Seward is a fascinating place to visit, and even if you are only here for a day or so, the region demands a look around. Many tourists traveling through Alaska will be familiar with Seward due to its popularity as a central port from which travelers take off to many Alaskan destinations. It is located conveniently in the Prince William Sound and acts as a gateway to the Kenai Peninsula and the rest of Alaska. Therefore, if only for a couple of hours or a couple of days, many people who have visited Alaska have seen Seward at one time or another. Only the lucky ones have visited Seward for days at a time, a region with some outstanding fishing sites, great sea kayaking opportunities, and wonderful hiking trails. The Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the top destinations in all of Alaska, and it is as diverse as it is majestic. You can see a multitude of landscapes, an abundance of wildlife, and breathtaking scenery that you thought only possible in your dreams. Recently, tourism in Seward has exploded, which has come as a bit of a shock to the citizens of this once small town. It's a bit of a mystery why travelers all over the world are showing such universal interest in this remote location, but perhaps Seward business proprietors and visitors like myself have plugged the city so much that our advertising has paid off.
Seward is one of the oldest cities in Alaska, and the area was first recognized in 1793, when the governor of Russia, Alexander Baranof, stopped here and named Resurrection Bay. He then built a ship which unfortunately sank, and not too much was heard about Seward until 1903. At this time the town evolved into a big Alaskan port city because companies were interested in building a railroad here that would run north and south for miles. This venture failed, but all of the talk brought gold prospectors, settlers, and workers whose families and kin would stay here for good.
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Seward, a full service port located within walking distance to the city center of Seward, Alaska.
Seward is a delightfully laid back city that is at its most charming when one strolls the streets. It is very efficient to simply walk from one attraction to another; however, other options exist as well. You can call Glacier Taxicab (907/224-5678) to arrange for a taxi service to pick you up from the cruise dock or any other locale. Seward Mountain Bike Shop (907/224-2448) rents several varieties of bicycles, ranging from high-performance mountain bikes to types that are good for just getting around the city. In addition, the Seward Chamber of Commerce has a small Trolley service that cruises the downtown streets.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is located at 301 Railway Ave. (800/224-2525) and combines research and entertainment into an enjoyable mixture of sights and sounds. This institution is the primary location for scientists and experts to study the ecosystems and wildlife of Seward and the Prince William Sound area. The aquarium is full of extraordinary marine life, and some of the creatures inside will most likely not swim before your eyes ever again, unless of course, you visit the SeaLife Center at some other time in your life. The exhibits are magnificent, and the best feature sea lions, harbor seals, and sea birds living in their natural habitats. This is a fantastic experience, as is the touch tank, a favorite for the kids. Here you have the opportunity to handle live starfish and other tide pool dwellers. Throughout the day, programs and informative classes are held, and if you call ahead you can get schedule for a particular afternoon.
The Seward Museum is located at 336 Third Ave. (907/224-3902) and is an interesting site full of peculiar knickknacks. Some are ancient, some are modern, and others are just plain strange. This is the best place to learn about the history and heritage of Seward. Newspaper clippings and stories highlight all of the area's main events through the years. The museum is only open during the summer, and if you happen to be in Seward during this time of the year, be sure to set aside a couple of hours to visit this lovely little spot.
Sea Kayaking and Fishing
in Seward is a fantastic destination to engage in a little sea kayaking adventure. While you glide through the water you are sure to see an abundance of fantastic marine life. Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking (800/770-9119) is a great company to contact, and they can provide both information and trips, and have been doing so for five years. Miller's Landing (866/541-5739) is another company in Seward that features a number of fabulous outdoor activities. You can contact them for fishing trips, sea kayaking, and other nature excursions. The lessons are extremely useful, and the experts at Miller's can teach you to become an experienced salmon fisherman in a couple of hours. Seward has become well known thanks to the wonderful saltwater silver salmon fishing in the area. The Fish House is located in the Small Boat Harbor (800/257-7760) and is the authority on fishing in Seward. They book charters so you can venture into the sea and fish with a team of professionals.
Dining and Nightlife
Ray's Waterfront can be found at the small boat harbor (907/224-5606) and features a lively atmosphere and delicious food. The lighthearted mood fits the décor perfectly, and the friendly servers help to make this dining experience a great one. The steaks are juicy and full of flavor, and the fresh fish catch of the day is always prepared marvelously. The view of the harbor is magnificent, completing the enjoyable ambiance of Ray's. The Harbor Dinner Club is located at 220 5th Ave. (907/224-3012) and specializes in seafood that is all caught locally. For lunch the halibut burger is outstanding, and a favorite dinner entrée is the lobster. Their extensive bar is wonderful as well.
The Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery is located at 320 3rd Ave. (907/224-7161) and features work by artists who live or work in Seward. The Bardarson Studio is right across from the small boat harbor (800/354-0141) and sells all kinds of wonderful paintings, prints, and crafts. Almost anything creative can be found here, making this store one that is both eclectic and exquisite.