Alaska is one of the dreamiest destinations on the planet, and no trip to this state would be complete without visiting the stunning area of Seward and Kenai Fjords. So, if you are looking for the best things to do in Seward, AK then you have come to the right place!
Having spent some time exploring Alaska on a road trip, Seward was the highlight of my trip. Now, I will be sharing all my best tips with you in this ultimate guide to the most amazing things you should do in Seward so that your time here can be just as memorable as mine.
In this article, you will not only learn about the most incredible places to visit in Seward, Alaska but also, a variety of activities that covers a wide range of interests. Whether you are interested in wildlife, hiking, local history, or nature – I have got you covered! So without any further ado, let’s discover the best of Seward AK
You might also be interested in:
- The Perfect Alaska Itinerary for a self-drive road trip
- Packing List for Alaska + Printable
- Ultimate Bucket List in Alaska: 22 Unmissable Experiences
- 1. Go on a wildlife cruise at Resurrection Bay
- 2. Visit the Alaska Sea life center
- 3. Spot salmon swimming upstream at Bear Creek Weir
- 4. Go on an Orca Quest Cruise
- 5. Explore the Kenai Fjords, National Park Glacier
- 6. Visit Fox Island
- 7. Rent a cabin at Orca island
- 8. Have a dinner cruise by the Glaciers
- 9. Flightseeing: One of the best things to do in Seward, AK!
- 10. Take a Helicopter Glacier landing tour
- 11. Have Fun at the Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures
- 12. Go Rafting on Resurrection River
- 13. Visit Bear Glacier
- 14. Go Glacier dog sledding
- 15. Experience the wilderness dog sled ride
- 16. Go on a kayak and hike the historic WW2 Army fort
- 17. Learn about the history at the Seward Community Library & Museum
- 18. Start the Iditarod National Historic Trail
- 19. Caines Head State Recreation Area
- 20. Go gold panning
- 21. Exit Glacier Hike
- 22. Go Hike the Harding Icefield
- 23. Go Wilderness Hiking in Seward
- 24. Hike Mt. Marathon
- 25. Take the Alaska Railroad train to Anchorage
- 26. Get a coffee at the Resurrect Art Coffee Shop
- 27. Explore the harbor
- 28. Watch a mountain race
- 29. Go shopping for local art
- 30. Miller's Landing
- How to Get to Seward, AK?
- When is the Best Time to Visit Seward, AK?
- Weather in Seward, AK?
- Best Places to Eat in Seward, AK?
Things to do in Seward AK for Nature Lovers
1. Go on a wildlife cruise at Resurrection Bay
Let’s start this amazing list of the best things to do in Seward, AK with the highlight of your visit and on top of any Alaska bucket list experience. Also, the reason many people visit Seward: A wildlife cruise at Resurrection Bay. This half-day wildlife cruise will take you through the Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay where you’ll have a great chance of spotting wildlife.
As you head along the bay, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for whales, Dall’s porpoises, sea otters, and orcas. You might even get to spot sea eagles or mountain goats scrambling along the nearby cliffs.
Not only that, but this tour will take you to Cape Resurrection which is home to a colony of Steller sea lions. You’ll even cruise past Bear Glacier which is the largest glacier within Kenai Fjords!
2. Visit the Alaska Sea life center
One of the top things to do in Seward, AK is to visit the Alaska Sealife Center. It has been around since 1998 and operates as a non-profit research institution. It was actually built using funds from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989!
The facility covers an impressive 115,000 sq ft and offers people the chance to get up close to some of Alaska’s marine life. During your time here, you’ll get to see Steller sea lions gliding past the underwater viewing platform and harbor seals resting on the rocks. You’ll also get to see the colorful puffin, and learn about the importance of Alaska’s oceans.
3. Spot salmon swimming upstream at Bear Creek Weir
This is one of the most popular things to do in Seward, AK! If you’re visiting Seward between May and September then make sure you head to Bear Creek Weir. During May and June, you’ll get to see thousands of Atlantic salmon swimming up the creek, as they make their journey to Resurrection Bay.
However, if you’re heading to Seward a bit later – don’t worry! Between July and September, you can also spot sockeye salmon and coho salmon swimming upstream at Bear Creek Weir too
4. Go on an Orca Quest Cruise
Between May and June, orcas frequent the areas around Seward and this cruise gives you the best chance to spot them! The captain will head to the ‘orca hot spots’ of the day, rather than following a set route.
You’ll also be able to listen to their underwater calls by using a hydrophone, and get to learn about their behavioral traits too! Going on an Orca Quest Cruise is one of the best things to do in Seward, AK especially if you’re a nature lover! Alaska is known for its wildlife, so this isn’t an experience to miss.
5. Explore the Kenai Fjords, National Park Glacier
This wildlife cruise was the highlight of my trip to Seward, and it is a must-do thing in Seward during your visit. Whales, sea otters, puffins, and mountain goats are just a few of the species that are regularly seen within the Kenai Fjords. You can also spot orcas if you head to Seward during the right time of year.
The wildlife tour takes you on a 100-mile (161km) round trip and is great for sightseeing too! Depending on the weather conditions you’ll get to see either Holgate or Aialik glacier and then head to the Chiswell Islands or Cape Resurrection.
6. Visit Fox Island
Another great thing to do in Seward, especially if you love Alaskan nature, is to take a tour to visit Fox Island. This tour takes you through Kenai Fjords and gives you a great chance of spotting whales, orcas, porpoises, and sea otters.
Not only that, but you can admire the breathtaking scenery of the Harding Icefield and the Kenai Peninsula along the way. On this cruise, you’ll also get to spend some time on Fox Island and visit the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge where you’ll get to see a wide variety of birdlife.
7. Rent a cabin at Orca island
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Seward, then I’ve got the perfect place for you! Orca Island Cabins isn’t just a place to rest your head – but it’s an experience.
You’ll get to stay in unique yurt accommodation on a private island, where you can enjoy whale watching right from your own private deck.
If you’re lucky you might get to spot orcas, humpback whales, sea otters, and porpoises right from your front door! During your stay here, you can also hire sea kayaks, head out on the nearby hiking trails, and try your hand at fishing.
8. Have a dinner cruise by the Glaciers
This dinner cruise offers you a great chance to spot wildlife, as you’ll be spending so much time cruising around the Kenai Fjords. There’s a guide on board that will help you spot a variety of species including whales, sea otters, eagles, and puffins, and teach you about the local area.
You’ll also get fantastic views of the glaciers as you dine! With stunning scenery, delicious food, and great wildlife-watching opportunities – this is one of the top Alaska bucket list experiences, and the perfect way to explore Kenai Fjords National Park.
Things to do in Seward AK for Adventure Lovers
9. Flightseeing: One of the best things to do in Seward, AK!
Going on a flightseeing tour is one of the best things to do in Seward, AK – just be wary if you’re scared of heights!
This 45-minute scenic flight will take you to Bear Glacier and Aialik Glacier, which drop off into the ocean. Not only will you get a birds-eye view of these magnificent glaciers, but you’ll also get stunning views of Kenai Fjords National Park and Resurrection Bay.
Taking a flightseeing tour is a great way to see large icebergs, spot wildlife from above, and admire Alaska’s rugged landscapes. If you enjoy this activity, then check out this guide on the best Denali flightseeing tours.
10. Take a Helicopter Glacier landing tour
Now if you love adventure, you will find plenty of things to do in Seward AK. Seeing Alaska from up in the air is undoubted!
You can book a helicopter tour that will take you on a 30-minute flight to and from Godwin glacier, and on the way, you’ll get scenic views of Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay.
You’ll then land on the glacier and have 15-minutes to explore, take photographs, and admire the scenery. Trust me – this isn’t an experience you want to miss if you’re staying in Steward!
11. Have Fun at the Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures
When it comes to adventure activities, you can’t miss out on Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures! It’s a zip line experience that will take you through the pacific forests, and offers stunning views of the Kenai Mountains.
There are eight zip lines in total, as well as three suspension bridges and 2 rappels so there’s plenty of adventure waiting for you here! Once you’ve spent your time flying around the forests, you can purchase some photographs or merchandise to remember this experience.
12. Go Rafting on Resurrection River
This is the only Seward rafting tour that you’ll find! On this tour, you’ll head down the Resurrection River for 7-8 miles so be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime.
This requires everyone to work as a team as you take instructions from your guide to safely get you down the river. Not only will this get your adrenaline pumping, but you’ll also be rewarded with stunning views on either side of the river. Surrounded by towering mountains and forestry, and left with memories to last a lifetime.
13. Visit Bear Glacier
Bear Glacier is the largest glacier within Kenai Fjords National Park and is a must-see during your time in Seward. You can easily see it from one of the wildlife cruises I’ve previously mentioned, or you can kayak up to the glacier and see it from a closer perspective. I highly recommend booking a B&B here too to catch the best views of Seward.
Guided kayaking trips only run during the summer season, or you can catch a water taxi to get a better view of the glacier. With enormous icebergs, vivid blue waters, and spectacular scenery – it’s no wonder that visiting Bear Glacier is one of the top things to do in Seward, AK.
14. Go Glacier dog sledding
If you’re an animal lover, then going on a helicopter + glacier dog sledding is one of the best ways to explore Alaska’s glaciers. First of all, you’ll travel to Godwin Glacier by helicopter which offers stunning views of Alaska’s dramatic scenery. You’ll then go on a 2-mile (3.2 km) dog sled tour along the glacier which is an AMAZING experience!
Throughout this tour, you’ll get to learn about the history of dog sledding in Alaska and play with husky puppies at the camp. This tour combines two of the most popular activities in Seward, so you’ll have some extra time to explore the city instead of doing them separately.
15. Experience the wilderness dog sled ride
If you’re looking to explore the area’s wilderness then why not go on a dog sled ride? As the sled has wheels, you can go any time of year and experience this unique way of seeing Alaska’s wilderness.
Once you’ve finished your sled ride you’ll head back to the kennels where you can cuddle adorable husky puppies and learn about the training these athletic canines require. The tour also includes round-trip transportation from Seward.
Things to do in Seward AK for History Lovers
16. Go on a kayak and hike the historic WW2 Army fort
This is definitely one of the best things to do in Seward if you love history and adventure. This fantastic kayak + hike tour combines both hiking and kayaking so you can explore the area around Seward from every angle!
First of all, you’ll kayak to Caines Head which takes around 5 miles (8km), and then you’ll hike up to Fort McGilvray. Fort McGilvray is an old WWII fort and offers incredible views of Resurrection Bay!
You’ll then hike back down and kayak over to Miller’s Landing so make sure you look out for wildlife along the way. If you’re lucky you might get to spot whales, porpoises, sea otters, and sea lions up close! It is a really amazing Alaska experience you cannot miss!
17. Learn about the history at the Seward Community Library & Museum
Aside from its beautiful exterior and endless books, Seward Community Library & Museum is also the place to visit if you’re interested in history. The Museum is located on the first floor and has tons of artifacts, documents, and photographs that showcase Seward’s history. You’ll get to learn about the city’s first native inhabitants and the disastrous earthquake and tsunami of 1964.
Not only that, but the museum has exhibits about modern-day Seward too there are lots to explore. I’d recommend giving yourself plenty of time to look at the exhibits, but the museum isn’t very big so you won’t need more than an hour.
18. Start the Iditarod National Historic Trail
The Iditarod National Historic Trail in Alaska’s only historic trail, and you’ll want to walk part of it during your trip to Seward. The trail was originally used as the dog-team mail and supply route during the gold rush, and to connect small native villages.
Covering a total area of 2,300 miles (3,701km), it’s impossible to walk all of it but there are several shorter walks near Seward that makeup part of this historical trail. You can wander along Resurrection Bay from the Iditarod Monument, or you walk to Bear Lake from Nash Road. There are plenty of other trails too!
19. Caines Head State Recreation Area
Exploring Caines Head State Recreation Area is one of the best things to do in Seward, AK. This 5,961-acre park is home to nearly 14 miles of hiking trails, beautiful beaches, and the historic Fort McGilvary.
The most popular trail within the park is the Coastal Trail which starts from Lowell Point and is 5.1 miles (8.2km) long. Plenty of wildlife inhabits here, so keep an eye out for brown and black bears, porcupines, mountain goats, and marmots. Not only that, but you’ll get stunning views of Resurrection Bay from the park!
20. Go gold panning
Seward and Alaska in general have a big history when it comes to gold. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, then make sure you try gold panning!
This 1-hour gold panning tour will show you a demonstration of how to pan for gold before letting you lose to look for yourself. You’ll use elevated troughs and pay dirt so everyone has got a chance of finding their own little piece of Alaskan gold. If you find anything – you’re welcome to keep it as the perfect souvenir!
Things to do in Seward AK for Hiking Lovers
21. Exit Glacier Hike
The hike to Exit Glacier is spectacular, and no Alaska itinerary is truly complete without it! You can hike the Exit Glacier on your own, as it is considered an easy hike, with a well-marked trailhead.
You can also opt to go on a professional tour to hike the glacier. This way you’ll have all the glacier hiking equipment you need, and an experienced guide to help you along the way. This hiking tour is a great option as all equipment, transport, and snacks are included, as well as a tasty meal. I have done a glacier hike in Iceland before, and it is fun as you will learn new skills during this experience.
Unfortunately, the Exit Glacier is retreating at a rapid pace but it’s still one of Seward’s most popular attractions.
22. Go Hike the Harding Icefield
If you love hiking, this is a must-do thing in Seward, AK! Harding Icefield covers an impressive area of 700 sq. miles and is one of the largest ice fields in the United States.
The hike is an 8.2-mile (13km) loop with around 1,000 feet of elevation gain with every mile. As you can see, this hike isn’t for the faint-hearted but it’s one of the best things to do in Seward as the views are spectacular.
I hiked the Harding Icefield on my own, and it is perfectly possible if you follow the safety regulations of this hike. But many people opt to go on a guided hike of the Harding Icefield, as you’ll be accompanied by a professional backcountry wilderness guide. You’ve also got a chance of spotting bears on this trail too so keep your eyes peeled!
23. Go Wilderness Hiking in Seward
If you want to see the wilderness part of Seward, you can join this small-group tour for a perfect opportunity to see one of the most remote parts of Seward
You can explore the true backcountry of Alaska without the worry of getting lost as you’ll have an experienced guide with you. Your guide will base the hike on the ability and fitness levels of the group, but either way, you’ll be rewarded with scenic views and the chance to see a variety of wildlife.
This includes moose, black & brown bears, and lynx! Many of the trails also offer the chance to spot whales and other marine life from the shore.
24. Hike Mt. Marathon
Mt Marathon is most famous for the running race that takes place in Seward every year. However, you should also take the time to hike up it if you can – although be prepared for a challenge!
There are two options for hikers; the Runner’s Trail or the Jeep Trail and both will see you climb over 3,000 feet. Even if you don’t make it to the summit, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Seward, the Gulf of Alaska, and Resurrection Bay as soon as you get above the tree line. So, no matter your fitness level I’d recommend at least giving it a go!
Other Fantastic Things to do Seward AK
25. Take the Alaska Railroad train to Anchorage
Heading on the Alaska Railroad train to Anchorage is without a doubt one of the best ways to see Alaska’s epic scenery and on top of Alaska’s bucket list.
This is a 4-hour journey that will take you through towering mountains, along stunning coastlines, and past open plains where you might be able to spot wildlife. The spacious carriages have large panoramic windows and open vestibules which means you can take plenty of awesome photographs along the way.
The journey is also narrated so you can learn more about the area. This is the perfect way to continue your Alaska Itinerary and isn’t something you want to miss out on!
26. Get a coffee at the Resurrect Art Coffee Shop
If you’re looking for good coffee and some tasty treats during your stay in Seward then head to Resurrect Art Coffee Shop. It’s located downtown Seward, within a repurposed historic church so the interior is pretty unique, and with a great atmosphere, especially with the upstairs loft and possible workspace.
They have a variety of beverage options, as well as fresh scones, sourdough muffins, sweet bread, and savories so there’s something for everyone. They also have daily specials, and plenty of gluten-free items too! While you wait for your gourmet coffee to be prepared, take some time to visit the art gallery, with lots of beautiful artwork, jewelry, books, and locally-crafted mugs.
27. Explore the harbor
Exploring the harbor is one of the top things to do in Seward, AK. The boat harbor has been around since 1964 and is located on the edge of Resurrection Bay.
You’ll find plenty of awesome vessels here including fishing boats, tour boats, and charter boats so there’s plenty to look at. During your time at the harbor, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for bird life. You might be lucky enough to spot bald eagles, kittiwakes, kingfishers, ravens, and harlequin ducks.
28. Watch a mountain race
As I mentioned previously, Seward is home to one of the most famous races in Alaska. The Mount Marathon Race is one of the toughest short-distance mountain races in the world as runners face a grueling 1.5-mile climb up Mount Marathon.
It takes place every year on the 4th of July, and 1000s of people come to Seward to watch and then celebrate Independence Day afterward. However, this is one of the busiest times to visit the city so be sure to book accommodation and transport in advance.
29. Go shopping for local art
Many people love to grab a souvenir to remember their trip by, and luckily Seward has plenty to offer. You’ll find several gift shops and art galleries throughout the city, and many of them sell fantastic paintings, pottery, and jewelry.
During your trip to Seward make sure to take a look at:
- Forests, Tides & Treasures
- Starbird Studio
- Primrose Provisions
- If you want to take a look at pottery then head to Irvin Pottery and Nakao Ceramics.
30. Miller’s Landing
Miller’s Landing is a secluded campground, but it’s also one of the best adventure tourism destinations in the area. You can get involved with a variety of activities here including guided kayaking and saltwater fishing. If you’re qualified you can even rent a boat!
There are also plenty of water taxis that run from Miller’s Landing to popular destinations including Aialik Bay, Caines Head, Fox Island, and Humpy Cove! Not only that, but there are lots of accommodation options here including cabins, houses, yurts, and suites.
Where to Stay in Seward, AK
There are plenty of great accommodation options in Seward, for every taste and budget, and here are my top recommendations:
TOP OVERALL PICK: Bear Lake Lodgings B&B
This B&B is one of the best situated and most scenic in Seward. It boasts spectacular views of the lake. With a fantastic breakfast available, and a terrace to relax after a full day of activity such as fishing, hiking, and canoeing.
BEST COASTAL STAY: Resurrection Lodge on the Bay
This stunning lodge faces the beachfront in Seward and mountain and glacier views, making a perfect stay if you want to connect with nature. The rooms are very comfortable, and if you are lucky, you can see humpback whales from the deck.
BEST BUDGET: Seward Adventure Lodge
If you are looking for a great place to stay that fits your budget, you will love this lodge. It is spotlessly clean, nice, modern, and at a great location. Quiet, but right in town close to attractions and restaurants
MOST UNIQUE: Tiny Home
If you are looking for an entire place to stay in Seward, this tiny home is the best option for you. This adorable house is in an excellent location and offers a fully equipped kitchen, making it an ideal place to enjoy the mountain views for a memorable stay.
Read More: The Ultimate Alaska Road Trip Itinerary
Seward Travel Information
How to Get to Seward, AK?
I drove from Anchorage to Seward, and the drive is long, but don’t you worry! This is a scenic road, with great views of mountains and the coast. You will take the scenic Seward Highway once again. Drive along the Cooke Inlet and Turnagain Arm – don’t forget to keep an eye for Belugas 😉
You can get a 15% off your rental car when you book through this site. I use and recommend RentalCar because it is the most reliable rental car source, and it allows you to compare the prices of different places.
The historic Alaska Railroad is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. The train tracks parallel the driving route for part of the way, but then split off into the Chugach Mountains. Rail travel also gives you a chance to get up and walk around. It’s arguably the most classic way to get to Seward and the most relaxing. Along the way, you’ll see glaciers, mountain meadows, and other scenes that you can’t see by car, all while going through tunnels, past gorges, and stopping at old railroad houses.
When is the Best Time to Visit Seward, AK?
The majority of visitors to Seward arrive during our peak season from June through August, when the city streets are bustling with activity, the midnight sun allows for non-stop adventures, and migrating marine wildlife have settled in for a summer of feeding in Alaska’s nutrient-rich waters.
As summer fades into fall and the sun begins to set earlier each day, the number of visitors to Seward reduces dramatically. By the beginning of October, the streets are quiet, the leaves are changing, and Seward seems like an entirely different place than it did only a month before. However, this shoulder season from September through mid-October is one of the best times to visit this beautiful town.
NOTE: I visited Alaska in September when it is considered the shoulder season. The pros are that you can get some discounts on hotels and excursions, fewer crowds, no bugs, fall colors, and northern lights viewing by mid-September. But on the negative side, most of the tours were not operating, many hiking trails were closed, and many businesses close for the season – including lodges and restaurants.
Weather in Seward, AK?
The summers are cool, wet, and overcast and the winters are long, freezing, snowy, windy, and mostly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 22°F to 62°F and is rarely below 6°F or above 70°F.
The warm season lasts for 3.5 months, from May 31 to September 14, with an average daily high temperature above 56°F. The hottest month of the year in Seward is July, with an average high of 61°F and a low of 50°F.
The cold season lasts for 4.2 months, from November 7 to March 15, with an average daily high temperature below 37°F. The coldest month of the year in Seward is January, with an average low of 23°F and a high of 32°F.
WHAT TO PACK: I also recommend dressing in layers when you visit Seward and packing a rain jacket. Read my full guide on Alaska Packing Guide – here you can also get a FREE Packing list printable to make your life super easy.
Read More: What to pack for Alaska + FREE printable packing list
Best Places to Eat in Seward, AK?
Seward has many restaurant choices for a city its size. BBQ, comfort food, ethnic food options, and of course, fresh seafood are options here. If you are like me and love fish, I recommend you to try Halibut. Here is a list of the best places to eat in Seward:
- The Cookery: It is one of the best restaurants in Seward with a farm-to-table style
- Seward Brewing Company: Make reservations for dinner, with a very unique menu
- Woody’s Thai Kitchen: They serve amazing Thai food and they use fresh Alaska ingredients
- Mermaid Grotto Cafe & Boutique: The cool location, where it used to be a warehouse has a coffee bar downstairs and a formal restaurant upstairs.
Things to do in Seward AK Conclusion
As you can see, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Seward Alaska – from enjoying the stunning Kenai Fjords, and going on a tour to observe the wildlife and glaciers, to exploring nature and the views of Seward.
You won’t be bored in Seward, and you will definitely find amazing things to do in Seward for any taste of adventure level. I recommend spending at least 3 days in Seward to explore and take advantage of one of the best places in Alaska.
If you are planning a trip to Alaska, here are some very helpful articles for you:
- Ultimate Alaska Itinerary: A Perfect Road Trip in Alaska
- 22 Alaska Bucket List Experience
- What to Pack or Alaska + FREE printable packing list
- Where to Stay in Alaska: 7 Top Towns + Hotel Guide
- How to Visit Denali National Park: Practical Guide
- Things to do in Denali National Park, AK
- Things to do in Valdez, AK
- Things to do in Fairbanks, AK
- Things to do in Anchorage, AK
- Things to do in Talkeetna, AK
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2 thoughts on “30 Epic Things to do in Seward, AK + a Complete City Guide”
I live in Seward, Alaska. Thank you for this great article. I will be sharing it on my company’s website.
I wish you would have covered transportation within Seward. We are blessed with several taxi services (including Seward Independent Taxi) and a free shuttle that makes a complete circuit of town dozens of times per day.
hello Mike, thanks for helping to share my article, and for sharing the information on the transportation within Seward.