Gray whale season is upon us, with cruises running daily from March 7th – May 12th. Our Gray Whale Watching Cruise departs at 1:00pm and returns at 5:00pm, giving you ample time to explore Seward, even if you’re just in town for the day. But, you may be wondering: what else is there to do in Seward this time of year? This coastal town is quiet in the spring, before the cruise ships arrive and summer travel picks up. Though it may be quiet, there is still plenty to do, making spring the ideal time to take advantage of everything Seward has to offer without the crowds of summer.
You will see various marine life on your Gray Whale Watching Cruise, such as sea lions, harbor seals, eagles, mountain goats, and possibly whales. Though you will have great wildlife-viewing opportunities on your cruise, you may not even need to leave the harbor to see wildlife. Spring is one of the best times of the year to walk the docks and look for sea otters. During the winter months, sea otters frequent the Seward Small Boat Harbor feeding on mussels, and you can often get up-close views of them right from the dock.
For more amazing wildlife viewing, head over to the Alaska SeaLife Center for an educational and exciting experience. At this marine research and wildlife rehabilitation center you will have up-close views of Steller sea lions, harbor seals, sea birds, salmon, octopus, and many other rescued or rehabilitated marine animals. Join the SeaLife Center staff for one of their Marine Mammal, Octopus, and Puffin Encounters for a hands on, once-in-a-lifetime activity with some of nature’s most curious creatures. You may even get the chance to high five a harbor seal! Stroll through the hallways filled with interactive displays and activities to learn about the diverse wildlife and ecology found in the Kenai Fjords. The Alaska SeaLife Center is located at northern end of downtown Seward, with spring hours from 10:00am – 5:00pm. If you book our Gray Whale Spring Fever Package, you will receive free tickets to the Alaska SeaLife Center along with your Gray Whale Cruise and overnight at Harbor 360 Hotel.
Haven’t gotten enough time on the water? Book a winter kayaking tour with Adventure 60 North. This outdoor adventure company is the only kayaking company that operates in the winter/spring and offers half-day kayaking trips in Resurrection Bay. They also offer guided Tonsina Point hiking and Exit Glacier snowshoeing excursions. Want to adventure on your own? Exit Glacier Road is not accessible by car during this time of year, making it a great time to explore the area on snow machine, snow shoes, fat bikes, or Nordic skis.
If you’ve finished your cruise and want to stay indoors, the Seward Public Library is a favorite local hangout. This state-of-the-art facility combines a public library, museum, and community center. On your way to the library, stop at Resurrect Art Coffee House to enjoy a view of the bay from their clock tower and take a look at all of the amazing artwork from local artists. A trip to the library and coffeehouse is a great way to spend a few relaxing, enjoyable hours in Seward.
The town of Seward is only 1.5 miles long, making it easy to walk the length of the town and visit the shops and restaurants along the way. Seward has two main shopping/dining areas: the Small Boat Harbor and Downtown. These two areas are connected by the Seward Waterfront Trail, a beautiful multi-use paved trail that gives you wonderful views of the harbor and Resurrection Bay.
If all of that walking works up an appetite, stop at one of Seward’s year-round dining options that are open in the spring. Chinooks, The Cookery, Thorn’s, Apollo’s, Woody’s Thai Kitchen, and The Breeze Inn are all open this time of year. Not sure which to choose? Just ask your deckhand or captain on your Gray Whale Watching Cruise what their favorite restaurant is and they can guide you in the right direction.
Warm up in the hot tub at Harbor 360 Hotel after your cruise and enjoy the views of harbor while you relax. Harbor 360 Hotel is the only waterfront hotel open in early spring and your Gray Whale Watching Cruise will board at the dock right behind the hotel. Breakfast options in Seward are limited this time of year, but Harbor 360 Hotel’s complimentary breakfast ensures that you won’t miss out on the most important meal of the day. The hearty breakfast includes a variety of hot and cold items, which you will enjoy as you take in the views of the Seward Small Boat Harbor from the hotel’s dining area.