Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
A horned puffin rests on a ledge. The puffin have black plumage on top and white on bottom. Its feet are webbed and bright orange. Its beaks is yellow and orange. It has a fleshy black "horn" above its eyes - thus the name "horned" puffin.
text size
Printer Friendly
Things to do in Southcentral - Seward
Plan your trip to Seward!

Seward is located on the Kenai Peninsula, offering stunning views of Resurrection Bay and a scenic entrance to Kenai Fjords National Park. It sits on a deep water port for sailboats that is free of ice all winter. The Chugach National Forest and Caines Head State Recreation area in close proximity create a dynamic landscape. Not only does Seward include a charming town full of exceptional restaurants, gift shops, and visitor centers, it also provides the opportunity for numerous outdoor adventures including hiking trails, fishing trips, boat tours, and much more! Founded in 1792, Seward bears an impressive history as one of Alaska's oldest cities. Seward is only two and a half hours away from Anchorage, with impressive sights of scenery and wildlife the whole drive. 



Kenai Fjords National Park Information Center
These visitor information centers are great places to start and get acquainted with the region and receive up-to-date reports on local news or weather conditions

Visitor Information

Kenai Fjords National Park Information Center is located on the boardwalk by Seward's small boat harbor. This should be the first stop on your itinerary after getting into town! Inside this center you will find park films, informative displays, and helpful rangers. This center strives to preserve the 607,000 acres by the Gulf of Alaska. This park is also home to 20 species of seabirds, 27 land mammals, and 10 marine mammals. Tour our visitor center for more information on the landscape and wildlife in coastal Alaska and ways to help protect it. They can also help you plan your trip according to your individual preferences!

The center is open daily year-round. From May 24 - September 5, the center will be open to the public from 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Exit Glacier Nature Center is located on Exit Glacier road just outside of Seward. This center marks the trailhead for a network of different trails. Each trail offers a unique view of Exit Glacier or the Harding Icefield. Exit Glacier is one of the 38 glaciers residing in the Kenai Fjords National Park. To this day it remains the most accessible glacier feeding from the Harding Icefield. Many trails are short in length and can take up as little as an hour of your day! But if you have more time to explore, the longer hikes show a unique Alaskan landscape that has been sculpted by glacial movement. The center offers exhibits about the Exit Glacier area, an Alaska Geographic bookstore, and rangers to answer any questions! 

Open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. From May 24 - September 6, the center will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Visit the Alaska Sealife Center, the only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center in the state. This is the perfect rainy day activity if you are determined to see wildlife without the interference of Mother Nature. This center offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to encounter animals up close and personal. Inside the center you will see puffins, octopus, sea lions, crabs, and seals at a shockingly close distance. Visitors will observe the diverse sea life that Alaska contains in a safe atmosphere. Their mission is to promote understanding of Alaska's ecosystems through scientific education. This center thrives due to the dedicated work of volunteers and interns. Research, rehabilitation, and education are crucial aspects of this center. They conduct research concerning declining animal populations, treat injure marine animals, and reach out to the public through educational programs. Participate in the daily ranger programs while you're in Seward.

For more information, visit the Alaska Sealife Center Website!

Wildflowers cover the sides of mountains during the summer season.
Wildflowers cover the sides of mountains during the summer season, creating picturesque views

Spend the Day: Hiking

Mount Marathon is a three mile round trip reaches an elevation of 3,022 feet. Despite the steep incline, it is a fun family hike that can be taken on at any pace. If visiting over the Fourth of July, make sure to watch or participate in the famous Mount Marathon Race. Some participate competitively and others do it for a true Alaskan experience! The fastest time ever recorded is 42:55, set by Eric Strabel in 2013. The other racers generally reach the top of the peak within 33-40 minutes and cross the finish line about 10-15 minutes later. The rugged peak and steep terrain of Mount Marathon is not a destination to take lightly, many runners arrive at the bottom injured and covered in mud. But the danger does not stop thousands of people from traveling to Seward, Alaska from all over the world to compete or observe in the Mount Marathon Race.

The Harding Icefieldis one of Kenai Fjord National Park's biggest attractions. With over 700 square miles, it is the largest ice field in all of North America.  This Icefield is believed to have been created during the Pleistocene Epoch Era more than 23,000 years ago. This vast stretch of ice flows into over thirty different glaciers within Kenai Fjords. Exit glacier is the most common glacier of the Harding Icefield because it is easily accessible by car right outside of Seward. Exit glacier offers a network of short trails that you can hike to the top of the glacier for a panoramic view of the glacier and ice field. The walk to see Exit Glacier is short and offers evidence of glacial retreat and moraine landforms on the way. For those interested in a longer hike, an eight mile hike leads from the Kenai Fjords Visitor Center to the Harding Icefield while gaining 1,000 feet in elevation. You can make this hike a full day activity, just don't forget your bear spray. 

The Caines Head State Recreation Area and Resurrection Bay State Marine Parks is a coastal trail of 4.5 miles that connects Lowell Point to North Beach. The Caines Head beach is used by boaters and fisherman today, but holds historical significance as a defense location during World War II. It is a scenic hike along Resurrection Bay, usually taking about 2 to 3 hours. There are picnic shelters, campsites, and latrines at the North Beach. Caines Head can also be used to navigate to one of the five State Marine Parks located in Resurrection Bay. Sections of this trail are only accessible for hikers during low tide. 

Plan your next activity at Alaska DNR Parks and Outdoor Recreation

Stay overnight in a Public Use Cabin

For information on tides visit NOAA Tides and Currents

visitors view orca's in Resurrection Bay from a boat
visitors view orca's in Resurrection Bay from a boat

Spend the Day: On the Water

Go on a cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park, known worldwide for both its flourishing sea life and incredible glaciers. One of the best ways to see both of these features is on a boat tour! There are a variety of packages to choose from with each company. These options let you customize your trip so that it fits in with your schedule. This is the most common way of seeing Resurrection Bay. The boats explore fjords along the coast that are populated with whales, porpoises, puffins, sea lions, sea otters, and many more! It is a fun way to see animals interact in their natural ecosystem. Even if the wildlife seems to be hiding from you, the landscape is a spectacle on its own. Mountain ranges surround the bay on both sides with peaks reaching past 6,000 feet. If that's not enough, glaciers calf directly into the water, just feet away from the boat. today!

visit Major Marine Tours and Kenai Fjords Tours today!

Exploring Resurrection Bay in a kayak is a perfect way to see hidden coves along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska. This is a perfect way to explore the aspects of Kenai Fjords National Park that you love the most, whether it be wildlife or glacier watching! Experience the natural beauty of this area without the whirl of a crowd on your own schedule! It is recommended to speak with a guide about the appropriate distance before setting out for a far-off coastline. This activity is not for beginners, so a guide is highly advised. Weather can be unpredictable with high winds or summer storms. There are also stretches of land that are unavailable for landing. Experienced guides will make your trip more enjoyable, with provided equipment and in-depth instruction. See the wildlife and scenery the way it is meant to be seen!

For more information, choose a Kayak Touring Company

Catch your dinner Fishing with the locals at many locations around Seward. Both freshwater and saltwater fishing is available in Resurrection Bay. This is the perfect habitat for many fish including salmon, halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. Experienced fishers are there to guide your experience and make sure it is a successful outing. If in town during August, make sure to check out or participate in the Silver Salmon Derby. A cash prize is given to the lucky fisherman who catches the tagged fish. Both half and full day trips are options from a number of local businesses. For the sake of easy travel, some shops will pack and freeze your lucky catch. State fishing licenses are required for fishing. 

If interested in fishing, check out the Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations!

Aialik Cabin is approximately a 2-4 hour boat ride from Seward.
Aialik Cabin is approximately a 2-4 hour boat ride from Seward.

Stay Overnight: Rent a Cabin or Go Camping

Rent a public use cabin. If you plan to stay for more than one day, consider renting a cabin in a rural location. These rustic cabins are available from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Kenai Fjords National Park has two cabins located in Holgate and Aialik, while Alaska State Parks offers two cabins in Caines Head State Recreation Area and another two cabins at Thumb Cove State Marine Park. Both of these cabins provide a remote atmosphere in which to experience nature. Click on your preferred destination below for more information.



Caines Head State Recreation Area

Thumb Cove State Marine Park

Visitors travel from all over the world to Camp in Alaska's National Parks. There are many camping sites surrounding Seward that are open to the public. The Seward Park Beach is located at the edge of Seward and is a popular camping option because it offers swimming, picnic sites, restrooms, bike trails, a playground, and eating prospects within close proximity. If you are looking for something that is a little bit more rural, Miller's Landing is a campground located on Resurrection Bay near Seward that is more remote. There are both tent and RV places along a scenic oceanfront campground. Backpacking is also a popular option to surround yourself in the wilderness of Alaska. Come prepared with gear in case of extreme weather or wildlife sightings! 

Make sure to practice Leave No Trace Etiquette.

A dogsled pulls visitors across the snow
A dogsled pulls visitors across the snow

Enjoy recreational activities in the Seward region! There are plenty of opportunities to become acquainted with Alaskan land no matter what time of year it is. In the winter, activities including skiing, snowmobiling, and ice climbing are popular options for staying active despite cold temperatures. In the summer, flight seeing and tide pools are great ways to see unexpected aspects of the ecosystem that you might miss otherwise. Visitors can also enjoy the Alaskan sport of dog sledding at all times of the year on a glacier. Seward is also home to the Seavey family, who are known worldwide for their success in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championships. You can even schedule a ride on one of their sleds with their dogs!

Two sockeye salmon ready for spawning. The fish have red bodies with green heads and tails. The background shows a rocky stream bed. Did You Know?
Alaska has the longest salmon run in the world. The salmon swim 2,000 miles up the Yukon River every year.