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16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Seward, Alaska

16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Seward, Alaska

Seward is a small town on the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula in southern Alaska. Located near the Kenai Fjords National Park, stunning snow-capped mountains, brilliant blue waters, and incredible Alaskan wildlife keep new visitors coming to Seward every year.

With daring adventure tours, fishing charters, marine wildlife, and tons to see and do, you won’t regret planning a trip to Seward to experience its magic for yourself. If visiting Seward, Alaska, is on your bucket list, this is your sign to go. There’s nothing like a vacation in Seward.

Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier Wildlife Cruise
1. Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier & Wildlife Cruise Top Recommendation

Experience up-close views of glaciers and wildlife on a Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier & Wildlife Cruise. On this 100-mile (round-trip) journey, you'll enjoy jaw-dropping scenery as the captain and crew explain the surrounding geology and wildlife. Sail past the majestic Holgate Glacier and witness chunks of glaciers break off and crash into the water. Then, get your camera out near Chiswell Islands, home to thousands of nesting seabirds. In addition to the sights, you'll enjoy a complimentary brunch or deli lunch. Book your cruise today for an unforgettable experience!

Glacier and Mountain Viewing Tour
2. Glacier and Mountain Viewing Tour

On this 30-minute helicopter tour, you'll touch down on the Godwin Glacier for a once in a lifetime experience. You'll have 15 minutes to explore the glacier and take in the sweeping aerial views of Kenai Fjords National Park, Resurrection Bay, and more. This is an excellent opportunity to snap some photos of the incredible scenery. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, icebergs, and calving ice sheets. This is truly a breathtaking experience that you won't want to miss.

Wilderness Dog Sled Ride and Tour in Seward
3. Wilderness Dog Sled Ride and Tour in Seward

On this tour, you'll get to ride a dog sled through breathtaking wilderness trails, tour the kennel, and even cuddle with some adorable husky puppies. Regardless of the weather, you'll be able to enjoy your sled ride thanks to our comfortable, padded seats and wheeled summer sleds. Plus, you'll learn all about dog mushing and race training, Iditarod equipment, and Alaska's wilderness. And of course, you'll also get plenty of photo ops with the dog sled team and those cute husky puppies!

TLDR

  • Most significant landmark – Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Best park – Seward Waterfront Park
  • Best free activity – Bear Creek Weir
  • Best activity for kids – Alaska Sealife Center
  • Best activity for adults – Bear Glacier Helicopter Tours
  • Best food – The Highliner Restaurant
  • Best nightlife – Seward Alehouse
  • Best all-around accommodation – Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

Fun & Best Things to Do in Seward, Alaska

If you’re planning on visiting Seward, Alaska, this guide will help you find the best sights, scenes, and attractions for your stay. Seward sightseeing is unlike anything else in the world, and we know you’ll be stunned and amazed by the outdoor adventures you have in this quaint Alaskan town.

1. Kenai Fjords National Park

Address: 1212 4th Avenue Seward, AK 99664 (Visitor Center)

Kenai Fjords National Park is undoubtedly the biggest reason for the massive growth that Seward, Alaska, tourism has seen in recent years. Visitors can explore three main areas of the park — Exit Glacier, the coastal fjords, and the Harding Icefield trail. As far as national parks go, Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most iconic and memorable in the country.

Exit Glacier is the easiest part of the park to visit, just 12 miles outside of Seward. You can climb several short trails to the terminus of the glacier. There are daily ranger programs available at Exit Glacier Nature Center and several day tours to try your hand at ice climbing with the help of Exit Glacier guides.

Experiencing the coast is best done by one of the many boat tours. Try the Kenai Fjords Glacier cruise, which provides close-up views of glaciers and wildlife as you enjoy 100 miles of scenery.

You’ll sail past the Holgate Glacier or Aialik Glacier and watch as hefty ice chunks break off into the water. Chiswell Islands is fantastic for birding, with thousands of sea birds nesting. Be sure to watch for sea otters, puffins, whales, and many other animals on your cruise.

The Harding Icefield Trail is an 8-mile round trip hike leaving from the Exit Glacier area. You’ll pass through meadows and alder forests and see stunning views along the way. You’ll gain 1,000 feet of elevation every mile, so try to catch your breath!

The top of the trail is worth the struggle to get there – you’ll discover a marvelous horizon of ice and snow that seems to go on forever. Without a doubt, Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the best things to do in Seward, Alaska, and should be at the top of your Alaska bucket list.

2. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Address: Mile 79, Seward Highway Portage, AK 99587

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) is a non-profit sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education, research, and quality animal care. AWCC takes in orphaned or injured animals and helps nurse them back to help, providing them a safe place to live and with the quality of care they deserve.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center maintains 200 acres of space for animals to live comfortably and in their natural habitats. Animals and wildlife you’ll likely see if you visit include bald eagles, brown bears, lynx, moose, reindeer, bison, foxes, and coyotes.

Visitors can self-tour the center by walking, biking, or driving along the 1.5-mile loop and seeing the wildlife at each habitat. AWCC also offers personal guided tours, with lots of background information on the residents, and you’ll even get to feed an animal. You can also experience a brown bear encounter, feed a moose, and many other exciting tours.

On your way out, stop in the gift shop for apparel, souvenirs, hats, stickers, and more. You can even adopt an animal if you want! Book your admission ticket here, so you’re ready to go upon arrival.

3. Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 93FGV7M9+JV, Seward, AK 99664

For the best place to stay in Seward, Alaska, it’s difficult to narrow it down, but Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge is the only wilderness lodge within Alaska’s 700,000-acre National Park. Your Alaskan vacation will be the most breathtaking and surreal trip when you stay at a lodge like this one.

The lodge is accessible by boat, making your stay truly remote and once in a lifetime. Activities at the lodge include sea kayaking alongside harbor sea lions and glacial ice.

Adventurous travelers can hike to vistas with views of the mountains and ocean. You’ll have a chance to canoe in a protected lagoon, beachcomb on Aialik Bay, and experience the great Alaskan outdoors in ways you can only dream about.

Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge is located in an Alaska native-owned wildlife sanctuary with incredible views of Pedersen Glacier. When you’re spending time at the lodge, you’ll be impressed by the luxury and relaxation the rooms provide. Private cabins are available for guests, gourmet meals are at your disposal, and a relaxing cedar sauna is on-site to give you the full experience of life in seacoast Alaska.

See Related: Best Things to do in Anchorage, Alaska

4. Alaska SeaLife Center

Address: 301 Railway Ave, Seward, AK 99664

For an up close and personal look at some of Alaska’s most amazing marine animals, a stop at Alaska SeaLife Center is a must!

Located on the shores of Resurrection Bay, Alaska SeaLife Center is an education and research-focused aquarium that offers visitors stellar underwater views of Alaskan marine animals. It is Alaska’s only permanent marine mammal rehabilitation facility.

At the SeaLife Center, guests will see puffins, sea lions, seals, octopus, starfish, birds, and more. Children can touch starfish and sea urchins while learning valuable information about the importance of these creatures in our ecosystem. Watch through the large, floor-to-ceiling tanks as harbor seals swim right up to the glass, almost as if to say hello. Get nose to nose with the resident octopuses as they shimmy by the glass.

From October through March, Alaska SeaLife Center is open Thursdays through Mondays from 12 pm to 5 pm. The SeaLife Center is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. General admission tickets vary by date, but most are in the $30 range.

See Related: Best Things to do in Talkeetna, Alaska

5. Seward Waterfront Park

Seward Waterfront Park
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 420 Ballaine Blvd, Seward, AK 99664

Located between the small Seward boat harbor and Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward Waterfront Park is one of Seward’s many gems on Resurrection Bay. Visitors can camp in tents or RVs at the park and wake up to the gorgeous outdoor scenery.

Seward Waterfront Park has playgrounds, a skate park, picnic areas, and beach access, so families with young kids will find plenty to do if they decide to camp here or simply spend the day. There is also a hiking trail, starting at Mile 5 out of town, through the small boat harbor, along the shoreline, and to Alaska SeaLife Center.

There are a few sites and monuments on the trail you won’t want to miss; keep an eye out for Founder’s Monument, Mile 0 of the historic Iditarod Trail, and the Old Train Depot. As you explore the park, you’ll likely see bald eagles, sea otters, sea birds, and much more. Previous guests have even seen whales!

Whether you’re visiting for the day to explore the hiking trails or camping for a few days with family, Seward Waterfront Park has something for everyone. With stunning views, historical trails, and interesting information, Seward Waterfront Park is one of the more mellow activities in Seward, Alaska, and is great for families.

See Related: Best Family Vacation Spots in Alaska

6. Bear Glacier Flight

Bear Glacier Flight
Image source: Viator

Address: 2210 Airport Rd, Seward, AK 99664

Nothing will top an Alaskan vacation for thrill-seekers more than a 35-minute helicopter flight to Bear Glacier and Aialik Glacier. Bear Glacier sits above a remote lagoon surrounded by gigantic icebergs the size of houses. You’ll witness the walls of Aialik Glacier dropping into the ocean as you fly by.

You’ll witness stunning waterfalls, forests, and the most pristine blue water that encircles a totally frozen landscape. Witness Kenai Fjords National Park from the sky, and gain an entirely new perspective on Alaska and what you’ve seen thus far on your trip from a bird’s eye view.

Kenai Fjords is home to waterfalls, glaciers, mountain peaks, coastlines, and numerous wildlife species. Every tour is unique in what visitors get to witness, and it’s always spectacular.

Most helicopter tours will take you by Resurrection Bay, if weather permits, along the rocky mountain coastline, and you’ll spy some local mountain goats if you’re lucky! The pilot on your journey is FAA Certified and will make you feel safe and at home on your journey. Sit back, relax, take pictures, and just enjoy the breathtaking frozen scenery below you.

See Related: How Much Does an Alaska Trip Cost? [Average Cost Per Day]

7. Dog Sled Ride and Seward Tour

Dog Sled Ride and Seward Tour
Image source: Viator

Address: 12820 Old Exit Glacier Road Seward, AK 99664

For Seward, Alaska, attractions that can’t be missed, experiencing a dog sled ride is one of the top activities, especially if you’re traveling to the area with kids. Explore Seward’s rugged wilderness trails on an unforgettable dog sledding ride.

The all-weather sleds are built for snowy and dry conditions, so don’t worry about the weather canceling your tour if it seems less than ideal. The all-weather sleds feature comfortable, padded seats, so you’ll be happy to enjoy a tour any time of year.

Once on tour, you’ll learn all about dog mushing and race training, special Iditarod equipment used, and interesting facts about Alaska’s wilderness and the Iditarod trail. Knowledgeable and friendly guides provide a live commentary throughout the tour, answering questions and providing interesting facts with every turn of the sled.

After your tour, you’ll get the chance to tour the kennel where the energetic pups stay and even get some husky puppy cuddles! Then you’ll learn about the intricacies of dog sledding, harnesses, training, and race strategy for the dogs. You are welcome to take photographs with the dogs to capture such a unique and memorable adventure. Book your tour here.

8. Resurrection Bay

Boats in Resurrection Bay

Resurrection Bay is a large, beautiful bay with a rocky shore that is home to various marine life, birds, scenic views, and the most stunning placid water.

From a wildlife cruise, you’ll see orcas and humpback whales breaching out in the bay and enjoy stunning views of the snow-capped mountains and glaciers. The waters are calm, and you’ll get many different views of the surrounding areas, each more beautiful than the last.

Resurrection Bay consists of six islands, the most popular being Fox Island and several coves that are worth seeing. The bay is bordered by the Aialik Peninsula and the adjacent Aialik Bay.

While exploring Resurrection Bay, be sure to book a kayaking adventure featuring a guided tour. You’ll see wildlife, including sea otters, bald eagles, and harbor seals. This 4-hour tour will provide you with interesting information about the Bay and its inhabitants. Explore coves, cliff faces, waterfalls, and that stunning emerald blue water.

Whether it’s a sunny day or overcast and chilly, Resurrection Bay offers some of the most spectacular views in Seward. Experiencing the waters via kayak or boat tour is highly recommended and will be one of the most memorable parts of your trip to Seward, Alaska.

See Related: Best Family Vacation Spots in Alaska

9. Seward Community Library & Museum

Seward Community Library & Museum
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 239 6th Ave, Seward, AK 99664

Need a break from the great outdoors for some indoor learning and exploring? No better place to go than the Seward Community Library and Museum! This building is a unique combined public library, museum, archives, and community center for locals and visitors to explore.

The community library and museum are located right in downtown Seward, an easy journey from most spots in Seward. You can’t miss the library, thanks to the shimmering and sparkling mermaid tiles that decorate the face of the building.

Museum admission is $5 and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm. You’ll learn all about Seward’s community and can enjoy two films that highlight the area’s history, including the historic Iditarod Trail and the tsunami from the earthquake of 1964.

Plan to spend an hour or two browsing the interesting exhibits and learning about the history and development of Seward. The library has computer access and collections, providing a spectacular view of Resurrection Bay. The Seward Community Library and Museum checks every box for a change of scenery.

10. Seward Alehouse

Seward Alehouse
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 215 4th Ave, Seward, AK, 99664

Looking for a place to relax, have a beer, and enjoy some of Seward’s best nightlife? Look no further than Seward Alehouse, one of the community’s most popular adult hangouts, for some fun when the sun goes down.

With friendly local staff, an energetic environment, and delicious craft beers, there’s no better place to spend an evening in Seward, Alaska. Seward Alehouse is a sports bar with pool tables and sports on TV where locals and tourists blend perfectly.

Hungry while you’re sipping on a craft beer? No problem! The Alehouse has a secret window to Lone Chicharron, a local taco spot right next door. Enjoy your food inside the bar and get a taste of local Alaskan dining.

Popular concoctions at Seward Alehouse include the amber ale, pear cider, and the El Tigre. There’s a reason locals hang out here as much as tourists — the quality of beers, atmosphere, and staff is top-notch, and you’ll likely be back for another visit before you leave Seward.  Seward Alehouse is open from noon to 2 am Friday through Sunday and noon til 10 pm during the week. 

See Related: Strange Foods in America You Should Try

11. Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures

Image of a girl ziplining

Address: 1304 4th Ave, Seward, AK 99664

Thrill-seekers, this one is for you. There’s more than one way to experience Seward and all its natural beauty — by zipline! Local canopy tours are an exciting way to enjoy the great outdoors and witness Alaska’s wonderland.

Neighboring the Chugach National Forest, Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures offers visitors a safe, thrilling ride through the beautiful Pacific Temperate Rainforest as you’re securely clipped into ziplining gear. The ride is both adventurous and informational; guides take care to inform guests of the surrounding nature and lush forests, providing details about the immediate flora and fauna on each eco-platform.

Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures has created quite a ride without harming any of the giant trees or vulnerable nature around the zipline; not one tree was cut down in the process of making its course. With eight ziplines, three suspension bridges, and two rappels, you will be in awe of the scenery around you as you fly like a bird.

Prices start at $149 and are worth every penny to gain a new perspective on Seward and have some fun high up in the Alaskan air. Before take-off, guests will run through proper zipline riding, and braking techniques with their guide and are put through practice “ground school” runs.

The further you get in the course, the higher up you will be. The first zipline runs relatively close to ground level to ease guests into the ride. The fifth zipline soars above the trees and extends 1,100 feet across the valley wall.

Guides will take photographs throughout the course, which guests can purchase at the end of the ride. Everything about the Stoney Canopy Adventures experience will make your visit to Seward, Alaska, memorable. Book your excursion here.

12. The Highliner Restaurant

Glasses on a table in a restaurant

Address: 303 Adams Street, Seward, Alaska 99664

For delicious food, tasty drinks, and a buzzing atmosphere in Seward, a meal at The Highliner Restaurant is a must. In true Alaskan spirit, The Highliner supports local, natural, sustainable, and organic practices whenever possible in their food sourcing to benefit guests and the local economy.

Menu items include halibut ceviche, clam chowder made from scratch, local fish served fresh, fish and chips, and Alaskan grilled shrimp skewers, just to name a few. They have sandwiches, burgers, and comfort food, including mac & cheese and fried chicken, to satisfy every craving.

Relax with any of their delicious craft beers from local breweries. These include a blueberry ale, a pale moon ale, and many others from Stoney Creek Brewhouse.

They have a wine list and a few cocktails, including a mimosa and peach bellini. The Highliner is a great place to dine after a busy day exploring Seward. Be sure to bring your appetite!

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Alaska & Things to Do

13. Bear Creek Weir

Bear Creek Weir
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: 33580 Bear Lake Rd, Seward, AK 99664

Bear Creek Weir is a popular Seward sightseeing activity for families, solo travelers, and everyone in between. Each summer, millions of smolts (young salmon) are released into Bear Creek and swim downstream to reach the salt water at the head of Resurrection Bay.

Through July and September, nearly 20,000 salmon swim the seven-mile upstream journey to reach the bay and can be spotted along the way. Notable species include sockeye salmon, mew gull, brown creeper, and American dipper.

Your kids will love watching the packs of salmon jump the falls and swim around the creek. On-site herders can answer any questions you have and can provide additional information about the fish and their patterns. You can also watch them sort the fish and send them on their way upstream. Harbor 360 Hotel Seward is close by for accommodation.

This is a great spot for families who want to explore the Seward area and experience Alaskan wildlife off the beaten path of the Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay. It’s a more secluded, private experience that provides a unique look at aquaculture in Alaska. Don’t forget the camera!

14. Take a Boat Tour

Tourists on a boat tour

Address: 1302 4th Ave., Bldg E., Seward, AK 99664

Northern Latitude Adventures offers whale watching, a glacier cruise, fishing charters, and much more. In the summer months, guests can take a wildlife cruise through Resurrection Bay and experience the magic of sea otters and other marine life for 3.5 hours.

Summer is whale season in Alaska, so we highly recommend a whale watching tour if you’re in Seward in the summer. On your tour, expect to see humpbacks, orcas, puffins, sea otters, and other wildlife.

Experience a glacier and wildlife cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park on a 6-hour boat tour. You’ll see majestic fjords, whales, and tidewater glaciers. This tour is ideal for families with children, as it’s fast-paced, and your children will be thrilled at the boat ride and all the fantastic sights along the way.

Northern Latitude Adventures offers other boat tours, including all-day options for the adventurous folks. You’ll enjoy a tour of the region with great information from a knowledgeable and friendly captain who will charter your boat and provide all the insight and details into the Kenai Fjords and the surrounding areas. Explore the boat tours here.

See Related: Should I Get Travel Insurance Through Alaska Airlines?

15. Mount Marathon Jeep Trail

Address: 537 1st Ave, Seward, AK 99664 (Trailhead)

Depending on your fitness level, hiking Mount Marathon can be another iconic way to see Seward and experience Alaska. Mount Marathon is a 4,286-foot mountain summit directly west of Seward.

Mount Marathon is in a subarctic climate in the Chugach National Forest and experiences long, cold, snowy winters and fairly mild summers. Ideal for visiting in May and June, Mount Marathon has a few hiking trails you’ll enjoy.

The Mount Marathon Jeep Trail’s first hike is steep and requires moderate hiking skill levels. It’s a 4.1-mile loop where you’ll witness a spectacular glacial valley with many other beautiful sights and sounds. There are varying degrees of incline, so you can take the hike at a comfortable pace.

As for terrain, the first mile of this hike is relatively rocky and rough but smooths out shortly after the first mile. You’ll be able to look down and see the entire town of Seward, the Gulf of Alaska, and all the boats coming in from Resurrection Bay.

Once you get close to the summit, the hike starts to get challenging and windy. Be sure to bring a windbreaker or jacket to keep warm. No matter how far you get on the Mount Marathon Jeep Trail, you’ll witness incredible views of the land below, making it a must-see for hikers and adventurers. You can lodge at Harborview Inn after the mountain adventure.

16. Train Ride to Anchorage

Address: 408 Port Avenue, Seward, AK 99664

Whether you’re leaving Seward and heading to Anchorage or you want to experience a train ride on the Alaska Railroad for yourself, the ride to Anchorage is enjoyable and full of stunning sights. It’s a great way to get from Seward to Anchorage and then back again.

The Coastal Classic train leaves Anchorage in the early morning. It travels along Turnagain Arm and through the backcountry wilderness of the Kenai Peninsula before ending up in Seward by Resurrection Bay. After its 7-hour layover in Seward, board the train and enjoy a smooth Anchorage ride. You’ll see cascading waterfalls and massive glaciers along the ride.

Aboard the train is a dining car, baggage services, and non-smoking cars in case you get hungry. The Coastal Classic train leaves Anchorage daily at 7 am and arrives in Seward around 11:15 am. It leaves Seward around 6 pm and arrives back in Anchorage at 10:15 pm.

See Related: Tips & Things to Know Before Going to Alaska

FAQ

What is the best thing to do with kids in Seward?

Pay a visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center and meet all the underwater creatures. Go on a dog sledding adventure in Seward. Take a whale-watching tour in the Fjords. For older kids, kayak adventures are a great way to see spectacular views from the water.

What are some fun things to do in Seward?

Some fun things to do on your Seward, Alaska trip include a whale watching tour in Kenai Fjords National Park, hiking Bear Glacier and Exit Glacier with a guide, and visiting Bear Creek Weir to witness the jumping salmon.

What are some things to do in Seward when it’s raining?

Hopefully, it doesn’t rain during your adventurous time in Seward. But if it does, check out the Seward Community Library for local history and exhibits. You can also grab a pint of beer at Seward Alehouse and enjoy a bite at any of the nearby delicious eateries.

What are the best tourist attractions in Seward?

Kenai Fjords National Park is the best tourist attraction and provides some of the best Seward sightseeing you can do in the area. Climb Exit Glacier or take helicopter tours over the entire area. Visit the Seward Wildlife Reservation Center to meet the rehabilitated animals in the park.

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