You have to visit Seward Alaska. Ok, I know, that may be a little forward, but you really should. Whether you’re traveling to Alaska, or you’re a local, it’s a great spot to visit. In fact, it’s one of my favorite places in Alaska. The scenery is completely breathtaking, and it’s an all-around great little town. Plus, it’s right on the water (as in the ocean, which means a lot to me being from land-locked Missouri).
And, what’s not to love? It’s super easy to get to. There’s glaciers, tons of marine life and beautiful mountains everywhere. There’s a load of great places to stay, some fantastic restaurants and lots of things to do. There’s really no reason not to visit Seward!
Getting to Seward
Getting to Seward is a huge reward in itself. The scenery is amazing, whether you’re traveling by cruise ship, by rail (I haven’t had the privilege of traveling to Seward on the Alaska Railroad… yet, but I hear it’s beautiful) or by the road system. I guess you could fly there too, but it would be in a small airplane, and you’d miss the amazing drive. And, speaking of drives, the Seward Highway is by far one of my favorite drives in Alaska.
Why I Love Seward
I absolutely love being on the water. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have I wasn’t around the ocean growing up, but from the first time I saw the ocean, I’ve been smitten. That’s probably my favorite thing about Seward, its location. It’s at the head of Resurrection Bay with glaciers abounding, surrounded by beautiful mountains and full of wildlife.
Glaciers Abound, and They’re Accessible
Another great thing about Seward that I love is the proximity to glaciers. Exit Glacier is about 9 miles outside of Seward in Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s one of the most accessible glaciers in Alaska. Exit Glacier Road is paved all the way and ends at the Kenai Fjords Visitor Center. From there, it’s just a short hike of 1 mile to an overlook of the glacier. You do have to pay the fee to get into the park, but I think it’s worth it. There’s also the Harding Icefield, which feeds many of the glaciers in Kenai Fjords. The icefield is accessible by trail, a pretty strenuous one at 8.2 miles round-trip with nearly nearly 1,000 ft elevation gain per mile!
There are also many other glaciers terminating in the bay, viewable by day cruises and whale watching tours. And speaking of that…
Go On a Whale Watching Day Cruise
So, I always thought that these day cruises were just for “tourists”, and probably not worth the cost, so I never went on one. That is, until my family was up from Missouri and they wanted to go whale watching. So, we went along, you know, for support. We had a blast! It was such an amazing experience! We saw humback whales, porpoises, tons of seabirds, otters, and went right up to glaciers! I absolutely loved it! It was a pretty awesome experience seeing giant humpback whales breaching and diving so close to the boat. We went with Kenai Fjords Tours and would definitely do it again.
Wildlife in Seward
In addition to all of the marine life, there are also a multitude of eagles in Seward. Though they’re fairly common in most of Alaska, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing them. I still stop and watch every time.
There are also bears (make sure you practice safe bear country techniques), mountain goats and moose.
Mountains and Hiking in Seward
Seward is surrounded by mountains and water (which is idyllic I think). With all these mountains and wilderness, hiking opportunities abound. One of the more famous hikes is going up the ever popular Mount Marathon trail. You may or may not have heard of it before, but chances are that if you have, it was in relation to the infamous Mount Marathon race. It’s a 3.1 mile footrace starting and ending downtown, with a 3,022 ft summit of Mount Marathon in the middle! It’s a pretty extreme but popular race. For more info on it, click here.
Racing aside, the trail, while difficult, affords some amazing views of Seward and Resurrection Bay. I have hiked it several times and I love it!
There’s also many others: Lost Lake, Harding Icefield, Caines Head, and Tonsina Creek just to name a few…
Where to Stay in Seward
There are tons places to stay in Seward. From cabins, to bed and breakfasts, hotels and lodges, Seward has a great spot for you. My favorite place so far is Box Canyon Cabins, but there are many others. Check out this list for a more complete list.
Great Food in Seward Alaska
Seward has several great restaurants. Ray’s Waterfront, for example, is a pretty famous Alaskan fine dining staple. It has great views and the food is pretty good. I’ve had the halibut there as well as grilled salmon (before I lived here and catch my own fresh salmon link), and both are pretty tasty.
If you’ve never had fish tacos (I know it sounds weird, but trust me here), you have to visit the Railway Cantina. The halibut tacos are fantastic! They also have rockfish, reindeer, chicken and steak, but the halibut is my favorite. They’re in a convenient location and definite must-stop for lunch in Seward.
My favorite place though, is Chinook’s. I really love clam chowder and Chinook’s has my favorite, hands down. The rest of their food is really good too. You can’t beat having a great meal, with a waterfront view (consisting of sea lions, seals, otters, eagles and mountains galore) and a great beer in hand. Throw in some good company and you’ve got the makings of a pretty fantastic day!
Things to Do in Seward
There’s so much to do in Seward that I’ve already mentioned, but I’ll throw in a few more for good measure:
- Visit the Alaska Sea Life Center (I haven’t yet, but everyone I talk to who has been there absolutely loves it).
- Go sea kayaking! There’s several good options. Why not try Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking? There’s no better way to experience the natural beauty of the coast than from a kayak. You’re paddling along in silence, slowly passing by the environment with plenty of time to take it all in.
- Go shopping in any one of the many gift shops in the downtown area. Heck, while you’re at it, grab some gelato and visit some of the galleries featuring local artists as well as Alaska Native-made artwork.
- Walk the waterfront trail along Resurrection Bay and visit the docks of America’s 9th largest fisheries port. There’s always something fun going on there, whether it’s someone bringing in a big catch to weigh, or maybe just sea lions and eagles hanging out on the docks.
- Stop by the The Sea Bean for some great coffee (my favorite in Seward, and if you’re a coffee aficionado, they know their stuff) for your downtown exploring.
Now, You Really Should Visit Seward
Now, you really should visit Seward Alaska. If not now, then when you come visit Alaska. You should make Seward a stop on your travels. You won’t regret it!
And if you live here already, why not head down to Seward over a long weekend? You could even do it in a day if you’re around Anchorage. It’s a great place to clear your head. The water’s calling…