Get ready to answer the call of the wild when you visit the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.
Stretching 150 miles south from Anchorage, this is the great outdoors at its very best, where parks are the size of countries and bald eagles soar overhead. Dive into the history of downtown Anchorage, explore the coastal town of Seward, go dog sledding with a champion racer, and marvel at glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park. Here are eight of the best things to do in the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.
1. Discover Seward
Seward nestles between the Kenai mountains and Kenai Fjords National Park and is one of Alaska’s oldest communities. It’s the ideal spot to get out in the great outdoors and experience the wildlife wonders of the Kenai Peninsula. After you’ve discovered all that the town of Seward has to offer, you can visit the Alaska SeaLife Center, enjoy the tide pools at Lowell Point or venture out onto Resurrection Bay on a half-day sea kayaking adventure that’s suitable for all levels of experience. After a quick briefing, paddle around the calm turquoise waters, enjoying beautiful mountain vistas as you keep an eye out for sea otters, seals, bald eagles and leaping salmon. From mid-July to early-September, you can stop and take a short walk alongside Tonsina Creek to view a salmon spawning stream.
2. Alaska Native Heritage Center
Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center – an interactive range of exhibitions, educating travellers about the traditional owners and First Nations peoples of this territory and beyond. Walk through six life-sized village sites dotted around the grounds – representing Alaskan territories such as the Athabascan, Inupiaq and Yup’ik/Cup’ik communities – and perhaps head into the Hall of Cultures, which displays works from Alaska Native artists. On Intrepid’s Alaska Summer Family Holiday tour, kids can join craft activities and engage and interact with the local First Nations culture.
3. Visit Chugach State Park
Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to explore Chugach State Park, one of the four largest state parks in the United States. Here’s you’ll find Anchorage’s most famous day hike, Flattop Mountain in Chugach State Park, which is famous for its distinguished shape, well-maintained trails and sweeping mountain and city views. From one direction you can look out over the city of Anchorage and take in distant views of the Tordrillo, Talkeetna, Kenai, and Alaska mountain ranges. From the other, catch dramatic mountain views, from snow-capped peaks to deep mountain valleys. If you aren’t up for the climb to the summit, take a seat on the bench after the first set of stairs and enjoy superb views.
4. Go dog sled racing
It doesn’t get much more Alaskan than dog sled racing – visit a family-run homestead to learn about the sport and the sled dogs who take part in it. This is one of the world’s oldest and best known racing kennels and it’s home to plenty of four-legged (and two-legged) champion racers. After the dogs are hitched up and ready to go, you’ll jump onboard a custom wheeled sled and go on a two mile race through the rainforest. After the ride, there’s time to cuddle up to some adorable puppies.
5. Explore the town of Anchorage
Anchorage during a tour with your leader. Begin in downtown Anchorage, home to a crop of historic buildings and art deco architecture. Continue to Earthquake Park, commemorating the spot where a neighbourhood was lost to the ocean during an enormous earthquake in 1964. Visit Point Woronzof, where it’s not uncommon to see bald eagles, moose and even beluga whales off the shore, then continue to Lake Hood and Lake Spenard, the world’s busiest seaplane base. Afterwards we visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center for important insight into the life and culture of Alaska Natives. For good food and great views, 49th State Brewing Co. is an excellent option, or you could go for pizza at Alaska’s most famous restaurant, the chilled-out Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria.
6. Spot wildlife at Kenai Fjords National Park
Discover some of the world’s most incredible wildlife on a boat cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park where you’ll go in search of orcas, humpback whales and other wildlife that calls this pristine wilderness home. Keep an eye out for humpbacks breaching in the distance, sending a massive plume of water into the air, and orcas emerging from the pristine waters of the fjord. There’s plenty of wildlife to be seen overhead as well with bald eagles soaring through the skies. On shore, keep an eye out for black oystercatchers, bears, moose, and puffins as you sail along the coastline.
7. Stroll to Exit Glacier
Get up close and personal with the epic Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park which is just 15 minutes by car from Seward. It’s an easy walk to Exit Glacier which forms a natural ramp for those wanting to hike the Harding Icefield. The icefield is one of four major icecaps in the United States and is believed to be a remnant of the Pleistocene ice masses that once covered half of Alaska. Along with admiring craggy bedrock and mighty ice crevasses, you’ll be able to hear the ice crackle and shift as you marvel at this natural wonder.
8. Explore the town of Homer
When you go hiking in Kenai Fjords National Park with Intrepid, you get a full day for independent exploration in Homer to discover this picturesque town your way. Perhaps a walk along the Homer Spit that juts out into Kachemak Bay, a unique geographical feature shaped by tidal swells, glaciers, and earthquakes, or an afternoon browsing the local shops. You could also explore the harbour or enjoy some cuisine such as reindeer, caribou, king crab and, of course, halibut. If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind spending a little extra, book a bear viewing flight with a professional bear guide.