Seward Area Activities
Whales, Glaciers and More
Getting to Seward
Seward is an easy and beautiful 90-mile car ride from the Alyeska Resort on the two-lane (with many passing lanes) Seward Highway. It takes about 1.5 to 1.7 hours. But there are lots of places to stop along the way to take pictures and numerous hiking trailheads. So the time it takes to arrive in Seward will vary, depending on how leisurely you do the road trip. Consult your Milepost for details on all of the pleasant and rewarding diversions along the way.
If you do nothing else as an extracurricular activity when you’re in Alaska for Sea Grant Week, take a sightseeing boat ride out of Seward, Alaska, into Resurrection Bay or the Kenai Fjords National Park, and visit the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward.
Boat Tours of Kenai Fjords National Park or Resurrection Bay
Major Marine Tours, one of Alaska’s top ocean sightseeing companies, will host you on a sightseeing/wildlife watching tour of your choice—either Kenai Fjords or Resurrection Bay. Effective now up until September 15, 2012, you must book and pay for these wonderful tours via the Major Marine Tours website. The tours feature onboard interpretation by rangers from Kenai Fjords National Park, which is headquartered in Seward.
The tour boats are nicely appointed, well heated, feature big windows, roomy seats with tables, snack bars, and heads. There is plenty of open-air deck space to get out in the invigorating fresh ocean air. Bring warm outer clothing and rain gear if you want to do that—and you will!
Saturday or Sunday, September 15–16, On-Your-Own Boat Tour of Kenai Fjords
(Or take our Sea Grant Week field trip on Saturday, September 22.)
If you want a full 6-hour tour of Kenai Fjords with maximum possibility of seeing whales, do this on-your-own pre-conference outing by reserving and paying for your tour on the Major Marine Tours website. You’ll need to carpool or drive your rental car down to Seward.
On this boat ride, you’ll certainly see Steller sea lions, sea otters, and many sea bird species. This tour also will give you the best chance of seeing killer and/or humpback whales. This boat stops at a humongous tidewater glacier, Holgate Glacier, to let you (with luck) experience it calving, and along the way view other tidewater glaciers. You’ll sail on a nicely appointed, high-speed catamaran to access the more distant parts of Kenai Fjords National Park. You may bring your own food, or for $19, partake of the scrumptious roast beef and Alaska salmon buffet aboard the boat.
A shorter, less expensive five-hour tour of Resurrection Bay also is available..
What to Wear and Bring
For boat rides, dress in warm layers that include a windproof and waterproof outer shell, a warm hat, and gloves or mittens. A winter coat is a good idea if you want to spend much time outside on the deck. The open-air decks are the best places to enjoy views of wildlife and scenery, but the winds can be surprisingly cold, even on sunny days.
A broad-brimmed rain hat also is recommended as well as sunglasses, sunscreen, camera with telephoto lens, and binoculars. You may bring a duffle bag or backpack aboard with extra clothing, snacks, or whatever. If you’re prone to seasickness, do what you need to do to stave that off. Download our free brochure on seasickness. And we recommend you come prepared with a copy of Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska.
If you can make time for a short stroll almost up to the face of a glacier on the outskirts of Seward, check out the Exit Glacier, so named because it flows out of the Harding Ice Field, which covers an area the size of the State of Rhode Island.
Flightseeing Kenai Fjords and Prince William Sound
If you want to see things from a bird’s eye view, you can book a flightseeing plane ride with Scenic Mountain Air out of the Seward Airport and soar over the Harding Ice Field and other spectacular places. This company also runs floatplane air tours off of Trail Lake, a beautiful mountain lake at Moose Pass, a tiny hamlet/speed trap you pass through on the Seward Highway on the drive to Seward. They even fly to Mt. McKinley from Moose Pass. Google to find other flightseeing companies.
Questions about Seward outings?
Contact Kurt Byers, email@example.com or 907-474-6702.