Fish, stay and play: Seward, Alaska

Provided by CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation

All roads are not created equal. A 2.5-hour drive along one of the most breathtaking routes in Alaska doesn’t even begin to reveal it all. Designated a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, the Seward Highway stretches 127 miles from Anchorage to Seward, bordered by the picturesque Turnagain Arm. It’s no mystery why scenic viewpoints are plentiful. Travelers can scan the adjacent cliffs for dall sheep and eagles and see beluga whales in the inlet, spotted by their telltale white heads poking up through the waves.

Upon reaching the end of the road and the southern edge of the Kenai Peninsula, Seward appears with Resurrection Bay at its back. As it all comes into view — the busy boat harbor, the mountains, a patchwork of quaint restaurants, shops and travel companies, cars tugging boats and kayaks — there is little doubt: recreation happens here. TripAdvisor.com viewers wholeheartedly agree, naming Seward the number one US Destination for 2010.

Stay and play in Seward. Fishermen will definitely want to explore the abundant waters of Resurrection Bay and beyond, fishing for halibut and silver (coho) salmon on saltwater expeditions. There are many charter companies available in this popular fishing port. The Seward Harbor opens in May, and the Seward Halibut Tournament in June and Seward Silver Salmon Derby in August are two signature events of the busy sport fishing season. Fish processing and flash freezing is conveniently available to preserve your catch and ship it home.

The land lovers in the family will also want to explore more of what Seward has to offer, including Seavey’s Ididaride and the Alaska SeaLife Center. The Seward Windsong Lodge — winner of the prestigious Studiosus Award in 2009 — is the perfect base camp for your stay. Close to town and yet in a secluded setting, the lodge offers the popular Exit Glacier Hike. Traveling just minutes from the lodge through alders and rock croppings, hikers arrive at the base of the crystal blue Exit Glacier, the crown jewel of the Resurrection River Valley.

Just the tip of the iceberg. One of the most popular options for Seward travelers is a cruise with Kenai Fjords Tours and optional overnight (or two) at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge. The adventure begins on a wildlife-and-glacier cruise across Resurrection Bay and continues into Kenai Fjords National Park. With camera in hand, witness calving glaciers, orca whales, sea lions, otters, puffins and more.

Waterfalls and dramatic cliffs greet the boat at the dock of the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, on exclusive Fox Island. As if the ride over wasn’t indulgence enough, a wild Alaska salmon and prime rib lunch awaits guests at the day lodge. Spend the afternoon exploring the rain forest, combing the beach, kayaking along the shores or simply basking in the views.

Return to the mainland via a full-day cruise into the glacier-carved Northwestern Fjord. As the boat nears the towering wall of ice known as the Northwestern Glacier, the engine of the boat idles, and the thundering cracks of ice can be heard as it breaks away from the glacier and crashes into the sea. Plan your Alaska trip today, at www.alaskaheritagetours.com.

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