An Alaska Road Trip with Car Rentals

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An Alaska Road Trip with Car Rentals

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The following post is a sponsored post, all information is what I found to be true and helpful to my readers. This post may also contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure statement for details.

Alaska is the place to travel for an ultimate adventure. Alaska is the  largest state and holds the nickname of “the last frontier.” With the ocean, mountains, rivers, wildlife, and northern lights this place should be on everyone’s bucket list. After living a year in Alaska I was happy with the opportunity to return this summer, even for just one week! Since I wouldn’t be able to drive the van up this time, I opted for an adventure mobile rental for our week stay. I was stoked that Car Rentals was able to help me out with finding the best car for this Alaska adventure!

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How to pick the perfect car rental for your next adventure

Sometimes your own van or adventure mobile just can’t take you to all the places you would like to go. Some adventures require a plane ride, and an adventure mobile rental is your best bet.

When looking for a great car rental, I would highly recommend Their website is super user-friendly and gives you easy access to 33 car rentals companies. This way travelers can find the best and most affordable car rental for their trip!

An SUV or Minivan is the way to go!

I recommend spending a little bit more money on a larger car such as an SUV or minivan in order to save money on lodging. If you rent a car with a larger space, it can easily be modified to a bed. This allows travelers to car camp a few nights in order to get more adventure and spend less money on your trip. We rented a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee for our trip!

Alaska in 7 days

Once you get to your destination, its time to plan the ultimate road trip.  Check out my tips for a great Alaska road trip.

If you are interested in a much longer road trip, check out this post about my epic road trip from Alaska to Colorado.

Day 1: Anchorage to Girdwood

Anchorage is the largest and most populated city in Alaska. This city is a great location to fly into when visiting Alaska. We arrived in Anchorage around 12 PM and picked up out car rental that we reserved with Everything went very smooth and we were in and out with keys in our hands in about 10 minutes! We had a few hours to kill before heading off to Girdwood and decided to grab a bite at Middle Way Cafe.

One of my favorite parts about Anchorage is the food! There is seriously so much good locally sourced, super fresh food! It was hard to decide which places I wanted to eat while visiting there with only a short period of time.

After spending a few hours working and enjoying our coffee and food at Middle Way, we picked up some camping gear we were borrowing from a friend. If you don’t have a friend in Anchorage to borrow some gear from,  I highly recommend renting camping gear.

Renting can be a lot cheaper than carrying your own gear on a plane. Typically the gear is new and lightly used! I recommend Alaska Outdoor Gear Rental and/or REI in Anchorage for REI members. After picking up our gear we headed about 45 mins south to Girdwood, AK.

Girdwood is a quaint Mountain town in Alaska along the Seward highway and is where Alyeska, the ski resort is located. If time permits, I recommend hiking one of the many trails in Girdwood as well as taking a Gondola ride up for a great view and lunch!

Day 2: Girdwood -> Homer, AK

We woke up in our tiny, cozy, cabin in Girdwood. We decided to get a delicious breakfast burrito and chai at one of my other favorite Alaska staples, Girdwood Picnic Club. After breakfast, we hit the road and headed south towards Homer, AK.

Tiny Van Big Living| Car Rentals

Homer is one of my favorite towns in Alaska! As a girl who grew up on the beach, I always have a love for small beach towns. Homer, AK is a magical place where the ocean meets the mountains. Homer is famous for its “spit”, which is the second longest spit of land in the world! My favorite thing to do in this town is to camp on the homer spit.

We paid $15 and made ourselves a cozy “tent” in the back of the Jeep. It worked out quite well as the weather in Homer did not cooperate. It was much easier to stay dry and warm vs sleeping in a tent. If you have time in Homer, I recommend taking a water taxi across Kachemak Bay to the small town of Seldovia or Kachemak Bay State Park.

Day 3-4: Homer -> Kenai, AK

Our third day in Alaska started with waking up in our adventure mobile thanks to Car Rentals on the beach in Homer, AK. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate in the morning either, we woke up in a torrential downpour, still a beautiful campsite despite the weather.

This day we headed to the Soldotna/Kenai area which is near and dear to my heart. I lived here for a few months in the summer of 2016 as a traveling therapist. One of the reasons, I had returned to Alaska for this trip was to attend the wedding of my friends at the beautiful Cannery Lodge.

Tiny Van Big Living | Car Rentals

Prior to wedding activities, we spent most of the time trying to catch a salmon, but no luck! The Kenai Peninsula is world famous for its salmon run, and people gather from all over the world to fish here. With us only being in town for one day and not much salmon action at this point, our chances were not great. However, we still had an amazing time sitting along the glacier blue Kenai River. We stopped for lunch at the best sandwich shop in Alaska Odies. If you go to Odies, always pick up a homemade cookie. Our time ended in Kenai with a spectacular sunset and an out of this worldview of the beautiful volcano across the bay, Mt. Redoubt!

Day 5-6: Kenai -> Fairbanks, AK

We left early morning for a very long road trip to Fairbanks, Alaska. This is about a 9-hour road trip without stops! Although it’s a very long trip, it’s a wonderful way to see many different parts of Alaska. Most of this day consisted of lots and lots of driving. We stopped at a lookout to view Denali, but it was very cloudy and we were unable to see it clearly.

We spent a day in Fairbanks visiting our very good friends who just had a baby! We had breakfast at my favorite spot in Fairbanks, The Cookie Jar. We spent the day driving around the foothills of Fairbanks with some beautiful views of Alaska. We picked up some souvenirs at Pioneer Park and enjoyed a beautiful 80 degree weather day in Alaska. If you find yourself in Alaska in the fall or winter, I highly recommend visiting Fairbanks to see the northern lights. The best light show I ever saw was in Fairbanks, October 2016.

Day 7: Fairbanks -> Anchorage

This was our last day in Alaska, and a bittersweet one in fact. We had an incredibly lucky day, the sun was out and the weather was perfect. We began with an early lunch at Pita Place in Fairbanks.

Tiny Van Big Living | Car Rentals

The best part of this day was the incredible view we got of Denali. For some perspective, seeing Denali is incredibly rare. This is the second time we have been able to see it so clearly, we feel incredibly lucky! There were people pulling off the side of the road, cheering, and smiling, and taking pictures. There is something magical about standing around with a bunch of people from all over cheering and applauding nature. I don’t think there is a better way than that to end a trip in Alaska!

What trips do you have planned this year! Start your search for your adventure mobile today with!

About the Author


Hi there! My name is Sarah and I am the creator of Tiny Van Big Living. I am a former traveling Occupational Therapist who lived in a converted camper van (Vanny Devito) full time for almost two years. I am collecting experiences, not things while slowly climbing out of the giant hole that is student loan debt.

4 Comments on “An Alaska Road Trip with Car Rentals”

  1. I just left Alaska after living there 24 years. I left to be a full-time RV traveler. Loved the post. The drive from Anchorage to Girdwood is on my “top” lists of drives in the US. I never got tired of that amazing drive.

  2. I worked in Homer for a while and it is by far my favorite assignment yet. Love your site! Am outback living in Los Angeles now. What an adventure!

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