Billie’s Backpackers Hostel (2895 Mack Rd., 907/479-2034, www.alaskahostel.com , year-round) has four-person dorms for $30 per person, or pay $15 per person for a tent space. Private rooms are $80 d, but these go fast. The hostel provides a kitchen, showers, computers, Wi-Fi, and travel information, and has the added bonus of a sundeck, a barbecue, and free bikes. The friendly owner, Billie Maire Cook, bakes bread and cinnamon rolls daily for guests. You can call any time if you’re coming in late at night.
GoNorth Base Camp Hostel (3500 Davis Rd., near the airport, 907/479-7272 or 866/236-7272, www.paratours.net , mid-May–mid-Sept.) has beds in cozy tent cabins ($25 pp), along with tent spaces ($12 s, $18 d). Kids love the tepee, and other facilities include a kitchen, a barbecue, coin-op showers, guest computers, Wi-Fi, outdoor equipment rentals (from canoes to satellite phones), and trip planning. Staff members are fluent in German and French.
Close to the airport, Golden North Motel (4888 Airport Way, 907/479-6201 or 800/447-1910, www.goldennorthmotel.com , $79–99 s, $89–109 d) has clean and quiet (but small) rooms at reasonable prices. Don’t come here expecting the Ritz Carleton, but guests appreciate the continental breakfast, computer, free Wi-Fi, and 24-hour courtesy van.