Seward ("SOO-word") is a small port city (population ~2,700) located at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula in Southcentral Alaska. Seward was named in honor of William H. Seward, President Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, who was responsible for negotiating the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.
Founded in 1903 as the ocean terminus of what is now the Alaska Railroad, Seward prides itself, not only on its natural beauty, but as Alaska's only deep-water, ice-free port with rail, highway and air transportation to Alaska's interior and major urban population centers.
For local events and news see SewardCityNews.com, Seward's citizen journalism website.
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In 2017 the Alaska Department of Transportation announced a 4-year 2-phase Milepost 75-90 Rehabilitation Project to make major safety improvements to a busy crash-prone section of the Seward Highway from Girdwood to beyond the Portage curve toward Turnagain Pass. In July 2015 a tour bus crash at Milepost 79 (Portage Glacier Road and Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center) killed one man and critically injured several others, causing a 10-hour traffic jam. During the summer months, up to 15,000 vehicles use this 15-mile stretch of Seward Highway daily. Although the project is not yet fully funded, construction on Seward Highway is scheduled to begin 2018.
The Alaska Railroad offers daily rail passage between Anchorage and Seward in the summer, May 13 to Sept 14. The trip between Anchorage and Seward -- the Coastal Classic -- is arguably its most scenic section, and you can take the train one-way. The train parallels the Seward Highway along the Turnagain Arm, but also heads up into the mountains away from the road, pass glaciers and alpine meadows you won't be able to see by car. Adventure Class (with shared access to older vista dome railcar) Round Trip/One Way fare: $119/$75 adults, $59/$38 children (2-11); GoldStar Service (New Dome Railcar) Round Trip/One Way fare: $219/$130 adults, $110/$65 children.
Passengers are required by TSA to check-in at the ticket window (hour before at Anchorage, 30-45 minutes before at Seward) and show a government issued photo ID (for those age 18 and older) to receive boarding passes. If you have luggage (2 pieces max), it must be checked through to your destination. At depots, boarding for trains occurs 20-30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.
- 6:45AM - Depart Anchorage Depot - 411 West 1st Avenue
- 11:05AM - Arrive Seward Depot - 410 Port Avenue (short walk to small boat harbor; about 1/2 mile to cruise ship dock)
- 6PM - Depart Seward Depot
- 10:15PM - Arrive Anchorage Depot
The Park Connection, 1-800-208-0200, offers twice daily bus service between Anchorage and Seward in the summer, mid-May to mid-September. Check in 15 minutes prior; luggage 2 pieces max. In general, the trip by bus is faster than by train, but slower than by car.
- 7AM - Depart Anchorage - Egan Center: $55
- 9:45AM - Arrive Seward Small Boat Harbor
- 3PM - Departs Anchorage Museum: $65
- 5:45PM - Arrive Seward Small Boat Harbor
- 10:30AM - Depart Seward Small Boat Harbor: $65
- 1:30PM - Arrive Anchorage Museum
- 6:30PM - Depart Seward Small Boat Harbor: $55
- 9:30PM - Arrive Anchorage Museum
The Dale R. Lindsey Alaska Railroad Seward Intermodal Terminal ("cruise-ship dock" to locals), 913 Port Ave, is where cruise ships moor. Ships tie up directly to the dock, and no tenders are used to transport guests between the ship and shore. The Alaska Railroad uses this facility for freight.
From May to September, about 50 ships arrive and depart Seward's port as part of the popular 7-14 day Alaska cruises, round-the-world itineraries, and special charter cruises.
Seward is a great place to walk around. For those needing a ride, here are some options.
- Summer Shuttle Bus, +1 907-224-4020, is operated daily by the city of Seward during the summer months when the cruise ships are in town. The shuttle makes a half hour loop starting at the cruise ship dock to the Alaska SeaLife Center and back. $5 pp, good for entire day.
- Tidewater Taxi +1 907-727-1929. Water taxi servicing Resurrection Bay, Kayakers Cove, Alaska State Park Cabins and elsewhere.
- Hertz of Seward, 907-224-4378. Rentals for a day or longer with one-way drop off in Anchorage available.
- Seward Bike Shop, 411 Port Ave., 907-224-2448, sewardbikeshop.com. Rents bikes by the hour or day. There is a bike path along the water from the harbor to the front of town.
- PJ'S Taxis, 907-224-5555.
- 1 The Sealife Center, 301 Railway Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . Aquarium and research facility featuring marine life of the Gulf of Alaska. The Sealife Center is Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center. Exhibits feature puffins, octopus, sea lions and other sealife. $20 adult, $15 student (12-17), $10 child (4-11), age 3 and under free.
- 2 Exit Glacier. Exit Glacier is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by road. Here you can stroll the trails, walk very close to an active glacier or take a ranger-led walk. It is a place where you can witness up close how glaciers re-shape a landscape and learn how plant life reclaims the barren rocky land exposed by a glacier's retreat.
Sewards highlights are the neighboring Kenai Fjords National Park, sport fishing (for salmon, halibut, ling cod and salmon shark), glacier and wildlife day cruises, kayaking, sailing, hiking and mountain biking, quaint and quirky townsfolk, 4th of July celebrations and the Silver Salmon Derby.
- 1 Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures. - located in Seward
- 4th of July Mount Marathon Race. Three miles up and down, complete with cliffs, waterfalls, and loose sharp rocks, a great Alaskan event
- Seavey's Ididaride, Exit Glacier Rd. Here you can see one of the family's 3 dog yards. Go for a ride on a buggy with a team of dogs, play with puppies, and get up close and personal with Mitch's gear and sled. You get a tour guide through the property and learn about the grueling ididarod race.
- 2 Adventure Sixty North (A60N), 31872 Herman Leirer Rd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 7 am to 6 pm. Year-round outfitter providing guided sea kayaking trips. Offers sea kayak rental and gear rentals. Explore glacier regions, heli kayak tours, heli kayak dog mushing tours, heli hike on Bear, Aialik & Holgate Glaciers, view sea life and wildlife. Ice/glacier hiking on Exit Glacier. 4hr trips, full day excursions, overnight sea kayaking adventures, call for water taxi information and local shuttle service.
- Exit Glacier Guides, ☏ . Daily ice hiking tours on Exit Glacier. Shuttle out to the glacier $9, crampons and equipment provided.
- Liquid Adventures, 13990 Beach Dr, ☏ . Professionally guided kayaking trips throughout Kenai Fjords National Park.
- Kayak Adventures Worldwide, 328 3rd Ave, ☏ . Small, personal shop located right downtown and specializing in environmentally friendly and educational kayak trips. All abilities welcome. Trips to Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park. Everything from half-day adventures to week long expeditions.
- Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking Co., ☏ . Specializing in half-day, full-day and multi-day kayaking and hiking excursions in Resurrection Bay, Fox Island and Kenai Fjords National Park. Paddle the shoreline of Caines Head State Recreation area watching for sea otters and harbors seals. Explore Sunny Cove State Marine Park and the coast of Fox Island combined with a wildlife/whale watching cruise and salmon bake. Watch a tidewater glacier calve into the sea while paddling through bergy bits at Holgate Glacier. Explore the beauty and solitude of Aialik Bay or Northwestern Fjord on a fully outfitted multi-day excursion. No experience necessary.
- Kenai Fjords Tours (KFT), ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ info@KenaiFjords.com. A wide range of tours from the Captain's Choice (9 hour) for $194 to the Fox Island Dinner Cruise (3 hours) for only $64. The National Park Tour (6 hour) catamaran tour for $144 is the most popular. The Northwestern Fjord Tour Explores 150 miles or marine wildlife, sea birds and tidewater glaciers for $174. (9 hours) Meals are provided on all tours. Chicken wraps on the boats, and Fox Island tours include an all-you-can-eat salmon and prime rib buffet. Spend the night on Fox Island or go for a kayaking adventure. Specials are sometimes available online.
- Major Marine Tours, ☏ , toll-free: . Full & Half Day Cruises into Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Fjords National Park for wildlife, whale watching & glacier viewing. All cruises are hosted by uniformed rangers and feature a junior ranger program for kids. Large tour boats with reserved table seating inside heated cabins. Enjoy our freshly prepared all-you-can-eat salmon and prime rib meal. Free full-color National Park guide for each adult. Daily departures from early May through September.
- Alaska Fjord Charters, Seward Boat Harbor, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Discover Kenai Fjords National Park aboard our cruise yacht Darby, offering multi-day overnight adventures and premier access to one of Alaska's most stunning glacial landscapes.
A backcountry experience with motor-yacht comforts. Perfect for families, outdoorsmen, photographers. All charters include accommodations and meals. Private 3-4 day trips offered May to Sept, 20th year in business, 38 ft motor yacht, USCG licensed captain, accommodates up to 6 guests, 3 double sit-on-top kayaks, 16' inflatable outboard for shore excursions, fishing gear, and a hydrophone to hear underwater whale songs. Starting at $450/day/person for a multi-day cruise.
- The Fish House, 1301 4th Ave, ☏ . Provides rod, reel, and tackle, along with their local techniques that will improve your chances of catching dinner.
- Rainbow Charters. Provides necessary gear and will instruct you on how to catch your dinner! Watch your fish get fileted on the way back in to dock, then head over to J Dock to have them shipped home.
- Seward Adventure Company, ☏ (+1 907-DO-A-RIDE). Specializing in guided backcountry mountain bike trips and road tours. Also offering winter "fat bike" or "snow bike" tours on Exit Glacier Road as well as fat bike rentals. Experience the wilderness of Chugach National Forest, Exit Glacier, and Alaska's best mt. bike trails. Suitable for all skill levels, includes transport from Seward, bike rental, helmet, snacks and hydration.
- Brown & Hawkins Mercantile, ☏ . The local North Face, Mountain Hardware, Padagonia, Carhart outdoor wear store. Located on 4th St. in historic downtown Seward, Alaska
- Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery, 320 3rd Ave, ☏ . Historic Landmark. Local original art and gifts. Friendly baristas, excellent coffee. Live Jazz Tuesdays all summer.
- Softly Silk, 416 4th Ave, ☏ . Original Hand-painted Silks.
- Helly Hansen of Seward, 1304 4th Ave, ☏ . Good all weather gear for Alaskan travel.
- Sweet Darlings, ☏ . Alaskan Confectioners Makers of Alaska's Finest Handmade Candies, Fudge, Chocolates, Berry Bark and Candy. Don't forget the gelato! Made on the premises fresh daily.
- The Fish House/True Value Hardware, ☏ . Across from the small boat harbor. The place to go for local charter and fishing info, gear, tackle, etc. One giant building is split between the fish house and the hardware store. If it can be had in Seward, most likely you'll find it here.
There are a ton of great places to eat in this little town; from hearty breakfast joints to fine dinner dining.
- Exit Glacier Salmon Bake, Mile 1/4 Exit Glacier Rd, ☏ . Great low key place with good food and pitchers of beer.
- The Railway Cantina, 1401 4th Ave, ☏ . Excellent tacos and burritos.
- Christo's Palace, 133 4th Ave, ☏ . Across the street from the Alaska Sealife Center. The widest selection of quality food in town. Great pizza, pasta, Mexican, seafood and full bar.
- Apollo Restaurant, 229 4th Ave, ☏ . Great food and Delivery Pizza.
- Peking Restaurant, 338 4th Ave, ☏ . Great food and Local owners.
- Chinooks Waterfront Restaurant, 1404 4th Ave, ☏ . Great place for lunch, dinner or drinks. Beer, wine and full bar.
- Ray's Waterfront, 1316 4th Ave, ☏ . Very Good food, especially the seafood. Good view. Most entrees are $20 - $30
- Resurrection Roadhouse, ☏ . After a day of exploring, unwind at the Resurrection Roadhouse which features great dining and Seward's largest selection of brews on tap.
- Lombardo's, 308 N. Harbor St, ☏ . Calzones, Gyros, Baklava, and more.
- Alaskan Annies. Great atmosphere - unique Alaskan decor. Food is excellent. Just up the street from the Sealife Center.
- Sea Bean Cafe. You can get a great cup of coffee, or a protein smoothie. Has sweets, sandwiches, soups. Gluten free options.
- Sea Bean Cafe, 225 4th Ave, ☏ . Cozy little cafe with new Macs and free Wi-Fi. Locally owned and oporated.
- Yukon Bar, ☏ . 4th & Washington Classic place. Look for the dollars pined to the ceiling by all the other visitors. In the summer catch a show by local hero Hobo Jim.
- The Pit Bar, Mile 3.5 Seward Hwy, ☏ . A wild place, even for locals, this place is just on the other side of the city limits and stays open until five in the morning. Go after two to see a kind of carnival.
- The Ale House, 215 4th Ave. A small place that has a great selection of specialty beers on tap and by the bottle.
- Waterfront Park, Ballaine Blvd, ☏ . Right on the water, this is your best bet for paid camping spot. Use the self-registration stations at campground entrances. Tents $8, RVs $12, Utility sites $25.
- Exit Glacier Road. There are many small off shoot roads where one can park a van or camper.
- Across the Bay. Take Nash road around to the other side of the Fjord. Good camping spots north and south of the ship yard.
- Miller's Landing, Lowell Point (End of Lowell Point Rd, at beach), ☏ . Tent camping sites, full service RV sites (including beachfront), showers, laundry, general store, free wi-fi. They also run a water taxi, fishing charters, and kayak guiding and rental services. Extremely "rustic" place with very friendly staff, all Seward locals!
- The Van Gilder Hotel, 08 Adams St, toll-free: . Step into history and experience the only remaining multiple story building to survive the 1964 earthquake in Seward. View of Alice Mountain.
- Hotel Seward, 221 5th Ave, ☏ . Wonderful boutique hotel in Historic Downtown Seward. One of a kind 'wilderness' lobby and historic photo display. Also features "Gene's Place," Hotel Seward's Victorian inspired lounge with light fare cuisine.
- Hotel Edgewater, 200 5th Ave, ☏ .
- Seward Windsong Lodge, Mile 0.5 Exit Glacier Rd, ☏ .
- Alaska Saltwater Lodge, Beachfront Rd, ☏ . This place on Lowell Point Road.
- Exit Glacier Salmon Bake Cabins, Mile.4 Exit Galcier Rd, ☏ .
- Sauerdough Lodging (Above the Seabean Cafe), 225 4th Ave. Locally owned and operated. Cozy apartments, kitchen and baths.
- Moby Dick Hostel, 432 3rd Ave, ☏ . A small and extremely friendly hostel.
- A Cabin on the Cliff, ☏ , toll-free: . A trappers cabin that has been refurbished to romantic elegance. Enjoy spectacular views of Seward Alaska's Resurrection Bay and Chugach Mountains from your private hot tub located on a spacious deck while barbequing your fresh caught seafood on the barbeque. Open Year Round.
- A Cottage on the Bay, 13710 Beach Dr, Lowell Point, ☏ , toll-free: . Three bedroom home on private beach 3 miles south of Seward. Sleeps 8-10. Have breakfast on the deck with eagles and watch the sea otters swim by.3% sales tax
- Orca Island Cabins (Humpy Cove Resurrection Bay), ☏ , toll-free: . Remote yurt style cabins located on private island in Resurrection Bay, Fully equipped cabins with unmatched views and amenities, kayaking is available from the island with guides or kayak rentals for experienced kayakers. Unbelievable!
- Millane's Serenity by the Sea Cabins, 14000 Shady Ln, ☏ . 3 small and cozy cabins with lofts, on Lowell Point not far from the beach. Full service, all amenities.
Seward is a great gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. If you want to spend a bit more money to really get out there, consider staying at some of the wilderness camps in Resurrection Bay.
Sometimes you want to go someplace just a little more remote than a small town....if you do, consider staying at these wilderness lodges. You will need to take a water taxi or float plane to reach these, but they are truly stunning.
- Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, toll-free: . All-inclusive lodge with activities such as beachcombing, kayaking, and hiking.
- Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge (Fox Island in Resurrection Bay), toll-free: . Hiking, kayaking, relaxing.
- Kayakers Cove, ☏ . This is more of a do-it-yourself lodge with private cabins available as well. You bring your own food and beverages, as well as a sleeping bag. You have use of their kayaks to explore the Thumb Cove area.
- Moose Pass, the first rural town on the Iditarod Trail, if going west
- Valdez, the next town on the Alaska Marine Highway, if going east
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