7 Itsy Bitsy Tiny Towns On The Kenai That Are Perfect For A Weekend Escape

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PC: Green Edventures

One of the many things that we love about The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is the diverse terrain. Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula truly is home the most spectacular displays of Mother Nature’s distinguished artwork. While we have an obvious obsession with so of the larger towns on the peninsula like Kenai, Homer, Seward and Soldotna – these tiny gems have a special kind of hold on our hearts.

PC: Courtney Stanley

PC: Courtney Stanley

This is the kind of feeling that is indescribable in ways that you’ll only understand if you actually visit and find out for yourself. If you’ve ever been to any of these tiny treasured towns, we’re sure that you’ll get all sorts of nostalgia thinking about memories from the past. And if you’re looking for the perfect place to have a weekend escape with your friends, family or special someone – you’ll want to check every single one of these places off your bucket list this year.

PC: What Up Swags

PC: What Up Swags

1 – Hope

PC: Travel Alaska

PC: Travel Alaska

There is truly so much to do in this tiny little town located down a long, winding road off the Seward Highway heading south on the Kenai Peninsula. Stay in a quaint lodge or cabin, explore the Seaview Café and surrounding inlet sights in the distance. You won’t be able to ignore the mountains views! Fishing is very popular here in the summertime.

PC: Vacation Rental Pics, Hirshey Cabin

PC: Vacation Rental Pics, Hirshey Cabin

Hiking is another very popular activity in Hope. Hike the 5 mile round-trip Hope Point Trail and see stunning views overlooking the famous Turnagain Arm.

PC: Green Edventures

PC: Green Edventures

If your travels bring you to Hope during the summertime, be sure to check out a thrilling whitewater rafting excursion with Chugach Outdoor Center or NOVA River Runners Inc. Check out the awesome YouTube footage below for a sneak peek into all the adrenaline-packed fun you’ll be in for.

2 – Ninilchik

PC: Flickr - Cecil Sanders

PC: Flickr – Cecil Sanders

In this tiny town with a population of around 850 residents, you might be surprised to learn that that is so much to do here. Fishing, hiking, beach combing, atv riding and so much more.

PC: Sarah Elzas - Flickr

PC: Sarah Elzas – Flickr

Head up to the Caribou Hills to ride the ATVs or enjoy beach combing with mind-blowing mountain views overlooking the inlet.

PC: Dan Callahan, Flickr

PC: Dan Callahan, Flickr

It’s impossible to deny one of Ninilchik’s most popular summertime attractions; saltwater fishing! Soak in the most epic mountain views while reeling in massive halibut and slippery salmon. If you aren’t afraid of having a whole lotta’ fun, this is one incredible activity that is calling your name loud and clear!

3 – Clam Gulch

PC: Alaska.org

PC: Alaska.org

This tiny little gem with less than 200 residents is a great place to go escape the crowds and soak up some peaceful tranquility.

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Spend the weekend playing at the beach, hiking or riding ATVs then prepare for a life-changing sunset view at the end of the day.

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Sit back and soak in the scenic beauty of waves crashing against the shore in Clam Gulch by peeping the YouTube video below. If peace and relaxation is what you’re after, this town is meant for you!

4 – Cooper Landing

PC: Where To Willie

PC: Where To Willie

The charming mountain town with some of the bluest water that you’ll ever see. Enjoy fascinating snow-capped peaks and the glacial fed waters of Kenai Lake and the Kenai River.

PC: Ian Collins, Flickr

PC: Ian Collins, Flickr

While the renowned fisheries are incredibly noteworthy within themselves, we also love the glorious hiking opportunities in Cooper Landing. There are also lots of incredible eco-tours in the area such as rafting, horseback riding, kayaking and paddle boarding.

PC: Dan Logan, Flickr

PC: Dan Logan, Flickr

As if you aren’t already convinced that a weekend escape to Cooper Landing is an incredibly good idea, just do yourself a favor and watch the quick six minute video below. The fascinating drone footage will make your heart pound right out of your chest. There really is nothing more glorious than The Kenai!

5 – Moose Pass

PC: Jimmy Emerson, DVM

PC: Jimmy Emerson, DVM

The little drive-by town on the way to Seward, where if you blink – you’ll miss it. Be sure to stop by Tern Lake at the Sterling Highway junction to soak in one of the most picturesque views in all of the state.

PC: Maria Fletcher Stark

PC: Maria Fletcher Stark

Spend the day checking out the gorgeous Trail Lake or head into the backcountry for a backpacking trek to Crescent Lake.

PC: Kevan Dee, Flickr

PC: Kevan Dee, Flickr

Check out the YouTube video below and enjoy seeing the most spectacular aerial footage of Moose Pass from a floatplane. It really is a hidden gem of a town just nestled perfectly in the middle of nowhere.

6 – Nikiski

PC: Dan Logan, Flickr

PC: Dan Logan, Flickr

This community out north on the Kenai Spur Highway is a lot more than just an oil & gas town. For starters, the voluptuous volcanic views are guaranteed to take your breath away.

PC: Travis, Flickr

PC: Travis, Flickr

Where the gravel road ends, the epic trail riding begins. This is a locals spot that offers non-stop muddy fun from dusk until dawn. Head to Captain Cook State Recreational Area for some hiking, beach combing, horseback riding or a long walk on the beach with your dogs.

PC: Amy Meredith, Flickr

PC: Amy Meredith, Flickr

Here’s the thing; Nikiski is heavily underrated. When you head all the way out that north road, you literally can escape into a realm of total peace and quiet. We happen to love Captain Cook State Recreation Area, partially because nothing beats the sunset views at the locale. Just check out the great YouTube video below and see for yourself.

7 – Seldovia

PC: John M, Flickr

PC: John M, Flickr

This idyllic little coastal town is worth the ‘off the beaten path’ trip in. Head down to Homer and hop on a boat or the ferry and make your way over the Seldovia, population 280.

PC: Andrea Pokrzywinski

PC: Andrea Pokrzywinski

Popular activities in town include beachcombing, hiking and some of the most incredible saltwater fishing on the Kenai Peninsula. Seldovia also has incredibly charming lodging options and some delicious eateries as well.

PC: Andrea Pokrzywinski

PC: Andrea Pokrzywinski

The utterly phenomenal YouTube video below from Seldovia Native Association Inc. will make you fall madly in love with Seldovia, if you aren’t already head over heels. Give it a quick peep and get ready to plan your 2017 vacation getaway to this coastal paradise.

That’s all for now, friends! Get out and explore all these sweet hidden gems that can only be found right here on the Kenai Peninsula.

13 Frozen Lakes On The Kenai That Are Ultimate Winter Recreation Destinations

Photo Credit: Dan Logan, Flickr

Photo Credit: Dan Logan, Flickr

Wintertime on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is known as being the regions ‘best kept secret’. In a land that is so highly raved about and visited during the summer months, wintertime stands out for many special reasons. This season offers a delicate balance of breathtaking beauty and outdoor activities without the hustle and bustle of high volume tourism traffic. One of our go-to destinations during the winter months is a good frozen lake with sparkling fresh powder lining the sides in serene fashion.

Photo Credit: Dan Logan, Flickr

Photo Credit: Dan Logan, Flickr

These lakes offer a variety of outdoor activities including cross country skiing, ice fishing, sledding, snowmachining, snow shoeing, ice skating and so much more. Read on to see a handful of great lake options that are guaranteed to take your winter wonderland adventures up a notch!

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Pinterest

1 – Scout Lake. Located just outside of Soldotna, this wonderful neighborhood lake offers excellent opportunities to ice fish for landlocked cohos. You’ll love the convenient road access and the proximity to town.

Photo Credit: Alaska.org

Photo Credit: Alaska.org

2 – Juneau Lake. Snowshoe or cross country ski to the Juneau Lake Cabin on the south end of the Resurrection Pass Trail and find yourself submerged in a peaceful paradise with only the sounds of nature in the distance. Ice fishing for burbot is also excellent here around January.

Photo Credit: A Trail Called 'Life'

Photo Credit: A Trail Called ‘Life’

3 – Tern Lake. The turnoff on the Sterling Highway when you can turn right to go to Seward or left to go to Anchorage offers a great place to go ice skating with the family once the lake freezes. The mountain views that surround you will completely refresh and revive your soul.

Photo Credit: Dan Logan

Photo Credit: Dan Logan

4 – Carter Lake. This moderately traveled trail nearest to the town of Moose Pass is an excellent place to enjoy snowshoeing and cross country skiing. You’ll fall in love with the beauty of the backcountry here, there is no doubt about that!

Photo Credit: The Alaska Star

Photo Credit: The Alaska Star

5 – Watson Lake. This is a small campground located on the Kenai Peninsula located at mile marker 71 off the Sterling Highway. This is a great place to take a winter walk in the woods, go ice fishing or snowshoeing.

Photo Credit: Per Verdonk, Flickr

Photo Credit: Per Verdonk, Flickr

6 – Skilak Lake. Getting to the Kenai River can be a bit challenging during the winter months, but it can be done! Where there is a will, there is a way! Extreme outdoorsmen and woman can be found venturing across this frozen wonderland during the winter months and the sights in the distance are absolutely EPIC. Not the mention, the fishing this time of year is some of the best!

Photo Credit: Expedition Broker

Photo Credit: Expedition Broker

7 – Longmere Lake. Located at Mile Marker 88.9 off the Sterling Highway, this stocked lake makes it a perfect winter wonderland ice fishing destination for the whole family.

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Flickr

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Flickr

8 – Fish Lake. Drive down Swanson River Road and find yourself in an outdoor recreation mecca land. Whether you are hunting, ice fishing, ice skating or anything in between – you are sure to be spoiled with beautiful sights and peaceful sounds of nature.

Photo Credit: Courtney Stanley

Photo Credit: Courtney Stanley

9 – Kenai Lake. One of the most magical destinations in Cooper Landing is by far Kenai Lake. During the winter months this special place is an excellent spot for wildlife viewing, photography and so much more.

Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek, Flickr

Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek, Flickr

10 – Arc Lake. Located just outside of city limits in Soldotna, this is an excellent place to bring the family and enjoy a day of ice skating, ice hockey, ice fishing or just let the dogs run around and take a walk around the lake.

Photo Credit: Courtney Stanley

Photo Credit: Courtney Stanley

11 – Crescent Lake. If extremely remote and secluded is what you’re after, you’ll love this lake. Stay in a public use cabin after spending the day snowmachining through the mountains to reach this magical destination.

Photo Credit: Dan Logan, Flickr

Photo Credit: Dan Logan, Flickr

12 – Spirit Lake. Located off of the Kenai Spur Highways and Strawberry Road in Kenai, this lake is great for ice fishing. Reel in species such as arctic char, coho and rainbow trout. This is great fun for the whole family!

Photo Credit: Bureau of Land Management, Flickr

Photo Credit: Bureau of Land Management, Flickr

13 – Engineer Lake. Tucked in the foothills north of Skilak Lake, this hideaway destination a great place to escape the rat race and revive your soul. Stay in a public use cabin and enjoy some of the best wildlife viewing on the Kenai Peninsula.

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Flickr

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Flickr

Need more recommendations? Be sure to let us know if we can help you plan your adventure… we are always here to help you have fun on The Kenai!

15 Festive Ways To Embrace The Fall Season With Arms Wide Open

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Photo Credit: Wild Alaska Art – Dan Twitchell

Fall is one of the most magical times of the year on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. The morning air is crisp and fresh, the fall foliage surrounds you down every road you drive, the sunsets are electric, the alpenglow’s are magnificent, the pumpkin flavored treats are utterly delicious and the cozy moments spend indoors are filled with nostalgic moments.

Photo Credit: David L. Brown

Photo Credit: David L. Brown

1 – Get outside and spend the day hiking and soaking in the fall foliage.

Photo Credit: Sujohn Das, Flickr

Photo Credit: Sujohn Das, Flickr

2 – Enjoy the final days of RV season and enjoy an overnighter. A mini road trip from Seward to Homer (while stopping in every town along the way) is the best way to drink life in.

Photo Credit: State of Alaska - Michael DeYoung

Photo Credit: State of Alaska – Michael DeYoung

3 – Wet some lines and enjoy the spectacular scenery, without the ‘combat fishing’ mayhem.

Photo Credit: Drifter's Lodge

Photo Credit: Drifter’s Lodge

4 – Take a day trip along the Seward or Sterling Highway and stop at all the pull outs to take in the epic views.

Photo Credit: Photographer Unknown

Photo Credit: Photographer Unknown

5 – Treat your fur babies to as many outings as possible before the snow flies and their paws can’t handle the trek without booties.

Photo Credit: Dana Orlosky - Flickr

Photo Credit: Dana Orlosky – Flickr

6 – Hop on the Alaska Railroad for a day of rest and relaxation, and enjoy off-the-grid views along the way.

Photo Credit: Tonia Burrough

Photo Credit: Tonia Burrough

7 – Rent a public use cabin on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground and unplug for the night. If you prefer to have some more frills and creature comforts, take advantage of the awesome shoulder season prices that are available now at hospitality spots all over the Kenai Peninsula.

Photo Credit: Recreation.gov

Photo Credit: Recreation.gov

8 – Enjoy wildlife viewing and watch as the bears fatten up before heading into hibernation.

Photo Credit: Heidi Ho Hanson

Photo Credit: Heidi Ho Hanson

9 – Go biking in the backcountry and cover as much (stunningly beautiful) ground as possible.

10 – Chase as many sunsets as humanly possible. Even if you loose a little sleep, you will NEVER regret it.

Photo Credit: Anik Martin

Photo Credit: Anik Martin

11 – As the temperature continues to drop, use every excuse possible to make a fire and have a cozy night in. Don’t forget the snacks, movies and soft blankets!

Photo Credit: Scott Schiller - Flickr

Photo Credit: Scott Schiller – Flickr

12 – It’s the season for ‘all things’ pumpkin spice, so indulge a little wontcha! 😉

Photo Credit: The Moose Is Loose - Facebook

Photo Credit: The Moose Is Loose – Facebook

13 – If the forecast calls for a Northern Lights show, stay up late and soak it in. Being tired the next day will be worth it after you lay eyes on the Aurora Borealis in action.

Photo Credit: Vaughn Johnson Photography

Photo Credit: Vaughn Johnson Photography

14 – If it’s chilly or gloomy, have fun by visiting places like the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage or the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward. Fun for the whole family!

Photo Credit: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center - Facebook

Photo Credit: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – Facebook

15 – It’s okay to blend in with the crowd. Sometimes ‘status quo’ just feels way too good to ignore. The warm and fuzzies that remind you of childhood should be celebrated as often as possible. Soak in the magic of the season by doing all the traditional favorites that spark a major dose of nostalgia – and love every single minute of it!

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Need more ideas to keep you busy this fall on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground? Leave a comment below or feel free to shoot us a personal Facebook message.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Photo by Maria Fletcher-Stark, Flickr.

Photo by Maria Fletcher-Stark, Flickr.

As summer nears and springtime is in full swing, one thing that everyone looks forward to (yes, even the bears) is how magically beautiful the fresh blooming flowers brighten up The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

Photo by Robert Levy, Flickr.

Photo by Robert Levy, Flickr.

After a long, cold winter it is easy to feel completely entrenched in snow and frozenness. Lakes, yards, valleys, riverbanks, everything under the sun – you guessed it… FROZEN. So when we see beautiful fireweed blooming, it is 100% worthy of a photo-shoot in itself.

Photo from Megan, Flickr.

Photo from Megan, Flickr.

The sea of flowers along the Lost Lake Trail is truly motivation to keep going and going. Exercise seems easy when you’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Accessible from the lovely town of Seward, the views around Exit Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park are stunning after the April showers bring May flowers.

Photo from Ronald Woan, Flickr.

Photo from Ronald Woan, Flickr.

Renting a cabin in the woods is just part of the Alaska’s Playground experience. Have a fire outside, ride the ATV’s and just enjoy unplugging from the rat race of the city. And when flowers are in bloom, it’s hard not to fall in love with the beauty.

Photo from Keith Parker, Flickr.

Photo from Keith Parker, Flickr.

And if mellow-yellow is more of your style, you guessed it – we have some of that too!

Photo from Bill Bumgarner, Flickr.

Photo from Bill Bumgarner, Flickr.

The view from Ptarmigan Lake with fiery flowers is something that makes us feel a bit like we are in a land of heaven right here on earth.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

And so does the very presence of being at Quartz Creek in Cooper Landing during the season of fresh blooming flowers and crisp, clean air!

Photo from Maria Fletcher-Stark, Flickr.

Photo from Maria Fletcher-Stark, Flickr.

If long walks in the wildflowers and daisy chain necklaces are your cup of tea, Bear Creek is an excellent place to set off on an exploration.

Photo from Random Michelle, Flickr.

Photo from Random Michelle, Flickr.

Fireweed with snow-capped mountains in the background just screams “Only In Alaska” and we fall head-over-heels in love!

Photo from Dr.DeNo, Flickr.

Photo from Dr.DeNo, Flickr.

Or fireweed with the view of a glacier in the distance… that is a pretty epic WINNING sight as well. Fritz Creek is a fantastic place to enjoy the bright blooming May flowers on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground.

Photo from Joe Decruyenaere, Flickr.

Photo from Joe Decruyenaere, Flickr.

Hiking along Primrose is filled with so many colorful sights that you’d think a skittles bag exploded all over the backcountry.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Photo from Dan Logan, Flickr.

Flowers on the Kenai Peninsula are so excited to bloom, don’t be surprised if you find them growing out of rocks. These bluebells sure are determined!

Photo from Bill Bumgarner, Flickr.

Photo from Bill Bumgarner, Flickr.

Quite frankly, after seeing this stunning view overlooking Kachemak Bay from Diamond Ridge in Homer, we have never been more excited for the season of bloom that is upon us!

Photo from Lisa Matlock, Flickr.

Photo from Lisa Matlock, Flickr.

And if you’re as in love with wildlife viewing as we are, don’t worry – you can enjoy the moose and the beautiful flowers at the same time.
Photo from Lynda Cazort, Flickr.

Photo from Lynda Cazort, Flickr.

Or if you are planning on visiting Alaska’s Playground to get your fishing game on, we got you covered there too. Even the walk to the docks is lined with stunning May flowers after the April showers. Kick things into gear and enjoy the colorful sights and fresh fragrance on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground this month!

Photo from Nicholas D., Flickr.

Photo from Nicholas D., Flickr.