Location / Coordinates: Seward, Alaska, on the eastern shores of Resurrection Bay, about two hours drive south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway (about 130 miles).
Coordinates: Latitude 60.10 & Longitude 149.44
Population / Elevation: 3,000 people call Seward, Alaska home. Woody the Sea Lion also calls Seward, Alaska, specifically the SeaLife Center, home as do many other wild animals.
Seward, Alaska starts at sea level and quickly rises up the steep side of Mt. Marathon.
Description: Quite scenic, Seward, Alaska is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Beautiful, rugged mountains covered in green Spruce forests rush down to meet the cold blue waters of Resurrection Bay. Look carefully and you’ll see Sea Otters frolicking on the surface, or a whale blowing in the distance. Snow-capped mountains loom on the other side of the bay.
Seward, is a quaint little town with a ot of interesting history. Many of Seward’s original buildings are still here. Laid out in a tight grid, it’s easy to find your way around Seward. Walking is a nice way to see the Gateway City, especially along the waterfront.
What to do there: If you like to be a spectator, Seward, Alaska is the place for you! July Fourth is the grueling Mount Marathon Race. Crazy people race to the top of Mount Marathon and back down again as fast as they can—leaping off cliffs, tripping and falling down steep hillsides, and generally showing no regard for physical safety.
Winter in Seward, Alaska brings out the best in its residents. The Polar Bear Festival, with the “Plunge” is held the third Saturday in January. Profits from the Plunge go to the American Cancer Society. Participants dress in whacky costumes, parade down to Resurrection Bay, take a deep breath, and plunge into the ice-cold water. Some of the participants go it alone, others do it as a group, many have done it numerous times.
Of course, if you like to participate—both of these events are open to everyone.
Seward is a fishing town, both commercially and for fun. Walk down to the wharf and see the marina, or have lunch. Many visitors, as well as locals, charter a boat and go fishing for Halibut, Salmon, Lingcod or Rockfish. Charters out of Seward are for a half day or for a full day. The crew will fillet your catch and ready it for shipment home if you like.
The Annual Seward Silver Salmon Derby is held in August with prize monies of around $10,000! Make your reservations early. Here fishy, fishy, fishy…
Seward also has charter boats for sightseeing. Bring you camera—the whales are blowing off the port side! Some of the charter bots also serve dinner.
To learn more about the wild life you see in the Bay, visit the SeaLife Center. Touch Star Fish and Sea Anemones, watch those very cute Puffins jump into the water and “fly,” and don’t forget to say hello to Woody the Sea Lion.
For history buffs, there is a nice walking tour of Seward, Alaska beginning at the information center. Visit homes and businesses that date back to the 1900s. You can do a little shopping along the way. The oldest family-owned retail business, general merchandisers, and outfitters in Seward is Brown and Hawkins. You’ll find well-known brand name outdoor gear, Alaskan-made gifts and souvenirs—including ivory and jade carvings, and gold jewelry. Also on display are antiques from the turn of the century. Check out the Sweet Darlings Candies! And satisfy your sweet tooth.
Jefferson and 3rd is the address for the Seward Museum. It features artifacts and photographs from the Good Friday earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that destroyed much of Seward in 1964. Historical records and photos are also available for viewing.
Lowell Point State Recreation Area is a short drive from Seward. It’s a nice place for a picnic along the shore, or a gathering point for a hike to Tonsina Point and Caines Head.
Fishing and sightseeing are big attractions in and around Seward, Alaska. Professional guides are available for families or whole groups for fishing or for flightseeing, either on an airplane or in a helicopter. Kenai Fjords National Park and Prince William Sound are teeming with fishing and photo opportunites. View bears, whales, icefields, glaciers, and puffins. The list goes on and on.
Dog sled tours are quite popular in Seward, Alaska as well. Mitch Seavey, won the famous Iditarod Sled dog Race in 2004. His homestead is off of Exit Glacier Road. Ride with his dogs at the Ididaride sled dog tours. Don’t forget your camera! Seavey is quite a story teller too, sharing his adventures on the Iditarod Trail at 50 below… Call ahead for reservations.
History: Seward, Alaska is named for U.S. Secretary of State William Seward, the man responsible for the purchase of Alaska from Russia during the Lincoln administration from 1861-69. Seward, Alaska is located on Resurrection Bay, so named by explorere Alexander Baranof of Russia. Baranof was sailing during a very rough storm and he was able to find shelter in the bay. Resurrection Bay is ice-free, ideal for shipping during the winter season.
Seward, Alaska was and has been for many years, the main port city of Alaska. Anchorage has now overtaken that role. Still a thriving port city, Seward welcomes nearly two hundred thousand visitors via cruise ship every summer. From the port, Alaska’s first railroad hauled goods to the rest of the state. Many gold seekers disembarked on Seward’s docks, boarded a train, and subsequently dog sleds or on foot and headed to trails north to the goldfields of Nome. Gold was hauled back down the same route to Seward, loaded on ships and sent south.
Good Friday 1964, everything changed in Seward, Alaska. Alaskans remember that day as Black Friday. The second largest earthquake in recorded history happened. The quake caused a tsunami that washed a 3500-foot stretch of Seward waterfront into the bay. Huge swaths of mature Spruce forest along the bay were mowed down, and most of Seward was destroyed. Since then, Seward has rebuilt its small boat harbor, waterfront facilities and designed an earthquake-proof dock.
How to get there: Seward is very accessible via boat, car, train, and air. Several commercial bus companies also have routes to Seward from Anchorage. During the summer season, and once during the Christmas Holidays, the Alaska Railroad provides daily passenger service to and from Seward. There is ferry service to Kodiak or Valdez a couple of times a week, and the Seward Highway is open year-round. Seward is about three hours drive from Anchorage, depending on the weather. The Seward airport has daily service to Anchorage, as well as many chartered flight-seeing flights.
Facilities: Seward, Alaska has all the amenities needed in a small, but thriving community. There are a couple of banks, a post office, book stores, laundry and showers for weary travelers, hotels, motels, and campsights, and several good places to eat. There are many little shops for souvenirs, goodies, and T-shirts as well as places to get outfitted for more rigorous adventures.
RV info: RVs are welcome in Seward, Alaska. Several RV parks have accommodations for campers and RVs. Good Sams are welcome here. Several RV parks have full and partial hook-ups, dump stations, private restrooms with showers, and laundry facilities. Many RV parks welcome caravans too. Please make your reservations early and enjoy your stay in Seward, Alaska!