Seward is a charming coastal town 127 miles south of Anchorage. It is one of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities. Abrupt mountain slopes cloaked in shaggy summer greens and snow form an impressive backdrop for this progressive city of 2,700 people on the Kenai Peninsula. Tourism, shipping and fishing are the mainstays of Seward’s vibrant economy.
Known as the “Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park”, Seward is home to a number of world-class boat tours that explore the stunning scenery and abundant wildlife of the National Park. The Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most visited areas in all of Alaska because of its incredible natural wonders and the popularity of Seward as a cruise ship destination. As the first or last port of call for many cruise passengers, it’s easy to add a day or two of activities in this beautiful town.
Seward is at the head of Resurrection Bay, named by explorer Alexander Baranof, in the 18th century, when he took shelter in the bay over Easter. This is also one of the northernmost ice-free ports in North America making it an important connection between sea and rail.
Resurrection Bay’s rugged scenery and variety of wildlife can be enjoyed by water taxi, rented kayaks or taking a guided, all-inclusive wildlife cruise.
Nearby Exit Glacier is one of the most visited glaciers in the State and is the only part of the Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by road. The area around the glacier is great for a hike.
Seward is most famous for two summertime events. First is the famous 4th of July Mt. Marathon Race, one of the oldest mountain races in North America. The total length of the race is three miles, with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet. The second is the Silver Salmon Derby that takes place each year in August. It’s large prizes attract people from all over the state of Alaska.
Excellent accommodations, restaurants, RV parks, and tent camping are available in Seward, and you’ll always find friendly hospitality from the residents. Seward was voted All-American City in 1963, 1965 and 2005.
Seward Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is open daily in the summer at mile 2 of the Seward Highway (on the right as you enter town). Ask the helpful staff to recommend their favorite spots in town for wildlife viewing, hiking, and paddling. They will also help in organizing any of the tours available in town or nearby Kenai Fjords National Park. 907-224-8051. www.seward.com
Seward Community Library Museum, 6th & Adams. A film on the 1964 earthquake is shown daily at 2pm.
Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center next to the Harbormaster Building in the small boat harbor on Fourth Avenue. This is an excellent place to visit and learn about the incredible natural features of this National Park. It is ideally located to stop by before or after a boat tour of the Kenai Fjords. Park Rangers are available to answer any questions visitors have about the area. 907-422-0535
Exit Glacier Nature Center Has exhibits and information about Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield. Mile 8.4 of Exit Glacier Road.
Seward became a town-site in 1903 when it was decided a railroad would need to be constructed to connect the Interior of Alaska’s rich resources to the coastline. Seward’s, large, ice free port was chosen as the ideal location. Construction of the railroad’s southern terminus on the shores of Resurrection Bay was started by private enterprise, but the 70 miles of completed track was purchased in 1915 by the Federal Government’s newly formed Alaska Railroad Corporation.
When completed in 1923, the Alaska Railroad would connect the 470 miles between Seward and Fairbanks. The Alaska Railroad remains a great way for visitors to see the State. Many cruise ship passengers will use the Alaska Railroad to reach Denali National Park before or after they enjoy a cruise through Alaska’s Inside Passage.
The town of Seward is named for William H. Seward, who was a former Secretary of State during the Lincoln Administration and a key figure in the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.
Seward Windsong Lodge, located just north of the city of Seward, on the road to Exit Glacier. It is a quintessential Alaskan lodge with 216 spacious rooms and 18 cabins. The on-site restaurant, Resurrection Roadhouse, offers incredible food and unequaled views of the Resurrection River Valley.
Seward KOA Campground has spacious pull through sites, water, electric and sewer hook-ups at each site. Big rig friendly sites, deluxe tent sites, and camping cabins are available. 5 minutes from downtown Seward and only 5 minutes to Exit Glacier. Free Wi-fi, dog park and tour shuttle.
Exit Glacier is 10 miles from Seward and is one of the most accessible glaciers in all of Alaska.
Exit Glacier has a tent only campground that is available on a first come, first served basis. During the summer months, sites can fill up quickly. The campground is half a mile from the end of the road and you must walk in with your supplies. Water and toilets are available.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only public aquarium in Alaska that is a combined marine research, education, and wildlife response facility. Explore an undersea kelp forest, meet the birds in the aviary, and enjoy the antics of sea lions and seals in the Rocky Coast exhibit.
Marvel at the grace, speed, and playful personalities of seals and sea lions and a fascinating and diverse array of fish and deep diving sea birds.
If you’re looking for halibut & silver salmon fishing charters, The Fish House is your one stop shop in Seward. They alos have fishing tackle, outdoor clothing, camping supplies, RV supplies, fishing & hunting licenses.
Explore some of the most spectacular places in Kenai Fjords National Park and Resurrection Bay with Major Marine Tours. They offer seven full-day and half-day glacier and wildlife cruise options! Visit actively calving tidewater glaciers and view abundant wildlife including humpback whales, otters, Steller sea lions, bald eagles and puffins. Major Marine Tours is a locally-owned and operated company in Seward, Alaska.
Located on the southeastern Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai National Park is a pristine and rugged area supporting many unique natural environments and ecosystems. The fjords are long, steep-sided, glacier-carved valleys that are now filled with ocean waters.
Kayakers, fishermen, and visitors on tour boats share the fjord waters with stellar sea lions, harbor seals, Dall porpoises, sea otters, humpback, killer and minke whales. A day cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most popular tours in the state of Alaska.
The Silver Salmon Derby takes place in Seward the second Saturday in August. Thousands of sportsmen vie for the largest Coho (Silver) Salmon and try to catch tagged fish worth prizes. Tagged and released at the beginning of the derby are salmon worth up to $50,000. Prizes in just about every category you can imagine, including special kids’ awards.
Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking offers professional and fun fully guided sea kayaking tours from Seward into Resurrection Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park and Fox Island. Half-day, full-day and multi-day sea kayaking tours for all experience levels.
Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures is a 3 hour eco-friendly adventure on eight ziplines, three sky bridges and two rappels. With great views of the forest and Resurrection Ba enjoy a breathtaking way to experience the natural environment of Alaska.
Exit Glacier is just 10 miles from Seward. It is one of the most accessible glaciers in all of Alaska.As part of the Harding Icefield it is the only portion of Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by road. Exit Glacier is so named because it was the exit point for the first successful crossing of the Harding Icefield.
On display are native artifacts, relics, early mining tools and a collection of rare baleen and porcupine quill baskets.Seward Museum is at the corner of Third and Jefferson St., and is maintained by the Resurrection Bay Historical Society
Alaska’s biggest Independence Day celebration is held in Seward every Fourth of July. The combination running-climbing race to the top of 3,022-foot Mt. Marathon and back is believed by many to be the most strenuous and rugged of the five cross-country-mountain-climbing races in the world.
Stop by and view the movie and slide show depicting earthquake, fire and tidal wave damage resulting from the 1964 earthquake. This movie is shown daily in summer. Another noteworthy attraction is the Seward Heirloom Quilt. Completed in 1976 by 28 local women, the quilt contains 36 blocks, each depicting a historical building or landmark in Seward. One of the original Alaskan flags is also on display.
Lowell Point State Recreation Site
Lowell Point Road starts at the south end of Seward (near the Alaska SeaLife Center) and travels along Resurrection Bay to the Lowell Point State Recreation Site. There is a beach with campgrounds, services and a trailhead.
It is common to see abundant wildlife from the beach, including; Bald Eagles, sea otters, Steller sea lions and humpback and orca whales.
Caines Head State Recreation Area is the site of an abandoned World War II fort. It can be reached by boat or on foot (at low tide) from Seward.Caines Head and other Resurrection Bay vantages became strategic spots for defending the Port of Seward during WOrld War II. As the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad, the port of Seward was a critical supply line for the war effort and for Alaskans.
The Resurrection Roadhouse Restaurant is at Seward Windsong Lodge. It offers beautiful views of the Resurrection River Valley, a relaxed atmosphere, and wonderful cuisine. Features fresh Alaskan seafood, gourmet burgers and pizza, numerous draft beers and specialty cocktails.
Specializes in serving fresh seafood including king crab, salmon, and Alaskan halibut.This local favorite is located at the Small Boat Harbor.
Exit Glacier Salmon Bake Restaurant.
This authentic Alaskan restaurant and pub is one of Seward’s best kept secrets. Specializing in fresh Alaskan salmon, red snapper, steaks and burgers. They also serve a great selection of wine and Alaskan microbrews. Find them on Herman Leirer Road, on the way to Exit Glacier.
Subway® has RV friendly locations open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat Fresh with a Footlong Sub and add chips and a drink for your adventure! Stop and fuel up at over 50 Subway® locations across the state, order online at www.Subway.com or on the Subway® APP.
Alaska Railroad connects Seward Alaska to Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, Fairbanks and more. Enjoy excellent service and a relaxing rail journey as you travel between many of Alaska’s most popular destinations.
Hertz Car Rental in Seward
There is a Hertz car rental in Seward. They specialize in one way rentals from Seward to Anchorage for those who want to rent a car and make their own journey.
Map of Seward Alaska
Seward has essentially two main areas for visitors. There is the harbor area, near the Alaska Railroad depot and there is downtown Seward. Downtown is at the south end of Seward, and that is where you will find the Alaska SeaLife Center. It is possible to walk between the harbor and SeaLife Center, in about 30 minutes. It is a beautiful walk along the waterfront.
Seward Alaska FAQs
Is Seward worth visiting?
Yes, Seward is definitely worth visiting. From national parks featuring wildlife and glaciers to local art and delicious food, Seward has a lot to offer. One of the most popular trips in all of Alaska is to take a boat tour into Kenai Fjords National Park. Located between Resurrection Bay and Kenai Mountains, Sewards offers an array of uniquely Alaskan experiences.
How long is the train ride from Anchorage to Seward?
It takes about 4 hours by train from Anchorage to Seward. Also, it takes over 2 hours by car or bus from Anchorage to Seward.
Where do you fly into to get to Seward Alaska?
To get to Seward, Ak, you have to fly into Anchorage. Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC) is located in Anchorage,120 miles north of Seward. And it takes 2 to 4 hours to get to Seward, depending on if you drive or take the train.
Seward has a small, state run airport, but it does not have any scheduled flights. Only charters and private planes use the airport.
Is there a train from Seward to Anchorage?
Yes, the Alaska Railroad operates the train from Seward to Anchorage via their coastal class train. Alaska Railroad’s train departs daily during the summer. Visit Alaska Railroad for current schedule.
Can you see the Northern Lights from Seward Alaska?
During late September or early October through April, you could see the northern lights in Seward. However, because Seward is located on the coast and has frequent cloud cover, it is harder to see displays of northern lights than what what you might find from further north, in the Interior city of Fairbanks.
How many days should I spend in Seward?
There is plenty of activities in Seward to keep visitors busy for a number of days. If you only want to see the highlights of Kenai Fjord National Park and Exit Glacier, you can stay for 1 or 2 days. But if you want to experience the hiking, the fishing or exploring Resurrection Bay, you should schedule 3 or more days. Seward has a lot of things to do, so don’t miss out by only staying for 1 day.
If you do not have a car, don’t worry. Downtown Seward Alaska has many tours operating to take you to see glaciers and other attractions in Seward. Getting around Seward, AK is very manageable without a car. You can hire a taxi/shuttle depending on what you want to do and where you want to get to. You can also walk from Downtown to the harbor area in 30 – 40 minutes.
Where is Kenai Fjords National Park and how do I get there?
Kenai Fjords National Park is located just outside the town of Seward, Alaska, 126 miles south of Anchorage. It is a pristine and rugged land supporting many unaltered natural environments and ecosystems. Seward is on the Kenai Peninsula in South-Central Alaska. Kenai Fjords National Park is almost exclusively enjoyed from the water. Either by private boat, water taxi, or on a regular boat tour, like Major Marine Tours.
By car, you can follow the Seward Highway, a National Scenic Byway from Anchorage. Also, you can take the Alaska Railroad to Seward from May to September.
Alaska Travel Tips
Sign up for our 4-part email series to discover critical information for planning your ultimate Alaska vacation!