A Review of Centennial Campground in Anchorage, Alaska

By Ryan Wilson

Updated:
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Centennial Campground Anchorage

Visiting Alaska can be a trip of a lifetime and camping while you’re visiting can help you experience more of the state than simply staying in hotels or vacation rentals. If you’re passing through Anchorage, Alaska, and looking for Anchorage camping opportunities, there are few options. The only formal Anchorage campground is Centennial Campground which is run by the city.

While this might seem like a desirable and convenient location for camping, especially if you want to explore Anchorage, the campground has a bit of a sordid history in recent years that should play a role in your consideration. In 2023 the campground was used as an unofficial homeless camp suddenly. And while that is not currently the case, it could change at any time.

Below I provide you with the details you need to make an informed decision on whether Centennial Campground is the right choice for you if you’re interested in camping in Anchorage.


Centennial Campground Review

Centennial Campground map

Centennial Campground is the only formal campground located in the city of Anchorage. It is located right along the Glenn Highway which is one of two highways leading into and out of Anchorage. Unfortunately the campground is not immune from road noise associated with the highway. But if you’re staying in a camper or RV you can probably mask most of the road noise.

Centennial Campground site
Centennial Campground site

The campground costs $25 per night for non-electric sites and $35 per night for sites with electrical hook-ups.

Unfortunately there is not a lot of privacy between sites, but it is a forested site so you won’t see (or be seen by) the entire campground from your campsite.

There is a 14 day limit (per year) for staying at the campground.

!! Important Note !!

In 2022 the Mayor of Anchorage turned Centennial Campground into a unofficial homeless encampment. As of summer 2023, that is currently not the case, but there has been discussion of opening it as a homeless encampment again.

When I drove through a couple of weeks ago, I noticed quite a few people living at the campground out of their cars. Their campsites were kept pretty clean, but you should be aware that if you plan on staying here on an upcoming trip, it could be turned into a homeless camp before you arive.

So I probably wouldn’t make reservations for a campsite and instead check it out before deciding to stay there. There were plenty of open sites when I drove by a couple of weeks ago on a weekend, so availability shouldn’t be an issue

Centennial Campground Campsites

Centennial Campground has 84 campsites (but only 72 are open in 2023). There are 21 RV-electric sites, 20 RV non-electric sites, 42 RV/tent sites, and 2 group sites. There are no RV size limits. Each campsite has a picnic table and campfire pit.

Even though the campground is within the city of Anchorage, there are still a lot of black bears in the area and that they do come through the camp Pay attention to signage in the campground about recent bear sightings and talk to the campground host about any concerns you might have.

Centennial Campground Amenities

Centennial Campground offers running water, restrooms, some sites with electrical hook-ups, and an RV dump station.

RV Dump Station at Centennial Campground
RV Dump Station

There is also numerous dumpster for your trash. Please do not leave trash or food unsecured because bears live in the area and could become problems if people don’t properly manage their camps.

There is also a small playground for young kids at Centennial Campground.

Centennial Campground Reservations

Centennial Campground does accept reservations but there are usually plenty of sites if you don’t end up making a reservation.

When is Centennial Campground Open

The campground is open between late May and early September, annually.

Where is Centennial Campground Located

Centennial Campground is located on the northeast corner of Anchorage, right off the Glenn Highway. It’s conveniently located in the sense that you’re close to all that Anchorage has to offer. You’re also right next to the highway so you can head north to Denali from here with ease.

But, being that close to the highway can lead to a lot of road noise. So, if you’re looking for a scenic or serene campground, Centennial Campground is definitely not for you.


Summary

Centennial Campground is a conveniently-located campground within the city limits of Anchorage. But honestly, its proximity to Anchorage is the only thing I can recommend about the campground.

Its proximity to the highway and recent use as an unofficial homeless camp make it hard for me to recommend staying here. I personally wouldn’t, but I also live in Anchorage so wouldn’t need to anyway.

There are numerous other campgrounds within 15-40 minutes of Anchorage that offer a lot more serenity and Alaskan experience than Centennial Campground. Consider staying at Eagle River Campground, a short 10-15 minute drive from Anchorage. The Eklutna Lake Campground is also another great option not too far from town.

Interested in learning more about other camping opportunities in Alaska? Check out our page on Alaska Campgrounds to learn about other campgrounds to explore.

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Author

Ryan is an avid outdoorsman who loves camping, hiking, and backpacking. He was initially reluctant to join the camper world, but after his first camping trip in one, he became a convert. He especially loves how camper ownership extends the camping season and makes it easier to be more adventurous with young kids. When not enjoying his free time, he works as a professional wildlife biologist studying the ecology and conservation of large mammals in Alaska.