Best Things to Do in Seward

Major Marine Tours cruises pass a a pod of orcas

Major Marine Tours cruises past a a pod of orcas

1. Take a Day or Multi-Day Cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park

A glacier and wildlife cruise is one of the most popular options for how to spend a day in Seward, and it’s easy to see why: Sailing out on these majestic waters filled with marine wildlife and surrounded by dramatic mountains is a thrilling way to experience the area. Pressed for time? No problem: Even a shorter cruise in Resurrection Bay is incredibly dramatic.

If you have more than a day, you can really experience the majesty of the area on an overnight or multi-day cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park. These are often private charters, with just your group, and adventures are customized to you.

2. Visit Exit Glacier

Located just a 10-minute drive from Seward, Exit Glacier is not only a gorgeous wall of blue ice, but also one of the state’s most accessible roadside glaciers. It’s an easy way to experience the thrill of seeing a glacier and hear it crackling. Choose from a couple solo hikes to get close to the glacier; you can also take a guided ice-hiking or ice-climbing excursion and walk right out on the ice!

A few mountain goats graze next to Exit Glacier

Enjoy views of Exit Glacier while hiking through Harding Ice Field. Photo by Kathleen Barth.

3. Go for a Hike

A water taxi in Seward

Taking a water taxi from Seward will expand the range of potential destinations

Whatever kind of hiker you are and however challenging (or not) you like your hikes, you’ll find the perfect scenic trail in Seward. Some take you past gorgeous lakes, through lush forests, or past glaciers. In fact, one of the most popular hikes leads right up to the face of the blue wall of ice that is Exit Glacier. Want a view? Check out the Seward waterfront. And if you want a view and a challenge, take on the steep slope of Mt. Marathon. If you prefer not to go alone, you’ll find some great options for guided hiking in Seward.

4. Explore by Water Taxi

In Alaska, car-accessible trailheads are just the beginning of the adventure—after all, most places in Alaska are only accessible by boat or plane. So hop on a water taxi in Seward—it’s an easy, inexpensive way to expand the range of potential destinations. One place to go is Caine’s Head, which has an abandoned WWII fort that’s ripe for exploring. You can even spend the night there in a cabin. For an even more adventurous option, book remote yurts out in Resurrection Bay.

Visit the Alaska SeaLife Center to see Alaska's marine animals up close

Visit the Alaska SeaLife Center to see Alaska's marine animals up close

5. Visit the SeaLife Center

Seward’s famous SeaLife Center is truly an institution—and with good reason: It’s a great place to see Alaska’s unique wildlife up close. You can check out harbor seals, Steller sea lions, puffins, giant octopuses, and much more. Kids will be thrilled at the hands-on displays. Plus, it’s much more than just a zoo—it’s also a wildlife rehabilitation and research center, so you’re supporting a good cause by visiting.

Seward things to do fishing profish n sea charters 10 Profish N Sea 2012

Guests with a successful haul from a charter with ProFish-n-Sea

6. Go Fishing

Experience what makes the fishing in Alaska truly world-class on a Seward fishing charter. Go out with experienced captains who know where to find the fish and cast for halibut, king salmon, and silver salmon. Spend a half-day or full day out on the water. Captains will do everything they can to help you catch your limit, and will recommend a place that can process and ship your prized fish so you can enjoy it back home!

7. Stroll Waterfront Park & Downtown

Seward comes ready-made for walking. Downtown, you’ll find lots of charming shops and restaurants to duck into for a bite or to pick up a souvenir. Then check out the gorgeous Seward Waterfront Park, which extends out over 5 miles—from the small boat harbor to the SeaLife Center. Shimmering water backed by snow-capped peaks make for an iconic Alaskan view, and you’ll pass many monuments and landmarks along the trail. Look for bald eagles, sea otters, and even sea lions and harbor seals along the way!

Stroll the waterfront trails of Seward with a magnificent mountain backdrop

Stroll the waterfront trails of Seward with a magnificent mountain backdrop. Photo Credit: Joel Krahn

8. See the Murals

How do you make a pretty seaside town even prettier? Add some gorgeous murals! Seward has officially been the “Mural Capital of Alaska” since 2008, thanks to 12 large murals painted by local artists, and you’ll find examples around town of how the town achieved this designation. Paintings depict epic natural nearby sites, like Exit Glacier and Kenai Fjords National Park, as well as historic achievements like the Alaska Railroad (of which Seward is the southern terminus) and events like the Iditarod and Mt. Marathon race.

9. Discover History

Seward’s strategic position has made it the centerpiece of a lot of historical events, and exploring them adds insight to your visit. For example, you can see where the famous Iditarod race began—before it became an international event—at the historic Iditarod trail and monument. You can also learn about the building of the Alaska Railroad, check out what the town was like before the 1964 earthquake, and even stop by Seward’s oldest continually operating business.

People lining the street for a 4th of July parade in Seward

The 4th of July celebration in Seward is popular with locals and visitors

10. Check Out a Festival

Add some extra fun to your trip by timing your visit to coincide with one of Seward’s awesome festivals. The 4th of July is an especially big deal here, with many parades (and fireworks of course) as well as a famous foot race up Mt. Marathon. Or come for one of Alaska’s oldest and largest fishing derbies, the Silver Salmon Derby, usually held the second week in August, when anglers compete for the largest catch! Love music? Catch the Seward Music & Arts Festival, held in the fall, for the best in local music and arts, as well as amazing food!

Seward & Kenai Fjords Day Tours & Excurions View All

Season: May - Mid September $219+ Glacier Landing, $549 Glacier Dog Sledding 30 - 90 mins

The port city of Seward is a clas­sic stop on any Alas­ka itin­er­ary, thanks to its prox­im­i­ty to Chugach Nation­al For­est and Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park. But it’s also one of the more diverse places to fly. This tour oper­a­tor offers stun­ning birds-eye views of the area’s alpine mead­ows, glac­i­ers and fjords, as well as the chance to touch down, explore the ter­rain and even meet sled dogs.

Season: May 20–3rd week of September Exit Glacier Shuttle $15 | Guided Hikes & Glacier Treks $35+ 2.5 - 9 hrs

Tra­verse the majesty of Exit Glac­i­er by ice hik­ing or ice climb­ing, or opt for a nature hike in the gor­geous ter­rain around Seward, Alas­ka. Nev­er ice climbed or hiked on a glac­i­er? Not a prob­lem. All trips include instruc­tion to get you started.

Season: May 15 to Sep 06 $199+ per person Full-Day

When in Seward, head out on the water with Alas­ka North­ern Out­fit­ters on their com­fort­able 46-foot cata­ma­ran – the Sea Quest — for an epic day of fish­ing for hal­ibut, salmon, ling­cod, and rock­fish. It’s the only char­ter ves­sel in Seward with an upper view­ing deck. This lets you sight­see or have lunch on the upper deck while watch­ing the action below. . Inside you’ll find a large and heat­ed inte­ri­or, indoor seat­ing for every­one, tables, and  ...more

Season: May 29 to Sep 12 $86 to $371

The Coastal Clas­sic train runs between Anchor­age and the town of Seward — a four-hour trip that’s the most beau­ti­ful along the entire Alas­ka Rail­road. You’ll see Tur­na­gain Arm as the train departs Anchor­age, then a panora­ma of moun­tains, glac­i­ers, lakes, and streams. You may even see wildlife like Dall sheep, Bel­u­ga whales, moose, bear, and more! Day Trip from Anchor­age: Seward, Gird­wood Mul­ti-Day Trip from Anchor­age: Overnight Seward, or  ...more

Season: May 29 to Sep 15 $159+ 5 Hrs

Take a 5‑hour cruise out of Seward into Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park. Look for glac­i­ers and wildlife from the M/V Bravest, a 127-foot, high-speed, sta­ble cata­ma­ran that fea­tures an enclosed heat­ed seat­ing area with large win­dows and two out­door decks.

Season: May 20–3rd week of September $349+ 3+ hrs

Start with a dra­mat­ic flight­see­ing trip in either a heli­copter or ski plane and then get out onto an ancient riv­er of ice for a thrilling glac­i­er explo­ration either hik­ing or climbing.

Season: Year Round $69+ summer, $189+ winter 1 hr+

Go behind the scenes with Idi­tar­od mush­ers and get your own thrilling ride with the dogs at Turn­ing Heads Ken­nel. Choose a sum­mer dog demon­stra­tion and cart ride, or whisk off by heli­copter for glac­i­er dog sled­ding. Win­ter brings its own vari­ety of tours, which range from an hour long to mul­ti-day expe­di­tions near Wil­low, Alaska.

Season: May - September
$4,500+ (Inside Passage starting at $1,320)
5 days / 4 nights
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Sea Star

Set sail for 5 days and 4 nights with the crew of the M/V Sea Star for small ship adven­ture cruis­ing in Prince William Sound, Kenai Penin­su­la or along the Inside Pas­sage. The well-appoint­ed yacht accom­mo­dates just 12 guests, allow­ing for a per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ence where you are the explor­er! Unplug from day-to-day life and soak up the won­ders of Alaska’s amaz­ing coast­line. All meals pre­pared by an on-board chef and fea­tur­ing fresh local  ...more

Season: Mar 11 to Sep 26 $105+ 5 to 8.5 hrs

This vet­er­an tour oper­a­tor runs a a fleet of fast, mod­ern boats in Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park. You’ll vis­it tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers as you watch for puffins, sea otters, Dall’s por­pois­es, sea lions, and more. Some tours are designed to please bird­ers or shut­ter­bugs, while oth­ers are per­fect for families. 

Season: Year Round
$435+ Day-trip | $470+ Multi-day
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Caroline

Spend the after­noon, or a few days explor­ing the waters of Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Prince William Sound aboard the M/V Car­o­line, a beau­ti­ful cus­tom-built yacht set for adven­ture! It’s the per­fect set­ting for a fam­i­ly or small group vaca­tion. Fill your days loung­ing on the fly­bridge, fish­ing, kayak­ing, strolling beach­es and cruis­ing to your next fan­tas­tic destination.

Season: About May 19 to Sep 07 $89+ 4 hrs - 7 days

Mem­bers of 1% For The Plan­et, Kayak Adven­tures World­wide strives to ful­fill their mis­sion to inspire an active stew­ard­ship of our nat­ur­al world. Through small group sea kayak tours in Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park, they focus on safe­ty, edu­ca­tion, and con­nect­ing guests with the unique and frag­ile ecosys­tems you’ll visit.

Season: May 1 – 3rd week of September $69+ 3-10 hrs

Take a bou­tique, small-group kayak­ing trip with expe­ri­enced guides at Liq­uid Adven­tures and get close to glac­i­ers in kayaks or pad­dle­boards while look­ing for whales and oth­er marine mam­mals. You can even com­bine your adven­ture with a jet­boat, heli­copter, or wildlife cruise. There’s noth­ing quite like it in all of Alaska!

Season: May 1 - 3rd week of September $399+ 8-10 hrs

Get up close to the Alaskan glac­i­ers and wildlife you came to expe­ri­ence by tak­ing a cruise into Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park on a cus­tom-built cata­ma­ran out of Seward. The dif­fer­ence from oth­er cruis­es, is that you’ll then get off the boat and into a kayak, pad­dle around ice­bergs, and watch for wildlife from your own vessel.

Season: Mid-May through mid-to-late September $225+ Half-Day to Multi-Day

Feel the thrill of world-class salmon and trout fish­ing on Alaska’s Kenai Penin­su­la with expe­ri­enced, pas­sion­ate guides. You’ll get out on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers, just hours from Anchor­age, with a team that knows where the fish will be run­ning each day. Spend a day, or make it a mul­ti-day trip with a cus­tom pack­age that includes lodg­ing on the river.

Season: May 01 to Sep 26 $79+ Half day to full day excursions

For a clos­er, qui­eter, and more peace­ful ver­sion of the Alaskan glac­i­er and wildlife cruise, trav­el by sea kayak. Pad­dle the shore­line of Res­ur­rec­tion Bay, where encoun­ters with sea otters, seabirds, and spawn­ing salmon are com­mon. Choose from a vari­ety of three-hour excur­sions or take a full-day trip.

Season: Year Round $29.95

This world-class, 115,000-square-foot facil­i­ty was built with funds from the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and serves to remind vis­i­tors — in a high­ly inter­ac­tive way — of the impor­tance of under­stand­ing and main­tain­ing Alaska’s marine ecosys­tem. See life swim­ming right before your eyes: wit­ness a Steller sea lion glid­ing past under­wa­ter view­ing win­dows, puffins div­ing in nat­ur­al habi­tat, and har­bor seals rest­ing on rocky beach­es. Take self-guid­ed or  ...more

Season: Year Round $164+ 3.5 - 8 hrs

Hop on board the all-sea­son Miss­ing Lynx and Lost Lynx, the ves­sels bound for what­ev­er Seward Ocean Excur­sion suits your fan­cy. Want to whale watch, see glac­i­ers, go bird watch­ing or just check out hid­den coves? Cap­tains Bixler and Krystin McClure will help your small group plan an out­ing catered to your pref­er­ences. No mat­ter the sea­son, you can always catch some excite­ment in Res­ur­rec­tion Bay!

Season: May - September $59+ 3.5 - 9 hrs

Take a spec­tac­u­lar pri­vate guid­ed hik­ing tour in Seward — where the moun­tains meet the ocean — to explore glac­i­ers and alpine ridges. When you go with Seward Wilder­ness Col­lec­tive, you get a great tour plus a dia­logue with their knowl­edge­able guides about the impacts of cli­mate change, with liv­ing exam­ples right in front of your eyes.

Season: May - Sept $269+ per person Full Day

Alas­ka Saltwater’s small-group whale watch­ing, wildlife, and glac­i­er tours offer dai­ly excur­sions into the pris­tine Kenai Fjord Nation­al Park. Your cap­tains and crew — expe­ri­enced and well-versed in the area’s nat­ur­al habi­tat — spe­cial­ize in tak­ing out film crews, pro­fes­sion­al pho­tog­ra­phers, seri­ous bird­ers, and guests that want an unfor­get­table experience.

Season: Mid-May to Sept 16 $319+ per person 30+ minutes

Go flight­see­ing in a heli­copter out of scenic Seward and enjoy unfor­get­table views of the Kenai Moun­tain Range, Res­ur­rec­tion Bay, and gor­geous glac­i­ers. Choose from a 30-minute, 45-minute, or 1‑hour long tour. And, add a glac­i­er land­ing to any of them! 

Season: April - September
$450+ Lunch Cruise | $1100+ Overnight & Multi-Day
Afternoon & Multi-Day Packages
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Gambler

Hop aboard the M/V Gam­bler and cruise out to Res­ur­rec­tion Bay for a relax­ing and per­son­al­ized out­ing with local­ly-owned Alpen­glow Char­ters. Cou­ples and fam­i­lies will rel­ish their time togeth­er explor­ing Seward’s enchant­i­ng coast­line, guid­ed by an engag­ing and knowl­edge­able crew. Options fit into the busiest of sched­ules: from a 4 hour lunch cruise, a remote overnight, to a 2‑day land and sea journey.

Season: Mid-May to Mid-September $74+ 1.5 to 6 hrs

Vis­it Idi­tar­od cham­pi­on Mitch Seavey’s home­stead, home to three gen­er­a­tions of Idi­tar­od mush­ers. Expe­ri­ence an excit­ing two-mile dog sled ride, tour the rac­ing ken­nel, meet the dogs, cud­dle adorable husky pup­pies, and lis­ten to sto­ries from the Idi­tar­od trail. Then climb aboard a cus­tom-designed sled; an Idi­tar­od race fin­ish­er dri­ves you through rain­for­est to a riv­er-cut canyon sur­round­ed by mountains.

Season: May 29 to Sep 19 $149 3 hrs

Bald eagles are known to nest in this wood­ed spot near Res­ur­rec­tion Bay — and when you sign up for a tour with Stoney Creek Canopy Adven­tures, you’ll get to soar just like these icon­ic birds. This three-hour tour — the only canopy tour on the Kenai Penin­su­la — com­bines ziplines, rap­pels and sky bridges, with panoram­ic views of Mount Marathon, Res­ur­rec­tion Peaks and all the gor­geous scenery around you. It’s easy, and unde­ni­ably thrilling.

Season: Mar 06 to Oct 10 $89+ 3.5 hrs - Full Day

Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Kenai Fjords are great places to see wildlife and glac­i­ers. And Major Marine’s ves­sels, which have cozy heat­ed cab­ins and an out­door view­ing area, can take you out to see both. This fam­i­ly-owned tour oper­a­tor has gone above and beyond to give guests an amaz­ing day on the water since 1990

Season: Early May - Sept
$4,800+
3 days / 2 nights +
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Darby

Explore Alaska’s Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park ful­ly with a three-day/t­wo-night cus­tom adven­ture per­fect for fam­i­lies or cou­ples. Alas­ka Fjord Char­ters guides you to the best mix of kayak­ing, glac­i­er view­ing, whale watch­ing, and fish­ing, all in one leisure­ly tour. 

Season: May 01 to Aug 31 $519 per person 1.5 hrs

Expe­ri­ence the unique thrill of sum­mer dog sled­ding on a glac­i­er! Lift off in a heli­copter and enjoy incred­i­ble views on your way to this amaz­ing adven­ture. Want more time in the air? Add a flight­see­ing excur­sion before or after your dog sled­ding experience!

Season: Apr 30 to Sep 06 $295+ Full Day

Profish-n-sea Char­ters, out of Seward, offers salmon and hal­ibut fish­ing with friend­ly, expe­ri­enced Alaskan guides. Trips last a full day; you’ll motor 2 to 2.5 hours from Seward to the Gulf of Alas­ka, Mon­tague Island, and oth­er out­er-coast hotspots. Profish-n-Sea knows the three keys to catch­ing fish: boats, knowl­edge, and gear. That’s why the boats are always clean, the gear sharp, and the crew friend­ly, help­ful, and fun.

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Seward & Kenai Fjords Parks & Trails View All

Seward Water­front Park extends from the small boat har­bor to the SeaL­ife Cen­ter and con­tains paid tent and RV camp­ing, play­grounds, a skate park, pic­nic­ing areas, beach access, and a trail lined with his­tor­i­cal landmarks.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

The hike to Ton­si­na Creek, a scenic 3 mile trail that takes about 1 hour in each direc­tion, is a local favorite. Locals and vis­i­tors alike walk out to the creek itself, and some con­tin­ue on to Caines Head State Park. 

Difficulty: Difficult

This trail is also called the Prim­rose trail at the north end. It begins in a beau­ti­ful rain­for­est and even­tu­al­ly takes you up to a mul­ti­ple of beau­ti­ful lakes in high meadows.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

Your best bet for this trail is to go out on one low tide, spend the night — in either a for­est ser­vice cab­in or camp­site — and then return the fol­low­ing day or sev­er­al days lat­er on anoth­er low tide. Great for­est-to-beach hik­ing trail.

Distance: 6 miles Elevation Gain: 3000 feet

Don’t expect to run very much of this world-famous race route, which begins 2.5 hours south of Anchor­age and climbs near­ly 3,000 feet from down­town Seward. Though the first part of the route is very runnable, the next 1.5 miles climb Mount Marathon and are too steep and rocky for most to run. Just the hike itself makes for a very inten­sive workout. 

You can hike right up to Seward’s Exit Glac­i­er and feel the dense blue ice while lis­ten­ing to it crack­le. Walk the low­er trail to get a good pho­to in front of the glac­i­er face. Or, choose the more chal­leng­ing 7‑mile round-trip Hard­ing Ice­field Trail. There is a short ranger-led walk dai­ly at 11am and 3pm, from Memo­r­i­al Day through Labor Day. 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 4 miles

Many peo­ple know of the gru­el­ing Mount Marathon race­course in Seward, some 130 miles south of Anchor­age. How­ev­er, most peo­ple don’t know that there’s also a hik­ing path to the top at Race Point — and it’s far less demand­ing. This 2.25-mile route, which entails hik­ing three dif­fer­ent trails, takes you up the moun­tain and lets you to explore a glacial val­ley along the way.

Much like the Mount Marathon trail, this hike is a lit­tle stren­u­ous. Luck­i­ly, the Jeep Trail gives you more bench­es and oppor­tu­ni­ties to rest. The trail goes from rain for­est to alpine, pass­es by beau­ti­ful water­falls, and small moun­tain lakes, and ends with the beau­ti­ful Marathon Bowl. 

Known to locals as the Divide Ski Area, this trail was built by ded­i­cat­ed com­mu­ni­ty vol­un­teers from the Seward Nordic Ski Club.

Difficulty: Easy

The trail begins at mile 12.1 of the Seward High­way. Watch close­ly for the sign and pull into the off-high­way park­ing area. The trail begins as the Idi­tar­od Trail, and many improve­ments have been made to this sec­tion. The Troop Lake Trail branch­es off of this famous trail approx­i­mate­ly 1 mile from the start, reach­ing the lake about a half mile later. 

This steep hike is a bit of a chal­lenge, but it pays off. The trail winds through a spruce and hem­lock for­est into the sub-alpine and alpine zones, with breath­tak­ing panoram­ic views of Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Seward. Be sure to bring a cam­era and plen­ty of water!

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 3 miles

This trail is a spur off of the main trail that con­nects the North and South Beach trails in Caines Head State Recre­ation area. This is a real­ly good hike for the whole fam­i­ly with gor­geous views of the sur­round­ing moun­tains. Also, because it is part of a trail sys­tem, this makes for an excel­lent day trip. There are many trails to hike and oppor­tu­ni­ties to get some great pictures! 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 3 miles

Access the park from behind the State of Alas­ka Seward Job Cen­ter com­plex. Walk­ing trails link two small lakes through the old growth trees. 

Eas­i­ly acces­si­ble and not very difficult 

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

This trail extends from the Caine’s Head North Beach through rain­forests and alpine mead­ows to sev­er­al linked beach­es that are great for pic­nic­ing and beach combing. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

These pop­u­lar trails lead to two beau­ti­ful, pris­tine lakes. Even bet­ter, they’re both easy hikes, which makes them per­fect for peo­ple of all ages. Bring a fish­ing pole and angle for stocked trout in Merid­i­an Lake or grayling in Grayling Lake.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 16 miles

If you want a taste of dim spruce for­est along a wild riv­er bot­tom, try the first few miles of this most­ly lev­el route into the Res­ur­rec­tion Riv­er Val­ley. From the trail­head Mile 7 of Exit Glac­i­er Road, the trail runs 4.5 miles to Mar­tin Creek and is suit­able for moun­tain bik­ing or ski­ing after snow­fall. It fea­tures two prim­i­tive camp­sites and occa­sion­al access or views of to the river.

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