April Keen-Eye Candy

sunset at kenai river sanctuary 4.2

It was another fabulous month on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! From stunning sunsets and sunrises to enchanting river and mountain views – no stone of beauty was left unturned this April 2016 all across the Kenai Peninsula.

Kenai Lake 4.2

Surfcasting from the beach for halibut is excellent this time of year. We were consistently catching fish around 20-30 pounds which are small in size yet perfect for eating.

Surfcasting for Halibut off the Kasilof Beach 4.10

Walking the dogs at 6AM is worth it on the Kenai Peninsula when you have a sunrise like this… WOW!

Sunrise 4.26

Easy like Sunday morning turned into a pretty rugged and adventurous hike into the backcountry off of Tustemena Lake. With turquoise blue views like this, it was easy to keep going and going. Absolutely breathtaking!

58b15064-5ded-4097-ae0d-e5711f7e3512

The views of the huge snow-capped mountains in the distance was enough to completely knock us off our feet. Well, that and we needed an excuse to sit down and soak it all in (and tear into the picnic basket).

eb1511af-5aaa-4bce-85c1-0af3142ed3e9

A mid-week sunset at Kenai Beach off of Cannery Beach Road was the perfect way to break up the monotony of the work week and keep us motivated to push through until the weekend rolled around.

Kenai Beach Sunset 4.16

Hidden Lake with the mountains in the distance was gleaming with beauty this April as the trees started to gain back color and the bluebird sky shined in the distance.

Hidden Lake 4.3.16

It never seizes to amaze us how much Alaska shows off before most of the world is even awake. This sunrise painted the sky with vibrant colors before 7am on a Tuesday. The Kenai Peninsula is truly a magical playground.

Sunrise 4.11

Across Skilak Lake in the Northeast corner was this completely secluded fishing spot that produced a handful of beautiful rainbow trout this April. Fly fishing in peace is a breath of fresh air from the summertime combat fishing. But who are we kidding, we love it all!

Fishing the Northeast corner of Skilak Lake 4.3.16

The perfect way to spend a Friday night on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is by beach bummin’ it and sticking around to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets in the entire world.

4.23

When you have 60 degree temperatures and not a hint of wind in the air, spending the day slowly drifting the river and wetting some lines is the closest feeling to ‘heaven on earth’ that we can imagine.

Skilak Lake 4.6

The endless beauty at Kenai Lake in Cooper Landing is another fantastic way to spend the day getting lost in translation in the great outdoors on Alaska’s Playground.

12957442_1010692399005273_2711436578295512642_o

Enjoying dinner over campfire at Kasilof Beach is something that feels so amazing, it’s almost like it came straight out of a dream.

Eric fire and sunset

And sticking around to enjoy every last minute of cracking campfire, saltwater breeze and fresh air until the sun goes down and it turns to pitch black outside… ALWAYS totally worth it.

222

Cheers to an amazing April 2016 filled with stunning beauty, endless outdoor activities, amazing friends and dedicated community members on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. It’s been a wildly beautiful ride and we are now officially ready to bring on the next month. Be sure to share your May adventure with us on our Facebook page!

4.22

All photos included in this post are copyright of Loomis Sage Marketing with sole usage rights granted to KPTMC.

The Best Breakup Of Your Life

Photo shared from cutterlight.com

Photo shared from cutterlight.com

If you are from Alaska, you know exactly what we are talking about. If you aren’t… well, were talking about a little thing that happens right after you contract that horrible illness known as spring fever.

Photo from Flickr/capt_tain Tom

Photo from Flickr/capt_tain Tom

And because it’s contagious, you spread the illness to all of your friends…

Photo from Flickr/JGS Concepts

Photo from Flickr/JGS Concepts

Breakup season is the time when Alaska slowly starts to unthaw from the cold, frozen winter months.
Photo from Brian Moore

Photo from Brian Moore

Parking lots everywhere turn into a slushy mess.
Photo from Flickr/Sandor Weisz

Photo from Flickr/Sandor Weisz

And the side of the road isn’t exactly the prettiest sight to behold. Okay, maybe they are still pretty in a “rugged Alaska life” kind of way.
Photo from Flickr/Dan Logan

Photo from Flickr/Dan Logan

Oh and your vehicle? Don’t even bother with a car wash for the next two months.
If you recently moved to Alaska, you aren’t officially inducted into the “resident” club until you’ve made it through a full winter AND a hard breakup. Don’t worry, the more you go through – the easier it gets.
Your backyard will be filled with even more unexpected visitors than usual (and you love it.)
Photo from The Alaska Life

Photo from The Alaska Life

And as we start to come out of our winter hibernation… so do those other things that hibernate. Surprise!
Photo shared from The Alaska Life

Photo shared from The Alaska Life

Being sure to always be prepared with a “layering system” is crucial during breakup season.
Photo from Flickr/ChrissyJ

Photo from Flickr/ChrissyJ

And you can’t leave home without wearing your fanciest pair of rubber boots.
Photo from vettieg.wordpress.com

Photo from vettieg.wordpress.com

But although breakups are not very fun, waking up early to catch a spring sunrise is always the best medicine.
Photo from Flickr/Young Juan

Photo from Flickr/Young Juan

Or having a little night cap with an Alaskan backdrop? Yeah that’s not to shabby either.
Photo from Flickr/Dan Logan

Photo from Flickr/Dan Logan

Breakups are always hard. But brighter days are to come. Here’s a sneak preview…
Photo from Debbie Tubridy

Photo from Debbie Tubridy

Okay and one more…
Photo from Kalyan Peri

Photo from Kalyan Peri

Are you ready yet? Summer will be here in no time!
Photo from Alaska River's Company

Photo from Alaska River’s Company

Our favorite way to rebound from a hard breakup (season) is by dreaming of warm summer days and midnight sun. One thing is for sure, no matter what season it is… it sure is a beautiful life on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! Do you have any telltale ways of rebounding from a breakup in Alaska? Share with us below!
Photo from Cecil Sanders Photography

Photo from Cecil Sanders Photography

Springtime KEEN-EYE Candy

Lowell Point Beach in Seward, Alaska. Photo from Kristie Stockton.

Lowell Point Beach in Seward, Alaska. Photo from Kristie Stockton.

March Madness on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground means something a whole lot more beautiful than what you’d find on the basketball court. As winter faded away and officially turned to spring and we moved our clocks forward an hour, we made sure to capture the magical moments that happened in our very own backyard.

Photo from Alyeska Resort.

Photo from Alyeska Resort.

Feast your eyes on some gorgeous eye candy that was captured throughout the month of March that will have you falling in love with the Kenai Peninsula all over again.

Photo from Elsie I-Hsin Lin at Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska. ‎

Photo from Elsie I-Hsin Lin at Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska. ‎

We’ll kick things off with this beautiful sunrise in Soldotna, Alaska with  Mt. Redoubt glowing in the distance.

Sunrise 3.3 Soldotna, AK

No day in Alaska (where the state sport is dog mushing) is complete without a snowy dog walk in the woods. Although, this guy might be a little too small to compete with the real mushing dogs.😉

Loomie in snow 3.8.16

Skilak Lake in Cooper Landing, Alaska is beautiful this time of year. And due to some pretty comfortable temperatures, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the lake has already broken up completely. Great for anyone wanting to get out for a day on the water enjoying some Rainbow Trout fishing.

Skilak Lake Alaska 3.5.16Cunningham Park in Kenai, Alaska is a beautiful place to take a walk and soak in the warm sunshine and beautiful blue skies.

cunningham park soldotna

As we headed out for a day of exploring on the Kenai River, we couldn’t help but to stop and take a photo of the stunning spring view from Bings Landing in Sterling, Alaska. Check out those beautiful mountain beaks in the distance! Such a gorgeous contrast against the strikingly beautiful blue water of the Kenai River.

Bings Landing Doc

A hike in the woods that leads to a lush overlook of thick forest and Tustemena Lake in the distance… always a win!

tustemena overlook

A sunset is no ordinary sunset when you take it in from Captain Cook State Recreation Area in Nikiski, Alaska. It’s like a whole bag of skittles in the sky!😉

Captain Cook State Park

Sometimes “easy like Sunday morning” means taking a peaceful walk into the woods with a warm cup of coffee. Always a joyous journey on a beautiful spring day.

Sun beaming through treeline

Taking in an icy sunrise with a beautiful horse pasture in the distance is quite simply, what dreams are made of.

Sunrise over corrals 3.9.16

Because winter wonderland just feels like home (said every Alaskan, ever).❤

Winterwonderland 3.9.16Swiftwater Park in Soldotna, Alaska offers breathtaking views all year long. Bonus fact: in the winter, you can usually have the whole place to yourself. EPIC.

swiftwater park

When the drive to work makes you pull over and have a photo-shoot, you know you live in the BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD. But um, we aren’t biased at all.😉

Sunrise 3.8.16And when a sunset gives you goose-bumps and makes your heart dance with so much pure joy, you also know that you live in THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD. Like this one taken at the beginning of the month on Kasilof Beach.

Kasliof Beach Sunset 3.6.16

A day spent taking in the mountain views from the beach in Ninilchik, Alaska is always a good day. Especially when the sun is shining bright!

In addition to the beautiful beach, endless ocean and epic mountain peaks, the up close and personal Bald Eagle viewing is also a sight to behold when visiting Ninilchik.

bald eagle with mountains ninilchik ocean

And here’s the shot a little closer up. This Bald Eagle sure is a beauty! And by the looks of where it’s sitting, it looks like quite the dare devil.😉 Or maybe just a smart fisherman!

eagle up close

The Kasilof River is such a special place to visit. During the wintertime when the snow still lines the banks, it’s like viewing something right out of a postcard. Simply incredible.

Kasilof

And move down a few miles to the mouth of the Kasilof River draining into the Pacific Ocean, this is a spectacular place to enjoy some soft sand and take in (yet another) epic sunset on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

Kasilof Beach Sunset 3.13

Watching both the mountains and the sun reflect onto the beautiful water via drift boat in the middle of Skilak Lake is always an enthralling experience.

sun reflecting off skilak lake 3.13

And it’s only fitting that after spending over 12 hours on the glistening Skilak Lake that we stay long enough to catch a sunset, Alaska’s Playground style.

skilak lake sunset 3.13

The launch to Tustemena Lake (or to float the Kasilof River) is a fabulous place to listen to wolves howl and to watch moose roam. It’s also a great place to have a campfire, go for a hike and enjoy being away from the crowds.

Secluded Spring Day at the Kasilof River - Tustemena Lake LaunchA sunset down Cannery Beach Road in Kenai is quite simply – what dreams are made of.❤

Sunset down Cannery Beach Road overlooking Cook Inlet

Fishing the Kenai River near the Russian River confluence is way more fun without the crowds and with beautiful snow-capped mountains.

eric cooper landingThe Kenai River in Cooper Landing is STUNNING.

russian river confluence

There is no place like Homer. These views could suck you in for days.

stunning homer overlook 3.18

It was a magical night with calm, cool weather to watch boats in the bay as they got ready for the 2016 Winter King Tournament on 3.19.16.

homer mountains 3.18

And a sunset over Wasabi’s restaurant was sure to leave a lasting mark.

homer sunset from wasabis - 3.18.16

Swanson River Landing was beginning a serious breakup during late March. Soon enough we will be launching our kayaks for an epic float!

Swanson River

Fish Lake is a beautiful place fully submerge yourself in nature and not hear a single sound other than birds chirping and the occasional wolf howling.

Eric and Steve at Fish Lake 2

Remember, you have 365 changes to catch a sunrise and a sunset in each year. Get out there and make every day count. This beautiful sunrise was captured at Arc Lake in Soldotna, Alaska on March 9th.

Arc Lake

And on that note… We wish you love, safety and happiness with each and every day. Fall head over heels in love with The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground and never regret a second of this beautiful life!

Disclosure: With the exception of the first 3 photos featured above, all photos featured in this blog are copyright of Loomis Sage Marketing.

April Fools Day Fun Facts

Photo Credit: Patrick Davis

Photo Credit: Patrick Davis

TGIF! So, if you’re thinking that an “April Fools Day Fact” sounds a bit like an oxymoron, don’t worry – we hear you loud and clear. But hey, we were trying to be catchy and relevant as we ring in the first day of April 2016 on this beautiful Friday morning. So cut us some slack, will ya?😉

Photo from Donna Shreck

Photo from Donna Shreck

The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is where anyone goes that wants to see majestic mountains, glorious glaciers and an endless amount of wildlife. In addition to being (hands down) one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, we wanted to share some cool facts with you all to give you a little history about the 25,600 square miles that make up the Kenai Peninsula.

Photo Credit: Daryll Vispo shared from Alaska Magazine

Photo Credit: Daryll Vispo shared from Alaska Magazine

#1 – Of the 25,600 square miles that make up the Kenai Peninsula, only about 15,600 of that is actually land. The rest… you guessed it – splish spash!

Photo shared from The Kenai, Alaska's Playground Facebook page

Photo shared from The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground Facebook page

#2 – The highest point on The Kenai is Truuli Peak. At 6,612 feet above sea level, Truuli is the highest peak in the Kenai Mountain Range, situated to the southeast of the eastern end of Tustumena Lake.

#3 – The WORLD record king salmon was pulled from the Kenai River in 1985 weighing in at 97.25 pounds.

#4 – The estimated size of the Alaska state record halibut was from the Cook Inlet in 1989 weighing in at 466 pounds.

#5 – Oil was first discovered in Alaska in 1957 at the Swanson River.

#6 – The average number of square miles per person on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is 0.3. Compare that to New York which has 0.003 square miles per person.

Photo from Ray Bulson

Photo from Ray Bulson

#7 – The town of Kenai is the largest city on the peninsula and the sixth largest in the entire State of Alaska.

Photo from Daniel Weber (Flickr)

Photo from Daniel Weber (Flickr)

#8 – Homer is the 14th largest city in the entire State of Alaska.

Photo from Keith Cuddeback (Flickr)

Photo from Keith Cuddeback (Flickr)

#9 – Soldotna is the 15th largest city in the entire State of Alaska.

Photo from Visit Soldotna Facebook page

Photo from Visit Soldotna Facebook page

#10 – The first cannery was built on the Kenai Peninsula in 1882. Talk about the trail blazers!

Photo from Ian Stotesbury

Photo from Ian Stotesbury

Do you have any fun facts about the Kenai Peninsula that you’d like to add to the list? Share in the comments area below!

Great Food & A Sunset In Homer Alaska

stunning homer overlook 3.18

One of the many things that we love about living on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is that we can take so many different kinds of road trips and experience a totally different landscape. Tonight, we ventured out from our office in Soldotna, Alaska and headed down to Homer, Alaska for a walk on the beach. Hoping to grab a bite to eat and a good sunset, we were certainly in for a treat.

epic ninilchick beach with mountains 3.12

After stopping at the beach in Ninilchik, Alaska to take in the gorgeous mountain views, we arrived in Homer at about 7:00pm. We pulled into the overlook area right as you head into town and to our surprise, were greeted by this sunning view overlooking the bay. The views of the snow-capped mountains weren’t too shabby either!😉

homer mountains 3.18

We took a peaceful drive down the Homer Spit followed by a pre-dinner walk on the beach. Campfire pits and picnic tables have a way of bringing out the camping-bug in all of us! Summer is right around the corner, woo hoo!

fire picnic table sunset - homer ak - 3.18

After soaking in the crisp, cool air from the beach we headed up to Wasabi’s Restaurant for dinner. Located off East End Road, Wasabi’s serves a mix of American and Asian style cuisine with amazing sushi and fresh caught Alaskan seafood. We love coming here because they also serve a lot of favorites that we find in can find in Hawaii, including poke and ahi tuna. The sunset from the parking lot was nothing short of amazing upon arrival.

sunset over wasabis

Upon arrival we soaked in the beautiful views and chilled water. Such a modern and relaxing environment.

water and a view

Per usual, we were brought out edamame right away and we were sure to dig right in (hence, the photo of a half eaten dish – sorry).😉

edamame

First up, it was necessary to start off with a cold beverage. They have a great drink menu here with a great assortment of local favorites and organic choices as well. First up was a glass of Chardonnay from Bear Creek Winery, a local winery in Homer.

bear creek chardonay

And a Lemon Drop? Sure, why not! They make the best! Do you see those amazing views out the window? Yeah, Wasabi’s has struck gold with their location for SURE.

lemon drop

After hearing the waitress read off the specials, we started with the sautéed peppers for an appetizers. She said, “only one out of 13 are spicy, so it’s kind of like playing Russian Roulette.” Obviously we were sold!

peppers

And for dinner, we both stuck to the special as well; bison burger with homemade fries. So much deliciousness!

bison burger

After eating everything on our plates and not taking home a single shred of leftovers, we were ready to roll ourselves home and climb into our pajamas. Thank you to Wasabi’s Restaurant for the excellent food and superior service. Never a disappoint when visiting this great place!

homer sunset from wasabis - 3.18.16

What is your favorite restaurant in Homer? Share your recommendations below!

Note: All photos above are Copyright of Loomis Sage Marketing.

Seeing Green This St. Patrick’s Day

Photo from Alaska Wildland Adventures on the Kenai River.

Photo from Alaska Wildland Adventures on the Kenai River.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day friends and fans of The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! In honor of this lucky holiday, we are sharing ten gorgeous photos from the epic Kenai Peninsula that will leave you seeing green and falling in love.

"Bear Backpack!" Photo from Kathleen Turner.

“Bear Backpack!” Photo from Kathleen Turner.

#1. Zipling, Alaska’s Playground Style.

Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward, Alaska.

Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward, Alaska.

#2. When the phrase “take a hike” is always welcomed, you know you’re on The Kenai.

Hideout Trail. Photo shared from www.trover.com.

Hideout Trail. Photo shared from http://www.trover.com.

#3. When tundra and mountain biking collide, any outdoor enthusiast can agree that it feels a bit like you’ve discovered heaven on earth.

#4. Wildlife viewing isn’t just for the birds. The sea lions are always welcome. Especially when they are this stinkin’ cute.❤

#5. And on the topic of cuteness, does it get much better than this adventurous brut? We think not. Mom’s do it all, even if that means becoming the designated flotation device. #respect😉

Photo from Jon Langeland in Katmai National Park.

Photo from Jon Langeland in Katmai National Park.

#6. Seeing green from ear to ear means taking an aerial photograph overlooking The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground via flightseeing tour. EPIC.

Photo shared from www.earthporm.com.

Photo shared from http://www.earthporm.com.

#7: A glacier surrounded by remote wilderness is our favorite kind of Alaskan party.

Photo shared from en.wikipedia.org.

Photo shared from en.wikipedia.org.

#8. Mountains, just mountains. In all their glory. They say these things (just looking at them) are what get many hooked on Alaska. We can’t disagree.

#9. The Aurora Borealis dancing freely in the nighttime sky. Always a “pinch me” moment.

Photo Credit: Ron Neibrugge with www.wildnatureimages.com. Taken in Seward, AK.

Photo Credit: Ron Neibrugge with http://www.wildnatureimages.com. Taken in Seward, AK.

#10. Fish on! It’s hard to have a list about the Kenai Peninsula without including everyone’s favorite pastime. This is a great activity for enjoying long days with loved ones on Alaska’s Playground.

Are you seeing green already? We know, we are too! Who would have ever thought that seeing green would feel this good.😉 Wishing you all the Luck o’ the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day. Be safe out there and have a wonderful day!

Photo from renderedgemedia.com.

Photo from renderedgemedia.com.

Spring Fever on the Kenai River

Photo from Loomis Sage Marketing, www.LoomisSage.com

Kenai River at Bings Landing, Sterling Alaska.

Happy Thursday friends and fellow lovers of The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! It was a beautiful (winter) day on the Kenai River that left us with a heavy case of spring fever. With that being said, the countdown is officially on: 18 days until the first day of spring! I guess we decided to celebrate a bit early…😉

Fishing the Kenai River, Winter, March 2016.

Fishing the Kenai River, Winter, March 2016.

The sun was shining, the mountains were glowing and the bald eagles were perched along the riverbanks by the dozens. You know how Alaska has a way of delivering epic, jaw-dropping moments that make you feel like you are in a dream? Yeah… today was one of those days. At ever single turn. Simply stunning and totally secluded.

Beautiful bald eagle perched along the Kenai River.

Beautiful bald eagle perched along the Kenai River.

Oh, and the rainbow trout were showing themselves a little bit as well! Oh Alaska’s Playground, how you spoil us so!❤

Beautiful rainbow trout caught near the upper killey on the Kenai River.

Beautiful rainbow trout caught near the Upper Killey on the Kenai River.

We call this next photo “ice on the rocks, Kenai River style.” Although the sun was shining and it felt like spring, it is still “technically” winter so it is only natural that the banks of the Kenai River were a bit icy. Also, the temperature is still rather frigid (35-40 degrees most of the day). If you venture out to enjoy the glorious river anytime soon, be sure to be advised of this and be very careful when navigating about.

Ice on the Rocks, Kenai River style.

Ice on the rocks, Kenai River style.

Also, be sure to wear the proper gear. It might be sunny and beautiful, but that can be deceiving once you are on the water. With the wind blowing in your face, you will quickly go from happy and comfortable to miserable and numb without the proper gear. We recommend a face mask, good gloves, a warm hat and a layering system that will let you go from chilly to warm once you start hiking or casting a fishing pole and your body temperature rises. Now, the loud colors are optional (what can we say, we’re a little wild at heart)😉 but definitely be prepared so that your day enjoying The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground doesn’t get cut short.

Loud and proud on the Kenai River. Oh, and very warm too!

Loud and proud on the Kenai River. Oh, and very warm too!

In some areas there were some frozen fish skeletons on the gravel bars left over from last year. The dogs had a blast trying to sniff out all the smells (sorry pups, no meat left here). For us, it made us very excited for summer 2016 salmon fishing on the Kenai River! Woop woop!

Fish skeleton's from last year.

Fish skeleton’s on gravel bar by Kenai River.

And due to the earliness of the year, the water was very shallow in many areas so it was imperative to use extra caution with the boat. Slow and steady wins the race!😉

Shallow Kenai River, March 2016 with Mountain View.

Shallow Kenai River, March 2016 with Mountain View.

We also had a few icy invasions out in the water. Although very slippery and heavy in the water, it sure was a beautiful winter-wonderland sight to see.

Ice in Kenai River, March 2016.

Ice in Kenai River, March 2016.

An important reminder to always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the current of the river. A current is the flow of water influenced by gravity as the water moves downhill to reduce its potential energy. The current varies spatially as well as temporally within the stream, dependent upon the flow volume of water, stream gradient, and channel geometrics. The Kenai River is about 82 miles long and with every river bend is a changing floor and a changing current. It’s always better to be safe and vigilant than to be caught off guard. And this time of year, the beauty of your surroundings can certainly be distracting.:-)

Ice floating near fisherman in Kenai River, March 2016.

Ice floating near fisherman in Kenai River, March 2016.

Floating ice means… spring is coming, friends! Coming very soon indeed!

Floating ice in Kenai River, March 2016.

Floating ice in Kenai River, March 2016.

The day was filled with some of the most glorious mountain views of the Kenai Mountains. There is nothing like a day with bluebird skies and glowing snow-capped mountains. Alaska at it’s finest, in all her glory!

Kenai Mountains from boat on Kenai River.

Kenai Mountains from boat on Kenai River.

The rainbow trout (catch and release only) were being a bit elusive, however we did have the privilege of greeting a handful of them on the fly.

Rainbow trout caught with bead on Kenai River.

Rainbow trout caught with bead on Kenai River.

We threw out some beads and some flesh flies… but what were they hitting on? Top secret.😉

Flesh fly, Kenai River Alaska March 2016.

Flesh fly, Kenai River Alaska March 2016.

We even saw a couple moose but by then, the camera decided to take an afternoon nap. Thankfully we got plenty of incredible photos of bald eagles. Like this one with three bald eagles all perched on the same tree. Absolutely stunning. Only in Alaska!

Three Bald Eagles, Kenai River Alaska, March 2016.

Three Bald Eagles, Kenai River Alaska, March 2016.

Although we saw a couple other boats out and about as well as a few folks that hiked in to fish, it felt as though we had the river to ourselves for the entire day. It sure was a refreshing change from the summertime traffic that can be found. Although, we love our visitors to The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground so we we’ve learned to appreciate all seasons equally.😉

Secluded Kenai River, March 2016.

Secluded Kenai River, March 2016.

And right as we were headed home, we came across two beautiful bald eagles looking like two little love birds sitting in a tree.❤ The perfect night cap to feast our eyes on.

Two bald eagles on the Kenai River, March 2016.

Two bald eagles on the Kenai River, March 2016.

That’s all for today, friends.! Thankfully tomorrow is Friday (TGIF) so we are hoping you will all have the opportunity to get out and enjoy Alaska’s Playground. As always, if you ever need any help planning a fun-filled weekend on The Kenai, you can always visit us online or contact our office. Happy travels!

Spring Fling Road Trip Checklist

Photo of Turnagain Pass,, Alaska from www.panoramio.com.

Photo of Turnagain Pass, Alaska from http://www.panoramio.com.

Happy March 1st! We made it through leap year (next time we demand a three day weekend) and now we are ready to rock and roll into all that is the season of March Madness. With only a few weeks “officially” left in the winter season, we are dusting off our hibernation hats beginning TODAY and getting ready to hit the road running. After all, the days are getting longer and the sunrises get a little more stunning by the day, so we really have no excuse to sit still any longer.

Photo from www.thealaskalife.com.

Photo shared from http://www.thealaskalife.com.

One thing is for sure, The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is magical any time of the year. But there is something extra special about hitting the road and enjoying the vast snow-covered mountains that can be found all throughout The Kenai during the winter and spring months.

Photo from bobbacaps.blogspot.com.

Photo from bobbacaps.blogspot.com.

Now, let’s get real; In Alaska, it is possible to experience snow covered mountains all year long. But during the winter and spring months especially, the mountains seemingly glow with fresh, glistening snowy powder.

Photo from Marc Lester with www.ADN.com.

Photo from Marc Lester with http://www.ADN.com.

AND, they are right there! Right in front of your face. Popping up in mass quantities reaching far and wide, high into the sky. It doesn’t get more ‘up close & personal’ than that. And everyone knows how much we love to get Up Close & Personal on The Kenai.😉

Photo of the Homer Spit from Scott McMurren.

Photo of the Homer Spit from Scott McMurren.

But where there is extreme beauty, extreme caution should always be taken. Alaska is a big, beautiful beast of a State and it is very unforgiving. Although we have excellent groups of people that work tirelessly to maintain our roadways all year round, it is important to be prepared for anything as our weather patterns in Alaska are often times very unpredictable. And when we talk about your safety, we mean business (hoping that this bear photo expresses how important your safety is to us).😉

Photo shared from pinterest.

Photo shared from pinterest.

And on the topic of unpredictable, the glorious wildlife that can very regularly be seen at close distances from many roads on the Kenai Peninsula will often times cross the road or walk along the road. Be advised of this and always use caution when you observe wildlife while driving.

Photo shared from Alaska from Scratch.

Photo shared from Alaska from Scratch.

The day can start out with beautiful bluebird skies and be filled with flurries by lunchtime. With the assistance of AAA Alaska and AK on the GO, we are sharing this excellent checklist to make sure you are prepared for all of your Kenai Peninsula winter and spring road trippin’ adventures.

Photo from www.ADN.com.

Photo from http://www.ADN.com.

AAA Alaska recommends the following tips for a safer winter & spring driving experience: 

1. Put away the cell phone. Distracted driving causes accidents. Pull off the road in a safe place for photos. It’s okay to do that.

2. Renting a car? Don’t forget to ask for a power cord to allow the engine’s block heater to do its job. A must in Interior Alaska however it is not something that’s needed that often on the Kenai Peninsula.

3. Check fluid levels (oil, antifreeze) and tire pressure before you leave home.

4. Watch the sides of roadways. In Alaska, anything from dog teams to moose can appear without warning, and drivers must not assume either will stop when they see you.

5. Check windshield wipers; are they suitable for winter driving? If wipers become clogged with ice or snow, stop and clear them before continuing.

6. Refrain from using cruise control in snowy, wet, or icy conditions.

7. Make a trip plan, and leave it with a trusted family member or friend at home. Call this friend when you safely reach your destination, and upon return home. Allow plenty of time to reach your intended stop. Do not rush.

8. “Aim high,” that is, look farther than 15 seconds down the road, about a quarter mile at 50 miles per hour. Ask kids to pick a landmark ahead, and count until you reach it, that will give some perspective of stopping distance or evasive maneuverability.

9. Carry your AAA membership card at all times. Remember, the membership follows the individual, not the vehicle, so even traveling in someone else’s car, you’re still protected.

10. Check road conditions and weather before leaving home. NOAA and Alaska 511 are excellent options.

Photo from National Geographic.

Photo from National Geographic.

In addition to that great list from AAA Alaska, we also have a few road trip recommendations. Be sure that wherever you go, you wear layers of clothing and bring a good coat and boots just incase you experience rain, sleet or snow (or all of the above). As we mentioned before, the weather can change rapidly throughout the day so you want to be prepared for rising temperatures that can heat you up as well as frigid temperatures that can creep up on you and leave you a very unhappy camper if you’re not bundled up.

Photo from Loren Holmes via www.adn.com.

Photo from Loren Holmes via http://www.adn.com.

Some other items that we recommend include the following; plenty of water, food and snacks to hold you over if you get stuck on the road longer than expected, ice scraper for your windows, first aid kit, a good flashlight and materials for building a fire just incase you experience vehicle troubles and need to keep warm until someone arrives to help you. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when staying and playing on Alaska’s Playground.

Photo in Anchor Point, Alaska from activerain.com.

Photo in Anchor Point, Alaska from activerain.com.

On the Kenai Peninsula, springtime road trips are great because they allow you to load up the kiddos, family, friends and your beloved four-legged friends and have an epic adventure by simply driving right our of your driveway and off into any direction that your heart desires.

Photo shared from animalonline.info.

Photo shared from animalonline.info.

When you set out for a day trip, we recommend getting up and on the road nice and early so that everyone in the vehicle can enjoy a STUNNING Alaska’s Playground sunrise together. Trust us, you will not regret it. Alaska is truly larger than life.

Photo shared from www.airliners.net.

Photo shared from http://www.airliners.net.

And when you get up at the crack of dawn, it’s always a good idea to stop by a local Alaskan coffee house and fuel up for the whole family. And with views like this, how could you resist? We love Veronica’s Coffee House in Old Town Kenai and the amazing blogger Alaska from Scratch captured the warm atmosphere and delicate beauty absolutely perfectly.

Veronica's Coffee House shared from Alaska from Scratch.

Veronica’s Coffee House shared from Alaska from Scratch.

Be sure to take the time to pull over, get everyone out of the vehicle together, walk a few minutes and take in an stunning view of your backyard. While living such busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in everything and forget to appreciate the immaculate beauty that surrounds you. Slow down, breathe, and take the time to reflect. It’s true what they say… there is no time life the present!❤

Photo of the Kenai River shared from Alaska From Scratch.

Photo of the Kenai River shared from Alaska From Scratch.

With March 1st kicking off and only a few weeks left of winter before spring officially begins, it’s time to get out of hibernation and hit the road searching for fun new adventures. If you need any ideas or suggestions for where to explore next, please remember that you can reach out to us at any time and we would be delighted to help you plan your next spring/winter-wonderland excursion. Safe travels, dear friends!

635862328436922178-2008244688_tumblr_nmrgfol33l1u8hiuqo1_500

Happy Valentine’s Day from The Kenai

Photo shared from grizzlybay.org.

Photo shared from grizzlybay.org.

In honor of Valentine’s Day today, we decided to share a happy collection of some adorable wildlife which can be found on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. Be prepared to ooze with “awes” as you check out these beautiful cuties in their natural environment.❤

Photo from Alaska Earths Frozen Kingdom.

Photo from Alaska Earths Frozen Kingdom.

These beautiful eagles enjoy fishing for salmon and taking in the breathtaking mountain views that Homer, Alaska has to offer.

Caught in the act! Two beautiful Harbor Seals sneak in a quick smooch while swimming in the wild.

Photo shared from Focas on Pinterest.

Photo shared from Focas on Pinterest.

These two sea lions enjoy a romantic moment on the beach after waddling out of the water.

Photo from weheartit.com.

Photo from weheartit.com.

Aww… young love! These two moose calf’s share in quick embrace while playing in the puddles.

Photo from imgarcade.com.

Photo from imgarcade.com.

And while were on the topic of moose, how precious is this beautiful mama with her newborn? Only in Alaska will you experience these sights right out your own front door. Simply incredible!

Photo shared from artwithheart.wordpress.com.

Photo shared from artwithheart.wordpress.com.

A lynx pair enjoy basking in the winter sun on the Kenai Peninsula. Easy like Sunday morning.

Lynx enjoying the fresh snowfall on the Kenai Peninsula.

Lynx enjoying the fresh snowfall on the Kenai Peninsula.

Have you ever been to Beluga Point on the Turnagain Arm headed towards the Kenai Peninsula? If not, you simply must! These whales are so beautiful they are truly a sight to behold.

Photo from Travelicious.

Photo from Travelicious via Pinterest.

These vibrant puffins were caught enjoying a flight together while onlookers snapped photos on a Kenai Fjords Tour in Seward, Alaska.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

This Orca looks like it’s teaching its young how to show off for the visitors to Resurrection Bay on a Kenai Fjords Tours trip. Well done mama Orca, well done!

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Dahl Sheep are magical creatures to observe in their natural environment. Not to mention, their noses are shaped like hearts which is oh-so fitting for the Valentine’s Day holiday.❤

Photo from alaskaadventureunlimited.com.

Photo from alaskaadventureunlimited.com.

There are few things in life that are more adorable than two baby otters holding hands while floating around the ocean. Be still my heart, be still!

Photo from pcwallart.com.

Photo from pcwallart.com.

And last but certainly not least, since dog mushing is the state sport of Alaska, it’s only fitting that we take a moment to observe this adorable mom and pup enjoying a playful moment of love this Valentine’s Day. They look like future dog mushing champions to us! What do you think?😉

tumblr_n2r04wgmCU1qzqg2go1_500

Happy Valentines Day friends, fans and lovers of The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. Wishing you love, happiness and lots of smiles on this beautiful Sunday!

Celebrate Love on Alaska’s Playground

The three day weekend is right around the corner, and in addition to President’s Day on Monday… don’t forget that it’s Valentines Day on Sunday, February 14, 2016! Which means you have the perfect excuse to spend the whole day celebrating life, love and happiness with your special sweetheart or with those friends and family members that are near and dear to your heart.

Photo shared from encircleworldphotos.photoshelter.com.

Photo shared from encircleworldphotos.photoshelter.com.

Maybe you aren’t someone who necessarily cares for the Valentines Day holiday? We get it. The infamous flowers, chocolates and life-sized stuffed animal “hoopla” that surrounds us all for weeks leading up to the holiday can be a bit too much to handle.

Photo from theplanetd.com.

Photo from theplanetd.com.

Fear not… you’re in luck! We have some great alternative options for those of you wanting to celebrate LOVE this Sunday while still enjoying The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground and supporting local businesses.

First things first; seize every moment of this long weekend. You know you’ll regret it if you don’t. So get up early and chase a sunrise. Your eyes will thank you, we promise.

Sunrise over Beluga Lake, in Homer, Alaska. Photo from Laura Maciariello.‎

Sunrise over Beluga Lake, in Homer, Alaska. Photo from Laura Maciariello.

If you’re like us, and you want to start the weekend off on Friday or Saturday with a yummy breakfast treat, it is always a satisfying experience when stopping into Veronicas Coffee House in Kenai, Alaska. Serving delicious baked goods, fresh coffee and an assortment of menu options, Veronicas Coffee House offers the perfect Alaskan charm and warm hospitality to get your love-filled weekend started off right. Its also a great place to bring the whole family or to meet up with old friends.

b93605d59f0ceb861266632f6582b9bc

If you want to get out of town and into the backcountry, snowshoeing is always a great way to spend quality time with the one or one(s) you love. And on Alaska’s Playground, we truly do have an unlimited amount of backcountry to explore.

Cross country skiing is another great way to get a great workout together while also enjoying the fresh air and natural beauty that Alaska’s Playground has to offer.

Photo from edbookphoto.photoshelter.com.

Photo from edbookphoto.photoshelter.com.

Horseback riding is always a fun activity to get you out of town and exploring nature with your sweetheart, the kiddos or a group of your closest friends. Alaskan Horseman Trail Adventures and Guest Ranch in Cooper Landing, Alaska is a great option for anyone wanting a true taste of fresh winter air and views that are bound to take your breath away.

winter-riding-051

If you have a need for speed and enjoy a good adrenaline rush, maybe snow-machining is the perfect activity for you and your special somebody to celebrate Valentines Day this Sunday. On The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, you are always guaranteed incredible vistas no matter which direction you head.

Photo from flipboard.com.

Photo from flipboard.com.

And if snow-machining is what you choose and you happen to head south, our friends at Freddie’s Roadhouse located in the Caribou Hills in Ninilchik, Alaska offer excellent backcountry accommodations for all outdoorsy enthusiasts. If rustic lodging and a true Alaskan experience is what you are after this weekend, this is a great option for you!

2025534_orig

Another way to enjoy an adrenaline-packed weekend together is by heading to Girdwood, Alaska to visit the infamous Alyeska Resort. Great for snowboarding, downhill skiing, dining, live music and loads of fun for all ages. Oh, and the sunsets and sunrises seem to be notoriously amazing at Alyeska Resort as well. You really can’t go wrong when heading to this magical place for a weekend.

Photo from last Valentines Day 2015 at Alyeska Resort.

Photo from last Valentines Day 2015 at Alyeska Resort.

Chasing a sunset via ATV ride is a great way to spend quality time together this Valentines Day. The photo below was taken in Homer, Alaska off East End Road. God’s country at it’s finest!

Photo from Loomis Sage Marketing.

Photo from Loomis Sage Marketing.

If you are in the market for a romantic getaway this weekend, head to the lovely town of Seward, Alaska and check out the spectacular A Cabin on the Cliff. This is a rustic trappers cabin that has been refurbished to offer romantic elegance. Here you can enjoy spectacular views of Ressurection Bay and the Chugach Mountains from a private hot tub located on a large, spacious deck.

cbcl6

Another place to enjoy a quite, secluded romantic getaway is the beautiful Escape for Two B&B Cabin Rentals in Soldotna, Alaska. Have a fire, relax in the hot tub or just get cozy indoors and enjoy a glass of wine. You will feel utterly relaxed from the moment you check in.

Escape_For_Two_Soldotna_Alaska_55177

Enjoying a glass of wine together and some local Alaskan chocolates is a cliché Valentines Day option, but hey… you have to admit that it sounds like a pretty incredible idea. And when you visit Bear Creek Winery & Lodging in Homer, Alaska- you will feel anything but cliché. This place is miraculous! Bear Creek is a country winery. They make fruit wines and fruit grape wine blends. They grow, pick, and process some of the best berries in the world and it shows in their hand crafted, award winning wines. Guests are invited to visit the wine tasting room, tour the facility, walk the gardens and take in the breathtaking views of Kachemak Bay. The winery also offers high-end lodging for those visitors looking for a relaxing and romantic getaway.

wooden-pathway-to-the

If fine dining is what you are after, Hotel Seward in Seward, Alaska is proven to be an excellent option. Offering steak, fresh Alaskan seafood and a plethora of other options. Check the Hotel Seward menu out HERE and prepare to have your mouth start watering.

1501723_865819143441193_9121931246247352978_n

Mykel’s Restaurant in Soldotna, Alaska is another great option if you are after a delicious meal this Valentines Day weekend. We’ve heard through the grapevine that they’ve whipped up a special heart-melting menu for this weekend, so don’t miss out. Check their menu out HERE and be sure to call and make your reservations now. Remember, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach.

1469780_720586647969788_397306267_n

And if you’re spending time with the kiddos this Valentines Day weekend, we have a couple great ideas that sure to bring a plethora of smiles. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near the town of Girdwood, Alaska is dedicated to conservation, education, and quality animal care of Alaska’s wildlife. Open currently on weekends only, come view Alaskan wildlife in large natural enclosures, which allow the wildlife the ability to display their natural behaviors.

12509522_10153810222569593_3347568330345265196_n

The Alaska Sealife Center in Seward, Alaska is always fun for kids and adults of all ages. Spend the day viewing beautiful marine life with the indoor comfort of being nice and cozy.

Photo shared from mishlerphotos.photoshelter.com.

Photo shared from mishlerphotos.photoshelter.com.

Or if you want to bundle the kiddos up and take them outside for a fun, winter-wonderland adventure, sledding is always a great idea that will bring adorable pink cheeks and smiles from ear to ear. You can even bring your beloved four-legged family members to join in on a day of fun in the great outdoors.

Photo shared from www.shutterstock.com.

Photo shared from http://www.shutterstock.com.

Need more ideas for how to make your Valentines Day weekend memorable? Submit a response or question below. Remember that you can always call us at (907) 262-5229 or visit us online at http://www.kenaipeninsula.org. Wishing you all a wonderful, love-filled weekend on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!

heart-in-the-snow-wallpaper-1

Glorious Glaciers on Alaska’s Playground

Photo of Exit Glacier near Seward, Alaska from www.alaska.org.

Photo of Exit Glacier near Seward, Alaska from http://www.alaska.org.

When we ask visitors what are the top attractions that bring them to The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, the most common answers are 1. Mountains, 2. Glaciers, and 3. Wildlife.

And the most beautiful thing about that answer is that it is often a possibility to enjoy mountains, glaciers and wildlife all in the same trip. Amazing, right? Only on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, Alaska.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, Alaska.

Below we have a list of some of the most amazing glaciers on the Kenai Peninsula that you absolutely MUST visit at least once in your lifetime. Trust us, you will not regret one single moment of your journey.

Photo from www.alaska.org of Spencer Glacier.

Photo from http://www.alaska.org of Spencer Glacier.

The Kenai Peninsula extends approximately 150 miles southwest from the Chugach Mountains, south of Anchorage. It is separated from the mainland on the west by Cook Inlet and on the east by Prince William Sound. Throughout this vast land you will find many glaciers.

Glaciers are made up of fallen snow that, over many years, compresses into large, thickened ice masses. Glaciers form when snow remains in one location long enough to transform into ice. What makes glaciers unique is their ability to move. Due to sheer mass, glaciers flow like very slow rivers. Some glaciers are as small as football fields, while others grow to be dozens or even hundreds of kilometers long. Presently, glaciers occupy about 10 percent of the world’s total land area. In Alaska, glaciers cover about 5% of the state.

Portage Glacier is a glacier on the Kenai Peninsula and is included within the Chugach National Forest. It is located south of Portage Lake and west of the small town of Whittier. This beautiful glacier is definitely worth a visit!

Byron Glacier is located in the Portage Valley, about 20 minutes South of Girdwood and an hour from Anchorage. As you drive down the Turnagain Arm, you will find the turnoff for Byron Glacier on the left. Once you hit the trailhead, the hike up to the glacier is about 1.5 miles. This 1.4 mile trail offers an easy walk for all ages.  It allows a close-up view of a glacier with rugged, mountains in all directions.

Photo from radstravelogue.wordpress.com.

Photo from radstravelogue.wordpress.com.

Grewingk Glacier is quite the magnificent find in the Kenai Mountains! This is a 13 mile-long glacier located near Kachemak Bay near the town of Homer, Alaska. The best way to access the glacier is via a water taxi from Homer. From there you can be dropped off near the glacier and can enjoy a day of hiking and exploring deep into the wilderness.

Exit Glacier is a glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains of Alaska and one of the Kenai Fjords National Park’s major attractions. The best part about this amazing glacier is that it is easily accessible to view. With just a short drive from downtown Seward, visitors can hike a short well-traveled trail to a viewing area of Exit Glacier.

Spencer Glacier is located in the Chugach National Forest and is only accessible by train. Hop off the Glacier Discovery train at the Spencer Whistle Stop, and take a 1.3 guided hike to Spencer Lake, and from there you can take the 2.1 mile trail to Spencer Glacier. There are even spots to camp along the trail! If you aren’t interested in hiking, there is a cool rafting trip that you can take to get a beautiful view of Spencer Glacier. This is absolutely a must-do if you are visiting Alaska and don’t have time to get to all of the amazing glaciers that we’ve listed here.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge with www.WildNatureImages.com.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge with http://www.WildNatureImages.com.

Aialik Glacier is about 15 miles from the town of Seward, Alaska and is the largest glacier in Aialik Bay, located in Kenai Fjords National Park. Glacier calving activity is most active in May and June. Take a cruise from Seward to experience Aialik, or you can go out on your own and experience via the glacier via kayak.

Holgate Glacier is a glacier located outside the town of Seward, Alaska in the Kenai Fjords National Park. It flows outward from the Harding Icefield toward Holgate Arm of Aialik Bay. While it is one of the smaller glaciers in Aialik Bay, Holgate Glacier is still a popular destination to see calving glaciers. And it is actually advancing! Holgate Arm is often filled with ice, but on a good day you can get to a close and safe distance from the glacier.

Photo from National Geographic.

Photo from National Geographic.

Pedersen Glacier is an outlet glacier of the Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park near the town of Seward, Alaska. In the 1980s, the lagoon was designated as the Pedersen Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary, a 1,700-acre sanctuary meant to preserve and protect the area’s wildlife and land.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge with www.WildNatureImages.com.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge with www.WildNatureImages.com.

Godwin Glacier is located outside of the town of Seward, Alaska near the waters of Resurrection Bay. For a once in a lifetime experience, Godwin Glacier is a must-see. And if you’re up for a thrilling experience, you can visit Godwin Glacier via a Glacier Landing excursion with Seward Helicopter Tours.

Photo from Seward Helicopter Tours.

Photo from Seward Helicopter Tours.

Bear Glacier, found in Kenai Fjords National Park outside of the town of Seward, Alaska is a tidewater glacier and a popular spot for kayakers. You can also easily see it on a cruise from Seward. With massive icebergs and blue waters, seeing the glacier up close is a thrilling experience. Many people camp on the outer beach near Bear Glacier, and enjoy the glacier views in the background. This is also a great area to check for whales, sea otters, puffins, and other wildlife.

Bear Glacier flowes down from the Harding IcefieldAre you as blown away by these stunning photographs as we are? It’s hard not to fall in love. And just wait until you experience these incredible glaciers in person. The feeling of the crisp air and the sound of the robust calving is quite enchanting. If you haven’t already, be sure to add a visit to some of these amazing glaciers to your 2016 Kenai Peninsula bucket list!

Harbor Seal on Columbia Glacier. Photo from www.ervinskalameraphotos.com.

Harbor Seal on Columbia Glacier. Photo from http://www.ervinskalameraphotos.com.

(Note: Although the above pictures are absolutely breathtaking, it is never a good idea to hike on a glacier by oneself, without proper gear, or without training and experience. Glaciers are very slick and can be very dangerous for travel. It is always a better and safer idea to view these gorgeous glaciers from a safe distance. Outdoor guide services are available on the Kenai Peninsula for those wanting to get up close and personal with these beautiful glaciers.)

RV, Flightsee, Hospitality; New 2016 Recommendations!

2016 Cover

Hey friends! Have you picked up your new 2016 Kenai Peninsula Discovery Guide yet? If not, please reach out to us HERE and let us know if we can send you one. We would love the opportunity to help you plan your 2016 dream vacation to The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

Photo Credit: Anurag Singh

Photo Credit: Anurag Singh

With the start of the new year we have some new incredible recommendations to share with our beloved friends and visitors to Alaska’s Playground. Of course, this is just a small list of some newly discovered treasures that range from RV Parks, to Flight-seeing Tours to amazing Hospitality Hot Spots.

Photo from M. Draper Photography on the Kenai River

Photo from M. Draper Photography on the Kenai River

As you surely already know, we could easily ramble on for hours with hundreds upon hundreds of recommendations for things to do and places to stay on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. But these (listed below in alphabetical order) are just some of our newest finds that we are sure you will love just as much as we do. And if you want some more suggestions, remember that you can reach out to us anytime by visiting our website at http://www.kenaipeninsula.org.

Photo from Kevin Boutwell in Ressurection Bay in Seward, AK.

Photo from Kevin Boutwell in Ressurection Bay in Seward, AK

Let’s kick this awesome list off with our friends at AA Seward Air Tours in Seward, Alaska. AA Seward Air Tours offers scenic flights over glaciers, fjords and mountains near Seward, Alaska. If wildlife is what you are after, you are sure to see lots of it on your tour with AA Seward Air Tours. If you are in need of an air taxi to a remote location, AA Seward Air Tours is a great option to call for this service as well.

Photo from AA Seward Air Tours.

Photo from AA Seward Air Tours.

The owner, Jim Craig has been flying for well over 12 years and his wife Maria ads greatly to the team with her charming personality and worldly knowledge. Safety and comfort are the primary concerns at AA Seward Air Tours so in addition to offering once in a lifetime memories on their trips, guests can relax and feel at ease knowing that they are in safe hands. If escaping the crowds and enjoying amazing aerial vistas isn’t already on your 2016 bucket list, we certainly recommend putting it on there. And when you do, be sure to keep AA Seward Air Tours in mind when you are in Seward.

Photo from AA Seward Air Tours.

Photo from AA Seward Air Tours.

If you are planning on visiting Alaska this spring or summer and are scheduled to fly into Anchorage and then drive down the beautiful Turnagain Arm to visit the Kenai Peninsula via rental vehicle, we recommend Alaska Car and Van Rentals for your first stop transportation needs. Here you will find a wide variety of vehicles including large vans to fit a full group of people or those traveling with pets or lots of extra luggage.

230879_201337909909181_6935307_n

Another option for those flying into Anchorage and visiting The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground via the Turnagain Arm route would be Alaska Motorhome Rentals. This is the perfect option for those wanting to skip checking into hotels every night and want to have a more casual experience while exploring the Kenai Peninsula. If you have never driven a motorhome before, it’s really no problem at all. All of their motorhomes are Class C “cabovers”, simply a home built on a van chassis, and most of their guests tell them that it’s as easy as driving a car. Freedom never felt so good!

amr-banner

If you end up spending a couple nights in Anchorage before heading down to enjoy the rest of your Alaskan vacation on the Kenai Peninsula, we recommend Anchorage Ship Creek RV Park if you are in a motorhome and want to stay within city limits. They offer a variety of activities and amusements at your doorstep. Located just a few blocks from downtown Anchorage, it offers easy access to Alaska’s largest city. In addition to being near Alaska’s top attractions, this RV Park offer a host of conveniences and amenities. You can be assured of clean restrooms and showers, friendly and courteous staff, water and electric hook-ups, laundromat, a local tour reservation center, and more. They also offer bike and carrier rental package to assure that you are outfitted to the tee before heading down to the Kenai Peninsula.

rv-banner-anchorage

And if you are not in an RV and are simply in Anchorage a couple of nights before driving or flying down to enjoy the rest of your Alaskan vacation on the Kenai Peninsula, we have a few new hotel recommendations this year including the Alex Hotel & Suites, Anchorage Lofts Hotel, Aspen Suites Hotel Anchorage and the Puffin Inn. We have some other Anchorage hotel recommendations as well, but these are the newest on our 2016 radar.😉

bestrate

Another great way to visit The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is via our friends with The Magic Bus. Magic Bus was formed in 1996. Since then they have provided transportation services for corporate groups, local families, weddings, visiting sports teams and year-round individual and group visitors to Alaska. They provide transfers to or from the cruise ports of Whittier and Seward, trips North to Talkeetna and Denali National Park, Alyeska Ski resort and services in Anchorage. They offer vehicle sizes that range from their upscale 11 passenger vehicles, the Limobus style 16 seat motorcoaches, multiple 28 seater mid-size motorcoaches and full size 55 passenger motorcoaches. If you want to visit the Kenai Peninsula via roadway but would rather skip the driving and instead enjoy taking in the sights from start to finish, we definitely recommend The Magic Bus for your shuttle and transportation needs.

magic_bus

Alaska’s Ridgewood Wilderness Lodge in Halibut Cove, Alaska is somewhat like a dream come true destination. “Glorious nature. Delicious food. True Alaskan hospitality.” Soak up the Alaskan wilderness at this intimate, timber framed lodge in the village of Halibut Cove, adjoining the Kachemak Bay State Park. Enjoy three gourmet meals a day, and highly personal attention with majestic scenery, miles of beaches, and secluded salt water coves right out the front door. You can’t beat fun for a good time, and your hosts at the Ridgewood Wilderness Lodge are committed to making your time in Halibut Cove just that fun. In fact, if exceeding expectations is something that you fancy,  we have a feeling that this place is sure to do just that.

alaska-s-ridgewood-wilderness

In addition to an amazing lodge, delicious food and warm hospitality, Alaska’s Ridgewood Wilderness Lodge offers many different Eco Tours and activities. Imagine this… bear viewing, wildlife tours, flight-seeing, kayaking, guided hiking and fishing! The possibilities for fun truly are endless when you visit Alaska’s Ridgewood Wilderness Lodge.

Ridgewood Wilderness Lodge-11-415788171

Alaskan Gamefisher in Soldotna, Alaska offers affordable fishing charters and lodging for halibut and salmon fishing in Cook Inlet and freshwater salmon fishing on the Kenai River. They specialize in multi-day packages. All of their package trips include a full day of fishing including Salmon and/or Halibut in both fresh water and saltwater. The boat, crew, fishing equipment and lodging are all included in these packages. They offer 2 types of Charter for you to choose from – Private or Shared. So you get to choose the exact experience that you want, whether it be quiet and secluded or social and full of group fun. Alaskan-Game-Fisher

Another great option for those visiting The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground to get plenty of fishing in is Bottom Line Charters in Ninilchik, Alaska. Bottom Line Charters offers a group of experienced US Coast Guard licensed charter operators who all posses a lifetime passion for fishing. All of their vessels are very comfortable and offer enclosed and heated cabins, toilet facilities and state of the art electronics for safe navigation and maximum fishing potential in Cook Inlet.

fishing 011

Your trip with Bottom Line Charters will include bait, tackle, fish filleting and top quality rods and reels. Most charters run 6 to 8 hours depending on the tide, weather and package options. The waters of Cook Inlet provide world class salmon and halibut fishing. The average halibut weighs 25 pounds with many caught over 100 pounds. Needless to say, you are in for quite the adventure with Bottom Line Charters and you are sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.

fishing 015

Central Charters and Tours in Homer, Alaska let’s you experience the beauty and thrill of Alaska first hand. They offer cruises & tours of Kachemak Bay enroute to historic Seldovia. Eco-friendly sailing tours are offered and a brilliant way to experience the natural beauty that Homer and Kachemak has to offer. They also offer fishing trips including full day, half day and double limit options throughout Kackemak Bay and Lower Cook Inlet.

central-01-615x299

Some other amazing options that you can find at Central Charters and Tours include Bear Viewing, Kayaking, Lodging and Retail Gear for all of you outdoor adventures. Conveniently located about halfway down the spit in Homer, be sure to check out Central Charters and Tours for all of your adventure needs.

timthumb

Dandy Cabins in Homer, Alaska is a great option for those coming to town who want privacy away from the hotels, yet still want to be close to the airport and the infamous Homer Spit. The Dandy Cabins are a small group of cabins available for daily and weekly rentals. For more information you can visit their website directly or visit them on Facebook to see all the great reviews offered by past guests that have stayed at Dandy Cabins.

459315_10151268171899305_1292746928_o

Driftwood Inn, Charters, and RV park in Homer, Alaska is another fabulous option for your lodging, fishing, wildlife viewing and RV’ing needs. The Driftwood Inn is a charming, historic, hotel, motel, and Inn located in the heart of Old-Town Homer near the beach in Homer, Alaska. Driftwood Charters offers year-round. With a lifetime of fishing and maritime experience in Alaska waters, their captains strive to make your fishing trip an experience of a lifetime. You can enjoy a day on Kachemak Bay or Cook Inlet with experienced fourth and fifth generation Alaska Captains. Catching fish and having fun is their top priority and they will even take time out if we happen upon some of our spectacular sea life. Their mission is to provide you with a safe, comfortable and “fish-filled” adventure.

423854_369499556403789_638403702_n

The Driftwood Inn RV Park is centrally located in downtown Homer on the bluff above Bishops Beach, just one block away from the Homer Visitor’s Center and Chamber of Commerce. Here, their guests enjoy a convenient, intimate setting, mountain views, peaceful walks along the beach, nearby museums, art galleries, restaurants and a coffee shop. Amenities at the RV park include free showers, free wireless internet, coin-operated washers/dryers, free cable tv with the us of a small cable box, fire pits, picnic tables, fish cleaning station and freezer, water/sewer hookups, electricity and a very convenient in-town location.

internal-banner07

Grizzly Ridge Cabins & RV in Cooper Landing, Alaska offers 400 feet of Kenai Riverfront property and spectacular views of majestic mountains that are guaranteed to immerse you in the grandeur of The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. You don’t want a cabin or an RV site in the woods, you want one right on the river! And that is exactly what you will get at Grizzly Ridge Cabins & RV in Cooper Landing. Their cabins sleep 4 persons, 4 twin beds. 1 bathroom/shower, deck with picnic table, grill. Fully equipped kitchen with microwave, Full size gas stove/oven, refrigerator, serving ware, cooking utensils, silverware, cookware. Gas grill, fire pit. Located on a bluff overlooking the river, mountain views of Slaughter Ridge and Cooper Mountains.

IMG_3110

The RV Park at Grizzly Ridge offers 8 sites, very affordable nightly rates and the most desirable location that you can imagine (right on the river!). They also have a full convenience store, open 7 days a week in the summertime, that offers a huge selection of food, supplies and all of the Alaska merchandise that you will need to bring home to all of your friends and family.

IMG_3256Harbor 360 Hotel in Seward, Alaska is truly a gem located in a central and convenient location. Harbor 360 Hotel, your gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park in the scenic harbor town of Seward, Alaska. Located directly on the waterfront of the Seward Small Boat Harbor, Harbor 360 Hotel offers guests stunning 360 degree views of Resurrection Bay and the surrounding Kenai Mountains. Their spacious, comfortable guest rooms feature two queen beds or one king bed. Guests can enjoy views of the harbor while soaking in the hot tub or swimming in Seward’s only hotel pool. Their rooms include free breakfast featuring a variety of hot and cold items so you can get a great start to your day of Alaskan adventures. Open year-round, be sure to keep Harbor 360 Hotel in mind the next time your travels bring you to Seward, Alaska.

12507289_741826319251400_704545976900951851_n

Kenai Magic Lodge in Sterling, Alaska offers amazing Alaska fishing and wilderness adventures located in the center of the Kenai Peninsula. They are located directly on the central stretch of the Kenai River. They offer fishing packages that include river fishing for salmon, deep sea fishing for halibut, lingcod and rockfish, and fly-out fishing excursions as well. They also offer adventures that include bear viewing, kayaking, rafting and glacier cruises.

10690244_582269188550219_2475864284855839000_n

If lodging is what you need, you will find privacy in your very own rustic log cabin. Kenai Magic Lodge is located on the banks of the Kenai River and surrounded by tall evergreen trees. The cozy cabins provide pleasant surroundings to sit back and enjoy your fishing tales with each other. It is always a good idea to keep Kenai Magic Lodge in mind for all of your Kenai Peninsula lodging and fishing needs!

10446179_578090265634778_8140818534297875609_o

If getting above it all and making memories that are sure to last a lifetime is what you’re after, we have just the thing for you. Seward Helicopter Tours in Seward, Alaska operates during the summer months giving Glacier Dog Sled Rides and Scenic Helicopter Flights. In the winter time they offer winter dog sled tours and rides. Adventures with Seward Helicopter Tours include a Dog Sled Tour on Goodwin Glacier, Bear Glacier Tour, Glacier Landing and Scenic flights over Seward. If you are looking for the ultimate adventure of a lifetime, we couldn’t possibly recommend Seward Helicopter Tours more. It is a must-do when visiting The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

11703227_1150959061598003_8516545137319697027_o

If you’ve been to Homer, Alaska and you are as in love with the coastal beauty as we are, we have a treat that is sure to blow your mind. Located just a boats-ride away from Homer is Halibut Cove, Alaska where you will find Stillpoint Lodge. Just a short trip across breathtaking Kachemak Bay, past towering mountain fjords, is this casual yet luxurious resort lodge nestled on the edge of the Alaskan wilderness. It is a quick getaway from Homer and easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Here you will find cozy cabins that surround a beautiful and inviting lodge. Once you go inside you will find the perfect balance of grand architecture, Alaskan artistry, Scandinavian styling, simple, nature-inspired design, and a hint of Zen… with eco-friendly luxuries and amenities
one may not expect to find in such a setting.

1909276_867890966571218_3480636644800048305_oStep outside the lodge and into the pristine wilderness of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay. This designated critical habitat area is home to a remarkably high level of biological activity. Witness playful sea otters up-close in their natural habitat as you launch an ocean kayak or stand up paddleboard right from the private dock at Stillpoint Lodge. Experience a variety of opportunities for watching whales and birds, going bear viewing, tide pooling and world-class fishing,  as well as exploring glaciers and mountains.

11124393_1230098397017138_6007734312552513550_o

Last but certainly not least on our list of new 2016 recommendations is Turning Heads Kennels in Seward, Alaska. Offering Dog Sled Tours on the Kenai Peninsula in Seward, Alaska. The folks at Turning Heads Kennels invite you to join their 11th place Iditarod dog sled team in Seward, Alaska for an iconic Alaskan adventure. They offer both summer & winter dog sled tours and are two-time recipients of best overall dog care awards. If you want to learn about the history of dog sledding in Alaska, you will get a top-notch, professional and informative experience with Turning Heads Kennels.

GodwinGlacier-6copy

At Turning Heads Kennels, their sled dogs are the heart and soul of what they do. They pride themselves on having, fun, friendly, and highly energetic dogs. Follow the adventures of Iditarod Musher Travis Beals, Iditarod Hopeful Sarah Stokey and their wonderful family of sled dogs by visiting Turning Heads Kennels the next time that you are in Seward, Alaska.

Zoes_DS_13-58

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to learn all about these wonderful people and their amazing businesses on and around The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful place with so many passionate people that work hard to provide out-of-this-world experiences for locals and visitors alike. Whether you have never been to our beautiful neck of the woods, or you are someone who visits annually (or multiple times a year), we invite you to check these incredible local businesses. Happy travels, friends!

blog-cover-2016

 

Sweet and Savory flavors of The Kenai

Photo in Katmai National Park, credit tagged on photo.

Photo in Katmai National Park, credit tagged on photo.

Well 2016 is here and it’s already off to a great start! After getting outside and enjoying all the glorious mountains, glaciers, wildlife and endless outdoor adventures that can be found on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, you’re sure to work up quite the appetite.

But unlike the moose and the bears, who get the pleasure of finding their food sources in the great outdoors, us humans have a plethora of delicious and delectable options to choose from.  From Kenai, to Soldotna, to Seward and Homer (and just about everywhere in between), we have some excellent recommendations for you to put on your “foodie bucket list” this year. This is just a short, sweet list with some new 2016 hot spots. The truth is, we could quite literally write a novel about the amazing food on The Kenai.😉 Listed in alphabetical order with all being equally scrumptious, read on to learn more.

Photo from the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, AK.

Photo from the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, AK.

We will kick things off with something sweet (because dessert before dinner is always a good rule of thumb on a snowy Sunday). Gotta Have Desserts (Kenai Catering) located off of South Willow Street in Kenai, Alaska is a MUST if you are looking for delicious treats. Cake, crème brulee, muffins, cupcakes, scones, doughnuts and so much more. You are surely to be disappointed if you do not make it a point to stop in and visit when you are in Kenai.

Gotta Have Desserts in Kenai, Alaska.

Gotta Have Desserts in Kenai, Alaska.

AJ’s OldTown Steakhouse & Tavern in Homer, Alaska is a must, especially after a long day of Halibut fishing out on the salt. This steak house is the real deal. Consistently spot-on with genuine hospitality to couple the incredible food. It truly is a win-win type of situation when you visit AJ’s in Homer. Mouth is already watering and we haven’t even gotten to the part about the rockin’ live music that can often be heard on evenings throughout the walls of AJ’s. Located in the heart of Old Town & known locally for serving up amazing steaks, local seafood, specialty drinks, goodwill & hospitality for over 70 years.

10358967_758049664240919_3385205370889597515_o

Alaska Berries in Soldotna, Alaska prides itself in being the first, and currently the only winery in the State of Alaska that is certified as being 100% Alaska Grown. They grow all of their fruit and berries used in the production of their handcrafted wines and jams. “From the bush to the bottle” allows Alaska Berries complete control of the entire process which insures the highest quality fruit is picked at its peak of ripeness.  When guests visit this estate winery they are able to see first hand the care and consideration that is given to the farm and to the unique wines, jams and syrups.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter.

Alaska Seafood Grill in Seward, Alaska has gained popularity for it’s vast menu serving Alaskan seafood favorites such as halibut, rockfish, salmon, scallops and king crab. Located in the boat harbor, Alaska Seafood Grill provides a variety of fresh Alaskan seafood in a fast and casual environment. All items are offered a’la carte, giving you the freedom to choose only your favorite type of seafood, or mix and match to sample the Arctic Ocean’s bounty.

Photo from Alaska Seafood Grill.

 

Bridge Lounge in Soldotna, Alaska is a new lounge in town located right in the middle of town by the bridge, inside Kenai River Lodge. With great food, incredible drinks, great customer service and live music, Bridge Lounge is quickly becoming a top pick for many locals and visitors alike. And with a view that is sure to take your breath away, you will find yourself having a hard time leaving this great spot!

Photo from Bridge Lounge Facebook page.

Photo from Bridge Lounge Facebook page.

Priding themselves in serving “the best BBQ on the Kenai Peninsula,” Firehouse BBQ offers quite the variety of favorites. Brisket, Ribs, Pulled Pork and Loaded Stuffed Baked Potato. And we can’t forget the homemade pies and cobbler (served with delicious vanilla ice cream) that is made fresh and changes regularly. Everything at Firehouse BBQ is finger-licking good and made fresh daily. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am-8pm and on Sunday from 11am to 4pm (or until they sell out). This is a great place to visit if you want to go in and dine with the family or grab a quick to-go box for a day enjoying the great outdoors.

1

Iditarod Café located in Kenai, Alaska is owned and operated by the same owners of Gotta Have Desserts and Kenai Catering. Bobbi England and her husband Steve truly do have this culinary thing down pat! And boy oh boy is the town of Kenai lucky to reap all the delicious rewards of their incredible talents. If you are in Kenai, be sure to visit this wonderful place.

Iditarod-Cafe-Logo-coming-soon

The Kasilof Mercantile & Rocky’s Café in Kasilof, Alaska offers delicious home style cooking and yummy desserts with a full ice cream bar. Rocky’s Cafe warm and cozy atmosphere offers a warm fire place, consistently excellent customer service and beautiful Alaskan art painted on the wall. In the Kasilof Mercantile find fun and unique Alaskan clothing and memorable treasures as well as standard grocery items in the grocery store.

65

Kassik’s Kenai Brew Stop in Nikiski, Alaska is housed in a small warehouse nestled in a clearing in the woods, adjacent to the Kassik’s (owners) home in Nikiski.  The owner, Frank’s passion for brewing began when his wife Debara, bought him a home brew kit for Christmas. Frank was hooked and soon became a proficient home brewer.  They built a 36 X 50 shop in hopes to someday have a brewery.  In May of 2005 Kassik’s purchased a used seven barrel system, and then remodeled their building to accommodate the equipment with the help of family and friends.  The brewery opened Memorial Weekend 2006 with their first brew Beaver Tail Blonde, their Moose Point Porter was on tap a few weeks later.

Photo from Kassik's Brewery Facebook page.

Photo from Kassik’s Brewery Facebook page.

Mooseback Annie’s is a new restaurant located in the town of Sterling, Alaska. Savory soups, sandwiches and suppers. Dine in or take out. They also offer to-go lunches for fisherman or anyone on the go! If you are hungry and in the market for delicious, home cooked food, be sure to stop in to Mooseback Annie’s the next time you are in Sterling.

Photo from Mooseback Annie's Facebook page.

Photo from Mooseback Annie’s Facebook page.

Is your mouth watering yet? We know, so is ours! Be sure to try out one of these 10 super-yummy spots the next time you visit The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. See you soon, friends!:-)

Top 15 Moments of the Year 2015

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook Page.  Photo by Jordan Alleva.

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook Page. Photo by Jordan Alleva.

Cheers to the last day of 2015! It’s been a pretty magical year on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. So in honor of the final day of the year, we though we’d do a little “Throwback Thursday” and recap the most memorable moments from our Facebook page.

Kenai Lake. Photo from Ed Boudreau.

Kenai Lake. Photo from Ed Boudreau.

Shared with almost 35,000 fans of the glorious Kenai Peninsula, let’s kick this party off with this Photo #1; A stunning sunrise in Seward, Alaska shared from Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.

Photo Credit: Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking

Photo Credit: Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking

Photo #2, perfectly captioned “Eagle Eyes” is shared from the beautiful town of Seldovia, Alaska.

Shared from Seldovia, Alaska.

Shared from Seldovia, Alaska.

Photo #3 is a pretty in pink glorious morning sunrise shot from the beautiful town of Seward, Alaska.

Photo by Katherine "Pinky" Bleth & the Seward Journal.

Photo by Katherine “Pinky” Bleth & the Seward Journal.

Photo #4 is an always-popular aerial shot of the epic Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. Is this on your bucket list? If not, we bet it is now!😉

Photo Credit: Daniel Leifheit. http://bit.ly/1C8YuOL.

Photo Credit: Daniel Leifheit. http://bit.ly/1C8YuOL.

Photo #5… license and registration, please. Need we say more? This moose has an agenda and no humans will stand in his way.😉

Photo from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

Photo shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

The #6 most popular moment on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground featured an epic underwater chase by a school of halibut chasing a GoPro. Check out this link HERE to view the full video. Warning: it’s up close & personal and incredibly AWESOME.

#7 is the true epitome of “the land of the midnight sun.” This blue-bird-sky photo was taken in June at midnight on the beautiful Turnagain Arm.

Photo by Brittney Robles. Shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

Photo by Brittney Robles. Shared from I Love Alaska Facebook page.

#8 leaves us utterly breathless. This bear is in his very own version of Disney Land. The happiest place on earth is Alaska!:-)

Photo shared from The Alaska Life Facebook page.

Photo shared from The Alaska Life Facebook page.

The #9 moment features a video of a giant pod of humpback whales that put on quite the show during a Kenai Fjords Tours excursion. If you turn up the volume, you can actually hear the whales trumpet. Once in a lifetime memories happen on Alaska’s Playground! Video featured HERE!

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours Facebook page.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours Facebook page.

Moment #10 is a lovely video of an Orca rubbing its belly along the shore of Fox Island Alaska. Full video HERE!

Video from Eric Eberspeaker. Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Video from Eric Eberspeaker. Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Our #11 moment features an Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) time lapse from Lights Out Photography that is comprised of 546 images taken in the span of about 18 minutes. Exposure time for images were 2 seconds. Shot from the Seward Hwy. Check out the full video HERE!

Aurora Borealis photo from Lights Out Photography.

Aurora Borealis photo from Lights Out Photography.

#12 is a fan favorite and a seasonal delight. Fall colors on the Seward Hwy. Our fall season is short here in Alaska, but boy oh boy does it leave a lasting impression.

Photo from the Seward Highway.

Photo from the Seward Highway.

Moment #13 is appropriately titled “just another day in Alaska.” In this incredible video captured by Bill Tyra you see two bull moose rutting and rumbling it out right smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood in someone’s driveway. It’s incredible. And its real. Only in Alaska! Full video HERE.

Video from Bill Myra.

Video from Bill Tyra.

#14: Surrounded by nature, the small town of Kenai, Alaska stirs peacefully. If you’re wondering, the answer is “yes, we pinch ourselves daily in amazement that this is our backyard.” Lucky is an understatement.

Photo Credit Greg Daniels. Shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

Photo Credit Greg Daniels. Shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

And last but certainly not least, moment #15 of the Year 2015 is this beautiful winter shot featuring the vivid Aurora Borealis captured sky-high from the chair lifts.

Photo shared from Alaska Dispatch News.

Photo shared from Alaska Dispatch News.

Whew! What an amazing year it has been. And the best part is that every year seems to get even better than the last. So hold on tight, 2016 is going to be epic! We can’t wait to share our journey with you and most importantly, we can’t wait for you to share your new memories with US! Thank you for joining us in celebrating all things glorious on the Kenai Peninsula year after year. We are blessed to share our love for this beautiful place with such wonderful people. Cheers!

Happy Holidays from Alaska’s Playground

Photo from Bing.com

Photo from Bing.com

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And being on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground to celebrate the season is as close to “a dream come true” as you can possibly imagine.

Quartz Creek in Cooper Landing. Photo courtesy of Brian Moore.

Quartz Creek in Cooper Landing. Photo courtesy of Brian Moore.

Whether you’re hitting the slopes at Alyeska Resort, enjoying a relaxing day of snowy-sightseeing or opting for a good meal and an indoor activity, Alaska’s Playground is sure to deliver.

600 Santa's Ski for Free at Alyeska Resort

600 Santa’s Ski for Free at Alyeska Resort.

One of our favorite parts about wintertime on The Kenai is that all our favorite summertime “hot spots” are transformed into magical, snowy escapes. Like this one below at Kenai Lake.

Or this one at Tern Lake. It’s hard not to feel completely refreshed after taking in a crisp, clear sight like this. And the most beautiful part? These sights are ALL AROUND on the Kenai Peninsula. Like we said before, being here truly feels like a dream come true.

Catching a winter sunrise in the Chugach Mountains is simply something that everyone MUST do at least once in their lifetime.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge, www.WildNatureImages.com.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge, http://www.WildNatureImages.com.

And taking the sleds out for some afternoon laughs and smiles is something that is sure to be a hit with the kiddos, every single time!

Even just your everyday average “road trip” can offer sights that make you feel like you need to *pinch* yourself to see if you are dreaming. Just look at those mountains! Utterly magical.

Photo from AKontheGO.com

Photo from AKontheGO.com

Wintertime hiking on Alaska’s Playground is another go-to activity that we highly recommend for anyone looking to spend a day off enjoying the great outdoors. Talk about a total soul cleanse.

And on the same note of wintertime hiking, lets just say… the destination is always worth the journey. Need proof? Check out this amazing, secluded photo below.

Photo from Kathleen Barth Photography.

Photo from Kathleen Barth Photography.

Wildlife viewing during the winter months is a treat that we can’t even believe we are so lucky to enjoy out our very own backdoor. Life changing!

Resting Bull Moose. Photo from Kathleen Barth Photography.

Resting Bull Moose. Photo from Kathleen Barth Photography.

Or if you’re more of a “water baby” and you are searching for a bit of an adrenaline rush, you could always try wintertime surfing on the Kenai Peninsula. Brrrr!😉

Photo from SurfAlaska.net.

Photo from SurfAlaska.net.

If snowmobiling (or snow-machining) is more of your thing, from flat valleys to steep mountain terrain- there are countless areas on The Kenai to enjoy fresh powder all winter long.

Photo from travel.davidmbyrne.com.

Photo from travel.davidmbyrne.com.

No matter what you plan to do with you’re holiday weekend, if you spend any time traveling to the Kenai Peninsula via the notorious Turnagain Arm, we are sure that you will enjoy a plethora of breathtaking sights.

While you’re here, be sure to keep your eyes open for some of the beautifully decorated outdoor Christmas trees, like this one below in the quaint town of Seward.

Photo from Ron Neibrugge with www.WildNatureImages.com.

Photo from Ron Neibrugge with http://www.WildNatureImages.com.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!:-)

Snowshoeing on The Kenai

Photo from Rbulson PhotoShelter

Photo from Rbulson PhotoShelter

If solitude is what you’re looking for on these chilly winter days in Alaska, we can’t think of a more serene activity to recommend than snowshoeing.

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion

Snowshoeing is a great sport in that just about anyone and everyone can do it. Whether you are a beginner, a moderate hiker or a backcountry expert, there is a path for you.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge, Wild Nature Images

Photo from Ron Niebrugge, Wild Nature Images

One of the most exhilarating aspects of snowshoeing is that it allows you “escape it all” while often times not having to venture too far out of civilization.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge, Wild Nature Images

Photo from Ron Niebrugge, Wild Nature Images

And there truly is nothing quite like the smell of fresh power in the middle of nowhere. It just feels like the way Alaska should. Peaceful, serene and good for the soul.

Photo from Alaska-In-Pictures.com

Photo from Alaska-In-Pictures.com

And if taking a breather and taking in some amazing wintertime views is what you’re looking to do, snowshoeing is definitely the sport for you.

Photo from Ron Niebrugge, Wild Nature Images

Photo from Ron Niebrugge, Wild Nature Images

If you’re looking for the perfect date-day-out, we couldn’t recommend snowshoeing more.

Photo from Alaska Adventure Company

Photo from Alaska Adventure Company

Or if you’re looking for a great activity to get the kiddos out of the house (and smiling from ear to ear) on a snow-day. Snowshoeing it is!

Photo from AlaskaPublic.org

Photo from AlaskaPublic.org

And if you just want to hang out with some of your friends, quality time spend outdoors is way cooler than any amount of time around the television.

Photo from Travoom

Photo from Travoom

Or if you’re feeling extra outdoorsy and want to test out the “winter camping” waters, snowshoeing is a great way to get to where you’re going.

Photo from Alaska-In-Pictures.com

Photo from Alaska-In-Pictures.com

If you’re extra-lucky, you might end up catching the Aurora Borealis while out on a snowshoeing excursion. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Photo from Crescent Moon Snowshoes

Photo from Crescent Moon Snowshoes

If you prefer to spend your days off enjoying the great outdoors with your four-legged best friend, it’s been tested and proved that dogs love snowshoeing adventures just as much as us humans (or probably even more).😉

Photo from Road Trip America

Photo from Road Trip America

And we will also testify to the fact that nothing will prepare you better for a Monday than a Sunday spent out enjoying nature, away from the hustle and bustle.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter

One thing is for sure, you will not regret the feeling that you get when you are submerged in nature with utter peace and quiet. After all, that is what makes Alaska so special.

Photo from Expeditions Alaska

Photo from Expeditions Alaska

For trail ideas you can always check out the local Fish & Game offices, Chamber of Commerce or feel free to send us an email and we will happily help you plan an epic day of back-country snowshoeing fun.

Photo from RMI Guides

Photo from RMI Guides

Happy Thanksgiving from The Kenai

PSkilak Lake. Photo from Becky Washington.

Skilak Lake. Photo from Becky Washington.

Happy Thanksgiving to our amazing friends, fans and fellow lovers of The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! Living on the Kenai Peninsula, we undoubtedly have a million-and-one things to be thankful for each and every day. To start, it’s beyond-incredible that we live in a town that has these kind of mountain views right within the city (see below).

Photo from Greg Daniels shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

Photo from Greg Daniels shared from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center.

More times than not, we are blessed with some of the most magical sunrises. Like this one below in Seward, Alaska over the small boat harbor.

Photo from Derrick Miskinis Photography.

Photo from Derrick Miskinis Photography.

And the sunsets, those aren’t too shabby either.😉 This one below in Cook Inlet titled “one last haul” is hard to beat!

Photo from Daniel Woeste.

Photo from Daniel Woeste.

We are thankful to live in an area where we can enjoy world-class river fishing right out front door.

Photo from kenaicache.com.

Photo from kenaicache.com.

And just-for-the-halibut, we must mention that the salt fishing is worthy of “writing home about” as well.😉

Photo from halibutchronicles.com.

Photo from halibutchronicles.com.

We are thankful for the many awesome adrenaline rushes that Alyeska Resort provides us every season. By the way, today is opening day! Woohoo!

Photo from Alyeska Resort Facebook page.

Photo from Alyeska Resort Facebook page.

And for living in a state the provides so many opportunities to enjoy snow days with the kiddos. Alaska kids love the snow and are raised to be tough little outdoorsmen and women from the time they can walk.:-)

Photo from Chris Hall via The Alaska Life.

Photo from Chris Hall via The Alaska Life.

We are thankful to have so many wildlife viewing opportunities. Nothing beats spotting a mama bear with three of her cubs.

Photo from stellerair.com.

Photo from stellerair.com.

Except maybe the opportunity to see amazing wildlife displaying their true “survival of the fittest” instincts in the wild. Talk about up close and personal!

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion.

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion.

The way that the sun breaks through the clouds and shines upon the ocean in Homer, Alaska is enough to leave us breathless every time.

Photo from The Kenai, Alaska's Playground Facebook page.

Photo from The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground Facebook page.

We are thankful for date nights and family outings that are above it all and simply over-the-top.

Photo from Alyeska Resort.

Photo from Alyeska Resort.

We are thankful to live amongst this beautiful, vast land where we regularly have the opportunity to view the Aurora Borealis right out our back door.

And for the opportunity to see marine animals in their natural habitat.

Photo from the Travel Channel.

Photo from the Travel Channel.

We are thankful to live in an area where the hiking trails offer some of the most epic, jaw-dropping views.

And where “pitching a tent” isn’t just your everyday, average camping experience.

Photo from greetingsfromstrangers.wordpress.com.

Photo from greetingsfromstrangers.wordpress.com.

What are thankful to live in an area where an everyday, average kayaking experience can change to totally-monumental and profoundly life changing  once you paddle upon a huge glacier sticking out of the ocean.

Photo from National Geographic.

Photo from National Geographic.

And for SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) adventures that offer that same sort of feeling. Only in Alaska! Only on the Kenai Peninsula!

Photo from Liquid Adventures.

Photo from Liquid Adventures.

And although we could go on and on for many hours, at the end of the day we are most thankful for having the opportunity to share The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground with our friends, family and loved ones. Whether you live here full time or you are a visitor to this beautiful area, it is an undeniably special place that is best experienced with those closest to your heart.

Because at the end of the day its not about where you are, its about who you’re with.

Photo from mowryjournal.com.

Photo from mowryjournal.com.

So today be sure to eat, drink, laugh and enjoy each others company. Happy Thanksgiving from The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska. Photo from www.jimcoda.com.

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska. Photo from http://www.jimcoda.com.

A Moose kind of Monday

Photo from The Moose is Loose Facebook page.

Photo from The Moose is Loose Facebook page.

Because nothing makes it easier to beat the Monday blues than a collection of adorable moose enjoying The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. And there is just something about the sight of a huge, 700 pound moose frolicking in the fresh fall snowfall that makes it hard to wipe a smile off your face.

Photo from Alaska from Scratch Facebook page.

Photo from Alaska from Scratch Facebook page.

Or maybe the sight of a nearly 1000 pound moose on its “tip-toes” is what will keep a smile on your face all day long. These animals are pretty remarkable!

Photo shared from our Facebook page.

Photo shared from our Facebook page.

And of course, there is just something about a moose and a sweet little baby playing peek-a-boo through the window that can melt anyone’s heart in an instant.❤

Photo from Jeremy Lee Sarnowski Sr.

Photo from Jeremy Lee Sarnowski Sr.

And a moose trying his best to wear snow-camouflage and blend in to backdrop is pretty darn adorable indeed. There is no hiding an animal that size!

Photo from activerain.com.

Photo from activerain.com.

Or how about this bull moose who unexpectedly gets a snout full as he reaches for graze along the Kenai River. Nature at it’s finest!

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion.

Photo from the Peninsula Clarion.

And there is just something oh-so-adorable about a mama moose and baby moose munching on leftover Halloween pumpkins. Better eat them all before Thanksgiving this Thursday!

Photo shared from KTUU.com.

Photo shared from KTUU.com.

One thing is for sure, only in Alaska will you mutter the words “today I saw a moose on a roof!”😉

Photo from Anchorage Daily News.

Photo from Anchorage Daily News.

But maybe the real riddle on everyone’s mind this Monday is, why did the moose cross the road? All we know is that he looks awfully stoic and wildly handsome.

Photo from christophermartinphotography.com.

Photo from christophermartinphotography.com.

Braving the heavy snowfall in Alaska can be difficult, but this bull and cow moose make weathering the storm look like a breeze.

And this sweet young moose just makes weathering the storm look like an absolute blast. Did someone say snow day? Yes, please!

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

Photo from fineartamerica.com.

And because Monday’s are sometimes (most of the time) harder than most, a nap is usually the best way to go. Take it from this beautiful gal below. She looks awfully comfy.:-)

Photo from the www.inquisitr.com.

Photo from the http://www.inquisitr.com.

One thing is for sure, moose certainly have a special way of bringing so much life and beauty to the dark, snowy fall and winter months.

Photo from susanstevenson.com.

Photo from susanstevenson.com.

And last but certainly not least, we are pretty sure that no one can disagree that a moose underneath the Aurora Borealis is one of the most magical sights that can be seen. Incredible!

Photo from Mark Newman via Alaska - Land of the Last Frontier Facebook page.

Photo from Mark Newman via Alaska – Land of the Last Frontier Facebook page.

Hopefully these fun photos brought a smile to your face on this chilly, crisp Monday morning. Have a wonderful day, friends!

Photo from potd.pdnonline.com.

Photo from potd.pdnonline.com.

150 Million Acres of Magic in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Photo from O'Dell Fowles shared by High Adventure Air Charter, Guides & Outfitters.

Photo from O’Dell Fowles shared by High Adventure Air Charter, Guides & Outfitters.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 500 unites in the National Wildlife Refuge System. This is a 150-million acre network of lands and waters that is set aside to help conserve out nation’s fish and wildlife heritage.

Photo from the Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Center and Tracy Curtin.

Photo from the Cooper Landing Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center and Tracy Curtin.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, often call “Alaska in miniature,” is home to a wide diversity of wildlife including moose, eagles, brown and black bears, lynx, wolves and trumpeter swans.

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska from freenaturepictures.blogspot.com.

Bald eagles in Homer, Alaska from freenaturepictures.blogspot.com.

For a complete list of species, visit the official U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service link HERE.

Lynx enjoying the fresh snowfall on the Kenai Peninsula.

Lynx enjoying the fresh snowfall on the Kenai Peninsula.

The eastern portion of the refuge descends from the 6,500 Harding Ice Field to 2,000 to 4,000 ft. peaks in the western Kenai Mountains.

Photo of the Harding Ice Field from www.photosbymartin.com.

Photo of the Harding Ice Field from http://www.photosbymartin.com.

Ice fields and glaciers are vital sources of fresh water for wildlife and people. Mountain goats, brown bears and ravens have been sighted crossing glaciers by many locals and visitors alike.

Photo from Mark Johnson.

Photo from Mark Johnson.

A wildlife sighting in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is always a special treat. And it happens quite frequently, so be sure to always keep a look out. After all, this is their backyard, we just get to play in it.😉

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

In the refuge you will find Mountain Tundra. This is where the tree line ends at 1,500 to 2,000 ft. with low growing tundra plants and shrubs continuing in elevation to snow and rock fields at 4,000 ft. Dall sheep, mountain goats, and caribou roam this rugged country. Hoary marmots form colonies on talus slopes.

Brown bears graze for berries and occasionally take marmots and sheep. Wolves and golden eagles have been known to be successful hunters of young sheep. Wolverines scavenge the carcasses of dead sheep and goats.

Photo of brown bears searching for berries.

Photo of brown bears searching for berries.

From sea level to 2,000 ft., the northern boreal forest is found on the refuge. This forest is composed predominately of white and black spruce, birch, aspen, and cottonwood trees in various stages of succession. This forest is an important source of food and shelter for moose, black and brown bears, lynx, wolves, coyotes, porcupine, weasels, red squirrels and snowshoe hares.

Northern Boreal Forest in Alaska.

Northern Boreal Forest in Alaska.

The lakes & wetlands in the refuge are something extra special! The northeastern portion of the refuge is dotted with hundreds of small lakes surrounded by wetland tundra or spruce/hardwood forest hills. This large wetland habitat supports migratory breeding birds including common and pacific loons, grebes, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, ducks, and shorebirds.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter.

Photo from the Redoubt Reporter.

Mammals found within this lake & wetland habitat include caribou, moose, beaver, muskrat, and mink. The lakes support a variety of fish species, such as rainbow trout, arctic char, red and silver salmon, and sticklebacks.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Also within this habitat, the Chickaloon River Flats remains the last pristine major saltwater estuary on the Kenai Peninsula. The Flats serves as a staging area for thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl.

Photo at the Chickaloon River Flats from the Redoubt Reporter.

Photo at the Chickaloon River Flats from the Redoubt Reporter.

And the Rivers in the refuge can be described as “what dreams are made of” with some being world renowned.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

The refuge is drained by nine river systems, including the world famous Kenai River, renowned for its wide variety of sport fish including Chinook (king), sockeye (red), and coho (silver) salmon, and Dolly Varden and rainbow trout.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook Page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook Page.

Bald eagles are often sighted perched in tall cottonwoods along the riverbanks. Brown and black bears are attracted to the rich fish resources in summer and fall. Moose, beaver, and mergansers are commonly seen wildlife along refuge river systems.

Photo from the Upper Kenai River Trail at the Russian River Ferry, from USFWS/Berkley Bedell.

Photo from the Upper Kenai River Trail at the Russian River Ferry, USFWS/Berkley Bedell.

If you haven’t yet visited, you simply MUST. Be sure to make time to catch a good reflection (double the pleasure, double the memories).

Photo from Aren Kert at Tern Lake.

Photo from Aren Kert at Tern Lake.

And a beautiful rainbow won’t hurt your eyes too bad either…😉

Photo from Sara Moore via the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from Sara Moore via the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

If you prefer to get your body moving and enjoy an active lifestyle, we recommend a hike in the refuge. So many incredible options to choose from.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Be sure to get up early enough (at least one day) to enjoy a sunrise. Worth it? We think so!

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

And of course, it’s always a good idea to take a load off and enjoy a good sunset. Happy travels, friends.:-)

Sunset over Mt. Iliamna. What dreams are made of.

Sunset over Mt. Iliamna. What dreams are made of.

 

A Whale’s Tale

Photo from www.sarashoemakerlind.com in Kenai Fjords National Park.

Photo from http://www.sarashoemakerlind.com in Kenai Fjords National Park.

What brings you to The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground? What fuels your love for this massive 25,000+ square miles of land, river and sea? There are a lot of reasons to fall in love with the Kenai Peninsula. For many, the wildlife alone is what keeps them coming back year after year. From land to sea, you will never run out of wildlife sightings that are hard to believe.

Photo from Sleepyibis.

Photo from Sleepyibis.

When you can get up close and personal with 50 ton humpback whale that stretches nearly 50 feet long and 20 feet wide, it’s easy to feel like you are on another planet. Talk about a *pinch me* moment!

Photo from Daryll Vispo Photography taken in Kenai Fjords National Park.

Photo from Daryll Vispo Photography taken in Kenai Fjords National Park.

And when heading out to fish on the salt surprisingly offers you an epic photo-op, you know you’ve struck gold.

Photo from HOWL Alaska in Homer!

Photo from HOWL Alaska in Homer, AK.

Or when a peaceful day of kayaking through Resurrection Bay in Seward, AK causes a sudden intermission. Hold on tight and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime adrenaline rush!

Photo from Shawn South with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.

Photo from Shawn South with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.

You really can’t quite put into words how magical it is to see a whole family of orca’s swimming together. Did you know that orca’s form family units, led by the female, that can stick together for decades.

Photo from Kay White via the National Park Service.

Photo from Kay White via the National Park Service.

Mama orca and her little one just popping up to say hello.❤

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

And if you are looking to visit the Kenai Peninsula for a whale-watching tour, be advised that the (human) visitors aren’t the only ones that enjoy checking out the glaciers.😉

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours.

And if you are planning to go out fishing on the ocean, there is always a possibility that a massive marine animal might pop in to say hello.:-)

Photo from The Alaska Life in Seward, AK.

Photo from The Alaska Life in Seward, AK.

So whether you choose to go out on a solo adventure or to join a group of like-minded outdoorsy enthusiasts, we are certain that the Kenai Peninsula will leave you with lasting memories that will make you want to come back time and time again.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Need ideas or any help planning your next adventure to The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground? Respond below or call our office directly. Happy planning and happy travels!:-)

Photo from Alaska.org.

Photo from Alaska.org.

Five Things Friday

Photo Credit: Chuck Ashley‎

Photo Credit: Chuck Ashley‎

Because we believe that every Friday should be celebrated (or every single day for that matter), we collected five fun photos to make you smile today and through the weekend.

Photo from Alaska Outdoors Television Facebook Page

Photo from Alaska Outdoors Television Facebook Page

No matter what is going on in your life or how stressful your week was, there are always a lot of reasons to celebrate life and to be grateful for the things around you.

Photo Credit: Phil Pringle

Photo Credit: Phil Pringle

Living on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground we certainly do not have a shortage of beautiful things to experience, amazing wildlife to view in their natural environment or great people offering warm hospitality to keep us feeling incredibly appreciative.

Photo Credit: Frank Keller‎

Photo Credit: Frank Keller‎

#1: Amazing sunrises. Living on Alaska’s Playground makes it easy for us to get up early and soak life in. This, dear friends, is hard to resist.❤

Photo Credit: Cole Chase Photography

Photo Credit: Cole Chase Photography

#1(.5): Amazing sunsets. A plane, a mountain and the perfect blend of soft and vibrant colors. Alaska… take me away!

Photo Credit: Sue Heazlett‎

Photo Credit: Sue Heazlett captures Mt. Redoubt at sunset perfectly from Nikiski, AK‎

#2: Incredible wildlife right out our backdoor (literally). Apparently this active moose thinks the grass is greener on the other side of the fence…😉

Photo Credit: Phil Pringle

Photo Credit: Phil Pringle

#3: Incredible wildlife wandering all throughout the town. Not to mention the beautiful fall colors. Now c’mon, this is is pretty epic. This stoic caribou was passing by Kenai River Brewing Company in Soldotna, AK. Apparently a little too early in the morning to grab a brew.😉

Photo Credit: Kenai River Brewing Company

Photo Credit: Kenai River Brewing Company

#4: Your everyday hike, elevated. Experiencing a beautiful waterfall just outside of Anchor Point, AK is so much MORE with the crisp fall air and the lasting colors of the season in the background. Need an excuse to get outside this weekend? Here you go.

Photo Credit: Carrie Kegler‎

Photo Credit: Carrie Kegler‎

#5: Seeing proof that you can weather the storm and that if you make it through the rain, there will be rainbows and sunnier skies. A great metaphor for life, especially on a Friday! The picture below captures this perfectly. It is also very representative of fall in Alaska. It can be raining and stormy and then sun-shining with beautiful skies all within a few hours. Tip: always wear layers.

Photo Credit: Jim Deuter taken on Skilak Lake Road‎

Photo Credit: Jim Deuter taken on Skilak Lake Road‎

And because we are pretty much obsessed with the crystal clear blue water, fall colors and snow on the mountains… we leave you with this stunning photo below. If that doesn’t inspire you to get outside and explore, we don’t know what will. :-) Have a great weekend, friends!

Photo Credit: Dwayne Parton

Photo Credit: Dwayne Parton

Hike, ATV, Sightsee in the Caribou Hills

Photo Credit: kb7q.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: kb7q.blogspot.com

The Caribou Hills (or as locals say, “the hills”) is a popular year-round recreation area on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. This vast area is located just 50 mils south of Kenai and Soldotna, 25 mils north of Homer and 15 miles east of Ninilchik.

892af976-0554-4fcf-8656-c85ca683109b

The Caribou Hills features miles of old seismographic trails left over from the 1960’s and the early oil exploration days in Alaska.

Photo from cariboulodgealaska.com

Photo from cariboulodgealaska.com

The Caribou Hills offer excellent areas for the entire family to get out and enjoy a day of hiking. You can drive right up into the hills and many trails are easily accessible right out of your door.

Photo from Bing.com "Caribou Hills Alaska" search

Photo from Bing.com “Caribou Hills Alaska” search

The hills are very popular amongst the ATV’ers…

Photo from commanderforums.org

Photo from commanderforums.org

But be warned, if you are going to head up to the hills with your ATV this time of year, be prepared for mud and lots of it.

Photo from Rider Planet USA

Photo from Rider Planet USA

Snowmobiling (or “snow-machining” as the locals call it) is a very popular sport during the winter months.

redoubtreporter.wordpress.com

Photo from redoubtreporter.wordpress.com

The wildlife viewing can also be exceptional in the Caribou Hills.

Photo from alaskaantlerworks.com

Photo from alaskaantlerworks.com

Many locals and visitors alike also own recreational cabins in the Caribou Hills so that they can come out for some fun and stay awhile while they are at it!

Photo from kb7q.blogspot.com

Photo from kb7q.blogspot.com

So whether you go out for the day or decide to stay a while… just make sure you go to the Caribou Hills as soon as possible.

Photo from alaskaantlerworks.com

Photo from alaskaantlerworks.com

It is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, but it is extra special with the colors of the fall season spread across the mountainside. Happy travels, friends!

Fall in love with the colors of the season!

Photo Credit: Alaska From Scratch

Photo Credit: Alaska From Scratch

If you’re at all like us, you’ve probably been finding yourself driving around The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground lately with your eyes peeled wide open and your jaw dropped to the floor in pure and utter amazement over the colors of the fall that line our river banks and mountain sides.

Photo Credit: Dan Logan at Marathon Creek in Seward, AK

Photo Credit: Dan Logan at Marathon Creek in Seward, AK

Although we find it easy to fall in love with Alaska any time of the year, there is something about the colors of fall that is almost too special to fully put into words. That’s right… it’s simply BREATHTAKING! We know it’s impossible not to agree.😉

Photo taken on the Seward Hwy.

Photo taken on the Seward Hwy.

One thing is for sure, nothing beats the view of fresh snow capped mountains with the abundance of fall colors scattering down the mountainside.

Photo Credit: Destinie  L. Burleson

Photo Credit: Destinie L. Burleson

And might we add that one of the best ways to soak in all the colors of fall on Alaska’s Playground is via the Alaska Railroad.

Photo Credit: Jay Berkow

Photo Credit: Jay Berkow

If you are a visitor to the Kenai Peninsula, traveling by RV is still an excellent option in September. The roads usually less congested, construction has let up a bit, and the temps are generally still very comfortable. Oh and the views? Yeah, they will leave you speechless.

Photo Credit: State of Alaska/ Michael DeYoung

Photo Credit: State of Alaska/ Michael DeYoung

Catching a reflection of some mirrored mountains is another treat that is enjoyed in a whole new light with the magic of fall all around you.

Photo from the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Facebook page.

Photo from the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Facebook page.

Floating the Kenai River is another activity that offers a whole new perspective during fall season. And just like the roadways, the river is generally much less crowded during September and October!

Photo Credit: Jared Cockman

Photo Credit: Jared Cockman

And if you’re an angler, fly-fishing on the Kenai River is an utter paradise during the fall season.

Photo Credit: Drifter's Lodge

Photo Credit: Drifter’s Lodge

Trophy Trout fishing is known to be some of the world’s greatest on the Kenai River. If you’re going to do it, fall is definitely a great time to get out there!

Photo Credit: Randa Fishing

Photo Credit: Randa Fishing

If you are going to get outside and wet a line, make sure you get up bright and early so you can catch the vibrant fall colors glistening amongst the crisp morning dew air.

Photo Credit: RMEVET Photography

Photo Credit: RMEVET Photography

The wildlife viewing on the Kenai Peninsula continues to be (super cute) and excellent during the fall season as well.

Photo Credit: Jeff Milsteen

Photo Credit: Jeff Milsteen

So whether you’re catching a reflection, wetting a line, searching for some wildlife to view or simply enjoying a nature drive, be sure to make a point to get out and enjoy the fabulous colors of the fall on Alaska’s Playground while they are here and shining so bright. Remember, before we know it, the snow will be flying and all we will see is white for many months to come!😉

Photo Credit: Lidili

Photo Credit: Lidili

 

SUP Alaska’s Playground!

Photo from Paddle Board Dogs in Kenai Fjords National Park - Seward, AK.

Photo from Paddle Board Dogs in Kenai Fjords National Park – Seward, AK.

The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is an outdoor mecca and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is one of the fastest growing recreational water sports in the world. So combining the mountains, glaciers, wildlife and overall beauty of the Kenai Peninsula with a fun water sport that is easily approachable by all ages, sizes and experience levels is a match made in any adventure lover’s heaven.

Photo from Liquid Adventures at Bear Glacier.

Photo from Liquid Adventures at Bear Glacier.

Stand Up Paddleboarding has its roots where all board sports have their beginnings, in beautiful state of Hawaii. Known as Hoe he’e nalu, standup paddle surfing actually has ancient roots but became popular in modern times among surf instructors and photographers trying to get a higher vantage point than the surface of the water.

Photo from Scott Dickerson at Aialik Bay in the Kenai Fjords National Park.

Photo from Scott Dickerson at Aialik Bay in the Kenai Fjords National Park.

Basically, SUP uses an oversized surf style board and a long paddle. Many would say that it is a cross between surfing and canoeing or kayaking.

Photo from Liquid Adventures in Seward, AK.

Photo from Liquid Adventures in Seward, AK.

Standup paddling can be done in a variety of forms such as on flat water protected lakes to easy beach paddling, to open water paddling, and all the way to to surfing waves.

Photo from Scott Dickerson Photography in Seward, AK.

Photo from Scott Dickerson Photography in Seward, AK.

SUP is great for all ages and experience levels. It is a great activity for the kiddos (and bonus for the parents; it will exhaust a ton of energy)!

Beautiful photo of some adventurous kids with Howl Alaska.

Beautiful photo of some adventurous kids with Howl Alaska.

You can rent a SUP in Seward or Homer and go right off of the shoreline. Or you can go off the beaten path, like this adventurous group with Steller Air in Homer, AK.

Beautiful photo from Scott Dickerson Photography.

Beautiful photo from Scott Dickerson Photography.

The balancing act can be a little tricky at times, but once you get the hang of SUP you will probably be able to bust out a little yoga with one leg while paddling with one hand. Maybe? That’s pretty impressive! Bonus: If you have friends that prefer to kayak, you can still hit the water together and make some epic multi-sport memories!

 Awesome photo from Howl Alaska.

Awesome photo from Howl Alaska.

Some folks are even cool (and coordinated) enough to multi task on a SUP. Hoola-hooping on open water with snow-capped mountains in the background? Yes please!

Or how about SUP and fishing? Now that is awesome. And totally fitting for all of those Kenai Peninsula fishing fanatics!

Photo from SurfAlaska.net.

Photo from SurfAlaska.net.

Or maybe even headstands on a SUP? Now that is talent!

Photo from Anson Cheng.

Photo from Anson Cheng.

And if you want to include your four-legged best friend, SUP is also a dog friendly sport!

Make it an evening trip and you might even get lucky enough to catch an epic Alaskan sunset via SUP.

Great photo from Scott Dickerson Photography.

Great photo from Scott Dickerson Photography.

August Aurora Activity on The Kenai

Oh what a month it has been! The Aurora Borealis (otherwise known as the Northern Lights) have been out in full swing and dancing the nights away in the Alaska’s Playground sky.

Photo from Mark Pierson Photography‎ looking towards Kenai, AK across the Kenai River

Photo from Mark Pierson Photography‎ looking towards Kenai, AK across the Kenai River.

Because it’s been such a bright and magical month on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, we decided to grab a collection of some of our favorite photos for all of our friends to experience along with us.

Campers in Seward, AK were treated to an amazing Northern Lights show. Photo from Kirk Alkire.

Campers in Seward, AK were treated to an amazing show. Photo from Kirk Alkire.

These photos have been taken by amateur photographers and experienced photographers alike. We have gathered most of this incredible photo content from our Facebook page as well as some other great pages including our friends at Alaska Magazine, Aurora Lovers, The Milepost, and many more. And we are also excited to share some really cool facts about Northern Lights from Live Science.

Cooper Landing in the early morning hours. Photo from Timothy Sturm‎.

Cooper Landing in the early morning hours. Photo from Timothy Sturm‎.

Aurora displays are created when protons and electrons stream out from the solar surface and slam into the Earth’s magnetic field. Since the particles are charged they move in spirals along the magnetic field lines, the protons in one direction and the electrons in the other. Those particles in turn hit the atmosphere. Since they follow the magnetic field lines, most of them enter the atmospheric gases in a ring around the magnetic poles, where the magnetic field lines come together.

Photo from Matt Skinner‎ at 20 Mile River.

Photo from Matt Skinner‎, Lights Out Photography. Taken at 20 Mile River.

The air is made up largely of nitrogen and oxygen atoms, with oxygen becoming a bigger component at the altitudes auroras happen – starting about 60 miles up and going all the way up to 600 miles. When the charged particles hit them, they gain energy. Eventually they relax, giving up the energy and releasing photons of specific wavelengths. Oxygen atoms emit green and sometimes red light, while nitrogen is more orange or red.

Photo from Nancy Dean‎ taken in Sterling, Alaska.

Photo from Nancy Dean‎ taken in Sterling, Alaska.

Satellites can take pictures of the aurora from Earth’s orbit — and the images they get are pretty striking. In fact, auroras are bright enough that they show up strongly on the nightside of the Earth even if one were looking at them from another planet.

 Photo from Emily Tracy taken over the Kenai River.

Photo from Emily Tracy taken over the Kenai River.

Occasionally the auroras are visible farther from the poles than usual. In times of high solar activity, the southern limit for seeing auroras can go as far south as Oklahoma and Atlanta — as it did in October 2011. A record was probably set at the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia in 1862, during the Civil War, when the northern lights appeared. Many soldiers noted it in their diaries.

Photo from Christopher Morse‎ of an Army Veteran taking a few photos in his childhood town.

Photo from Christopher Morse‎ of an Army Veteran taking a few photos in his childhood town.

The northern lights look like fire, but they wouldn’t feel like one. Even though the temperature of the upper atmosphere can reach thousands of degrees Fahrenheit, the heat is based on the average speed of the molecules. After all, that’s what temperature is. But feeling heat is another matter – the density of the air is so low at 60 miles (96 kilometers) up that a thermometer would register temperatures far below zero where aurora displays occur.

Taken on the Seward Hwy. Photo from Matt Skinner with Lights Out Photography.

Taken on the Seward Hwy. Photo from Matt Skinner with Lights Out Photography.

Auroras are relatively dim, and the redder light is often at the limit of what human retinas can pick up. Cameras, though, are often more sensitive, and with a long-exposure setting and a clear dark sky you can pick up some spectacular shots.

Seward Hwy. Photo from Matt Skinner with Lights Out Photography.

Taken on the Seward Hwy. Photo from Matt Skinner with Lights Out Photography.

One very important thing for our visitors to remember; you can’t ever predict a show! One of the most difficult problems in solar physics is knowing the shape of a magnetic field in a coronal mass ejection (CME), which is basically a huge blob of charged particles ejected from the sun. Such CMEs have their own magnetic fields. The problem is, it is nigh impossible to tell in what direction the CME field is pointing until it hits. A hit creates either a spectacular magnetic storm and dazzling aurora with it, or a fizzle. Currently there’s no way to know ahead of time.

Kenai River at the Warren Ames Bridge. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

Kenai River at the Warren Ames Bridge. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

NOAA has an online map that can tell you what auroral activity looks likeon any given day, showing the extent of the “auroral oval” and where one is more likely to catch the lights.

Photo from Daryll Vispo Photography‎ at the Turnagain Arm/Seward Highway.

Photo from Daryll Vispo Photography‎ at the Turnagain Arm/Seward Hwy.

It truly is so special to see these magical lights appearing in the middle of town, in the middle of the night, near some of our favorite local shops. Like this photo below at Veronica’s Cafe in the town of Kenai.

Photo courtesy of Mike Haggerty.

Photo courtesy of Mike Haggerty.

Here is another great shot from Mike Haggerrty at the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church in Old Town Kenai.

Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church.

Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church. Photo from Mike Haggerty. 

And an amazing shot down East Mackey Lake Road in our little town of Soldotna!

East Mackey Lake Road, Soldotna AK. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

East Mackey Lake Road, Soldotna AK. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

And another one down Mackey Lake Road, a little more “up close and personal.”

East Mackey Lake Road, Soldotna AK. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

East Mackey Lake Road, Soldotna AK. Photo from Mike Haggerty.

 

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? If not, be on the lookout! And if you capture your memories, be sure to share them with us HERE! Happy Friday, friends!

13 Reasons to Visit Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula

Photo from Princess Alaska Lodges Facebook Page

Photo from Princess Alaska Lodges Facebook Page

Today we are featuring a “Flashback Friday” Guest Post from Princess Lodges titled “13 Reasons to Visit Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula in 2013.” Because all of these great reasons apply to anyone wanting to visit the Kenai Peninsula any time of the year, year after year, we felt as though this was the perfect blog to share with our amazing readers and fellow lovers of all things “Alaska’s Playground!

Photo from Nancy Naigle

Photo from Nancy Naigle

1 – The Kenai Peninsula may be best known as the home of the famed Russian River, where people from around the globe flock for what has been called some of the best salmon fishing in the world.  From sockeye to coho salmon as well as Dolly Varden and trout, the rivers flowing along the Kenai Peninsula are a fisherman’s paradise. From the Kenai Princess you can quickly get to the Russian River or even take a full- or half-day guided sportfishing trip along the less crowded Kenai River.

15

2 –You don’t have to pick one kind of fishing, though, when you are vacationing in Alaska. You can fish for everything from salmon to halibut with a saltwater/freshwater combo fishing trip out of Seward, which is located just an hour’s drive from the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge.

Photo from Saltwater Safari in Seward, AK

Photo from Saltwater Safari in Seward, AK

3– Just outside of Seward is where you will find one of the crown jewels of Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park. Home of the Harding Icefield, from which flow nearly 40 glaciers, the park offers sight-seeing and adventure activities for travelers of any age.  Whether you opt for our Kenai Fjords National Park cruise or a long hike along the park’s well-maintained trails, Kenai Fjords is a must see for any visitor to the area.

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, AK

Photo from Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, AK

4 – With all the species of wildlife that call the Kenai Peninsula home, this could serve as all 13 reasons to visit the area; but we will try to keep our enthusiasm for Alaska’s majestic creatures at bay, at least for the purpose of this blog. From brown bears doing their own version of fishing along the Russian River to Bald Eagles flying overhead in Seward, the Kenai Peninsula offers a perfect chance to see a wide variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. For a more intimate wildlife experience, check out our full day Lake Clark Bear Camp excursion.

Photo from Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

Photo from Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

5 – Not all of Alaska’s beloved animals are in the wild, though, which is why Princess offers a chance to meet a local dog musher and spend quality time with her cute pack of canine athletes.  Dog mushing is, after all, the official state sport of Alaska.

Photo from Lorraine Temple

Photo from Lorraine Temple

6 – For the 21-and-up crowd, the Kenai Peninsula offers the opportunity to visit and sample the goods at a number of local breweries. From Kassik’s Brewery in the town of Kenai to St. Elias Brewing Company and Kenai River Brewing Company just up the road in Soldotna, there is enough variety to tickle any beer lover’s fancy. Update: For a complete full list of local breweries (updated in 2015), check out our full blog on local breweries HERE! 

Photo from Kenai River Brewing Company's Facebook Page

Photo from Kenai River Brewing Company’s Facebook Page

7 – Alaska’s history is deeply rooted in the Gold Rush. You can get a taste of history and try to hit it rich with a gold panning experience, which is fun for the entire family.

Photo from Prospector John's Facebook Page

Photo from Prospector John’s Facebook Page

8 – Looking for a little more adventure? Try river rafting through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge with a professional guide to help you navigate the Class II+ rapids while you take in the spectacular scenery along the way.

Theresa Kaiser McCabe

Photo from Theresa Kaiser McCabe

9 – Even if you don’t embark on your own floatplane adventure while in Alaska, you are sure to see plenty of them soaring overhead during your time in the 49th state, which boasts the highest number of licensed pilots per capita in the country. But, if you do feel like taking to the skies, Princess can help you become a pilot for a day, during which time you can get a bird’s eye view of the area’s natural beauty.

Photo from Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

Photo from Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

10 – On foot, by boat, in a plane – there are many different ways to see Alaska. But don’t forget the possibility of taking a ride on horseback along the trails near Cooper Landing. Just minutes from the Kenai Princess, this is the perfect way for animal lovers to experience the area’s stunning scenery.

Photo courtesy of Alaska Horsemen Guest Ranch

Photo courtesy of Alaska Horsemen Guest Ranch

11 – The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center offers a look into the past and present of Kenai, Alaska, with a 10,000-square-foot facility featuring historical artifacts, wildlife exhibits, a museum store and many educational programs for those with a thirst for learning. Perhaps best of all is the Center’s Saturday Market, held in the parking lot every Saturday during the summer season. From fresh produce to baked goods to handcrafted items, the Kenai Saturday Market is the place to be for local fare this summer.

Photo from Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center

Photo from Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center

12 – You may not find too many people actually fishing at Salmonstock (now known as Salmonfest), but this spectacular music festival in Ninilchik, just a couple of hours away from the Kenai Princess, does celebrate and support Alaska salmon. Offering music, art, children’s activities, crafts and Alaska food and beer, Salmonstock 2013 will be held Aug. 2 – 4.

Photo from Salmonfest Facebook Page

Photo from Salmonfest Facebook page

13 – Last but certainly not least on our list is the accessibility of the area. Less than two hours from Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge is easily accessible to travelers flying into the state’s largest airport. And the flight down to Kenai is only 30 minutes from Anchorage. The views when you land in Kenai are pretty incredible, too!

Photo from Curtiss Wright

Photo from Curtiss Wright

Don’t forget, you can always take the Alaska Railroad down to the Kenai Peninsula as well! We bet you are just dying to come here now, huh?😉 Well it’s going to be a great weekend. Warm sunshine and great times. Come see us soon! Happy travels, friends!

Photo from Dragonfly Running

Photo from Dragonfly Running

50 Days of Fun & Sun on The Kenai

Photo from Srini Sundarrajan in Kenai Fjords National Park - Seward, AK.

Photo from Srini Sundarrajan in Kenai Fjords National Park – Seward, AK.

How will you enjoy the final 50 days of summer!? That’s right… only 50 days remaining. It’s crazy how fast it’s already flown by. Sigh, (insert tear shedding here.) Okay, moving on… chin up buttercup! Time is a wasting and there are many, many things to smile about!

Photo from Brian Moore overlooking the Kenai Flats to Cook Inlet.

Photo from Brian Moore overlooking the Kenai Flats to Cook Inlet.

The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground truly does offer an endless amount of incredible outdoor activities. And although us residents find a plethora of activities to keep us happily entertained all year long, the summer months are highly cherished an always have a way of leaving us wanting more. Summertime opens up so many opportunities for locals and visitors alike to get outside and enjoy the natural splendor of Alaska. Tons of fun, lots of smiles and lifelong memories with friends and family. From mountains, to glaciers, to wildlife, to our amazing fisheries… the Kenai Peninsula has it all.

Photo from Carl Johnson in Portage Valley Alaska, Chugach National Forest.

Photo from Carl Johnson in Portage Valley Alaska, Chugach National Forest.

Maybe it’s the land of the midnight sun during the summer months that has its way of kicking us into gear and often time keeps us going for 18 to 20 hours a day. As us locals say, “we can sleep during the winter time!” Whatever it is, we love it. And we are sure that you do to! But just incase you need some ideas to help you seize every lasting moment of summer on The Kenai, read on for some great ideas…

Photo from Jeff Nelson on The Kenai, Alaska's Playground.

Photo from Jeff Nelson on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

Go horseback riding! Enjoying the fresh air and incredible sights is always better when you have great friends and a beautiful horse to bond with.

Bardy's Trail Rides in Seward, Alaska.

Bardy’s Trail Rides in Seward, Alaska.

Take a float, just don’t tip the boat (brrr)!😉 Floating down the Kenai River near Cooper Landing is always a glorious way to spend a beautiful day on Alaska’s Playground.

Photo from Eugen Marculescu on the Kenai River.

Photo from Eugen Marculescu on the Kenai River.

Go zip-lining with Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward, AK. This exhilarating adventure is fun for all ages!

Photo from Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward, AK.

Photo from Stoney Creek Canopy Adventures in Seward, AK.

Climb a mountain! The view from the top is always worth the trek. “Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.”

Beautiful photo in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.

Beautiful photo in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.

Get in touch with your adventurous side and go Kiteboarding! Homer, AK is an excellent spot to enjoy this spontaneous activity.

Beautiful photo at Mariner Park in Homer, AK from Kite Surf Atlas.

Beautiful photo at Mariner Park in Homer, AK from Kite Surf Atlas.

Cool off like the bears! Beat the heat by taking a dip in one of the Kenai Peninsula’s many rivers, lakes or streams.

Photo from Heidi Ho Hanson.

Photo from Heidi Ho Hanson.

SUP! That’s “Stand Up Paddleboarding” to you. Have you tried it?  If not, you absolutely should. Need more convincing? Just LOOK at the image below. Utterly breathtaking.

Photo from Liquid Adventures at Bear Glacier in Seward, AK.

Photo from Liquid Adventures at Bear Glacier in Seward, AK.

Find a waterfall and enjoy an impromptu photo-op. Or read a good book with the sound of the waterfall crashing down in the background. Because, why not?

Tanalian Falls in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve. Photo from Tom Tessier.

Tanalian Falls in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve. Photo from Tom Tessier.

Go surfing! Catch a wave and cool off in style while enjoying the beautiful mountain views on Alaska’s Playground.

Amazing adventure shot from Scott Dickerson Photography.

Amazing adventure shot from Scott Dickerson Photography.

Dog days of summer! Load up your furry companions and enjoy a fishing adventure together. We have a feeling your four legged best friend will sleep GREAT for about a week…😉

Great photo from Marissa Tomaganuk shared from The Alaska Life Facebook page.

Great photo from Marissa Tomaganuk shared from The Alaska Life Facebook page.

Catch a reflection! Do you see it below? Look again. Pretty amazing, huh?

Great photo Katie Russ, "People's Choice" winner of Lake Clark National Park & Preserve's 2015 photo contest.

Great photo Katie Russ, “People’s Choice” winner of Lake Clark National Park & Preserve’s 2015 photo contest.

Load up the kiddos and get up close & personal with some incredible marine animals.

Photo from Megan at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward, AK.

Photo from Megan at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward, AK.

Stay up late enough to catch a sunset! Trust us, it is worth it every time. Every. Single. Time.

Beautiful fireweed in front of Lake Parsons, Nikiski, Alaska. Photo from RMEVET Photography.

Beautiful fireweed in front of Lake Parsons, Nikiski, Alaska. Photo from RMEVET Photography.

Remember… wherever you go, go with all of your heart.❤

Photo of the Kenai River from Mark Pierson Photography.

Photo of the Kenai River from Mark Pierson Photography.

Fly into July on The Kenai

Flight-seeing, bear viewing, fly-in fishing, guided & un-guided drop-in hunts, photography tours, sightseeing tours and MORE! Escaping the crowds and submerging oneself into the great outdoors on the Kenai Peninsula truly offers a feeling that is almost impossible to fully describe. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s “pinch me I can’t believe I’m here” worthy. It has a way of making your soul feel completely refreshed and revived. It is something that we believe everyone MUST experience at least once in their lives. If you’ve been, you know exactly what we are talking about. If not, we highly recommend that you put one of these incredible flight excursions on your bucket list. Need more convincing? Keep reading…

Photo from Alaska West in Nikiski, AK.

Taking a flight-seeing excursion up and above glaciers, fjords, mountains and endless wildlife is certainly a once in a lifetime experience. We might be a little partial, but we believe that nothing can offer you the diverse landscape, wildlife and breathtaking views quite like the outfits on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. Below are some of our top picks in Homer, Seward, Soldotna and Kenai/Nikiski.

Photo from AA Seward Air Tours in Seward, AK.

Homer Air in Homer, Alaska offers a variety of air services for their wide range of customers. From the village commuter to the lucky few who visit Alaska for their one-of-a-kind adventure, we provide a tailored, professional flight service. View them below or consult with our management staff to help you decide on the perfect aerial opportunity. Their “adventure services” include bear viewing, fly-out fishing, flight-seeing, beach combing and fossil hunting.

Photo from Homer Air in Homer, AK.

Another great option in Homer is Inlet Charters Across Alaska Adventures. This is the type of adventure outfit that does a little bit of everything, and does it very well! Services include halibut charters, salmon charters, combo charters, sea kayaking, bear viewing and eco tours. The unforgettable 1.5 hour flight-seeing trip to go bear viewing will fly you by float plane where you will then land in Katmai National Park or coastal Alaska where your pilot will stay with you for the entire day and guarantees that you will see bears. These bears have never been hunted by humans which truly allows the viewer an exceptional opportunity to see an amazing creature up close. An estimated 4,000 Alaskan brown bear inhabit this immense park and it is home to the largest undisturbed population of bears in the world.

Photo from Inlet Charters Across Alaska Adventures in Homer, AK.

Alaska Wild Bear Adventures is another spectacular option in Homer. Join the Alaska Wild Bear Adventures team and fly to Katmai National Park, Lake Clark National Park or Brooks River Falls where you can safely walk among grizzly bears, and often wolves, in their natural habitat. They also provide guided fishing, flight seeing and beach combing. Half the fun during any of these adventures is getting there. You will get to fly along Alaska’s beautiful coastline while taking in views of active steaming volcano’s and huge glacier covered mountains that literally climb right out of the ocean. Imagine landing on a beach at the base a 10,000 foot active volcano or a pristine mountain lake 100 miles from the nearest road!

Photo from Alaska Wild Bear Adventures in Homer, AK.

Talon Air Service in Soldotna, AK specializes in offering affordable wilderness fun on the Kenai Peninsula. Whether you’re an avid fisherman, hunter or you just want to see the vast Alaska Wilderness from a birds-eye view, they can customize a trip to meet your outdoor desires. With over 30 years of Alaska wilderness experience, their pilot and guides have the know-how to make it happen. Float planes are an essential piece of equipment for enjoying the wilderness in Alaska and are often the only way to escape the throngs of crowds found in the more accessible areas. Utilizing the float plane lets Talon Air Service offer the thrill of a lifetime in a single day trip and have you back at your chosen lodging that same evening. They offer fly-in fishing packages, big game hunting packages, bear viewing and sightseeing packages.

Photo from Talon Air Service in Soldotna, AK.

Below is a photo from one of the fly-in trips we took last year with Talon Air Service. We believe that at least one fly-in a year is good for the soul. But a handful of fly-in’s is definitely preferred! It is just way too much fun and so nice to be in a secluded piece of paradise away from the crowds.
Photo on a fly out with Talon Air Service at Wolverine Creek.

Photo on a fly out with Talon Air Service at Wolverine Creek.

Natron Air is a statewide air taxi service located on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula at the Soldotna Airport. Natron Air is owned and operated by Tim and Janet Pope, year round Alaskan residents. They offer Alaska salmon fishing,  bear viewing, photography/sightseeing tours and unguided drop hunts. They offer unforgettable flights that will leave you with lasting memories. Their bear viewing tours and salmon fishing trips are deemed to be “unsurpassed.” Many of their guests tell them that their fly out trip was the best part of their Alaska vacation. They can also help you plan your Alaska hunting trip. Tim Pope is your pilot with ratings as an Airline Transport Pilot/Multi-Engine Instrument, with thousands of accident free hours. You will be flying in a 2002 GA-8 Air Van certified to the highest FAA safety standards, designed for passenger comfort, each seat with a “bubble” style window for ease of viewing wildlife and scenery. They operate Sunday thru Friday year round. If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, be sure to consider Natron Air in Alaska’s Kenai River City.

Photo from Natron Air in Soldotna, AK.

Just check out this photo below. Holy smokes! Talk about up-close-and-personal with wildlife. It appears as though this big bear was out to take a dip and steal their fishing hole. As they say… “They own the place, we just get to play here!” 

Photo from Natron Air in Soldotna, AK.

Photo from Natron Air in Soldotna, AK.

All Alaska Outdoors Lodge in Soldotna, AK has many options for the ecotour minded person in your group. Their Float Plane Fly In is an excellent option for Close-up Bear viewing and photography.  The Crescent Lake Fly In is offered specifically for Bear Viewing.  The locations they visit on the Wheeled Plane Fly In are excellent places to see Brown Bears in a very beautiful coastal setting in Lake Clark National Park. The Ultimate Expedition provides amazing aerial flight seeing. They have several venues that put you over large concentrations of Brown Bears and Coastal Seals and we excel at finding that Trophy Bull Moose, Dall Sheep or Caribou Herd you’re wanting to see. At several of the destinations you can view and photograph Black and Brown Bears, Eagles, Sea Otters and breathtaking scenery in an exclusive setting. They often have resident Moose Cows and Calves visit our lake front facility. Paddling one of our Mad River Canoes on our mile long lake will undoubtedly provide you the opportunity to approach one of their Loon families at close range.  The Marine Life Viewing on one of our Deep Sea Combo Trips is reason enough to go but we trust you won’t mind the fillets you’ll take home.

Photo from All Alaska Outdoors Lodge in Soldotna, AK.

Another wonderful option in Soldotna is High Adventure Air Charters. We did a full blog on this great company last year during silver salmon fishing season. If you missed it, you can check it out HERE. High Adventure Air Charters is a family owned and operated. Owners Sandy, Mark and Greg Bell are based in Soldotna in the heart of the beautiful Kenai Peninsula. They promise you the best fly in fishing and flightseeing opportunities to be found. Their wings cover over 30,000 square miles of Alaska’s best. With more than a quarter century of safe, reliable service, High Adventure Air Charters offers a large selection of fly in fishing trips and wilderness adventures.

Photo from High Adventure Air Charters in Soldotna, AK.

AA Seward Air Tours in Seward, Alaska offers scenic flights over mountains, glaciers, fjords and an endless amount of wildlife from land to sea. Alaska is alive and vibrant with a wide variety of animals that are easily view-able from their airplane. Every scenic flight will potentially show you mountain goats, black bears, grizzlies, harbor seals, eagles and moose. Even whales are sometimes seen from the air. If you are looking for a truly magical experience atop the beautiful town of Seward… look no further than AA Seward Air Tours!

Photo from AA Seward Air Tours in Seward, AK.

Alaska West Air in Nikiski, AK (just north of Kenai) says “It’s not everyday that you embark on your adventure of a lifetime. So, why fly with any air taxi service when you could fly-out with the best? Flying anglers, hunters, hikers, rock climbers, bear viewers, and photographers for 27 years.” Fly in their Turbine Otter, DeHavilland Turbine Beaver, PA-18 SuperCub or DeHavilland Piston Beaver. This is an excellent option in the central peninsula area if you are looking to get above it all and reach a secluded destination away from all the crowds. Because really, if you’re in Alaska… you gotta GO BIG (or go home)!

Photo from Alaska West Air in Nikiski, AK.

If you are having trouble deciding between all of the great options above, feel free to visit our website at http://www.kenaipeninsula.org or call our offices directly at (800) 535-3624 and let us help you plan your next dream vacation. That’s it for now, friends. Thank you for reading! We are officially… up, up & away!😉

Krazy about Kayaking on The Kenai

This post doesn’t need too much of an introduction, so we’ll just paddle right into it. We are absolutely “KRAZY” about kayaking on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. Being out on open water with the wind in your hair, the sun beaming down, mountains in the distance, the booming sound of glaciers calving, and wildlife to view from land to sea. Needless to say, a kayaking addiction is easy to come by and hard to shake.

Bear Glacier. Photo courtesy of Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking in Seward, AK.

Bear Glacier. Photo courtesy of Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking in Seward, AK.

From Kachemak Bay State Park in Homer, Prince William Sound, Humpy Cove, to Fox Island, Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward… we can’t get enough of the fun and adventurous outdoor activity!

Photo from Kayak Adventures Worldwide in Seward, AK.

Photo from Kayak Adventures Worldwide in Seward, AK.

There are lots and lots of incredible places to go kayaking on Alaska’s Playground, but we would like to show you a few lodges and guide outfits that are top-notch and come highly recommended.

KPTMC's own Keith Baxter with his beautiful wife Desiree enjoying Halibut Cove, AK.

KPTMC’s Member Services Director, Keith Baxter with his beautiful wife Desiree enjoying Halibut Cove.

Up first is Stillpoint Lodge across the bay from Homer, Alaska in the village of Halibut Cove. A short boat ride or float plane flight from Homer, and easily accessible from the lower 48, you’ll find a magnificent lodge nestled on the edge of the wilderness. Whether for a vacation, wedding, retreat, workshop, or a special family event, Stillpoint Lodge makes it easy to have the getaway of your dreams.

10325554_877288048964843_4915237127659787326_n

In addition to being an incredible secluded getaway location, Stillpoint Lodge offers some of the most epic kayaking adventures that you will ever come by. You can embark on a guided kayaking tour in Kachemak Bay State Park including kayaking at the Glacier Lake. Caution: your breath will be taken away. It is stunning!

305768_311194212240899_1931492197_n

Homer Ocean Charters in Homer, AK has so much to offer. They have been offering premier fishing charters for halibut and salmon since 1979. Homer is the premier destination for sea kayaking in Kachemak Bay. You are totally surrounded by picturesque mountain peaks, remote fjords and abundant wildlife. Homer Ocean Charters offers guided day and multi day kayaking trips for beginning and experienced sea kayakers.

10464093_704706816255472_2988783073627729617_n

Paddling among the sea otters, porpoises and even whales at times, including tide pooling, and learning about the local area adds to your exceptional experience. Their guides are experienced, knowledgeable, and helpful. Many paddlers have stated that kayaking with Homer Ocean Charters has been the highlight of their Alaskan vacation. They use single and double person necky kayaks that are very stable for beginners while providing the adventure the more experienced paddler is looking for.

10334398_678037242255763_1133166406119063999_n

Kayak Adventures Worldwide in Seward, Alaska is one of the coolest kayaking outfits around. If you’re looking for “local vibe, local access, awesome people and an excellent adventure” this is most definitely the place for you.

10712875_10152638836651239_8270782431579072204_nKayak Adventures Worldwide is a small shop based in Seward, Alaska offering environmentally friendly and educationally based sea kayaking trips.  You don’t need any experience to join their trips – just an adventurous spirit and a desire to learn and explore the great Alaskan wilderness. Check out more incredible photos by visiting their Facebook page Kayak Adventures Worldwide.

10462737_10152179827021239_3486154810644952036_n

Oh and we must add… Kayak Adventures Worldwide has succeeded in proving to us that sunsets on a kayaking adventure have a way of appearing much more magical than your average everyday sunset. It almost looks like the colors of the sunset are reflecting off of the kayaks. Simply incredible!

10451800_10152703671746239_8795026975767857828_nIn the same “neck of the woods” is another incredible guide outfit; Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking in Seward, Alaska. Imagine sea kayaking in a place of turquoise blue waters teeming with whales and puffins, tidewater and alpine glaciers, protected coves and rugged cliffs under glorious skies. These visions become reality while sea kayaking in Kenai Fjords National Park and Resurrection Bay with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.

1003420_553657864679785_878518196_n

Sea otters casually watch you as they feed on sea urchins and mollusks; seals follow you curiously as you kayak in silence; pods of orcas glide through the waters as they search for salmon… and it’s all waiting for you at Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.

1005697_550240491688189_592419718_n

Checking out the lush and mountainous Fox Island in Resurrection Bay is always an incredible adventure with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.

484761_550238075021764_1711486711_n

Orca Island Cabins is next up on our list. Located in Humpy Cove in Resurrection Bay outside of Seward, this fabulous place offers unique yurt accommodations on a private island. Enjoy the best in Alaska with whale watching, incredible kayaking, fishing, hiking or just sitting back and relaxing.  We did a full blog on Orca Island Cabins last summer. To read more about this special place, check out the full blog on Orca Island Cabins Orca Island Cabins.

10915147_10152627815465678_2298295920136522466_nLazy Otter Charters in Whittier, AK is an excellent choice if you are looking to explore Prince William Sound via kayak. Lazy Otter Charters Inc. is a family owned and operated charter and water taxi operation in Whittier, Alaska. They are here to help you plan your adventure in Prince William Sound! Perfect for men, women and children of all ages! Check out that cutie below on his first kayaking adventure.:-)

230124_143689785702562_2096732_nWhether you are interested in a personalized day cruise, including glaciers, whales and wildlife viewing, need a trip to a public cabin in Prince William Sound, or an expedition using our kayak transport, Lazy Otter Charters Inc. would love to help you with your Prince William Sound adventure. They are even now offering year-round winter tours of the sound!

alaska-kayak-trips

If you are a kayak owner and are looking for a great location to go out on your own adventure, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 907-262-5229 or visit us online HERE.

Photo courtesy of Keith Baxter, Member Services Director at KPTMC.

Photo courtesy of Keith Baxter, Member Services Director at KPTMC.

Are you addicted yet? If you aren’t… hurry and call one of these great places and succumb to the adventure that is sure to steal your heart and never let it go.

Photo courtesy of Desiree Baxter, Realtor at Jack White Real Estate in Soldotna.

Photo courtesy of Desiree Baxter, Realtor at Jack White Real Estate in Soldotna.

Get out and enjoy the sunshine this weekend… and all summer long for that matter. Happy paddling, friends!

Photo courtesy of Denai Keene, Realtor with Jack White Real Estate of Soldotna.

Photo courtesy of Denai Keene, Realtor with Jack White Real Estate of Soldotna.

 

Foodie Friday; Best BBQ on The Kenai

On The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground we live in paradise 365 days a year. But the “9 to 5” part of paradise sometimes requires a happy injection of good, hearty stick-to-your-ribs food. Because lets face it, sometimes its just A-OKAY to eat your way to happiness. Especially on a Friday! So, whats on the menu? Firehouse BBQ in Soldotna, AK!

1

You might have heard of this awesome place before, they did win both the People’s Choice “Best Entree” award and the People’s Choice “Best Overall Vendor” award at this years Taste of the Kenai. That’s right, BOTH awards. Like we said, this place is pretty awesome. And the owners? Talk about some of the funniest and most kind-hearted people that you will ever come by.

11069942_458948580935677_5333428363027238089_n

Last summer, Firehouse BBQ started as food truck just down the road from the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council in Soldotna.

945474_233242746839596_569787545_n

We were thrilled when Firehouse BBQ opened up a permanent location off of K-Beach Road in Soldotna. After lots of hard work and a total remodel, this place looks sharp!

01b4815fedb87788bacc78dd2ab63b375783c5549c

We love the patriotism shown throughout this cozy picnic-style dining atmosphere. The owners and employees truly care for the hardworking men and women serving and protecting our great community.
0131dcd0add6f5eb09c084a3fb7adbb5bdbaf0bd16

And to show their respect for local law enforcement and firefighters, they offer them a discount on all menu items. (Note: If this applies to you, be sure to mention this blog the next time you stop in to receive your discount.)

0112c8d796064cffa39d0cc214cb4a292e764ce9f4

Another cool decorative element to Firehouse BBQ is all of these groovy shirts on the ceiling with different Fire Departments from across Alaska and the “lower 48.” Many communities coming together in one building over excellent BBQ and desserts. Our kind of place for sure!

01b00d70e4d5ccdfccd01e3e95b811c31ecab734a9

And for those long summer days with warm weather and nearly 24 hours of daylight, ample outdoor seating is always appreciated! The deck bar-style seating area was just finished and there are also several picnic tables on the lawn out front (so you never have to worry about not having a place to sit when the parking lot is full).

01f133b54a95b64b13e218e871df167f23d1bdf7c5

Now onto the (really) good stuff; the menu. Read, drool, be mesmerized.

019934c58fb2754fc2b9bcd835f2c62e38a9993b5f

We started with a couple beverages. First up was a soda. To our surprise it was served in a mini-pitcher. How great! We never thought that a beverage could taste better being served out of a particular shape of cup, but in this case… somehow it did! Oh the little things.:-)

01877b4f8447ac038b74a676844e40216c43d18cfd

And out of pure joy over the mini-pitchers, we decided to order a sweet tea as well. What were we thinking? Sweet tea goes PERFECT with good southern BBQ. And this particular tea tasted absolutely incredible!

0137bc032596eb5a4ddd4b5aa778d60f1b40eeab45

First up was pulled pork, pulled chicken, potato salad and coleslaw. Ah-maz-ing. No words. Just the sound of “mmmmm”😉 Coleslaw is always questionable from one restaurant to the next. But this coleslaw is SO good. Perfectly creamy, moistened and seasoned.

01819bc59f83d3169d2053717c4449eca32bf9293e

Next up was pulled chicken, brisket, and ribs with baked beans and potato salad. Again, no words. Just so incredibly good. Minimal conversation was being had at the table.

0149085c0a2953d698096d443c584cbb4b440cddaa

For the road we just had to try one of the BBQ Stuffed Potato’s listed on the menu under “Our Best Seller.” Comes loaded with butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon, bbq sauce and lots of chopped brisket. We didn’t get a picture because we were in a bit of a food coma, but it looks a little something this this… (Note: average weight it 2lbs).

10801767_406300402867162_4696405805326305385_n

We were way too stuffed to indulge in dessert but word on the street is that Firehouse BBQ has some of the most mouthwatering homemade desserts around. Like this “world famous” banana bread pudding.

10846412_412715662225636_6103549651811801125_n

Or this Coca Cola cake. Holy chocolate lovers paradise. YUM!

11109000_498101250353743_8737911288106247922_n

And tons of fresh homemade cobblers and homemade vanilla ice cream rotated daily.

10405319_470908989739636_7975860484080855257_n

Attention Fisherman/Women & Early Risers: All summer long they will be open from 4am-10pm! PLUS they will be serving huge, homemade, delicious breakfast burritos. Stop in and grab a hot and fresh burrito before hitting the river in the morning, you know you wont regret it!😉

11257059_497166280447240_2659934825824622777_n

That’s it for now! Remember, if you’re looking for an excellent place to stop and grab a hearty and delicious bite to eat where quality and consistency are always guaranteed, you’d be silly not to put Firehouse BBQ in Soldotna, AK on your foodie bucket-list. If you ever have trouble finding the place off K-Beach Road, just look for this super-sweet old fire engine out front. Happy eating, friends!:-)

2

 

The Kenai; A Golfing Destination

When most people think of The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground they think… fishing, hiking, kayaking, mountains, glaciers, wildlife, etc. But what many don’t know is that the Kenai Peninsula is actually a beautiful golfing destination.

Photo from Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, AK

Photo from Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, AK.

Although we are limited on our total number of golf courses, the ones we do have are absolutely stunning. Check out those amazing mountain views!
Photo from Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK

Photo from Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK.

If you are visiting the Central Peninsula and pass through Soldotna, “Alaska’s Kenai River City” you must check out Birch Ridge Golf Course. This is a uniquely challenging golf course with gorgeous views. Birch Ridge is a full length nine hole golf course with separate tee boxes for the “front” and “back” nines. When stretched out to 3,200 yards, the folks at Birch Ridge Golf Course say that you won’t find a more challenging golfing experience anywhere. Their greens are wonderfully contoured and consistently rated as the best greens in Alaska by state club professionals. They offer rental cottages and cabins, a delicious restaurant and a stocked pro shop.  

Photo from Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, AK

Photo from Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, AK.

The beautiful Kenai Golf Course in the town of Kenai, AK is the only full-service 18 hole course on the Kenai Peninsula.  Chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of a sandhill crane family, a mama moose with twins, or a pair of bald eagles.  Enjoy our driving range and other practice facilities. Check out our clinic schedule or call for private lessons.  The clubhouse offers golf equipment and merchandise, and a snack bar for speedy lunches or a leisurely snack.  We have club rentals and push cart and power cart rentals available.

Photo from Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK

Photo from Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK.

Another course in Soldotna, AK that offers a water driving range and 9 holes of golf on a Par 37 course is Bird Homestead Golf Course located off Funny River Road.

Photo courtesy of Bird Homestead Golf Course Facebook Page.

Photo courtesy of Bird Homestead Golf Course Facebook Page.

In the beautiful town of Anchor Point, AK you will find the Fireweed Meadows Golf Course. This was the first golf course in the State of Alaska to feature new technology synthetic turf on all tee boxes, greens and fringe.

Photo courtesy of Fireweed Meadows Golf Course.

Photo courtesy of Fireweed Meadows Golf Course.

The town of Homer, AK features the Homer Golf Course (or “The Tips Golf Course”) which is a 9 hole, par 3 course with impeccable views. This historic golf course was a labor of love that has been established since 1982.

Photo courtesy of Homer Golf Course Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Homer Golf Course Facebook page.

Alaskan wildlife–including moose, caribou, eagles, ducks, sandhill cranes, coyotes, wolves and an occasional bear may be seen around the edges.

Two Caribou playing a round. Photo at the Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK

Two Caribou playing a round. Photo at the Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK.

And be advised that you might roll up on a mama moose and her young snacking on the golf cart trail. So always drive slowly and use extra caution.

Mama Moose & Baby Moose Snacking on the trail. Photo at the Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK

Mama Moose & Baby Moose Snacking on the trail. Photo at the Kenai Golf Course.

Every once in a while you can actually get close enough to wildlife to share an up-close-and-personal encounter. Be sure to never approach the wildlife and always let them play through.😉

Up Close & Personal with a young caribou. Photo at the Kenai Golf Course.

Up Close & Personal with a young caribou. Photo at the Kenai Golf Course.

The Birch Ridge Golf Course and the Kenai Golf Course both also offer excellent women’s and men’s only clinics for those looking to learn the game of golf or brush up on their skills and learn a few new pointers.

Photo at the Kenai Golf Course.

Photo at the Kenai Golf Course.

And of course we can’t forget to mention that there is always something fun for the kiddos!

Photo from Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, AK.

Photo from Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, AK.

If you are visiting The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground this summer be sure to put a round of golf on your to-do list. Or maybe make that a round of golf every day?😉 Hey, while the weather is beautiful and we have nearly 24/7 daylight, why not? Be sure to be on the lookout for the beautiful fireweed while you’re at it. Bright pink/purple and hard to miss!

Photo at the Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK.

Photo at the Kenai Golf Course in Kenai, AK.

Camp The Kenai this Memorial Day Weekend

Have plans for the upcoming long weekend? If not, look no further. And if so, consider rearranging.😉 Memorial Day weekend is universally known as the “unofficial kick-off to summer” and there is simply no greater way to enjoy the start of it all than to get outside and enjoy nature with friends and family.

visit_campgrounds

The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is where all the magic happens. It is a beautiful destination to enjoy all year round, but especially during the summer months. Between the infamous Kenai River, countless lakes and streams, glaciers, wildlife, hiking and ATV trails, horseback riding, kayaking, etc. The list goes on and on. The unanimous vote: The Kenai absolutely rocks.😉

Tent Camping By Cook Inlet On Homer Spit

Tent Camping on the Homer Spit

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge alone has campgrounds that offer over 120 RV and tent sites to accommodate a wide range of visitor expectations.  Hosts are available in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area at Hidden Lake and Upper Skilak Campgrounds. Free camping in the Skilak area and on Swanson and Swan Lake Roads is available year-round.

Skilak Lake photo from Rachael Huttula

Skilak Lake photo from Rachael Huttula

Now, if we are going to encourage you to get outside and go camping of course we need to provide you a list of some excellent spots to check out. There are a lot of options outside of the ones we will mention on this blog and you can check out the complete list on our website by clicking HERE.

Camping near the Lost Lake Trail, Chugach National Forest, Seward, Alaska.

Camping near the Lost Lake Trail, Chugach National Forest, Seward, Alaska.

Get ready to load up, get a little dirt on the tires, indulge in some smores and soak up the sunshine. Caution: Be prepared to go into work Tuesday morning still smelling like campfire. Don’t worry, if your boss is as cool as ours they will probably share in that same “Alaska’s Playground” aroma. And if not, they will secretly be filled with jealousy and nostalgia.😉

Camping in Bear Glacier Lagoon, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Camping in Bear Glacier Lagoon, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

First up, we always recommend that you check out Kenai Lake near the town of Cooper Landing! This is a large, “zig-zag” shaped lake on the Kenai Peninsula. The lake forms the headwaters of the Kenai River, and is a great destination for camping, fishing and other outdoor activity. Due to its size and shape it is accessible from both the Sterling Highway and the Seward Highway. Quartz Creek Campground, Ptarmigan Creek Campground, Primrose Landing Campground, Copper Creek Campground, Kenai Riverside Campground and Trail River Campground are all great places to checkout if you want to explore the area around the beautiful Kenai Lake.

Kenai Lake Camping by Buck Shreck

Kenai Lake Camping by Buck Shreck

Explore the natural beauty at Hidden LakeHidden Lake extends eight miles into the foothills north of Skilak Lake. In June, sockeye salmon smolts gather in the lake by the hundreds of thousands before migrating down Hidden Creek to Skilak Lake. Up to 30,000 adults return to spawn in June and July. Brown and black bears meander through the dense growth along the creek south of the lake. Hike the 1.2-mile (round trip) Burney’s Trail slowly with ears open for the songs and calls of hermit and thrushes, boreal chickadees, and red-breasted nuthatches. Walk along the lakeshore to the mouth of Hidden Creek to catch a glimpse of muskrats and moose, and to watch yellow-rumped (myrtle) warblers snatch insects from the air.

Hidden Lake located along Skilak Lake Road

Hidden Lake located along Skilak Lake Road

Float the beautiful Swanson River. Approximately 40 miles long, the Swanson River’s entire course lies within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. In its lower reaches, it passes through the Swanson River Oil Field east of the town of Nikiski before turning sharply north. Near its mouth, it flows through Captain Cook State Recreation Area and under North Kenai Road to enter Cook Inlet. Check out the Swanson River Campground, Rainbow Lake Campground or the Dolly Varden Lake Campground for great spots to kick back and enjoy this beautiful destination.

swanson

If the town of Sterling, Alaska is on your radar you might want to check out Moose River RV Park, Alaska Canoe & Campgrounds or Bing’s Landing Campground.

Swanson River

Moose River

Camping in the town of Kenai, Alaska is always a treat. Beluga Lookout RV Park tops our list in this great town thanks to its stunning mountain views, easy beach access and breathtaking sunsets.

10622847_524045017733026_6713875582722005756_n

Enjoy the Kenai River and many other great spots from “Alaska’s Kenai River City,” Soldotna, Alaska. A few great places to camp include Centennial Camp Ground, Edgewater Lodge & RV Park, River Terrace RV Park and the Klondike RV Park & Cabins.

User-Submitted-Content-From-App-01

South of Soldotna, the town of Kasilof, Alaska offers great camping at Crooked Creek RV Park and the Kasilof RV Park.

Photo from Crooked Creek RV

Photo from Crooked Creek RV

If you venture through the town of Anchor Point, check out the Stariski Campground, Kyllonen RV Park or the Anchor River Campground.

anchor_point

In Homer, Alaska camping on the infamous “spit” is a force to be reckoned with. This should be a bucket list “must” for anyone and everyone. The Homer Spit Campground and the Heritage RV Park are a couple great places to check out. It is simply amazing and we will now just sit back and let the picture do all of the talking.

Camp alongside the Homer Spit via tent or RV

Camp alongside the Homer Spit via tent or RV

Moose Pass is a quaint little town that always has a way of capturing our hearts in a new, special way. Some great places to camp in Moose Pass include Trail River Campground, Tenderfoot Creek Campground, Granite Creek Campground and Bertha Creek Campground.

moose-pass-summit-lake-lodge

The incredible town of Seward, Alaska offers some of the most once-in-a-lifetime, “pinch me I can’t believe I’m actually here” kind of camping experiences. Just look to the photo below if you don’t believe us. Camping on the Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park. WHAT?! Yes, it’s possible! Ahhhh-mazing, we know!:-)

Other great campgrounds in the Seward area include Stoney Creek RV Park, Bear Creek RV Park, Miller’s Landing, Seward Waterfront Park and Silver Derby Campground.

Happy Camping, friends! Be safe out there this Memorial Day and remember to take time to honor our nations heroes. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all of you that have risked your lives to defend our freedom. With love, thank you to all of our heroes.

shutterstock_118006624

Gwin’s Lodge in Cooper Landing; Fantastic Food, Superior Service 

Yesterday we ventured from our office in Soldotna up to the wonderful town of Cooper Landing. Nothing like a pre-Mother’s Day lunch at a great restaurant to get the weekend kicked off right.   

Gwin’s Lodge is a favorite of many on the Kenai Peninsula. “It is an iconic and historic landmark well-known for delicious homecooking and comfortable lodging.”

We would also add that anyone who walks through the doors at Gwin’s Lodge & Roadhouse also likely walks away feeling like they received some of the best, most warm and genuine hospitality ever. And the traditionally crafted log roadhouse provides perfect “Alaskan ambiance.” It’s a must-experience when visiting The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

At Gwin’s Lodge, you can also book many different excursions throughout Cooper Landing. Such activities include guided fishing, white water rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking and wildlife viewing. Needless to say, Gwin’s Lodge has all of your needs covered from Stay-to-Play!

To get started, a couple beverages were in order. A cup-of-joe from Kaladi Brothers Coffee, a local Alaskan coffeehouse chain.

And not for the faint of hearts, a Glacier IPA from Glacier Brewhouse, a local brewery out of Anchorage.  Served in a mason jar with foam on top, just how we like it on Alaska’s Playground.

Now onto the plot of the story; the grub. Being that they are still a week away from “the busy season” kicking off, we had a limited menu to choose from. Limited on options, not on quality!

A bit of a blurry photo, but some of the options included the Kenai Burger, Philly Cheese Steak, Smoked Salmon Chowder, Home Cooked Fries and of course… Homeade PIES! We went with the house favorite, the Gwin’s Burger coupled with Homeade Sweet Potato Fries.

And the Philly Cheese Steak paired with traditional Homeade Fries. Y-U-M!

It’s impossible to pass up Homeade Pie, so of course we had to indulge. It’s  the weekend after all, so going back for seconds on dessert is almost to be expected. Especially when it’s delicious Homeade Cherry Pie! Double Y-U-M!

All in all, an excellent day made extra special by a great trip to one of the Kenai Peninsula’s best restaurants. We can’t say it more loud and proud; you must put a visit to Gwin’s Lodge on your Alaska’s Playground bucket list. Happy dining & happy travels to you all!:-)

Local Breweries on Alaska’s Playground

From Kenai, to Soldotna, to Homer, to Seward – we got you covered when it comes to brewing one on. Well, actually THEY have you covered. We are just the lucky ones that get to give you a quick glimpse into the savory and delightful selection of handcrafted ales and microbrews that you have at your very fingertips when you are visiting The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

273638_2

In alphabetical order, let’s start with the quaint and quirky fishing town of Homer, Alaska known for being the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.” They say, at the “End of the Road” – The Adventure Begins! And frankly, we couldn’t agree more. Of course, once you’re parked that is. Homer Brewing Company is known for producing fresh traditional country ales.

head

Located at the “end of the road,” spilling out into Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet, Homer Brewing Company is 220 miles south of Anchorage and worth every minute of the drive! The town of Homer is often referred to as the crown jewel of the state, and its beauty is defined by the land and seascape of the area. From hiking to kayaking to surfing to birding, you can find plenty of activity to work up a thirst.

homer-brewery-company

Homer Brewing Company began by the inspiration of the renaissance of beer throughout the U.S. and the will to carve out a livelihood in Homer. Brought together through the original homebrew cooperative, the Q & Q Guild, Steve McCasland, Lasse Holmes & Karen Berger combined their talents & love of beer to create Homer Brewing Company. Open September 21, 1996 as Homer’s first commercial brewery, originally housed in a space of 23’x29’, brewing with a recycled, re-fabricated 3-beer-barrell system, considered “micro” in the industry, HBC grew to produce over 1000 bbls. a year with this equipment. In February of 2001, adversity struck when the lease on the building was not renewed and the brewery faced going out of business. Thanks to the cooperation and encouragement of the local bank & astounding local support, they persevered and purchased a permanent home for the brewery, re-opening in August of 2001 at their current location on Lake Shore Drive. In 2005 they installed a refurbished 7-barrel brewing system that has increased efficiency in the brew house.

Photo Credit: tasteofthekenai.com

Photo Credit: tasteofthekenai.com

The flagship lineup of beers available year round include the Old Inlet Pale Ale, Broken Birch Bitter, Red Knot Scottish, China Poot Porter, and the Odyssey Oatmeal Stout. Seasonal and specialty favorites include King & Wing ESB, Oktoberfest, Celestiale, and the Royal Imperial Stout.

Homer Brewing Company Growlers

Next up we have Kassik’s Brewery in Kenai, Alaska. Established in 2004, Kassik’s Brewery is known for “Brewing Quality Craft Ales.”

Kassiks_Brewery_Logo_-_Black_backgroun

Kassik’s Brewery is housed in a small warehouse nestled in a clearing in the woods, adjacent to the Kassik’s home in the small town of Nikiski, just north of Kenai. Frank’s passion for brewing began when his wife Debara bought him a home brew kit for Christmas. Frank was hooked and soon became a proficient home brewer.

052613-kassiks-1354

They built a 36 X 50 shop in hopes to someday have a brewery.  In May of 2005 Kassik’s purchased a
used seven barrel system, and then remodeled their building to accommodate the equipment with the help of family and friends.  The brewery opened Memorial Weekend 2006 with their first brew Beaver Tail Blonde, their Moose Point Porter was on tap a few weeks later.

kassik-s-kenai-beaver-tail-blondeKassik’s has 10 brews on tap. They are open 6 days a week during the winter and daily during the summer (May-August). On tap at the Brewery they currently have the Vanilla Bean Cream Ale, Whaler’s Wheat, Beaver Tail Blonde Ale, Orion’s Quest Red Ale, Pale Moon Ale, Morning Wood IPA, Dolly Varden Nut Brown, Moose Point Porter, and the Roughneck Stout.

3061088 (1)

Seasonal and specialty brews include the Caribou Kilt, Big Nutz Imperial Brown, Imperial Spice Honey Wheat, Chocolate Cherry Stout, Maple Porter, Barley Wine, Smoked Russian Imperial Stout, “Cream of the Coop” Cream Ale, Spiced Cream Ale, and the Double Wood.

Photo courtesy of ADN.com

Photo courtesy of ADN.com

Next up we have Kenai River Brewing Company located in Soldotna, Alaska. Kenai River Brewing Company is a microbrewery specializing in handcrafted ales.

Kenai-River-Brewing-Peninsula-Brewers-Reserve-960x537When you visit the Kenai Peninsula, we recommend that you always compliment your adventure- whether fishing, hiking, snow machining or just relaxing, with freshly brewed beer. Kenai River is an excellent option especially if you are visiting “Alaska’s Kenai River City” of Soldotna, AK.

Photo courtesy of tasteofthekenai.com

Photo courtesy of tasteofthekenai.com

Currently on tap at Kenai River Brewing Co. they have the Honeymoon Hefe, Naptown Nut Brown, Peninsula Brewer’s Reserve, Pillars Pale Ale, Arctic XPA, Breakfast Beer, Skilak Scottish, Sunken Island IPA, and the Single Hop IPA Series.

Photo courtesy of http://hesomagazine.com/

Photo courtesy of http://hesomagazine.com/

They also have several specialty brews on tap year-round so be sure to check them out if you are in Soldotna and are craving a beer to quench your thirst. One of our favorites has to be this Gummi Bear Beer. But then again, maybe we just have an undeniable sweet tooth.😉

1548185_10153772240015607_1896437546_o

Venturing now down to Seward, Alaska to visit the Seward Brewing Company which is located in the heart of the one of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities. Seward Brewing Company prides themselves in offering delicious local craft beer, inspiring meals and impeccable service. Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay, the town of Seward offers a plethora of activities that will easily (and quickly) help you work up a dire thirst.

10009912_750773021665356_2791992568347981157_n

Since 1904, this historic building where Seward Brewing Company is today, has seen many different residents including the Seattle Bar, Seward Theatre, Alaska Steamship Company, Elks Club and the Harbor Dinner Club. The building was abandoned in 2007, and sat empty until a complete remodel and rebirth as the Seward Brewing Company in 2012, by Gene and Sandy Minden.

In 2014, Erik Slater and Hillary Bean bought the Seward Brewing Company.  Erik and Hillary, along with their daughter Rowan, are firmly rooted in the community of Seward and the State of Alaska. They have both been working in various roles in the food & beverage industry for over 40 years, combined.  They are pleased to bring their restaurant expertise to the Seward Brewing Company. Needless to say, a warm and hospitable atmosphere that “feels like home” is what you will experience when you visiting this beautiful facility.

HillErik

Signature favorites that you will find when visiting the Seward Brewing Company are the Rockfish Red Ale, El Jefeweizen Chile Wheat, Inked Out Stout, Pin Bone IPA, and the Crusty Whale Pale Ale.

10421622_785429984866326_7958189087621100467_n

If you fancy a good beer, check out Seward Brewing Company the next time you are in town. While you’re at it, take a kayaking trip through Resurrection Bay, a multi-species fishing trip out on the salt, or a Glacier & Wildlife Cruise and discover for yourself why many say that “Alaska Starts Here!®”

10606356_711414595601199_4299612353401145237_n

Last but certainly not least we venture back up to the town of Soldotna, Alaska to visit St. Elias Brewing Company. This is a full service restaurant and brewpub offering lots of yummy options for feasting and thirst quenching.

14

At St. Elias Brewing Company, they believe in handcrafting innovative, high quality, world class beers. Their beer matches the personality of their business; fun and lively, yet historic and eclectic. With a 7 barrel brewhouse, the friendly staff at St. Elias promises that your beer will arrive fresh in your glass, as beer was intended to.

Photo courtesy of  redoubtreporter.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of redoubtreporter.wordpress.com

Offering up to 11 beers on tap at a time, you are guaranteed to have a big selection to choose from when grabbing a brew at St. Elias. Some favorites include the Chainsaw Logger, Cross-Bo Pilsner, Puddle Jumper Pale Ale, Mother’s Milk Irish Stout, Williwaw IPA, and the Moose Juice Barley Wine.

14394586

That’s all for now, folks! If you decide to indulge in any (or all) of these amazing breweries, be sure to drink responsibly. If you drink, don’t drive. If you need any more advice on travel planning, activity ideas, or delicious restaurant options… be sure to call us between 9am-5pm AST at (907) 262-5229.

blog-header3

 

Sun, Snow, Slush Cup!

We ventured up from our office in Soldotna this weekend to check out the 38th Annual Spring Carnival and Slush Cup at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, AK.

srping_carnival

The weekend started out with questionable weather as we left town. The sky almost immediately turned dreary and black with large pockets of rain gusting down in the distance. It continued that way through the town of Sterling near Bings Landing.

bp1

And then all of a sudden it was like we magically made it through the clouds and were in a land of bluebird spring skies! By the time we hit the Russian River it was crisp, clear and simply-stunning outside.

bp2

We weren’t surprised at all to see lines being wet when we hit one of our favorite little towns, Cooper Landing. Even with temperatures in the low 30’s, you can almost always count on seeing a few fishermen (and women) lined up in the river as you drive over the bridge. Seeing anglers out enjoying The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is such beautiful sight to see!

bp3

And by the time we reached Tern Lake at the cutoff right before turning left to head to Girdwood from Soldotna, we couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the snow-covered mountains as they stood so stoic looking absolutely enduring against the big fluffy clouds and the bright blue sky.

bp4

By the time we hit Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, it was absolute (awesome) madness. Limited parking spots, crowds all the way up the mountain, and lots of laughter and smiling faces in the distance.

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

What is the Slush Cup you ask? It is an annual event held at Alyeska Resort where tons of costumed “contestants” (skiers and snowboarders) participate in an alpine run, hit a ramp and try to skim across a pond at the base of the hill for the chance to win a season pass for for the next season (2015-16).

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

It’s one of the most popular events of Alyeska’s Spring Carnival and draws a large crowd of spectators hoping to see some impressive tricks and spectacular wipeouts (see below).

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

The crew from the resort got the “cup” ready for slush on the night prior to the festivities. They did an excellent job if we do say so ourselves!

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

The night before the start of all the fun Slush Cup activities, the Sitzmark Bar & Grill in Girdwood holds a costume contest where 25 competitors will be selected based on quality of costume (originality, flare and style) to compete in the Slush Cup the next day (wearing the same costume).

Photo Credit: Anchorage Press

Photo Credit: Anchorage Press

This year, Colin Gordon took first place in the event. Pictured below is Hunter Keffalos as he flips into the water. Pretty incredible shot!

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alaska Dispatch News

Desi Sherwood took second place.

Photo Credit: Alaska Dispatch News

Photo Credit: Alaska Dispatch News

And Joey Aist took third place.

Photo Credit: Alaska Dispatch News

Photo Credit: Alaska Dispatch News

Jack Stahla won the prize for best crash.

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Other events included downhill mountain bike race…

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Xtratuf tug-o-war…

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Dummy Downhill race (using dummy’s)…

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

And the Idiot’s Swim! Only the brave and courageous can handle this (or any of these events really)… Brrr!😉

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

Photo Credit: Alyeska Resort

All in all it was an absolutely fun and adventurous weekend filled with perfect winter/spring weather. And then as we left and began to head back down to the central peninsula, white-out happened. Maybe it was a sign to stay longer? Who really needs to be at working Monday morning anyways?😉

bp5

Kudos to Alyeska Resort and all of their great sponsors for putting together another super-successful and wildly-fun Spring Carnival. We can’t wait until next year!

Work Like a Captain, Play Like a Pirate at Chinooks Bar and Grill in Seward, AK

Today officially marks the first day of spring! Woohoo! For us “Alaskans” we are enjoying 12 long daylight hours now from 8am until 8pm. Before we know it, the midnight sun will be upon us and we’ll be forgetting to go to sleep at night. Must/Play/All/Day.😉

Seward Alaska

In celebration of the first day of spring, we decided to take a journey to the incredible town of Seward, Alaska. There are countless things to love about this town filled with roughly 2,700 year-round residents. We especially love the half frozen “break up” this time of year that creates beautiful natural scenes in the wild. Like this waterfall for example; absolutely gorgeous.

waterfall seward alaska

This time of year we usually just like to go and take in the sights, spot for some wildlife, and enjoy the peaceful town before the summer rush starts pouring in and the population grows exponentially.

train and mtns

A lot of area businesses are still closed for the off-season (October through April) so a long, relaxing nature drive without much on the agenda is often times the best way to play a trip to Seward on a quite spring weekday. We recommend heading out to the Lowell Point State Recreation Site for a hike during low tide.

lowell point

After taking in the impeccable scenery and getting some exercise on a nearby trail, we headed to enjoy a late lunch at a restaurant that we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews on; Chinooks Bar and Grill! If you happened to make it out to the 2015 Taste of the Kenai, you likely tried just a little sample of the amazing food that gets created by their resident chef, Mr. Kevin Lane. Thank you again to the Chinooks team for supporting the Alaska’s Playground family by being a fabulous vendor!

Chinooks Bar and Grill

And speaking of the Chinooks Bar & Grill family, we can recall first meeting the owners when we attended the 2014 Halibut Cove Live event. After sharing a table with them and walking away from the night not actually remembering their names, it quickly become apparent as to why. Although there were introductions, the owners of Chinooks couldn’t stop raving about the success of the restaurant being highly attributed to Chef Kevin Lane. When you arrive at Chinooks, the first think you will find near the entrance is a beautiful display that tells you a little bit more about Chef Kevin Lane including a list of his incredible accomplishments, some well deserved press, and his philosophy on how he “Cooks Alaska!” From the sound of it, we were in for a real treat.

Chef Kevin Lane

Anytime you are greeted by a sign that condones day drinking, you know you’ve found a great place. Hey, you’re on vacation (or wait, maybe just a day trip?). It’s totally acceptable.😉

Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Alaska

The décor continued on the with the “captain/pirate” nautical theme as we continued to make our way through the entrance.

Chinooks Bar and Grill

The glass artwork throughout the facility was absolutely stunning. A very gorgeous touch to the warm and inviting atmosphere that was felt throughout.

Chinooks Restaurant

And even the bathrooms are adorable and perfectly decorated to match the theme. It’s hard not to appreciate when establishments pay close attention to every detail from top to bottom. So cool!

Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Alaska

Making our way through the bar area to our table we were impressed by how clean everything was and how friendly and outgoing the service was.

Chinooks Bar Seward Alaska

Now on to the good stuff, try choosing a table when this is your view! Too many options. All of which are excellent however.

Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Alaska

We quickly found a seat with the best view in town. If the food is a good as the view, this might just be the perfect slice of paradise!

Chinooks Restaurant Seward Alaska

As if snow capped mountains and ocean views weren’t enough, quickly after we sat down this little guy came swimming by. Just a happy harbor seal putting on the best show in town.

Harbor Seal Seward Alaska at Chinooks

The menu came and we got straight to work. Fresh wild Alaska seafood, delcious steaks, hearty soups, and creative appetizers. Deciding from lots of amazing options is not an easy task. But hey, there is no better kind of work that this!😉 YUM!

Chinooks Bar and Grill Menu

Flip to the other side and you have hand crafted cocktails, Alaska brews, sinless sodas, and bottled beers.

Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Menu

Although not originally planning to, we decided to start with a couple of drinks since they all looked so creative and delicious. Pictured below is the “Winter is Coming” which has Applejack Brandy, Makers Mark Bourbon, Apple Cider, Lemon Juice, and Thyme Syrup. You wouldn’t think to have a “Winter is Coming” on the first day of spring, but with temps below 10 degrees, it just felt right. The result = delish! Like that view? Talk about a win/win situation!

winter is coming chinooks bar and grill seward ak

We also tried a “Ginger Snap” which is made of Ginger Vodka, Muddled Orange, Lemon and Ginger, St Germain, and Ginger Ale all on the rocks. And enjoyed by the fire. Can’t get better ambiance than this.

ginger snap chinooks restaurant seward alaska

We started off with a couple of salads. First up is this Southwest Caesar Salad (half portion). Made with crisp romaine, poblano dressing, queso fesco, spiced pepitas and picked onions.

southwest caesar salad chinooks bar and grill seward alaska

And a delicious House Salad made with fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, cranberries, croutons and a choice of their housemade dressing. We opted for the Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette. It was fabulous!

house salad chinooks restaurant seward alaska

For our main meal we wanted to try everything, so at the spared expense of our waistbands we decided to just get three appetizers to split. First up was the Alaskan Halibut Cheeks which were made with Tarragon Beurre Blanc, Tomato, and Fried Capers. Words can’t really even describe how good these were. Halibut cheeks were good to perfection and not overdone at all. The ingredients all blended together perfectly for a light yet flavorful starter. Oh and the bread was soft and warm and felt like it had just come out of the over.

halibut cheeks Chinooks Bar and Grill Seward Alaska

Next up was these two fabulous Lamb Burg-inis. Lame Sliders with Rosemary Aioli, Caramelized Onions and Smoked Mozzarella. So good, we wished we would have ordered another plate. But again, our waistbands were thanking us.😉

lamb burg-inis chinooks seward alaska

And last but certainly not least were these sinfully delicious Risotto Balls. Filled with Mozzarella and served with Spicy Red Pepper Sauce. A perfect combination of flavor, filling, and zest.

risotto balls chinooks restaurant seward alaska

Just as we were finishing up, we noticed 6-8 harbor seals all ganged up together out our window. We weren’t exactly sure what they were doing, but they were certainly giving us the show of our lives. How many heads do you count in the photo below?

harbor seal group Chinooks Restaurant Seward Alaska

Chinooks Bar and Grill was incredibly clean as well as very warm and inviting. The ambiance was perfectly fitting for the small fishing town that Seward is so infamously known for. The service was laid back and very hospitable. The drinks were refreshing and creative. The food exceeded our expectations from start to finish. Everything was just simply perfect. We recommend Chinooks to the moon and back and we (personally) can’t wait to dine there again!

me pic seward

Happy faces all around! Thank you to the Chinooks Bar & Grill team from all of your friends on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!

Two Swans a Swimming in Moose Pass, Alaska

 

Experiencing moments of magic on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is something that, believe it or not, happens quite often. But when you are living day in & day out on countryside that is filled with glacier-covered mountains,  loads of incredible wildlife, more species of fish than you can count, and some of the best sunsets in the world… this might not come as such a surprise after all. And on that note, please see exhibit (a) shown below. A perfect moment caught on a gorgeous (chilly) spring day in March while driving through Moose Pass, Alaska.

swans perfect

Two swans a swimming on Trail Lakes, which the town of Moose Pass, Alaska is nestled upon. To just pull to the side of the road and experience such a beautiful wildlife viewing right in front of your eyes is absolutely magical. Did you know that swans mate for life? So romantic.😉 We think that these two have a pretty great life ahead of them swimming happily on Alaska’s Playground.

swan up close 2

Those moments of magic are in fact what The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground has become so famous for delivering time and time again. Moose Pass is a very special place. On the way from Anchorage heading down to Seward, Moose Pass is surrounded by towering mountains and is known for having some of the warmest hospitality that Alaska’s Playground has to offer. From the moment you begin to enter Moose Pass, you can’t help but to be stopped in your tracks by the undying beauty. Warning; it makes it hard to concentrate on the road! Stay. Focused.😉

coming in!

The community includes numerous bed and breakfast establishments, guide services, flight-seeing, a restaurant and shops.  Moose Pass will help you enjoy a vacation whether you are a sportsman, photographer, explorer, pilot, or hammock-bound book lover!

vfiles2155

Moose Pass is an unincorporated community of just over two hundred people on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Small, yet charming and perfect in so many ways.

67035750

This picturesque town 30 miles outside of Seward got its name, in part, in 1903 when a moose got in the way of a mail carrier’s dog team. This is one of the few theories that the locals have on exactly how the name came about.

moose-pass-summit-lake-lodge

Even the views from (either side of) the train tracks are breathtaking. The Alaska Railroad never disappoints, no matter where it goes!

railroad

Moose Pass is a great home base for visiting Seward…

Seward

Or the Russian River fishing area.

Russian River

But before you go anywhere, no trip to Moose Pass is complete without getting some of the BEST fudge in the world. Fittingly named the Moose Drop-In. Sure, we may be a little partial to our local chocolatier, but you have to trust us. This stuff is too good to put into words. And its homemade. Best described as “heaven on earth.” Favorite flavor (of the moment): Habanero Raspberry!

fudge

When visiting Moose Pass, you can even sharpen your best cutting tools if you have them handy. One of the locals built a giant waterwheel with a sharpening stone attached to it.

wheel

It is called Ed Estes’s wooden water wheel and sharpening stone and it is another little landmark in the quaint town of Moose Pass that holds a ton of history and tells a great story.

sign 2

From incredible vistas to jaw-dropping “once in a lifetime” wildlife viewings, there are countless reasons to put the Kenai Peninsula at the top of your Alaska bucket list.  While you’re visiting, be sure to check out Moose Pass and share some of your fun photos and adventures with us through The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground Facebook page.

sign at wheel

Dreaming of Fox Island, Alaska

Today we are super excited to feature this guest post from Kristi Trimmer who is a full-time traveler, beer & wine blogger, runner, tech geek, and garden lover. Kristi is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and after traveling to the last frontier (and falling in love with the never-ending beauty of this vast land), is currently in the middle of trying to survive her first ever winter in Alaska. Although the minimal daylight hours and chilly temps can get to most people, we are pretty sure that Kristi’s job spent interviewing craft breweries and wineries is keeping her mighty warm at night.😉 Read on to learn more about Kristi’s journey to Fox Island, a lush, mountainous isle in Resurrection Bay located just a short boat ride from the quaint fishing town of Seward, Alaska.

There is one place when I close my eyes that I imagine I am back at… Fox Island, Alaska. An island with very few people, an amazing lodge, a room that had the best bed I have slept on in years, and a porcupine that I wanted to hug. Yep, I’m still dreaming of Fox Island, Alaska.

A part of Fox Island is owned by CIRI Alaska Tourism, which is located in Resurrection Bay, 12 miles south of Seward. You have to take a boat to get there and there are no phones, no internet, and no people. Well, a few people, but not many. There are only eight cabins – so the whole place has a very friendly, intimate feel to it.

Every day the Kenai Fjords Wildlife and Glacier Tour boat stops at Fox Island for lunch after departing from Seward. But you don’t get to go to the Lodge. The Lodge is special. After I took the boat ride to the island I was met by Cathy Martell, the General Manager of Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge. I might have fallen in love. Not with her! But with Fox Island. I found a place that I never wanted to leave. I sat down, put my feet up and warmed up by the fireplace and looked out at this wonderful place.

I was only there for the night, but I wanted to stay forever. It was a bittersweet time – I am at one of the most beautiful, most romantic, places I had ever been, but I was there solo as the man I was dating had to cancel last minute. I was in the midst of couples celebrating romantic getaways to a remote island. That’s not awkward at all.

There were 3 couples and me staying at Fox Island. It was the last weekend before the island closed for the season and there was excitement in the air that I just can’t quite explain. When we arrived at the Wilderness Lodge we had a seated lunch looking out at the crystal blue-green waters of Resurrection Bay. They were all tables for two, not communal dining. That’s ok, I am used to eating alone.

Then about 10 minutes into the silence, the guy at the table next to me spoke up and asked where everyone was from. So glad he broke the ice! I met Day and Jacob from Texas and Steve and Fiona from England. What was awesome was that Day and Jacob invited me to eat with them – I gladly accepted!

We were all then shown to our log cabins and given some time to freshen up before the afternoon’s activities of a nature walk, a Chef’s cooking demo and then a seated 5-course dinner at the Lodge. Heaven, I tell you!

Nature + Cooking + Amazing Views = Heaven

My cabin the woods – I would live here year-round if I could!

I needed a few minutes alone to get my mind right. To not stress out over being there alone and to enjoy each moment that had been gifted to me. When I walked into my room, I felt more at home in that moment than I had in years. It was the perfect tiny house!!

What you don’t see is that there was also a cozy couch and coffee table with a perfect view looking out over the island’s lake. Right in front of this oh-so-comfy bed, I did 10 minutes of yoga to clear my head, stretch my body, and to meditate looking out over that pristine, calm lake. I climbed up onto that bed and never wanted to leave. I almost ditched the day to spend it all right there – *that* comfortable!!

I loved that right outside my door was a footprint made with rocks found on the island. And that tree stump was home to a few mushrooms, raspberries, and Salmon berries – and yep, I ate a few. Yum!

I headed back out and met the other couples for a nature hike on the beachside of the island. We found out which berries we could eat and which we definitely would want to steer clear of.  There were also dozens of different types of wild mushrooms everywhere and I was SO enthralled by them all. I so want to do some mushroom hunting this year!

I had signed up for the cooking class with Island Chef Matt at the Wilderness Lodge. He was making salmon skewers with a mango balsamic reduction. He was aware of my soy allergy and was up for the challenge! He changed up the recipe to something he had never made before and it was utterly delicious! I never would have thought of making salmon skewers as an appetizer – but boy, were they easy and fast to make, and amazingly good too!

It really was a great way to end this most amazing Alaskan Summer!

After I had some tasty fresh-caught Salmon in my belly, I headed out with Day and Jacob on a paddle boat to explore the island’s interior from the lake. After awhile, Day and I put our feet up and Jacob did all the work – sorry about that! We laughed and laughed out on the water – they were so much fun! While we were out on the paddleboat, Steve and Fiona had taken a kayak trip around the lake and came back with stories of seeing Stellar Sea Lions just feet away from them – they were on Cloud 9!

View from the lakeside… so serene!

After we cleaned up, it was dinner time! Executive Chef for Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge and Seward Windsong Lodge is Jerry Phaisavath. Chef Jerry and Chef Matt did not disappoint with their menus for each meal. The star of the show at dinner were the fresh scallops and seafood risotto. That was hands down, the best scallops of my life! I also want to somehow get that seafood risotto recipe because it put mine to shame. I was so impressed with all of the food so far – nothing was left out in making sure the guests had an amazing experience. From the snack table of fresh fruit and cheeses, to each course at every meal being made with full flavor profiles and good, not pretentious food. They even had great wines and Alaskan beer to pair with each course. Seriously, 5-star experience all around.

After dinner, we were out enjoying the view when we spotted orcas far off in the distance. We thought if we walked around the island that we might have a better view of the breaching whales. So we walked around the south end of the island saw so many jellyfish on the shore and black slate rocks that glistened in the early evening sun.

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish taking in the view.

Once we rounded the southern tip we saw a pod of Orcas – we were all in awe! The sun was setting over the mountains and we decided to take some pics. First time I had used them timer function on my Canon T3i!

Fox Island Shenanigans with new friends!

Jacob took this pic of me which I just love!

When we came back from that walk, everyone else was talking, but I was lost in thought. My ankle was acting up, and my limp was back making me walk so very slow. I was thinking about my life, my time in Alaska, and how this land continues to amaze and change me. How this island touched a part of my soul. I was in love. I was in love with Fox Island. And then I had an affair.

We walked up to the Lodge and were told that the bonfire with smores had just started down the beach. I was going to go and drop my camera off in my room and put on my bigger L.L. Bean coat as the cooler temps were already affecting my Arizona blood.

But then he came into my life. The porcupine. At first we thought there was a big black dog on the beach. Nope. That was not a big fluffy dog, but a big not-so-fluffy porcupine! Of course I tried to get close enough to get a picture of him. He was not amused and sadly, scared of us. He darted back through the woods and up a tree. Who knew porcupines could climb trees?!?

There were very few animals on this island and we had just found one of a handful! He was so dang super cute! Yep, wanted to give him a hug, but instead took his pic. Yep, I had a love affair on Fox Island with a Mr. Porcupine.

I went back to my cabin, grabbed my Theo Dark Chocolate and headed to the bonfire. I stayed for one smore and then decided to call it a night at 10:30pm. It was dark out and I was pretty tired. The boat was coming for us early in the morning and I wanted to be well rested.

At about 6:00am, hot tea and a light breakfast showed up on my deck. The service here is incredibly stellar! I made some tea, did my yoga, and breathed in the peace I found in this cabin on Fox Island.

I headed to a full breakfast with the other guests as it was the last time we would all be together. Day and Jacob were going on the day whale watching cruise with me and Steve and Fiona were on the shorter one departing in a couple hours. Hugs all around as we said goodbye to our new friends.

Chef Matt made me a special lunch to take on the cruise that was soy-free. He had been SO amazing with my food allergy. He really made me feel like I had nothing to worry about and that it wasn’t the pain-in-the-ass that I know it is. And that, my friends, is how every person with food allergies wants to feel.

Thank you Fox Island staff for making my trip to be so amazing – your smiles, your expert advice, and for just being so real, not stuffy or fake – you made your guests feel like family, Thank you!

I dream about Fox Island a lot. A lot. When I am stressed out, I close my eyes and remember the sunset off the island, the crystal blue waters of the ocean, the serene calmness of the lake, and the way my heart and soul found peace. I might have been there alone, but I was not lonely. New friends were made, I had a love affair with porcupine, and I smiled again. I’m still dreaming about Fox Island…

Read Kristi’s disclosure at the bottom of this blog HERE. To read more about her Alaska experiences, please visit her website at http://kristitrimmer.com/.

Live the Dream; Mush a Dog Sled Team!

When we ask people what their top motivators are for visiting The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, the majority of the responses we get are… mountains, glaciers, wildlife, and fishing of course! But during the winter months activities are much more limited as the temperature begins to drop, many lakes and rivers freeze over, and the bears go into hibernation for an extended vacation. But we are here to tell you; don’t let a few hurdles get in your way of enjoying one of the most wonderful times of year on Alaska’s Playground. Winter activities are truly in abundance and if you are ever in need of some tips or pointers, we have lots of ideas to share! Let us start with one of our very favorites… taking a Winter Dog Sled Tour with Seavey’s IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours in Seward, Alaska.

Seavey's IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours

Seavey’s IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours

Seavey’s IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours was started by the Seavey family. “Take care of your dogs, and they’ll take care of you.”  The Seavey family’s simple motto certainly seems to be working.  With three consecutive Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championships, a tour recognized as the “Best Sled Dog Tour in Alaska,” a growing list of great-grandkids ready to carry on the family tradition, and the ability to support their family doing what they love, any Seavey will tell you they’re blessed. To learn more about Mitch Seavey, Dan Seavey Sr., Danny Seavey, Dallas Seavey, Conway Seavey, or Jennifer Seavey… visit this link HERE!

Photo from Marc Lester/AP

Photo from Marc Lester/AP

On a Winter Dog Sled Tour, you will mush a dog team down through one of the most beautiful areas on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground… Seward, Alaska!

And where will you go in the beautiful town of Seward? Well, you will go through the Resurrection River Valley right to up to Exit Glacier.

Resurrection River Valley

Resurrection River Valley

Not only will you go up to Exit Glacier (which is a glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in the Kenai Mountains), but you will actually eat a trail lunch and drink some delicious hot chocolate all the while taking in the awe-inspiring views, right at the glacier. The road is closed in the winter, so dog team is one of the only ways you can see the glacier in the winter. The trail is wide and easy to maneuver, so anyone can learn. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what it looks like, here is a gorgeous sneak peak…

What is Dog Mushing exactly? Well, Dog mushing was designated the official state sport of Alaska in 1972. Mushing is a term for a sport or transport method powered by our favorite four-legged best friends. It includes carting, sled dog racing, skijoring, freighting, and weight pulling. More specifically as it relates to this tour, it implies the use of one or more dogs to pull a sled on snow.

Winter Sled Dog Tour

Sled Dog Tour

Make sure you bring your camera. The scenery is incredible, and you often see moose and eagles. You really get to experience the Alaska wilderness, and will leave with an understanding and appreciation of sled dogs. It is usually between 20F to 35F and somewhere between snowing and clear. Trips will be cancelled if temps drop to 10 degrees or sub-zero conditions.

Team Seavey in Action

Team Seavey in Action

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions including gear requirements, reservations, age ranges, mileage traveled on the tour, etc… click HERE!

Danny Seavy, Photo From Seavey's IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours Facebook Page

Danny Seavy, Photo From Seavey’s IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours Facebook Page

If you are a nature lover, an animal lover, a thrill seeker, and most importantly… someone who enjoys a fun adventure, we highly recommend that you put a Seavey’s IditaRide Winter Dog Sled Tour on your must-do list, today! Hurry, winter tours fill up fast! Just look at this face, how could you possibly resist?😉

Name: Raptor

Name: Raptor

Find yourself on Lost Lake Trail

The Chugach National Forest from Lost Lake, near Seward, Alaska.

Before we get started, we must first send a big “THANK YOU” to Ron Niebrugge with Wild Nature Images for taking such amazing photos that truly capture the magic of Alaska’s Playground. The majority of the photos in this blog post are courtesy of his stunning photography skills and for that, we are incredibly grateful.

Lost Lake Trail Kenai Peninsula Alaska

Lost Lake Trail is located in the Chugach National Forest, closest to the town of Seward, Alaska but also accessible from a trailhead in Cooper Landing, Alaska. It is approximately 15 miles long and is accessible all year long. It is most commonly used for hiking and backpacking in the summertime.

Lost%20Lake%20Mountain%20Bike%201

During the winter months many residents and visitors alike will use portions of the trail for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snow machining.

Snowmachine Lost Lake - Jake

When snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, you’ll be moving at a pace that leaves you plenty of time to take in all of the breathtaking views.

From the Lost Lake Trail in the winter, Chugach National Forest, Alaska.

There are wonderful public use cabin‘s along the trail that many adventure-enthusiasts love to take full advantage of as well, so long as they follow the strict requirement of needing to sign up a minimum of 6 months (180 days) in advance prior to staying. It might seem like a lot of notice needed, but these cabins are often considered hidden gems and they tend to fill up very quickly!

120113-056

On the inside of this particular cabin, you’ll experience a very cozy setting with all of the essentials to keep you safe, warm, and comfortable overnight.

Lost-Lake-Cabin

The views aren’t too bad either. ;-) And yet again, we are humbled by how spoiled we are with endless natural beauty on Alaska’s Playground!

Lost-Lake-Cabin-4c

During the summer months, tent camping is always an option as well. If you want to get “up close and personal” with nature, this is definitely your one-way-ticket to achieving that!

13127622

Look for forest birds such as fox sparrows, chickadees, thrushes, gray jays and spruce grouse. Alpine tundra draws out gray-crowned Rosy finch, ptarmigan and American pipits. Black and brown bears use the habitat, along with moose. Marmots bask and feed in rocky areas above tree line—listen for their sharp, whistled alarm calls.

marmot1

Mountain goats forage on steep slopes of Ascension Peak overlooking the lake.

slowhappyrunner.wordpress.com

slowhappyrunner.wordpress.com

The trail begins in a mossy low-elevation Sitka spruce forest only a few miles from the sea and then climbs through a succession of habitats until it breaks out into subalpine tundra. The valley surrounding Lost Lake is known for its meadows of flowers.

To access the Lost Lake Trail, you have two options. The first is the Primrose Access which is located east of Kenai Lake as you head towards Seward, AK. You’ll find the Primrose Campground and Lost Lake trail access parking lot on the right. This is a steep and moguly climb through dense hemlock forest to the mountains surrounding Lost Lake, high above and behind Kenai Lake. Click HERE to view the Department of Natural Resources Trail Map.

If traveling by snowmachine, the ride is bumpy going up, and takes a 1/2 hour or so, but the endless riding and powder above offer an extreme experience for expert riders.

Snowmachine Lost Lake - Jake

Another way to access the Lost Lake trail is from the Cooper Lake access point. You can climb through V-Max canyon and access Lost Lake from the opposite end by taking Snug Harbor road off of the Sterling Hwy in Cooper Landing, just past the Kenai Lake bridge. A 7-mile drive up this partially paved/gravel road will take you to a small parking area.

IMG_0391

If traveling by snowmachine, you can unload and travel several miles further up the road through a packed snowmachine corridor, and turn left at Rainbow Lake parking area to follow the tracks up the mountain, through V-Max Canyon and to Lost Lake. Bring extra fuel for this route, as you should probably do just about anywhere you go in case you get carried away with your riding.

060407-130

Lost Lake Trail is rated a “difficult” trail, so please be advised of the extremities before attempting to venture on a journey down the trail and utilize your local resources to make sure that you are fully prepared. One thing is for sure… if you do make the journey, we are 100% certain that you will not be disappointed with the beautiful scenery that you experience!

Lost Lake region, Chugach National Forest, near Seward, Alaska.

Additional Sources: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=viewinglocations.lostlaketrail

2014 Keen Eye Photo Contest Winners

Well, what can we say… it was an amazing 2014 summer season on #theKenai. And now that the snow is flying on Alaska’s Playground, we must start our winter wonderland celebration by first and foremost, saying “THANK YOU” to everyone that submitted a photo in the 2014 Keen Eye Photo Contest. Secondly, we must send a huge congratulations to our top three winners; Tom Brott in first place with “Friendly Seas,” Debbie Wik in second place with “Kayak Alaska,” and Jeannine Audet in third place with “Paddling with Icebergs!” We had an overwhelming response this year and for that, we cannot thank our amazingly loyal audience enough.

Keen Eye Photo Contest Winners 2014

And for your viewing pleasure, scroll down to enjoy a few more incredible photos that were submitted. Like this one from Jennifer Hanan titled “Fishing Lessons.”

10583937_696711080376555_69935561659554301_n

A dinnertime fire while camping on “Sunken Island” in Sterling, Alaska. This photo was submitted by Deann Crandall.

10592860_696707870376876_4561905251224467097_n

Rolling Hills” taken while on an ATV ride in Nikiski, Alaska was submitted by Leslie Richards.

10613067_696711737043156_233389124850122832_n

Midnight Sunset” taken on a float trip down the Kenai River was submitted by Jeannine Audet.

10565150_696712240376439_8994058011891539627_n

Time for breakfast! “A Barrel of Fun” featuring a Mama Bear & her 3 Cubs getting into a barrel of feed in Cooper Landing, Alaska was submitted by Calah Long.

10599152_696705787043751_484761028335634562_n

“Marmot Meadow” taken while hiking the Harding Icefield Trail in Seward, Alaska was submitted by Jeannine Audet.

10603438_696705190377144_7476408319792118317_n

Camping at Kasilof Beach = “Radiance” :-)  This photo submitted by Sherrie Seymour.

1907416_696706727043657_5698637147375679635_n

“Midnight Beauty” submitted by Kathleen Dougherty.

10612784_696702283710768_7565603318840934843_n

If you don’t already have plans to visit The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground next summer, we are sure that these photos will convince you otherwise.😉 Stay tuned for the 2015 Photo Contest for your chance to win CASH through sharing your adventures on The Kenai with us! In the mean time, get out and enjoy all the splendors of winter wonderland!

 

Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking in Seward, Alaska

406041_407374729308100_227775964_n

We were recently contacted by Danny Meunick with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking out of Seward, Alaska. He wanted to share some of the amazing experiences and pictures that he, along with his fellow colleagues, collected from a great 2014 summer season spent with visitors from all over the world. Below we will recap the blog post he shared with us titled, “The Beauty and Brutality of Alaskan Weather” along with a collection of awe-inspiring images. If you are currently in the process (or will be soon) of planning your 2015 vacation to The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, we highly recommend spending some time in Seward, Alaska with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking. And trust us, once you see these photos… it will be nearly impossible for you to leave this adventure off of your bucket list.😉

10348676_731721646873405_1180053260163598781_o

Blue skies and calm seas one minute and monsoon like conditions the next. Such is what to expect in the Gulf of Alaska where the wind blowing north has nothing to inhibit it in some areas literally all the way down to Antarctica. While summer marine conditions typically calm themselves to make for a fantastic paddling season, we occasionally are reminded of the awesome power mother nature has in store for us from time to time. The following photos were taken from an early June Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking five day kayak camping expedition that was extended an extra day due to one such storm. For four days, nothing but beautiful blue skies and pond like water made this one of the best experiences of my guiding career. And when our fifth and final day came, so did the weather! Fortunately for us, our location inside Northwestern Fjord in Kenai Fjords National Park provided mountain protection on all sides so all we felt was a little rain. But being a four hour boat ride in open ocean from Seward, our ride home could not quite make the trip to pick us up with 30+ knot winds and over 12-13 foot waves. But no worries friends; the weather died down the following day and we made our way home safely. Equipped with spare food and plenty of shelter and water, our crew got to sit back and enjoy an extra day in a beautiful place baring witness to both the beauty and brutality of wild Alaskan weather. And it sure was a treat to behold.

10473428_742121945833375_1641671259595873013_n

To begin: Paddle Safety Talk Before Embarking on the First Day of Kayaking.

DSC_0142

Next up, the group enjoying an incredible wildlife viewing of a curious group of Stellar Sea Lions.

DSC_0151

And as if that wasn’t enough, when they looked up into the trees… they enjoyed a “double whammy” wildlife viewing treat; Sea Lions AND a beautiful Bald Eagle.

DSC_0169

Next stop was a great view of a Tidewater Glacier.

DSC_0188

Next the excited group finds themselves making their way through the Northwestern Fjord.

DSC_0195

Followed by an “up close and personal” encounter with the Northwestern Glacier.

DSC_0200

Pictured here are some bergy bits floating through the Fjord.

DSC_0208

And the mecca of all photos… the Northwestern Glacier in all her majestic beauty. With a “double your pleasure” reflection in the water, to boot!

DSC_0218

And last but not least, no trip with Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking would be complete without a once-in-a-lifetime viewing of a Harbor Seal cooling off on some ice while working on his tan.😉

DSC_0236

Guest Post; Hike to the Hand Tram at Winner Creek

Encase you missed our post earlier this month entitled “Fall Hiking from Alyeska Resort,” you can view it HERE! And as you can now see, this guest post from Emily Style was the perfect follow-up post as it includes an in-depth, picturesque action story from one of the trails we featured; Winner Creek. So read on below to experience a little bit more about what you will see when hiking Winner Creek Trail in Girdwood, Alaska.

Image Courtesy of National Geographic

Image Courtesy of National Geographic

Our penultimate post from Alaska! After visiting Hope, we drove the RV up to Girdwood to get ready to head home. Behind the Alyeska Resort (more on that tomorrow!) there’s a trail head for Winner Creek, part of the Chugach National Forest.

This six mile roundtrip hike takes you through the northernmost rain forest in the world. I had been looking for Shy Maiden wildflowers and finally saw them here.

Rolling hills, few mosquitos – lovely hike made all the more exciting because it’s part of the Iditarod route and promises a mysterious-sounding “hand tram” ahead.

Past halfway, you cross a bridge over a rushing gorge with teal water.

You’ve made it to the hand tram in no time at all! This contraption involves a metal basket, rope, pulleys and a steep canyon below. I suppose it is designed so you can pull yourself across in the basket, but it is much easier with someone pulling you from the platform. A unique experience!

At the end of the trail, you reach the Cold Creek Gold Mine.

This property is a functioning gold mine for tourists ($20), a historical site ($10) and a wedding venue. It was getting late, so we didn’t go in. You can also walk to Girdwood town from this side of the creek for a 9-mile loop.

Our last new wildflower of the trip: Trailing Raspberry.

For more great adventure and BlogSpot action, check out EmilyStyle’s blog, HERE!

Five Simple, Seasonal Fall Favorites!

When you live on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, it is pretty easy to say that simplicity is the greatest form of satisfaction. We have the esteemed privilege of living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We can walk out our front door and be fully submerged in the mecca of all-things-outdoorsy. From mountains, to glaciers, to wildlife… the simple beauty that surrounds us is something that we are oh-so incredibly thankful for with every day that passes. So much so that we compiled small but plentiful list of some of our favorite little seasonal traditions. So before the snow fly’s (and sticks for the next 6 months), we highly recommend jumping on these 5 Simple, Seasonal Fall Favorites…
Photo Credit: Alaska From Scratch
1. Wake up early enough to catch the sunrise, while the frost is still lingering and the air is crisp. If you go the extra mile and drive to enjoy a killer view, we are pretty sure that you might experience *magic*… Don’t believe us? Just look below to see a sight so beautiful, you might end up loosing your breath for a brief moment!
Photo Credit: Jeff Nelson
2. Chase a reflection, without using a mirror! There is no better time of year to make time for a road trip, to nowhere. Grab your family and friends. Maybe a pumpkin spiced latte or a gingerbread donut. And just drive and enjoy the magical landscape around you. Take time to soak in all of the beautiful changing colors of the leaves. Tip: Stunning lakes such as this one in Cooper Landing, AK are known for delivering the pot-o-gold!
Photo Credit: Heidi Ho Hanson
3. Remember #2? Well, this is why. Soon, all of the leaves will fall to the ground and we will be snow-bound until May. So before they all fall off, or rather, get eaten off by those silly moose… get out and enjoy the most colorful time of year on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground! The only thing you have to loose is the opportunity for a great photo-op!
Photo Credit: Anthony Vet
4. Termination Dust! Although we love “all things Alaska’s Playground” all-year-round, we are quite partial to the enchanting beauty that is displayed when the mountains are freshly snow-capped and we are still able to enjoy (mostly) all of the fun, active, outdoor activities that we’ve grown accustomed to all summer long. Probably because it feels like we are living in a fairytale. I mean, c’mon… sights like this are simply too beautiful to put into words!
Photo Credit: Ron Niebrugge
5. This short-but-sweet list would not be complete without referencing the glorious Aurora Borealis! We are loosing just over 5 minutes of daylight with every day that passes right now. And although we are moving into the dark and chilly months, we are in a constant euphoria of star-struck magic with the beaming Northern Lights on full display! Tip: Clear days and evenings offer the best chances of seeing the lights. 10pm-2am offers peak auroral activity.
Photo Credit: Carl Johnson
And after you’ve checked all of the above off of your list… sit back, relax, and take in the beautiful views and splendors of The Kenai! A moose-do!
Photo Credit: Kathleen Barth

A Miracle Happened with Exit Glacier Guides

Ready for an amazing story filled with a dash of luck and a huge serving of the warmest Alaskan hospitality that you can think of? Check this out: Ryan Fisher with Exit Glacier Guides in Seward, Alaska found a camera on the glacier this year that had popped out of a crevasse after being in the glacier for 4 years!
1939755_10204385411869086_6997494919507440940_o
The camera was trashed but when he took the memory card out and plugged it in, ALL of the pictures were intact!
10470158_10204385411149068_8550588548879287006_o
Ryan and his team went through all of their waivers and found out who the camera belonged to and mailed it back.
1236828_10204385410989064_154727133118317291_n
Roman Lyskowski had his entire Alaskan vacation on that memory card and thought all his pictures were lost. Turns out they were just traveling downhill in the glacier for a few years.
10714404_10204385411709082_6503895963194299332_o
A great story to be told about a small miracle that happened. But most importantly everyone is just so happy that Roman got his treasured pictures back! Great job Ryan Fisher and the Exit Glacier Guides team!

256756_101656856594543_4362646_o

Fall Hiking from Alyeska Resort

By now, it’s absolutely no secret that Fall season on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is (hands down) breathtakingly beautiful. But when you add in the natural beauty that Alaska offers with Alaska’s premier year-round destination, Alyeska Resort… the possibilities for fun and excitement are endless.

Image Courtesy of Alyeska Resort Facebook Page

Image Courtesy of Alyeska Resort Facebook Page

So if you are someone who’s ever had a tough time figuring out what exactly to do when the weather is “in between seasons,” we are here for you. What does that mean exactly? “In between seasons” on Alaska’s Playground means that it is too chilly to venture outside without a few extra layers on, generally the fishing is slowing down, and it feels like it is cold enough to snow, but there is no snow on the ground as of yet so winter sports (skiing, sledding, snowboarding, etc.) are out of the question.

Image Courtesy of Alaska from Scratch

Image Courtesy of Alaska from Scratch

This “in between season” is often times referred to as Fall in Alaska. The ongoing joke is that Alaska only has two seasons; Summer and Winter. But in actuality, we do have a beautiful Fall season in Alaska. It is usually just short and sweet, with very chilly “feels like snow weather” temps that fill the days and nights. Golden light and crisp air is ever-apparent this year in the town of Girdwood, AK as you head to Alyeska Resort. Notice some of the snow-capped mountains.

Image Courtesy of Alyeska Resort Facebook Page

Image Courtesy of Alyeska Resort Facebook Page

One activity that is perfect for Fall season in Alaska is Hiking & Trekking. Why? Because although the weather is chilly, once you get your body in motion and begin to work up a little sweat, the low temp is actually something that quickly becomes very enjoyable and incredibly welcoming. Some even opt for shorts and t-shirts this time of year when hiking at Alyeska Resort simply because they know that they are bound to get in a great workout.

Image Courtesy of Alyeska Resort Blog

Image Courtesy of Alyeska Resort Blog

Fall Hiking & Trekking from Alyeska Resort is a great time for individuals and families to enjoy. Convinced? If not, continue on to read more about some incredible trails for beginners and experienced hikers alike. With all the incredible options and fascinating views, we are certain that you will be putting a trek from Alyeska Resort on your bucket list ASAP.

Winner Creek Trail: The most accessible hiking trail is Winner Creek, which begins near the base of the aerial tram. This trail offers a leisurely way through a lush rainforest environment. The first half-mile of the trail is on boardwalk surface; after that point, the trail becomes an easy dirt path with some uneven surfaces in places. Near the two-and-a-half-mile mark on this hike, there is a beautiful river gorge with a bridge and hand tram that allows you to pull yourself across the creek.

Image Courtesy of Emily Style

Image Courtesy of Emily Style

Upper Winner Creek Trail: Less developed than Winner Creek Trail. Start on Winner Creek Trail and follow signs to Upper Winner Creek. This trail contours the valley along the South side of the creek for approximately 8 miles of outstanding views and level tread.

Image by Blain Anderson

Image by Blain Anderson

Winner Creek Extension Trail: Access the trail from the hotel pond courtyard. The path will end at Verbier Way near Challenge Alaska.

Image by Blain Anderson

Image by Blain Anderson

The North Face Trail: The 2.2 mile steep, advanced trail starts right from the hotel. Featuring a mix of road and single-track with switchbacks, the North Face trail ascends the 2,000 vertical foot slope of this classic ski terrain. Hikers, who make it to the top, can take a complimentary descending ride on the aerial tram too.

Image from Alaska Hike Search

Image from Alaska Hike Search

Upper Tram Terminal Trails: Advanced trails

Image from Alaska Daily News

Image from Alaska Daily News

South Bowl Trails: Intermediate to advanced trails

Image Courtesy of EpicEric

Image Courtesy of EpicEric

Multi-Use Nordic Loop: Multi-use trail can be accessed at end of Arlberg Avenue by The Hotel Alyeska.

Image Courtesy of www.skigirdwood.com

Image Courtesy of http://www.skigirdwood.com

Girdwood to Indian Bike Path: Easy walking on a paved bike path provides a mellow out-and-back trail

Image Courtesy of http://withoutbaggage.com

Image Courtesy of http://withoutbaggage.com

Here is map provided by www.Alaska.org with some more detail of where the Girdwood to Indian Bike Path goes.

Image Courtesy of Alaska.org

Image Courtesy of Alaska.org

If you are looking to spend a day outside, enjoying all that Alaska’s Playground has to offer… we highly recommend a hike from Alyeska Resort! Keep in mind that these are just hikes from the resort. There are a TON of more options if you’d like to take a hike somewhere in Girdwood Valley area or the Portage Valley area. Click on the link to explore all that there is to offer. And of course, feel free to contact us directly by submitting a comment below if you have any questions or would like further suggestions. Get out and PLAY, and reward yourself with soaking up a view that most can only dream of seeing in their lifetime. Hurry, before the snow fly’s! #hikeAK

Image Courtesy of Ed Clapper

Image Courtesy of Ed Clapper

Get Hooked to Alaska’s Angling Addiction

Lately we’ve been experiencing an unruly amount of sunshine, clear weather, and temperatures ranging in the mid 50’s to low 60’s. For us, everyday of living life on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground has felt like utter paradise as of late.

Photo Credit: Jeff Nelson

Photo Credit: Jeff Nelson

And if you though that was the hook, line, and sinker… think again! It gets better. Yes, BETTER! In addition to nearly picture-perfect Fall weather, the fishing has been simply “off the charts!”

1

That’s right; OFF THE CHARTS! What does that mean exactly? It means… incredible, beautiful, plentiful, colorful, and full of action-packed catching & releasing guided by true stewards of our amazing resources on the Kenai River; Alaska’s Angling Addition.

10553396_872222296140842_3541102224503655801_n

To backtrack for a moment, we must clear the air about something. If we are to be completely honest, we happen to feel like Alaska’s Playground is paradise 365 days a year regardless of rain, sleet, or snow. We are incredibly partial to our backyard/playground for a zillion and one reasons. Mountains, glaciers, wildlife, hiking, kayaking, biking, flightseeing, FISHING… the obsession runs deep. And even when the weather isn’t near-perfection (like it has been lately), #TheKenai is still the best place in the whole-wide-world to live, work, and play! Again… we may be just a wee-bit partial. But really, can you blame us? ;-)

Photo Credit: Banan Tarr Photography

Photo Credit: Banan Tarr Photography

Okay see now we’re getting off track. Back to the plot. Alaska’s Angling Addiction has been captivating us all season long with their incredible fishing journey shared vicariously through the digital world.

Main_Photo_Gallery_22_of_88

With over two decades of combined experience, Alaska’s Angling Addiction makes sure that your Kenai River guided fishing trip is one your will never forget. All of their guides are certified fly casting instructors and excellent teachers.

Main_Photo_Gallery_88_of_88

This dedication to instruction and teaching is what sets them apart from the crowd. As Kenai River fly fishing guides they will not only take you out on the water in search of trophy fish and a great adventure, but also teach you the reasons why they are fishing the way they do each day.

Main_Photo_Gallery_59_of_88

Their goal is to have each guest come away with new methods and knowledge each day that can be applied to angling adventures in other places as well. So whether you are an experienced angler or a newcomer that is comfortable with a fly rod or conventional gear… or a newcomer all together, Alaska’s Angling Addiction works their hearts out every day to show their guests that they are the premier Kenai River Fly Fishing Guide Service.

Main_Photo_Gallery_61_of_88

Often times when we think about fishing on Alaska’s Playground, the experienced guides at Alaska’s Angling Addiction come to mind. Although there are a lot of incredible guide services that we can think of off the top of our heads, something about Alaska’s Angling Addition makes them stand out.

Main_Photo_Gallery_13_of_88

We would be willing to bet that it probably has something to do with their frequently-updated social media pages that are filled with streams of vibrant photographs from freshly-caught action of the days’ proceedings.

Main_Photo_Gallery_6_of_88

Or quite possibly it’s the amazing pictures that flood the photo-scroll on their website. Is it just us, or do these photos like this just make you want to JUMP out of your seat and wet a line? We can literally feel the fun through the photo!

Main_Photo_Gallery_51_of_88

It might be the fact that they have a very “distinct” way of exuding laughter and good times at the snap of a photo… c’mon, you have to admit, this looks like SO MUCH FUN!

Main_Photo_Gallery_15_of_88

Or the fact that they so graciously and so patiently cater to helping men, women, and children of all ages truly learn the art and the many different techniques of fly fishing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Or, okay… it might have a “thing or two” to do with the fact that they feature an (incredibly cute) Labrador retriever in many of their photographs. Yeah, this happens to melt our hearts quite a bit! Aww, puppy love!

Main_Photo_Gallery_32_of_88

No trip on the water is complete without a loyal companion by your side. We can’t get enough of this yellow lab cuteness. Oh yes, the trout is beautiful as well!😉

Main_Photo_Gallery_28_of_88

At the end of the day, we would be lying to you if we didn’t admit that a LOT of the reason that we are very drawn to Alaska’s Angling Addiction is because we see MONSTERS come across our Facebook newsfeed (like this one below) that make us nearly GASP to catch a breath of air. We want to be there, with them, catching her rainbow trout! RIGHT. NOW.

2

There are a whole bucket-full of reasons why we highly recommend a trip on the water with Alaska’s Angling Addiction. But after seeing all of these incredible photos, we are pretty sure that you can see the writing on the wall. Can’t get enough? Check out more stunning photos of their uber-successful adventures, HERE!

Main_Photo_Gallery_84_of_88

It’s a no-brainer! If you’re looking for an amazing time on-the-fly, you would be silly not to look up these incredibly talented, gracious, and humble guides. When it comes to “tying one on” on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, Alaska’s Angling Addiction truly does raise the bar. Visit them online at http://www.alaskasanglingaddiction.com or check out their Facebook page HERE!

Main_Photo_Gallery_74_of_88

Congratulations to the RAM 1500 Stay & Play Raffle Winners!

For the last 8 months, the RAM 1500 from Stanley Chrysler (decked out in a jaw-dropping vehicle wrap with incredible wildlife images) has been driving around The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground from Seward, to Kenai, to Soldotna, to Homer, and just about everywhere in between.

3 (2)

Why, you ask? Because The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council created a cohesive brand campaign/raffle to create energy and excitement for all of the communities on Alaska’s Playground, AND to raise money to help further promote all of the glory of the Kenai Peninsula on a worldwide level. Mountains, glaciers, wildlife… oh my!

FrontPage2

And what better way to create awareness  for The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground than to give away a super-sweet RAM 1500 Truck, a Kayak with a Thule Rack, and a “Stay and Play” lodging and adventure package in Kenai, Soldotna, Seward, and Homer!

Truck2

None of this would have been possible with out the most incredible sponsors and partners! Talk about a community coming together for the good of community! We know, we are SO lucky and SO grateful to live among such incredible neighbors.

Truck3

To start off, a BIG “thank you” to Stanley Chrysler for donating a VEHICLE! This, was a HUGE deal for us. And we are simply beyond-grateful.

2

And to Sportsman’s Warehouse of Soldotna for donating a new 14″ Kayak equipt with a Thule Rack! A personal shout-out to Store Manager, Eric Dahlman, for his undying enthusiasm and for being the living embodiment of the Alaska’s Playground brand. A big thank you to the whole Sportsman’s Warehouse team for their conceited efforts in selling raffle tickets all summer!

Homer Chamber of Commerce, thank you to the whole team!

homer_logo

Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center, big thank you to you all!

8346_440x265

Seward Chamber of Commerce, thank you to the whole team!

941690_10151537639848548_1369112424_n

And last but certainly not least… Soldotna Chamber of Commerce! Thank you to the whole team! And CONGRATS on selling the most tickets, AND to Michelle Glaves, Executive Director, for selling the winning ticket! Woo Hoo!

1535759_700124930046772_3137773758253908846_n

1st Place Winner – Mike Erstrom: RAM 1500
Mike Erstrom won the Ram 1500 sponsored by Stanley Chrysler 

2nd Place Winner – Jo E. Earls: Sea Kayak & Rack
Jo E. Earls won the Sea Kayak and Thule Rack sponsored by Sportsman’s Warehouse 
journey-red

3rd Place Winner – Roberta Quintarell: Stay & Play Package in Seward, AK
Roberta Quintarell won the Kenai Fjords Tour for Two with Kenai Fjords Tours and Two Nights Stay at the Seward Windsong Lodge

4th Place Winner – Lisa Beranek: Stay & Play Package in Soldotna, AK
Lisa Beranek won the Kenai River Fishing Trip for Two and Two Nights Stay at Big Sky Charter and Fishcamp

5th Place Winner – Rod Peterkin: Stay & Play Package in Kenai, AK
Rod Peterkin won the Flightseeing for Two with Alaska West Air and Two Nights Stay at Aspen Hotel


6th Place Winner – Rick Abbot: Stay & Play Package in Homer, AK
Rick Abbot won the Halibut Fishing for Two with Homer Ocean Charters and Two Nights Stay at Land’s End Resort 


7th Place Winner – Linda Swarner: Auto Detailing For a Year
Linda Swarner won the Auto Detailing for a Year sponsored by Stanley Chrysler 

8th Place Winner – Douglas Sherwood: Oil Changes for a Year
Douglas Sherwood won the Oil Changes for a Year sponsored by Stanley Chrysler