Situated between the Kenai Mountains and the waters of Resurrection Bay, Seward is a quaint harbor town in Southcentral Alaska. With a population of less than 3,000 people, this small town offers big adventures and is the starting point for some of the best land and sea experiences that Alaska has to offer.
Seward is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, a stunning landscape of mountains and ocean that boasts one of most diverse ecosystems of all the national parks. From towering tidewater glaciers to pods of orcas and breaching humpback whales, Kenai Fjords National Park is one of Alaska’s top destinations.
Accessible by boat with Major Marine Tours, the glacially-fed waters of the fjords create an abundance of nutrients for the region’s many wildlife species. Cruising through the fjords to view puffins, whales, otters, seals, sea lions, and calving glaciers is the highlight of many visitors’ trips to Alaska. Cruises operate daily from March through October, with several half-day and full-day cruise options available. Many cruises are hosted by onboard National Park Rangers that provide a detailed narration of the area’s history and wildlife.
In addition to boat tours, Seward is home to an incredible array of water sports. Kayak the serene waters of Resurrection Bay for a chance to get up close and personal with sea otters, seals, and the rugged glacier-carved coastline. For an even more unique experience, kayak or stand-up paddleboard among the icebergs in Bear Glacier Lagoon, a freshwater lake located at the edge of Bear Glacier, the largest glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park.
Seward is also home to some of the best fishing in Alaska. With the opportunity to catch salmon, rockfish, lingcod, and halibut, you won’t want to miss the fishing in Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska. If you’re looking for even more water sports, Seward offers opportunities for sailing, rafting, and even surfing.
Once you’ve toured Seward by boat, it’s time to explore above sea level. With dozens of hiking trails, including Mount Marathon (famous for the annual running race on July 4th), there are plenty of options for all skill levels.
One of Seward’s most popular hiking areas is Exit Glacier, which is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by road. From the Exit Glacier Nature Center, several short paved and unpaved trails lead to different views of the glacier. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the strenuous Harding Icefield Trail climbs alongside Exit Glacier and culminates in a breathtaking view of the massive Harding Icefield. The Exit Glacier Nature Center leads Ranger-led hikes for various levels, and several tour companies offer guided hiking and ice climbing excursions from Seward. If you’re keen to see the mountains but not too keen to hike, you can take a scenic helicopter ride over the rugged mountains to land on a glacier, where you will be taken on an unforgettable glacier dogsled tour.
Seward is home to Alaska’s only public aquarium, the Alaska SeaLife Center. This state-of-the-art marine research, education, and wildlife response facility is located on the shores of Resurrection Bay in downtown Seward. The Alaska SeaLife Center is fun for all ages, offering up-close opportunities to experience Alaska’s marine life including sea otters, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, puffins, fish, and so much more.
A staple of the Seward community, the center rescues stranded and injured marine mammals throughout Alaska, with the goal of rehabilitating the animals and releasing them back into the wild. You can learn more about the wildlife and rehabilitation projects through one of the highly-recommended Encounter or Experience tours, which are small-group behind-the-scenes tours led by the animal care staff.
Though Seward is a small town, there’s no shortage of restaurants, shops, and lodging options to help you fuel up and recharge between your Alaska adventures. Most restaurants feature locally-sourced seafood and there’s something for every taste, from fine dining to breweries to food trucks and quaint coffee shops.
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 provides wonderful views of Resurrection Bay and the harbor.
No matter what you decide to do in Seward, you are sure to have a wonderful Alaska adventure in this beautiful harborside town. Our reservation agents are more than happy to share their Seward recommendations with you and help you book your cruise, hotel, transportation, and Alaska SeaLife Center tickets. Call us at (907) 274-7300 to start planning your visit to Seward!