With mountain scenery, 20 million acres of protected wilderness, and Haines State Forest on its doorstep, Haines in Alaska is a stunning place to visit. Not only is it close to the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, and part of the Alaska Panhandle, but it’s home to the Southeast Alaska State Fair.
Every year, the state fair at 296 Fair Drive, Haines, in Alaska, brings thousands of visitors to the area. The fair first began in 1969 and has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception. It incorporates headline entertainment, plenty of competitions for all to be a part of, and exhibits that showcase the uniqueness of the area. The Southeast Alaska State Fair is easily as magical as its surroundings.
Traditionally, it has been held in summer, which makes it a must-attend event on any RV-goer’s summer schedule. You can check out Alaska in all its beauty then navigate your way to Haines and camp up for the four-day event. While there is no onsite camping available, there are plenty of RV parks and campgrounds in the area of which to take advantage.
If you’re ready for a new RV adventure, then become Alaska-bound. You’ll be amazed at what this beautiful part of the country can offer.
Ticket prices vary over each day and for different ages. In past years, guests have been able to buy a four-day pass or single-day tickets in advance. Tickets have also been cheaper with ID. Daily admission is available at the gate, or you can buy your tickets online in advance. There is also a Will Call booth at the main entrance.
Roads in Alaska can be particularly challenging to navigate in winter, but it’s crucial not to get complacent in summer either. There are mountain passes, minor highways with maintenance crews, and winding roads that can require concentration regardless of the weather.
To know what you’re in for, keep an eye on helpful traffic reports such as Alaska Navigator or Alaska 511. They can alert you to real-time events and occurrences that may alter your course or driving manner.
Haines is accessible via the Haines Highway, which is part of the Alcan Highway between Alaska and Canada. From the Anchorage area, this road links you through Yukon and British Columbia in Canada, past the Chilkat River and down to Haines. Once you’re in Haines, the Southeast Alaska State Fair is off Fair Drive, adjacent to the main street. Keep in mind that your route will very likely bring you through Canada, so remember to bring your passport for crossing country lines. A small number of other roads may be passable if a more eastern route is preferable.
There is limited parking to the rear of the Southeast Alaska State Fair site but on a first-in, first-served basis. You can increase your chances of getting a large enough parking spot for your RV by arriving early or find on-street parking in the town center instead. The proximity of RV parks in the area also doesn’t make it out of the question to walk from your accommodation to the fairgrounds daily.
There is one primary mode of public transportation in Haines, and that’s the local shuttle service. In the past, the shuttle has transported passengers from the Port Chilkoot Dock to the visitor center and large event sites. There is also a rental car service if you would like to leave your RV at your campsite during your stay in the area.
The Southeast Alaska State Fair is held at a small site with a forest backdrop. The limited space makes it inappropriate for camping. Fortunately, other campsites, resorts, and campgrounds are not far away. You will not have any problem finding somewhere to lay your head while you stay in the area.
Haines may be a small town with a conservative population, but it knows how to cater to its travelers. There is a hitch-up RV park within a half-mile of the fairgrounds site, then another few within a mile. Service hookups can vary for each site, but there is a blanket rule that all fires must be within a barbeque or fire ring. There are also no fires to be lit on Fort Seward Parade. Leave no trace and observe local laws during your stay.
The conservative size of the fairgrounds means you will only need your feet to get around the fairgrounds. There may be rules in place against the use of bikes and other wheeled transport, so pop these in your RV for safekeeping until your return. There has also been a shuttle service in past years that brings visitors from the dock to the fairgrounds and other significant events in Haines.
The Southeast Alaska State Fair has traditionally occurred in the heart of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with shorts and t-shirts. Day temperatures average between low 50s to mid-70s with plenty of rain. You can bring light layers, but don’t forget a few bulky sweaters, a warm jacket, waterproof clothing, and comfortable footwear. A scarf, hat, and gloves may also come in handy in this northwestern community.
Because Alaska has some particularly harsh conditions; you want to prepare yourself for all eventualities. Pack your camping and cooking supplies, plenty of blankets, and emergency supplies as well. Depending on your route, it may be beneficial to plan to obtain or reload a good portion of your supplies in Fairbanks or Anchorage. Once you arrive at the fair, carry a light backpack with a few essentials such as cash, extra clothing layers, and water to keep you hydrated.
Haines is a small town that may not have a lot of what you require to remain healthy and safe during your visit. As a result, you will need to bring any prescriptions and medical supplies you might need, a first aid kit, sun safety supplies, and drinking water for on the road. The Southeast Alaska State Fair is also a smoke-free zone.
Across all campgrounds and RV resorts, you are allowed to use a barbeque or your onboard kitchen appliances. Fire is limited in some places and may be used in a contained ring. If you run low on supplies, there are two markets within the small township for your convenience. However, you may like to buy a few groceries before you hit the road that will tide you over before you get to Haines and while you’re there. Options are limited in a town of around 2,000 people.
If you tire of corn dogs and deep-fried delights at the state fair, then why not check out the offerings in the center of Haines? There are cafes, restaurants, and a market to purchase delicious food from in this tiny community. While you won’t find any chain fast food outlets, you’ll see no need for them when you realize what the privately-owned establishments have to offer.
Several vendors travel to the fair every year to treat visitors to delicious food. There are both sweet and savory offerings within the center of the fairgrounds to cater to your needs. Make sure you bring plenty of cash, as not all vendors will offer credit. You’ll love the vast selection of goodies at your disposal at the Southeast Alaska State Fair.
There will be a security presence on the gate at the fair. It’s their job to check tickets and make sure everyone who attends the fair is there to have a good time. Take note of their uniforms so that you can approach them for help or advice if you require it. Alternatively, you can take a 15-minute walk to the Haines City Police Department along Haines Highway Cutoff.
The Southeast Alaska State Fair has traditionally been held in July. The warmer months allow for easier travel on the roads in a typically snowy part of the country. However, you can still expect cold temperatures and a bit of rain. Temperatures average between 50 and 70, with rainfall to break up the sunny and cloudy days in between. Prepare your RV for all eventualities and pack plenty of warm blankets and layers to remain comfortable.
Keeping a few first aid supplies on hand may help keep smaller medical matters small in Alaska. For anything more serious, there is a medical center within a mile of the fairgrounds, which may also provide medical supplies if you need them. Pharmacy services are very limited in Haines, so be sure to bring enough of any medications that you regularly take as they may not be available on short notice during your journey.