Alaskan National Parks are quite different from those in the Lower 48. They’re hard to access, don’t have much infrastructure, and adventuring in them takes planning and is sometimes near impossible. All of the above apply to the Kenai Fjords. But they’re beautiful and so worth it! Below, we’ll dive into the things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park.
With Seward as the nearest city, the Kenai Fjords National Park is just a giant glacier/iceblock/snowfield. If you look at it on Google Maps, it’s hilariously white. Yet, from the human view, it’s perfection – though most tourists will see only a fraction of the park as most of it is inaccessible by car.
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In 2021, a little over 400,000 people visited the Kenai Fjords, making it the most visited National Park in Alaska.
As we dive in, be aware that this will not be short. There are plenty of things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park.
Guide to the Things to Do in Kenai Fjords National Park
Travel questions about visiting Seward and Kenai Fjords
Is Kenai Fjords National Park Worth Visiting?
Yes. 100 times, yes. Kenai Fjords National Park is so worth visiting, and you’ll love it. There are so many things to do in the Kenai Fjords, including glaciers, wildlife, towering peaks, and many activities like kayaking, fishing, seafood, and flightseeing. You don’t want to miss a trip here.
Is the drive from Anchorage to Seward Scenic?
Holy smokes, it’s gorgeous! Some say this stretch is the most beautiful in Alaska. I can’t count the number of times we stopped on the side of the road to shoot photos and take in the sights! Give yourself an extra hour to pull over on the way down.
How Many Days Should I Spend in the Kenai Fjords?
It depends on how many activities and things to do in Kenai Fjords are on your list. We spent two days and three nights there and found it to be a great amount of time. This allowed us to do our Wildlife and Glacier Cruise and hike to the Exit Glacier.
What is so special about Kenai Fjords National Park?
Kenai Fjords is incredibly special because it’s nearly completely ice-covered. No other National Park in the United States has something like this, and it’s so unique. You can access one small area on foot; the rest must be accessed via boat or plane.
Are there grizzly bears in Kenai Fjords National Park?
There are grizzlies and black bears in the area. We saw a black bear on our Kenai Fjords boat cruise hanging out on the far-off snow. However, because so much of the area is inaccessible, the odds of running into bears are low. But remember, always carry bear spray when adventuring in Alaska.
Is it expensive to visit Seward?
Everything in Alaska is expensive during the summer, as it’s the primary time they can make money. We only went out to eat once, and our fish dinner was about $65 each when adding a tip and a drink.
Can I take a train to Seward?
Yes, you can take a train from Anchorage to Seward. This is a great way to get around if you don’t want to rent a car. The train takes about 4.5 hours to go from Anchorage to Seward. You will have some of the best views in all of America.
What is the best time of year to visit the Kenai Fjords?
The summer months are the prime travel time. Because of this, everyone will be visiting, so it’s wise to book your trip early and ensure you have a spot on the boat cruises, activities locked in, and a hotel room.
Travel details to get to Seward and the Kenai Fjords
- Find hotels here from Expedia or Hotels.com
- Get your flight to Anchorage.
- Get your rental car.
- Find activities to do in Seward.
How long of a drive is it from Anchorage to Seward?
It’s around a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Anchorage to Seward. Highway speed limits are lower in Alaska versus the Lower 48 because of how much wildlife there is. Plus, there’s no need to be speeding with the views you’ll have.
Where should I stay in Seward, Alaska?
There are many places to stay in Seward, from the campground (good for van life or those camping) to mid-tier hotels, and finally, luxury stays further north just out of the city. Regardless of your choice, you won’t spend long inside with everything to do in Kenai Fjords National Park waiting for you!
Things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park
Hike the Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield
Exit Glacier is the only hike in the Kenai Fjords. Due to this, it can get crowded. There are two parts to the hike. The first is a short trek to an overlook of the Exit Glacier that’s doable for most skill levels. As you hike, you’ll see signs with years on them. This represents where the glacier was at that year.
Then, the second hike is strenuous, taking you to the top of the Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield. I recommend hiking in mid-June or later once the snow has melted and the wildflowers bloom.
It’s about a 10-mile hike with 3,000 feet of elevation gain. It’s one of the things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park.
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Take a Kenai Fjords Boat Cruise
This was hands down one of the most memorable experiences of our Alaska trip. We spent 6+ hours on the boat, taking in the scenery, viewing glaciers, and witnessing the incredible wildlife.
We lucked out with clear skies and were so impressed with the unique landscapes and having the chance to get close to glaciers that may not be around in 100 years. So, when considering the things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, make this item number one on your list.
The amount of wildlife we saw on the trip was insane. We saw a pod of orcas, a humpback whale, a black bear, a puffin, rare birds (too many to name), Steller Sea Lions, and probably more that I’m forgetting.
It’s the best thing to do in Kenai Fjords National Park, hands down.
Your cruise will get you up close and personal with at least one glacier, if not more, while on the trip. We saw some ice fall, which was excellent (and also sad).
This was a fantastic experience and one of my favorite things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park. I’d never seen glaciers like this, and there’s a good chance you haven’t either.
Go Kayaking in the Kenai Fjords National Park
Go kayaking if you want to get out on the water when you visit Kenai Fjords National Park. Getting up close and personal with the glaciers, fjords, mountains, and possibly animals by hopping in a kayak will blow your mind.
There are a few options out of Seward, and all offer half, full, and multi-day trips. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for it, but a multi-day trip would have been incredible, and I highly recommend it as one of the things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park.
Things to do in Seward, Alaska
In addition to spending time hiking or boating, there are plenty of other fun things to do in Seward. Please take a look at these things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park below to make it an unforgettable trip!
- Hour Long Flight over the Fjords
- Nine-hour cruise to Northwestern Fjord
- Half-day Resurrection Bay and Wildlife Cruise
- If you’re looking for a 9-day trip that will blow your mind
- Helicopter and Dog Sledding Excursion
Related: Read my other Alaska articles
Attire for Kenai Fjords National Park
I assume you’re visiting in the summer and early/late shoulder season when the weather improves. (If not, bundle up.)
- Wool base layer to keep you warm: Men’s and Women’s
- Nice comfy fleece as a mid-layer: Men’s and Women’s
- Down Jacket for extra warmth: Men’s and Women’s
- Comfy yet durable pants: Men’s and Women’s
- Rain jacket: Men’s and Women’s
- Wool Socks: Men’s and Women’s
- Sturdy Hiking Shoes: Men’s and Women’s
- Midsized hiking backpack: 20L, 25L, 30L
What else is there to do in the Kenai Peninsula area?
The Moose Pass area has some excellent hiking. We went to Ptarmigan Lake, which was a great hike. Overall, it’s a 7-mile hike with 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Perfect for a day hike.
There’s also a campground at the trailhead, making it an excellent stop for those in a camper van!
Cooper Landing, nestled in the breathtaking Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, is a picturesque and idyllic destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Surrounded by towering mountain peaks, lush forests, and the pristine waters of the Kenai River, this charming community offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities.
Visitors to Cooper Landing can engage in world-class fishing for salmon and trout, go hiking or backpacking on numerous scenic trails, and witness wildlife in its natural habitat. The town itself is small but welcoming, with a few quaint shops, restaurants, and accommodations that cater to travelers seeking a peaceful retreat in the heart of Alaska’s wilderness.
Whether you’re here for fishing, hiking, or simply to soak in the stunning surroundings, Cooper Landing provides an authentic Alaskan experience that’s bound to leave a lasting impression.
- Virgin Creek Falls
- Byron Glacier
- Alyeska Resort
- The small town of Hope, AK
Homer, Alaska, often called the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World,” is a captivating coastal town on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula.
With its stunning panoramic views of Kachemak Bay, the surrounding glaciers, and the majestic Kenai Mountains, Homer is a haven for those seeking a perfect blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventures. This vibrant community offers a rich maritime heritage, celebrated through its numerous art galleries, cultural events, and bustling fishing industry.
Visitors can explore the charming shops and boutiques in the historic Old Town area, indulge in delectable seafood at local restaurants, and stroll along the famous Homer Spit, a long, narrow landform extending into the bay that’s packed with shops, accommodations, and recreational opportunities.
So, if you’re drawn to world-class halibut fishing, birdwatching, or simply gazing at the awe-inspiring landscapes, Homer is a quintessential Alaskan destination that captures the essence of the Last Frontier.
Things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park – Wrapping Up
I loved my time visiting Kenai Fjords National Park, which was 100% one of the highlights of our Alaska trip. Getting to see so much sea life, glaciers, and mountains filled my soul with joy.
I hope all the things to do in Kenai Fjords National Park do the same for you!
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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