Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula offers everything from towering peaks and impressive glaciers to dazzling fjords, breathtaking national parks and an abundance of wildlife, from whales, porpoise and seals to moose, bears, bald eagles and more. These top things to do will allow you to experience all of this and much more.
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Explore Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is an awe-inspiring parkland that’s home to the Harding Icefield, which spans nearly 714 square miles of ice up to a mile thick and feeds nearly three dozen glaciers flowing out of the dramatic mountains, six of them to tidewater. It provides a rare opportunity for an up-close view of these blue tidewater glaciers along with impressive marine life. One of the top things to do here is to hike the extraordinarily scenic trail from Exit Glacier to Harding Icefield, a strenuous trek that runs along the glacier providing dramatic vistas that include the vast seracs and deep glacier crevasses. It passes heather-dotted meadows and climbs well above the tree line to a lookout over the icefield for views like you’ve never seen before.
Take an Excursion to Kodiak Island
Kodiak Island is famous for its bears, with some 3,500 bears residing here. Some of the males can weigh more than 1,500 pounds and stand over 10 feet tall – truly a stunning sight to see. As there are no roads into the refuge, visitors can view them by taking one of the air charters or an excursion, available via numerous lodges in Seward, Homer and other places throughout the peninsula.
One of the best ways to enjoy the jaw-dropping Alaskan wilderness is to explore it on horseback. Options from Seward include taking in dramatic views of the shorelines of Turnagain Arm, the towering, craggy peaks of the Chugach Mountains, waterfalls, blue-tinted glaciers and dazzling valley lakes. Watch for moose, bald eagles, the arctic tern and even bears along the way. Bardy’s Trail Rides will take you into an area that’s only accessible by horse, where you can get up close to bald eagles, see where they nest and watch them feed. Along the shores of Resurrection Bay you might spot humpback whales, orcas, harbor seals, porpoises, otters and sea lions.
Kayak Resurrection Bay
Getting out on the water via kayak offers the chance to paddle with a spectacular backdrop of scenery and wildlife, working your way through coves tucked along the shoreline, sharing the tranquility with the sea otters, sea lions, porpoise, a variety of whales, puffins, eagles and other birds. You can bring your own, rent one, or join a tour with multiple options available from a number of outfitters, including at Resurrection Bay in Seward, named one of the Top 10 places to kayak in the entire nation.
Visit the Alaskan Sealife Center
This research center and visitor center that was partially funded from reparations from the Exxon Valdez oil spill rehabilitates injured marine wildlife and offers educational experiences for those who visit. It includes huge cold-water tanks, outdoor viewing decks and interactive displays that feature seabirds, cold-water fish and marine mammals like a 2,000-pound sea lion and harbor seals and a 2,000-pound sea lion. Visitors can also take a behind-the-scenes tour, watch a film and pick up items at the gift shop.
Go Dog Sledding
Embarking on a dog sled adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, where you’ll feel the thrill of being pulled through a snow-covered landscape by a team of canines. Just imagine whizzing through the majestic winter wonderland where the only sounds you’ll hear are the swish of the sled runners, with the dogs taking you on a ride through the Alaska wilderness. You can even cuddle up to some adorably fluffy sled dog pups and see the inner workings of a real sled dog kennel too.
The Kenai Peninsula is internationally-renowned for its exceptional fishing opportunities. There are four species of salmon, with hundreds of thousands in the lakes, rivers and bays, including the largest king salmon, which weighs nearly 100 pounds, found on the famous lower Kenai River. Visitors can also take part in charter fishing for halibut and other saltwater species, while the mountain lakes, rivers and streams offer the chance to fly fish for dolly varden, rainbow trout and arctic grayling.
Day cruises are one of the most popular attractions throughout Alaska, but the Kenai Peninsula provides some of the very best opportunities for excursions that allow visitors to get up close to many of the state’s most striking natural wonders. Seward serves as a launching point for multiple glacier trip outfitters like Major Marine Tours. You’ll find everything from short tours around Resurrection Bay to all-day journeys into Aialik Bay or Northwestern Fjord. There are also options for wildlife cruises leaving from Kacehmark Bay State Park in Homer, including dinner cruises.
Hang Out in Homer
Homer may be one of Alaska’s coolest towns, somewhat of a hippie haven that’s renowned for jaw-dropping scenery that includes magnificent coastlines, deep fjords, soaring mountain peaks, old growth Sitka spruce forests, tranquil beaches and incredible tidal fluctuations. In addition to great fishing, you can enjoy fantastic beach combing and bird watching, with more bald eagles than you can probably count. The town itself is considered the cultural capital of southcentral Alaska, with a host of art galleries, museums, music venues and live theater, along with a wealth of outstanding eateries and coffee bars.
Hit the Trails on Two Wheels
Adventure Guru’s Cooper Landing Bike Rental & Tours provides the opportunity to explore Alaska’s wilderness on two wheels. A variety of tours, most beginning and ending at Cooper Landing, offer everything from easy rides to major challenges, traversing alongside rivers, meadows, mountains and glaciers around the Chugach National Forest.