska offers great camping at Crooked Creek RV Park and the Kasilof RV Park.
If you venture through the town of Anchor Point, check out the Stariski Campground, Kyllonen RV Park or the Anchor River Campground.
In Homer, Alaska camping on the infamous “spit” is a force to be reckoned with. This should be a bucket list “must” for anyone and everyone. The Homer Spit Campground and the Heritage RV Park are a couple great places to check out. It is simply amazing and we will now just sit back and let the picture do all of the talking.
Moose Pass is a quaint little town that always has a way of capturing our hearts in a new, special way. Some great places to camp in Moose Pass include Trail River Campground, Tenderfoot Creek Campground, Granite Creek Campground and Bertha Creek Campground.
The incredible town of Seward, Alaska offers some of the most once-in-a-lifetime, “pinch me I can’t believe I’m actually here” kind of camping experiences. Just look to the photo below if you don’t believe us. Camping on the Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park. WHAT?! Yes, it’s possible! Ahhhh-mazing, we know! :-)
Other great campgrounds in the Seward area include Stoney Creek RV Park, Bear Creek RV Park, Miller’s Landing, Seward Waterfront Park and Silver Derby Campground.
Happy Camping, friends! Be safe out there this Memorial Day and remember to take time to honor our nations heroes. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all of you that have risked your lives to defend our freedom. With love, thank you to all of our heroes.