Long drives are always an interesting experience and each journey is going to teach you something new about yourself.
We wanted to take the time to go to Alaska recently and were checking plane tickets when it came to our attention that driving to Alaska was an option.
You might be wondering whether or not it’s possible for you.
We turned on Google Maps and began planning our journey from Los Angeles. We had driven from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, so this was an interesting experience as it would be much longer. Before looking into this, is it possible to drive to Alaska from the United States?
Yes, you can drive to Alaska from the United States but it’s going to take you across the Canadian border. There is no direct route from mainland USA to Alaska. It doesn’t matter where you are coming from, you are going to need to cross into Canada.
This means it’s important to bring your passport with you if you want to drive to Alaska from the US.
In our case, it was a shorter drive as Alaska is on the same side of the continent as California.
You will have to adjust your drive based on which state you are coming from. In general, regardless of where you are coming from, you are going to drive until you hit the Alaska Highway.
How To Get To Alaska In A Car
Let’s begin with the simple route.
If you are going to be starting from the Pacific coast like we did, you are going to be aiming towards going to the Sumas border. This is going to be near Vancouver and it’s the closest route a driver can take to get into Canada and then head to Alaska.
For those who are more inland, you are going to be looking at aiming for the Portal border, which will then take you into Canada.
For those who are more central in America, you are going to be aiming for the Piegan-Carway crossing or the Sweetgrass border. We always recommend putting this into Google Maps to see what your potential routes are.
Some people prefer staying in America for as long as possible while others just want to get to their destination as quickly as possible. This can vary the direction you end up going in.
Those who are on the East Coast are often going to start driving through Canada earlier and just take the Trans-Canada Highway all the way across. This is going to be a long drive but it can also be a unique one for those who have never done it before.
When you are preparing the route, we always recommend paying attention to how long it takes to drive from mainland USA to Alaska.
It can take 3-4 days depending on where you are coming from. You might not have to drive as long from Los Angeles compared to someone driving here from Boston. These are variations simply due to positioning and how far Alaska is from the state.
Our Experience Driving To Alaska From The United States
We were in Los Angeles, so we are going to share our experience based on this particular route.
In general, we were driving during warmer weather, so there were little issues when it came to snowy conditions. This becomes a possible hurdle for those who are going to be heading to Alaska in the heart of the winter.
This is when you are going to want to have winter tires to make sure your vehicle doesn’t start getting trapped in a snowstorm.
Sometimes, when you go from a warm state to Alaska, you are not going to be prepared for this. Always pay attention to this because it will snow a lot in Alaska.
For the most part, the roads are going to be fine. We found the roads to be good but it can take a toll on you due to the distance. You will want to stop along the way, but in the winter there will be parts that are unclear, so always be patient on the road.
If you are going in the summer, we recommend being careful during the night as there are parts where there are no lights.
This can be disconcerting for those who are not used to such road conditions.
Tips For Driving To Alaska From America
Be Prepared For A Lengthy Drive
It’s going to take 3-4 days to complete the route depending on where you are coming from.
This means it’s going to be a challenging route and this is assuming you are not stopping a lot. Those who are going to stop regularly for a bit of sightseeing are going to take longer.
It’s a considerable distance, so be prepared for this as much as possible. If you are not prepped for a lengthy drive, you are not going to feel confident with the experience.
Keep Your Passport Ready
You need to keep your passport ready.
This is common sense because you are going to have to cross the border to get to Alaska. The Canadian border officials are particular about this and are going to want to make sure you have a valid passport before you can enter.
Always check your documents and keep them ready as you get closer to the border.
Stop Along The Way
We always recommend stopping along the way.
It’s nice to go with a straight drive that is going to let you complete the journey as fast as possible. This is fine but it’s good to take a break along the way and do a bit of sightseeing.
It’s going to amplify your trip and that’s never a bad thing!
Go In The Summer
Your timing is going to matter when you are going to Alaska in a car.
We believe it’s best to go when the weather is warm. It is likely unreasonable to drive there in the heart of the winter because the light is going to be bad and it’s going to be snowing a lot.
These are not ideal conditions unless you have to be there in the winter. If you do this, always make sure to have winter tires, a car brush, and a portable heater.
This is how to drive to Alaska from the United States.
For those who are about to do this, it’s a fun drive. We loved it and so will you. However, this is only possible if you are prepared for the length of the drive.
Amanda Harper is a travel enthusiast with 10+ years of traveling experience across the planet. Her passion for writing and travel makes her a walking bibliography on modern-day tourism.