Soldotna Basecamp: 5-Day Kenai Peninsula Itinerary

5 Days

Season

Mid-May through mid-September

Transportation

Car

Why This Trip?

Soldotna’s position in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula—just 2.5 hours from Anchorage—makes it ideal to use as a basecamp to see the highlights of this gorgeous area. Here’s how to set up in Soldotna and spend an amazing 5 days on the peninsula.

Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive in Anchorage - Overnight in Soldotna


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Depart Anchorage for Soldotna, a drive of 2.5 to 3 hours without stops. Start along the incredibly scenic Turnagain Arm, then head through Turnagain Pass and stretch your legs in the Tern Lake area. You’ll pass through Cooper Landing and get glimpses of the Kenai River as you make your way to Soldotna. Make the Soldotna Visitor Information Center your first stop. Walk across the bridge to get a view of the Kenai River from above, then explore the trail behind the center, which leads to a boardwalk with access to the Kenai River. If you’ve got time, hike the whole 3-mile Centennial Campground Loop; the trail winds by the Homestead Museum, where you can see original Soldotna homestead buildings and learn about the area’s history. Or visit Soldotna Creek Park and walk the boardwalks along the river. Overnight at a local lodge.

Day 2

Day in Seward & Overnight in Soldotna


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Today you’re headed to Seward, the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, where you can take an amazing scenic cruise into the fjords. It’s a 2-hour drive from Soldotna on the Sterling Highway, and most of the cruises depart around 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. (returning by 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.), so you don’t have to start out super-early. If you arrive before your cruise, walk around town or visit Exit Glacier, the only part of the national park you can drive to! (Factor in an extra two hours to include this before your cruise).

After your cruise, head back to Soldotna for an early evening meal, and overnight.

Day 3

Day & Overnight in Soldotna


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Make today another day of adventure: Opt for a fishing charter to catch salmon on the Kenai River, go rafting or flightseeing, or take a flight to go bear viewing in the national parks across Cook Inlet. If you’d prefer to have a day without excursions, today is the perfect chance to stroll around town and hike the gorgeous local trails. Check out the town’s various murals and public art, walk the boardwalks, visit the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and walk the trails, or rent a bike and cruise the Tsalteshi Single Track trails or the gentle Unity Trail. Whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed! Overnight in Soldotna.

Day 4

Day in Homer & Overnight in Soldonta


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Today, you’ll head south on the Sterling Highway for about 90 minutes to the end of the road and the quaint town of Homer. This incredibly scenic drive hugs the coast; you’ll look out on the shimmering water and ancient volcanoes and mountains across the water. Once in Homer, you’ll find the waterfront location great for fishing and kayaking. You could also take a water taxi across the bay for hikes in Kachemak Bay State Park or explore the boardwalks on the famous Homer Spit and walk the beach looking for tidepools.

Drive back to Soldotna in the late afternoon and stay overnight.

Day 5

Depart Soldotna


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Make your way back toward Anchorage. If you need to break up the drive, take a detour into Portage Valley or stop in the town of Girdwood.