Top 25 Things To Do In Seward Alaska

Seward, Alaska is known as the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and the beginning of the historic Iditarod trail.

From glacier hikes to whale watching cruises, you’ll have a long list of bucket-list adventures to enjoy during your visit.

In this post, I’m going to share the best things to do in Seward, Alaska.

How to get to Seward

Seward is located 130 miles south of Anchorage, which is usually a 2.5-hour drive down the Seward Highway.

During the summer, you can get to Seward using the Alaska Railroad or on a cruise ship.

25 Best Things To Do In Seward, Alaska

1. Kenai Fjords National Park

Seward is the gateway to one of the most visited national parks in Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park! The park was created in 1980 and encompasses over 600,000 acres abundant with glaciers, stunning fjords, rugged coastline, and incredible wildlife. There are plenty of ways to explore the park including, hiking, whale watching tours, sailing, camping, sea kayaking, dog sledding, and more! There is no fee to access this national park, which makes it one of the top free things to do in Seward. For local information, stop by the Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center.

visit kenai fjords national park in seward alaska

2. Walk around the Seward Harbor

I always like to stop by the Seward Small Boat Harbor because it’s a great place to spot wildlife. Since the harbor is a salt-water lagoon connected to Resurrection Bay, you’ll find Stellar sea lions and sea otters swimming around the docked boats. It’s also a great place to scan for birds when fish is being processed at the top of the docks.

seward small boat harbor things to do in seward

3. Stay at a Public Use Cabin

Feeling adventurous but not interested in sleeping in a nylon tent for the night? Reserve a public use cabin! These state cabins are equipped with all the glamping basics as well as an extra layer of security and comfort. One of my favorite public use cabins in Seward is the Dale Clemens Cabin, which can be found on the way to Lost Lake. If you don’t want to hike up a mountain, check out one of the beach-side cabins at Caines Head State Recreation Area.

seward public use cabin dale clemens

4. Sail Resurrection Bay

I went sailing for the first time last summer with Resurrection Bay Sailing Charters. I can’t even tell you how exciting it was to learn about heeling (when a sailboat leans over in the water) and use the power of the wind to get us from the harbor all the way over to Humpy Cove. We also experienced a super up-close and intimate encounter with a humpback whale, which never would’ve been possible on a larger cruise boat. It was amazing!

Sailing resurrection bay seward alaska

5. Taste a Local Beer at Seward Brewing Co

If you’re looking for things to do in downtown Seward, grab a beer at Seward Brewing Company. Besides the variety of local craft beer that is available, you can also eat some pub food. Unfortunately, the brewery was closed for the 2021 season but will be re-opening in May 2022!

seward brewing company things to do in downtown seward

6. Bird Watching

You don’t have to spend too much time in Alaska before seeing the national bird of the United States! The bald eagle is commonly seen all around Seward. If you’re really into bird watching, you can hop on a boat to look for puffins, cormorants, gulls, and kittlitz’s murrelet.

bald eagle bird watching alaska

7. Hike to Exit Glacier

One of the easiest hikes in Kenai Fjords National Park is Exit Glacier. You can hike a wheelchair accessible, 1-mile loop that will take you to a spot overlooking the glacial outwash, then continue for another .6 miles along the Glacier Overlook Trail to an overlook of Exit Glacier. This trail is perfect for families with small children and it’s one of the best hikes in Seward.

Glacier Hikes Near Anchorage, Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield

8. Alaska SeaLife Center

Seward gets twice as much rain as Seattle. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Seward on a rainy day, why not visit the Alaska SeaLife Center! Combining a public aquarium with marine research, education, and wildlife response, the Alaska SeaLife Center is a great place to support. You can have close encounters with puffins, octopus, harbor seals, sea lions, and other marine life and you can visit the center year-round!

alaska sealife center puffin

9. Tide Pooling

Alaska actually has the highest tides in the United States with tidal ranges up to 40 feet! Personally, I think watching the tide go in and out is so relaxing. But when the tide is low you can scope out the coastline looking for the marine life that become exposed. In Seward, you can find sea cucumber, sponges, hermit crabs, sea stars, anemones, barnacles, sea weed, and more. Make sure to follow proper etiquette when tide pooling and be careful of slippery algae.

tide pooling seward alaska

10. Go on a Whale Watching Tour

Whale watching tours are the first thing I’ll recommend to anyone visiting Seward. You just can’t beat the amount of wildlife you are able to see within one day! From sea lions to Dall’s porpoise, you’ll get to see so much more than whales. The coastline and fjords around Resurrection Bay are absolutely stunning to see as well and this is the best way to do so.

Read: Alaska Whale Watching Guide: Best Time and Place to See Whales

whale watching cruise humpback whale resurrection bay seward

11. Start the Iditarod National Historic Trail

A monument located along the shoreline of Resurrection Bay in Seward marks Mile 0 of the Iditarod, which is the only National Historic Trail in Alaska, and the only winter trail in the entire National Historic Trail system. Nearly 2,400 miles of trails connect the communities of Seward and Nome. Today, you can follow the footsteps of early 1900s gold rushers and dog mushers by walking a paved segment of the trail. Soon, this trail could become part of the Alaska Long Trail, which would be the longest thru-hike in the state.

iditarod national historic trail seward

12. Orca Island Cabins

If you’re looking to add a luxury experience to your Alaska trip, you’ll want to pack your bags for Orca Island Cabins. Located across Resurrection Bay in Humpy Cove, these unique yurts sit on a private island and are fully equipped with comfort in mind. I’m finally planning a stay here next summer and I’m looking forward to watching whales breach from the comfort of my yurt!

orca island cabins yurt rentals humpy cove

13. Eat Local Food

Alaska will never disappoint when it comes to amazing food. Seward has a decent variety and you should definitely try some local seafood while you’re here. Think Alaskan king crab, salmon, halibut, scallops, and oysters. For breakfast, I enjoyed the Mer Babe from Mermaid’s Grotto. It was basically a breakfast crunch wrap.

14. Fish for Salmon or Halibut

Seward is probably the most popular place in Alaska to hop on a fishing charter. Most visitors are looking to spend the day salmon fishing or halibut fishing. Sometimes you’ll end up catching other species like lingcod and rock fish. If you don’t like boats, you can fish for salmon from the shoreline! When the run is good, you can watch fish jumping like crazy in Resurrection Bay.

salmon fishing halibut fishing seward

15. Get caffeinated at a Coffee Shop

I love waking up in a small town that is full of coffee shops! So, skip the instant coffee and head to Resurrect Art Coffee House for a delicious cup of coffee. Inside you’ll find an art gallery, gift shop, pastries, good Wi-Fi and tons of seating! If the line is too long for you, check out Sea Bean Cafe on 4th Ave. Walking around and getting caffeinated falls under cheap things to do in Seward.

resurrect art coffee shop seward

16. Caines Head State Recreation Area

Caines Head State Recreation Area is a 6,571-acre recreational area located seven miles south of Seward. You can reach this area by foot or boat. It’s a beautiful area to explore with shale-covered beaches, mossy forests, and cabins you can rent. During World War II, Caines Head became the spot for defending Seward. Today, you’ll find what’s left of an abandoned fort. You can reach Caines Head from the coastal Tonsina Trail that starts at Lowell Point, but keep in mind that you will need to hike during low tide.

tonsina trail caines head recreation area

17. Explore Bear Glacier

As you’re exploring the waters surrounding Kenai Fjords National Park, someone will most likely point out Bear Glacier since it’s the largest glacier in the park. It’s known for Bear Glacier Lagoon, which is a lake that forms between a glacier and its moraine. A trip to this area is an unforgettable experience as you’ll be able to kayak or SUP around GIANT icebergs! It’s best to go on a guided tour if you want the best (and safest) experience.

bear glacier lagoon kenai fjords national park

18. Shop in Downtown Seward

If you look at a map of Downtown Seward, you’ll notice that it’s quite small! You can walk around the whole town in one day. When you walk down 3rd and 4th Avenue, there will be a lot of shops and restaurants. One of my favorite shops to visit is Sweet Darlings. They have drool-worthy gelato and delicious saltwater taffy that you can purchase by the pound. If you’re looking for art, stop by Ranting Raven.

19. Take a Helicopter Tour

One of the coolest ways to see a place is on a flight-seeing tour! Seward has a variety of helicopter tours that’ll get you a front row seat to Alaskan glaciers, waterfalls, and wildlife. You can even add-on a glacier landing, dog sledding, or overnight experience. Helicopter flights start at $199 USD.

flightseeing helicopter tour seward

20. Harding Ice Field

My favorite hike in Kenai Fjords National Park is Harding Ice Field. The hike takes you through the forest, across a meadow with beautiful wildflowers, up the tundra, and ends at a rocky overlook of a 700-square-mile sheet of ice. It’s other-worldly and very impressive to see! The trail is 8.2 miles roundtrip and starts at the Exit Glacier Nature Center parking lot. This is the perfect day hike in Seward.

Hike Harding Icefield Trail in Seward Alaska Kenai Fjords National Park

21. Plan a Backpacking Trip to Lost Lake

Lost Lake is an alpine lake nestled in the Chugach National Forest, and the trail is actually part of the Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT). It’s a popular hiking and biking trail in the summer and it’s one of the best Alaska backpacking trails to thru-hike. At 16 miles one-way, the Lost Lake Traverse follows an alpine ridge full of lakes and vistas. You can either start from the Lost Lake side or the Primrose side. Campers will find some bear boxes and pit toilets near the designated campsites by the lake.

22. Get Festive

Every year, Seward has some fun events and what better way to get to know the locals than by participating yourself! The Seward Mermaid Festival is one of the newer festivals and was created in partnership with Seward Harbor Opening Weekend. If mermaids aren’t your thing, check out the Seward Music & Arts Festival.

23. Watch a Mountain Race

Seward has an annual July 4th celebration filled with events, contests, fireworks, and a parade. However, the biggest draw during this time is the Mount Marathon Race. Thousands of people come to Seward to watch racers compete in one of the hardest short-distance mountain races in the world. The 3.1-mile course climbs 3,022 feet and is followed by a fast and dangerous descent. This is a fun and busy weekend in this small seaside town!

seward mount marathon race alaska

24. Lowell Point State Recreation Area

Lowell Point State Recreation Area is only 19 acres, but it’s a great place to visit, especially for families. You can enjoy a day at Lowell Point Beach, watch the tide come in, and look for sea otters and Stellar sea lions offshore. You may also spot some shorebirds. From the upper parking lot, you can access the trails to Tonsina Point, Derby Cove, North Beach, Fort McGilvray, and Caines Head.

lowell point state recreation area

25. Sea Kayaking

One of the best ways to explore the area surrounding Seward is by paddling. Sea kayaking is a great way to see the beautiful coastline, along with coves that are much harder to explore on any other kind of boat. You can also get up-close encounters with marine life! If you’re not interested in guided trips, stay across Resurrection Bay at Kayakers Cove. They offer private cabins and hostel-style accommodations, and have kayaks available to rent on-site.

sea kayaking seward kayakers cove

Other things to do in Seward

Besides the incredible things to do in Seward that I’ve already listed, there’s still so much more to do! You can go surfing, forage for berries or mushrooms, wander for wildflowers, visit the Seward Library, have a camp fire on the beach, swim in a lake, go camping, or try your luck in the Silver Salmon Derby.

Answering Your Questions

Is Seward Alaska worth visiting?

You should definitely add Seward to any Alaska itinerary! It’s one of the most scenic places in Alaska where towering snow-capped mountains meet the sea. You won’t run out of things to do here.

What is Seward AK known for?

Seward AK is known for being the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and one of the best places to see whales in Alaska.

How many days do you need in Seward?

I would recommend at least spending 2 days in Seward. There are a lot of different tours and activities offered here.

Is Seward Alaska Safe?

Seward is a small town and not much really happens here, in regards to safety. Use your common sense, keep an eye on your valuables, and be mindful of wildlife (bears) when you’re hiking.

Do you need a car in Seward Alaska?

Seward is really small and you don’t need a car if you’re only trying to get around Seward. Unfortunately, Uber isn’t much of a thing there but if you need to go somewhere not in walking distance, you can hire a taxi.

How long is the train ride from Anchorage to Seward?

The train ride from Anchorage to Seward on the Alaska Railroad is four hours long.

How many days do you need in Kenai Fjords?

You need at least two days in Kenai Fjords National Park. One day can be spent seeing the park on a whale watching tour and the other day can be spent hiking in the park.

Can you see Northern Lights in Seward Alaska?

It’s possible to see Northern Lights in Seward but your chances are low in comparison to other locations in Alaska.

Is it worth staying in Seward?

Absolutely! The community in Seward is amazing and there’s so much for you to do there, especially if you want to see glaciers, whales, fish, and fjords.

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Best Things To Do in Seward Alaska. Seward is known for being the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and the beginning of the historic Iditarod trail. Here are the top things to do in Seward, Alaska. #Alaska #SewardAlaska #VisitAlaska #HardingIceField #AlaskaGlacier #WhaleWatching
Best Things To Do in Seward Alaska. Seward is known for being the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and the beginning of the historic Iditarod trail. It's also home to Mount Marathon mountain races and cove-side cabins. Here are the top things to do in Seward, Alaska, including free and cheap activities. #Alaska #SewardAlaska #TravelAlaska #ResurrectionBay #AlaskaGlacier #Sailing #OrcaIsland

Do you have any questions on best things to do in Seward, Alaska? Let me know in the comments.

About Andrea Kuuipo

I was born and raised in Anchorage and have been able to travel to many places around Alaska. As an Alaska Travel Blogger, I love sharing my favorite things to see and do in my home state to help others plan an incredible trip!

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