Seward – a place to relax in and explore the Marine Life of the Kenai Peninsula
Seward has a tiny population of 2,787 and is a small town which is visited mostly by people wanting to explore Kenai National Park or Cruise ships.
The town got its name from William H. Seward, the United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In 1876, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which is also achieved by a negotiation with Russia.
Seward marks Mile 0 of the famous Iditarod Trail which was established in the early 1900’s to transport people and goods to and from Alaska’s interior.
The only way to get to Lowell Point is Lowell Point Road, an extension of Seward’s Railway Avenue which begins beyond Downtown Seward , a short distance from Alaska SeaLife Center and the southern terminus of the Seward Highway. The road only consists out of gravel along a thin strip of flat land between the mountains and Resurrection Bay.
Arrived by the bay, the water is crystal clear and super blue. You can walk along the water on the rocky beach. The water is really cold all year-long but, when it is summer and warm, also refreshing for some minutes for a short swim. There are high and low tides. When you arrive at low tide you can walk a long trail along the water, up the mountain on your right. But consider the tides and take water and maybe some food, depending on how long you are planning to stay “on the other side”. Because ones the tide comes back, you are trapped by the water and have to wait for low tide. But if you decide taking the trip it is so interesting to see the algae and mussels on the big rock on the trail along the beach which you can climb during low tide.
The only thing that is kind of unfortunate is parking here. Right in front of the beach entrance is 15-minute parking which is mainly meant for people wanting to out a boat or their kayaks in the water. In the official parking lot you have to pay if you are staying longer than 30 minutes. So make a plan of how long you want to stay and if you want to go hiking or not before you come so you where and for how long you want to park.
Downtown is small but interesting to walk through. There are many restaurants that are king of higher priced. Also you can find some gift shops and bars here. In the end of Downtown you can find the Alaska SeaLife Center. We decided to not visit the center because it is kind of expensive and we wanted to visit Kenai Fjords National Park before deciding if we want to visit the center or not. In the end it was good that we did not visit it because we saw so incredible many animals on our visit to the National Park. But if you decide to visit the Center you can definitely get more information about Alaska’s marine wildlife and get to see all the animals real close. Entrance for adults is $24.95 and children from age 4 to 12 pay $12.95.
In the other direction from Downtown and entering the town you will drive by Seward’s Port. The port is home to many souvenir shops and many providers for tours into Kenai National Park. There also many snack shops and obviously the beautiful view over the end of the Bay and the huge mountains on the other side. You are allowed to walk on the docks and take a look at the boats that anchor here.
Exit Glacier is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by road and without a tour. Entrance is free but there is a visitor center with souvenirs. There are many trails here that you can hike but my definite highlight was obviously the Glacier! We parked at the Visitor Center did the 6 mile Glacier Overlook Trail. The hike is fairly easy and not very exhausting. All over the park are rangers that gladly answer your questions.
It is so impressive to see a Glacier up close! What I absolutely love about this area is that you can see the sad process of the Glacier disappearing. It so shocking to actually have it right in front of your eyes how fast this Glacier is melting. When we were coming here we were wondering why there are random signs with numbers on the site of the road. After visiting the Glacier we found out that these number mark the location of the Glacier in each year, starting with the early 1800’s. Those signs are way out from where the end of the Glacier is now. Even along the trails the years are starting to rise. Literally walking along Exit Glacier’s history was really sad. To realize how much the glacier shortened in just a couple of years. Closer to the Glacier you can see the signs from 2005 and 2010 which makes it really obvious of how fast this process of shrinking is. But I think those signs are super important to show humanity that is overdue to change something in our thinking and especially our behaviour! This place made me think and act! I will write another article on how to live more environment friendly to make sure our kinds and grandchildren can also enjoy those views!
Resurrection South Campground
The most beautiful campground I have ever stayed at is located at 14916004, Seward, AK 99664 – called Resurrection Campground. It is a small campground with 70 sites right by the Bay. We came in the afternoon on a Thursday and got the last available tent site right by the water. It is $15 per night. At the entrance of the campground you can pay for the campsite you have to choose before hand (so just drive into the campground and look which site you like and if it is available and come back to make reservation and pay) at a paystation with your card. The station will print out your receipt which you have to attach next to your car on a wood board right by your site. The campground hosts tents as well as RV’s. The tent sites have a simple bathroom with flush toilets and sinks with running water while the RV campground located only a 5 minute walk away has flush toilets, sinks with running water and shower (probably the cheapest showers I have ever found on a campground) for $7 for 10 minutes. Just make sure that you have $1 notes to get tokens for the showers. The RV campground also offers free Wifi.
As mentioned above is the campground located directly by the water and with that a dream came true for me. All day long there were tons of otter, sea lions and whales directly in front of our tent!! We did not even had to leave our site to watch wild life. At one point all of us were just lying on the grass for a couple of hours to watch the whales jumping out of the crystal blue water. And to reach the beach you literally only had to make a few steps out of the site and you made it!
The campground’s location is right in between Downtown and the port which are both within walking distance along the Iditarod Trail right by the Bay.
Kenai Fjords National Park
To read more about Kenai Fjords National Park itself click here.
The biggest part and the water part of Kenai Fjords National Park can only be visited with a booked tour by boat. You can and should make reservations beforehand with your choosen agency. Most of the time they are fully booked if you just arrive and want to go on a boat and with most organisations you will save approximately 10% if you book your tour 48 hours prior.
We booked our tour with Kenai Fjords Tours and were completely satisfied! The tour excelled all of our expectations!