Whether you’re visiting as an Alaska cruise ship destination, an outdoor glacier or fishing adventure, or passing through on an exciting RV road trip to Denali National Park – the Top 10 Things To Do In Seward Alaska will help make your trip planning so much easier!
Tucked into the shores of Resurrection Bay, the quaint downtown area of Seward Alaska invites visitors to explore a unique history and way of life. Once a bustling Gold Rush encampment and frontier town hosting the original Iditarod mail route from Nome, now Seward is an important sea-to-land hub linking to the interior of the Alaska wilderness. The community of Seward Alaska is very strong as evidenced by the delightful monthly calendar of events you can find at the downtown Seward Visitor Center.
As you read the Top 10 Things To Do In Seward Alaska, it becomes clear that Seward holds a wealth of opportunities to explore the natural wonders of Alaska from glaciers, whales, puffins, and deep-sea fishing. And don’t forget the history! Take your time and soak it all up. Seward Alaska is the ultimate Alaska outdoor playground (even in the rain).
Top 10 Things To Do In Seward Alaska
- Alaska SeaLife Center – A visit to the Alaska Sealife Center is a chance to support the only facility in Alaska that combines a public aquarium with marine research, education, and wildlife response. Here you’ll see puffins, Pacific octopus, harbor seals, sea lions, and other marine life. (In fact, the adorable puffins pictured in this article make the Sealife Center their home). A fascinating and educational way for the entire family to spend a few quality hours in Seward and #1 in our Top 10 Things To Do In Seward Alaska.
- Free Town Shuttle – Whether you’re using the Free City Shuttle for transportation or simply as a way to see an overview of the Seward downtown area, you’ll find this an invaluable service. Running every 30 minutes on Alaska Cruise Ship days from the hours of 8am–7pm and on other days 10am–7pm, the City of Seward free shuttle conveniently brings you to town business front doors. Kudos to Seward for putting this wonderful FREE service in place!
- Kenai Fjords National Park – Kenai Fjords National Park provides the perfect habitat for Steller sea lions, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, mountain goats, bald eagles, puffins, and a vast number of seabirds. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, providing Kenai Fjords’ crowning feature. Also, some of the best whale watching in Alaska can be found on a wildlife or glacier cruise through this magnificent national park. Major Marine Tours offers a National Park Ranger narrated Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise that was voted most popular attraction in Alaska by TripAdvisor in 2018!
- Musher Puppies and Dog Sled Rides – Who doesn’t love to cuddle Husky puppies? And few thrills can compete with riding a dog sled in Alaska. At Seavey’s Ididaride, home of Mitch Seavey (3 time Iditarod champion), you’ll meet 100 of the toughest dogs in the world as they train for the Iditarod Championship and provide many tour options. Seavey’s offers a free shuttle ride from Seward to the kennel where you can pet the pups and take a dog sled ride through the wilderness on wheels or on a glacier!
- Alaska Railroad – To see Alaska’s beauty from an open domed railway car or be pampered by world-class service as you travel from Seward onward – the Alaska Railroad is an excellent option. During the summer months, the Alaska Railroad’s Coastal Classic train departs the Anchorage depot early each morning to make its 4 hour plus trip to Seward, traveling about 114 miles. The train remains idle in Seward for the day before returning to Anchorage each evening. This schedule allows for a day trip from Anchorage, with time to enjoy a day cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park. If you have the time, a better bet is to spend a night or two in Seward to really experience all this popular seaside town has to offer. Many passengers ride the train in just one direction, especially those who are arriving or departing Seward by large cruise ships.
- Sport Fishing – A fishing charter in Seward is an ultimate treat! Halibut, salmon, lingcod, rockfish, or rainbow trout can all be caught in these pristine sport fishing waters. Boat trips may be arranged for half or whole day salmon or halibut hunts with experienced local guides who will always get you closest to the best fishing spots. For a special treat, check in with Mary at the Hotel Seward to see if Wes “The Alaskan Fish Slayer” is available for a trip!
- Kayak and Paddleboard – Imagine being out on the 938 feet deep magnificent Resurrection Bay on a kayak or paddleboard and listening to a whale spout alongside? This glacial bay has been carved out over millions of years and is one of the very few that remains ice-free in the winter. You’ll see marine wildlife and snow-capped peaks and you just might find yourself face-to-face with a curious sea otter! Paddlers and paddleboarders will find many outfitters to cover everything from 2-hour introductory outings to guided back country adventures.
- Eat and Drink Locally – From comfortable and warm coffee houses to local brewing companies providing excellent food and drink, you’ll lots of choices in Seward. It would be hard to find fresher fish than that cooked up in one of Seward’s many seafood restaurants. Salmon, halibut, and rainbow trout are just a few of the fresh delicacies you’ll find in one of the top 5 commercial fishery ports in Alaska. After you’ve eaten your fill, Seward boasts several lounges and bars to relax and take in local music talent.
- Flightseeing – The incredible views! Take off on a plane or helicopter and see Seward Alaska in a way most people will never get to witness. Mountains and seas in one amazing vista. Consistently listed as one of the Top 10 Things To Do In Seward Alaska, flightseeing can take you to glacier landings, fly-in fishing expeditions and specialty overnight backcountry adventures.
- Explore Downtown Seward – Pick up a Seward Walking Map from your hotel or the Seward Visitor Center and take off to explore the amazing history, artistry, and lively activities in historic Seward. Whether you’re eagle watching at the boat harbor or learning about the history of the famous Iditarod Dog Sled Race, Seward has something fun for everyone. Both the Coastal Walk and the city murals provide a great way to get walking and see the town. Don’t forget to check out Millionaire’s Row and the notorious “Alley B” of Seward’s own historic red-light district.
- BONUS – Polar Bear Jump-Off Festival! – While maybe not in the Top 10 Things To Do In Seward Alaska for everyone, this festival deserves some attention. Held in FRIGID January, this bone-chilling plunge is all for a good cause. This American Cancer Society fundraiser includes a fish fry, seafood buffet, parade, carnival, and of course, the famous Polar Bear Jump! BRRRR!!! But locals are quick to point out that you don’t HAVE to participate in the jump to enjoy all of the festivities.
How Did Seward Alaska and Resurrection Bay Get Their Names?
The city of Seward Alaska is named for William Henry Seward, President Lincoln’s Secretary of State. He was instrumental in the negotiations for the United States to purchase the Alaskan Territory from Russia on October 18, 1867. William Seward believed Asia would become an important market for US products, and expected Alaska would serve as a base for American trade with Asia and globally. American power in the Pacific was also a strong consideration. Called “Seward’s Folly” by a few, the vast land of Alaska was purchased for $7.2 million – or around 2 cents per acre.
Resurrection Bay was named by Alexander Baranov in 1792 when he and his crew were forced to hide in the bay to avoid a fierce North Pacific storm. The storm settled on Easter Sunday, and the bay and nearby Resurrection River were named in honor of the date.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the Top 10 Things To Do In Seward Alaska as much as we have in putting it together. Seward hold a special place in our hearts and we hope you’ll enjoy this little piece of paradise in Alaska as much as we have!
Cheryl and Lisa
What Boundaries Travel
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