RV, Flightsee, Hospitality; New 2016 Recommendations!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 😉

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 🙂