Unparalleled nature walks. Photo by Joel Krahn.
The Last Frontier
Explore the best of Alaskan life from Seward, where you can walk on a glacier, wave at a humpback whale and enjoy a stylish sunset dinner—and more—all in the same day
At twice the size of Texas, the vastness of Alaska can’t be overstated. Planning a trip to The Last Frontier can seem daunting.
Whether you’ve got two days or two weeks to experience Alaska, make Seward your basecamp.
Tucked at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Gulf of Alaska—one of the most reliable places in the world to spot marine wildlife—Seward is surrounded by steep, glacier-sculpted peaks, lush coastal forest and turquoise waters the likes of which you might expect to find in the tropics.
Here, where snowy peaks meet the coast, is a microcosm of Alaska.
Befitting its railway-hub roots and location on the Alaska Highway, Seward has thrived for over a century as both way-station and destination; it’s easy to get here and even easier to get around once you’re here. That means you can fish in the morning, walk on a glacier during the afternoon and still sit down for a sunset dinner at a stylish waterfront restaurant.
Whatever your Alaska wishlist—whether mushing sled dogs or scoping for whale spouts, kayaking the coastline or watching calving glaciers, or simply enjoying fresh-from-the-fjord seafood—you’ll find it here in Seward.
Getting up close and personal with big ones at the Alaska Sea Life Center. Photo by Joel Krahn.
Seward is easily accessible via a 2.5-hour scenic drive or, during the summer, a 4-hour train ride from Anchorage. Whether you choose the road or rails, it’s one of the most beautiful journeys in the state.
And the scenery doesn’t stop once you reach your destination. Petite and postcard-perfect, Seward’s historic downtown district blends a working waterfront with artistic charm; the city is the mural capital of Alaska, with more than two dozen works of public art.
Take some time to stroll through town and savor Seward’s growing tide-to-table culinary scene. Many restaurants source fresh salmon, halibut and sablefish directly from Seward’s three local seafood processors; the fisherman responsible for your catch could be dining at a nearby table. Locals flock to Thorn’s Showcase Lounge for their legendary fried halibut and White Russians in a kitschy midcentury dining room, complete with vinyl loveseats and walls of collectible Jim Beam bottles.
Make time this first day for a visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center, the state’s premier public aquarium and only marine wildlife rehabilitation facility. It’s Seward’s most popular year-round attraction, and for good reason: visitors can watch puffins play and get within a tentacle’s reach of an octopus. It’s an excellent introduction to the marine life you might see on your visit.
The Cookery’s exquisite cuisine. Photo by Joel Krahn.
Kenai Fjords National Park, like Seward, packs outsized grandeur, its turquoise waters reflecting the steep cliff faces and shaggy spruce trees of coastal Alaska.
A day cruise is the easiest way to explore the fjords, with comfortable boats and expert captains who know where to find orcas, puffins and black bears. For a more active experience, opt for a kayaking trip to watch harbor seals and humpback whales in the coastal waters and scout for eagles in the trees.
Back in town, make dinner plans at The Cookery, which features fresh oysters and locally harvested seafood, meats, and produce. It’s little wonder that, in a state with no shortage of seafood, Alaskans still come from far and wide for a meal here.
Water taxis offer access to remote areas of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords. Photo by Joel Krahn.
In the summer, Seward’s mushers—representing two of Alaska’s top racing kennels—move their dog teams to train on the year-round snow of nearby glaciers across Resurrection Bay. Take a scenic helicopter flight to the glacier camps—and cuddle with husky puppies—before embarking on a thrilling tour amid towering peaks on one of the continent’s only summer dog sled excursions.
If foot travel is more your flavor, world-class hiking trails abound around Seward, whether you want to stretch your legs on an after-dinner stroll or stretch your limits on a true wilderness adventure.
You may even find yourself wanting to stretch your trip.
Searching for small sea creatures at Kayaker’s Cove. Photo by Joel Krahn.
WHERE TO STAY
Whether on the waterfront or in the wilderness, Seward offers picturesque accommodations. Harbor 360 Hotel and the Breeze Inn are conveniently located in Seward’s boat harbor district, blocks from Waterfront Park. Wilderness adventure lodging ranges from rustic to glam. Orca Island Cabins, Shearwater Cove, Granite Point Mountain Lodge, and Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge are accessible only by boat yet offer everything you need to stay active and comfortable.
Ready to get planning? Order your copy of the free 2020 Seward Visitor Guide by visiting seward.com or calling 907.224.8051