Updated: Nov 2
Welcome to Seward, Alaska, fellow adventurers! This picturesque port city is a gem tucked away in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. With majestic mountains kissing the ocean's edge and glaciers carving their paths, Seward is the stuff of legends and fairy tales. If flying into Anchorage Alaska and leaving on a cruise ship from Seward Alaska. I am here to tell you a little bit about Seward, and how to get there from Anchorage. Hopefully this will convince you to come early and take advantage of all that Seward has to offer before you board your cruise ship.
A little history, you say? Did you know that Seward was named after William H. Seward, the Secretary of State who negotiated Alaska's purchase from Russia in 1867? The city celebrates its history every year with the Seward Silver Salmon Derby, the oldest and largest fishing derby in the state.
Travel to Seward
Seward Alaska is a cruise port city. For my Alaskan Cruise it served as my embarkation point for the beginning of the adventure. Several cruise ship companies will call this a home port to start or end cruises from, due to its proximity to Anchorage. This makes a perfect place, since Anchorage is only 2.5 hours drive from Seward Alaska. The only port that is closer to Anchorage to start a cruise from would be Whittier Alaska.
You can rent bus rides from Anchorage down to the port city of Seward from Park Connection Motorcoach. This is the most cost-effective way to get to Seward, and quickest way unless you drive yourself.
My favorite is to take the train from the Anchorage airport area for a scenic tour as you go through the mountains to spot glaciers and wildlife along the way. Alaska Railroad I promise you will not be disappointed. Cost for this year was $119 per adult. This by train adventure starts with a ride along Turnagain Arm coastline, then will have a stop in Girdwood before heading up into the mountains where you will see glaciers, creeks, old homesteads, and possibly tons of animals. 2 bears were the highlight from my trip and I saw about 50 bald eagles. People have been known to spot Moose, Caribou, and Mountain Goats and many other Alaskan animals along this train ride. The train ride itself from Anchorage to Seward is the best pre cruise adventure you can take. Absolutely stunning views and you learn a lot too. For example, within 30 minutes of leaving the train station you are riding up the coast of Turnagain Arm. There is a pod of Beluga Whales that love the waters of the area. You might see them trying to grab a snack of salmon during the summer. This is a pod that stays in the area and do not migrate around. They love Anchorage. lol
Another company that does train rides but without a stop in Girdwood is AlaskaTrain.com. This is a great train ride where you see everything I mentioned. Book your train ride with the cruise company you are leaving with or separately through AlaskaTrain.com. It will cost a little bit more, but it is a great tip.
If you are just coming down the day of cruise, you might not have a lot of time to enjoy these items. But if you are coming down to Seward early you will have time to do several items on this list.
Got a thing for marine wildlife? Well, get ready to have your socks knocked off at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Here, you'll come face-to-face with puffins, harbor seals, sea lions and more. This is a definite visit when arriving a few hours before you board the ship. You will have plenty of time.
Thrill-seekers can hike up Mount Marathon. At 2,975 feet, this is an adventure for sure. Of course, you could watch the race that happens in July every year with people running down the mountain. Of course, hiking this mountain might not be possible before you get on a cruise ship in the afternoon, so if you plan to check out the mountain come a couple days in advance.
If you prefer something a bit more leisurely, don't worry, Kenai Fjords National Park offers spectacular glacier and wildlife viewing opportunities that you can enjoy from the comfort of a boat tour. Here is a link to a tour a company I love for whale watching and Resurrection Bay
Start your day off with a morning hike to Exit Glacier. It's a relatively easy climb, and the sight of the massive blue ice wall up close is a sight you'll never forget. Bring your camera, because you might just meet some friendly mountain goats! If you want a guided tour with Ice Hiking on Exit Glacier, click this link.
Next, take a stroll down the Iditarod Historic Trail, also known as the "All Alaska Sweepstakes," which was once the main 'highway' across Alaska. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of dog sledding in the area. If you want to take the excitement up a notch, why not try a Dog Sledding Tour? It's an exhilarating way to take in the breathtaking Alaskan landscapes!
If you're a history buff, don't miss a visit to the Seward Community Library & Museum. It combines a public library, museum, archives and community center serving Seward and the surrounding area.
Or if you just have a little bit of time before boarding the ship, head over to the Marina for a leisure stroll and enjoy the sight of the sun sinking into the Resurrection Bay.
There are plenty of exciting tours to take, just glance at the Viator link, and you will see everything Seward has to offer, from Dog Sledding to helicopter tours. There is something for everyone.
Remember, whether you're in Seward for a few hours or a few days, every moment here is meant to be savored!
-Food, you ask? Oh, you're in for a treat! Feast on the freshest seafood at Ray's Waterfront, Amazing Seafood and steaks. It is a little pricey, but great steaks and seafood usually are.
-If you are in the mood for a hearty meal, and a beer check out the historic Seward Brewing. Company. The tacos are absolutely the best in Seward Alaska.
-Hungry after all that activity? Grab a quick bite at the Smoke Shack, known for its finger-licking barbecue and friendly atmosphere and great breakfast. This place is great and budget friendly.
-Resurrect Art Coffee House & Art Gallery is a must when you need to get your caffeine fix, they even have sweets too. Plus take a look at the art while you are there.
-Sweet Darlings is a most for fulfilling a sweet tooth. Their delectable pastries are the best in Seward.
If you are coming down to Seward a day or 2 before your cruise. These are a few places that I feel are perfect. I have some for every style you want. When it comes to accommodations, Seward offers everything from rustic lodges, hotels, to cozy B&B's. Want our pick?
Check out the Van Gilder Hotel. This charming and historic hotel has been serving guests since 1916! It's in a great location, with just a 4-minute walk to the Aquatic Sealife Center.
My favorite for its affordability with amazing views. Harbour 360 Hotel. They have everything you need and can set you up on any tours you would like to do before you leave for your cruise.
If you would like more of a glamping experience in a yurt, Orca Island Cabins is the place for you. Just 9 miles from Seward, this place is a nature lover's dream. Explore what this island has to offer from Kayaking to hiking and so much more.
If you want beachfront lodging in Seward, then Resurrection Lodge on the Bay is the place to be. I just love the looks of this place, but beware, if you have children under the age of 8 you are not allowed to stay here.
So, are you ready to pack your bags and embark on a journey to this Alaskan wonderland? I hope I have convinced you to come on down to Seward early before you board the cruise ship. My list is just a few highlights of what Seward, Alaska has to offer in terms of attractions, accommodations, food, and history. Whether you're interested in exploring the natural wonders, immersing yourself in local culture, or enjoying fresh seafood, Seward provides a memorable Alaskan experience. Remember, every corner of Seward holds a story, waiting to be discovered!