The city of Kenai has plenty of natural wonders going for it: Overlooking the mouth of the Kenai River, it has great views of Cook Inlet as well as miles of sandy beaches, two mountain ranges and four active volcanoes.
Soldotna’s twin city has lots of cultural assets, too. Originally settled in the eighteenth century by Russian fur traders, the Peninsula’s oldest city has plenty of historic charm, such as taking a self-guided walking tour of “Old Town Kenai”—you can pick up a map at the visitor’s center—and checking out the great Russian orthodox church.
On the more modern side, the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center is definitely worth a stop—for major summer art exhibitions, and free summer interpretive programs.
In mid-summer, stop by the mouth of the Kenai River to watch locals “dip-net” for salmon or see the fleet of commercial fishing vessels coming back into harbor. Keep your eyes peeled for wild critters too – pods of belugas and groups of seals sometimes chase salmon several miles up the Kenai River and caribou, moose, eagles, and waterfowl are a common sight in the wetlands on either side of Bridge Access Rd, which heads out of town towards the south.
Highlights of visiting here:
- Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center, including the Kenai City Museum, Natural History Exhibits and Contemporary Art Shows
- Walking "Old Town Kenai"
- Fishing the Kenai River
- Going to Kenai Landing, an historic cannery with shopping and lodging Wildlife viewing: beluga whales at the mouth of the Kenai River, and native and Migratory birds on the Kenai Flats Bird Viewing Platforms
- Attend an Oilers Baseball Game (part of the Alaska Baseball league)
- Stop by the Kenaitze Indian Salmon Bake with Cultural Presentation