The Best Wildlife Viewing Spots in Seward

Every summer visitors flock to Seward to see whales, sea otters, and more in Kenai Fjords National Park. Day cruises are the best way to see marine wildlife and tours of varying lengths are available all summer long.

Day cruises also offer great shorebird viewing opportunities so be on the lookout for puffins, cormorants and kittiwakes. While onboard your attention may be directed to the shoreline to look for mountain goats high on the cliffs or bald eagles perched in the trees as well.

The first listing below describes the highlights of what you might see during a Kenai Fjords boat tour, including where to look for different species.

Other wildlife opportunities in Seward include sightings from area hiking trails where you may spot a moose or a black bear.

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Best Wildlife Viewing Spots in Seward

Seward Day Cruises

These are the boat tours to get you out into Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park to view whales, sea otters, sea lions, and more.
Season: May 1 - 3rd week of September $449+ 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: April - Sept
$4,000 Day Cruise, 8 Hrs Up To 6 Guests | $8,000+ Multi-Day, Up To 6 Guests
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: March 8 - Oct 13 $109+ 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

4 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. 

Eagle Viewing Spots

At the Seward Small Boat Har­bor look out at the rock jet­ties and buoys. Eagles like to sit on these spots and mon­i­tor their domain. Food is also plen­ti­ful from fish­er­man clean­ing fish, seabirds that stay in the area and fish that return to the streams nearby.

Sheep & Mt. Goat Viewing Spots

The west­ern coast of out­er Res­ur­rec­tion Bay near Seward offers the state’s best oppor­tu­ni­ty to see wild goats up close, with ani­mals often perched on ledges just above the sea — mak­ing the area a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion dur­ing marine wildlife cruis­es out of Seward.

Salmon Viewing Spots

This salmon view­ing loca­tion includes an all-acc­ces­si­ble view­ing plat­form over­look­ing the creek as well as view­ing oppor­tun­ties along Ptarmi­gan Creek trail. Sock­eye salmon will be in the creek from late July to ear­ly Octo­ber with the best view­ing in mid-August. Vehi­cle park­ing is in the day use area inside Ptarmi­gan Creek Campground. 

Learn how the fish are raised from small alevin to fry and beyond to smolt size before being released into sur­round­ing lakes and bays. Depend­ing on the fish cycle, there may or may not be fish to view, so please call ahead. If there are no fish to be seen, you’re wel­come to look at a small pho­to gallery and learn about the fish pro­duc­tion cycle, and under­stand why hatchery’s play such an impor­tant role in keep­ing our fish population…  ...more

The salmon life­cy­cle and a work­ing salmon-count­ing oper­a­tion is on the menu here, as well as a fresh salmon for your din­ner, if you time your vis­it just right. Hear how!

Great sock­eye salmon obser­va­tion site, espe­cial­ly in late July and ear­ly August. At oth­er times of year it offers a mod­er­ate walk up to Ptarmi­gan Lake that’s great for fam­i­lies and fea­tures lots of bird life.

From the grav­el pull­out on the west side of the high­way, an easy 14 mile walk to the Sock­eye salmon view­ing plat­form awaits (not ful­ly acces­si­ble). Salmon are in the creek from mid-July to ear­ly August with the best view­ing in late July. 

Grouse Creek runs adja­cent to the Seward High­way. To access this creek, exit onto the paved pull­out at mile 8.3. There’s a Chugach Nation­al For­est sign here too that marks the spot. From late- July to mid-Sep­tem­ber, you will be able to view sock­eye salmon with the best chance of see­ing fish in mid-August. 

Birding Viewing Spots

Just south of Seward you could spot hump­back whales, sea lions, bird life and old growth for­est habi­tat. There’s a great sand beach at the end that will reward your explo­ration, so let’s go!

As the boat pulls away from the nest­ing areas of the horned puffins it will turn left and again stay right next to the cliff face. You’ll notice some pelag­ic and pos­si­bly red-faced cor­morants nest­ing high on the cliff just after the boat turns to the left for the final stretch of Cape Resurrection.

Here is the local favorite area of our Horned and Tuft­ed puffins. You can tell the two species apart if you remem­ber that Tough Guys Wear Black.” The tuft­ed puffin’s body is entire­ly black with dis­tinc­tive long yel­low tufts” of feath­ers on either side of their head. Horned puffins have a white bel­ly and black back. These puffins come to land only to lay their eggs and raise their young. Puffins spend most of their lives about 400 miles away…  ...more

Some of the lit­tle caves on the tip of the cape con­tain nest­ing Com­mon mur­res. You may also be see­ing many of these mur­res on the water. They have black heads, black backs and white bel­lies. They are Alcids, like the puffins, so they are div­ing birds that use their wings for propul­sion under water. Of all the alcids, com­mon mur­res can dive the deep­est, plung­ing to record depths of at least 600 feet​.In addi­tion to the cave nesters on the Cape,…  ...more

Up ahead the noise and odor of the Black legged Kit­ti­wakes will soon become appar­ent. These birds take advan­tage of the slight depres­sions in the rocks to build their nests. Their nest is sim­ply some grass and mud glued to the rock wall with their own guano. These birds nest in dense aggre­ga­tions as a means of pro­tec­tion against birds of prey.If a Bald eagle or Pere­grine fal­con flies into the area every bird will leave the rocks in one…  ...more

Just up ahead on the right is a small rock that sticks above the water and almost always has a mixed group of cor­morants stand­ing atop it dry­ing out their feath­ers. This long necked black bird dives in the water and uses its feet to swim but unlike the puffins and oth­er alcids has no oil in its feath­ers to aid in dry­ing off. So they stand out on rocks to get dry.Just up ahead on the left you will see a rock with many gulls on top of it and…  ...more