Camp The Kenai this Memorial Day Weekend

Have plans for the upcoming long weekend? If not, look no further. And if so, consider rearranging. ūüėČ 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.

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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. ūüėČ

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. ūüėČ

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 Lake. Hidden 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! ūüôā

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.

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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! ūüôā