Things to Do in Seward, Alaska

Our Alaskan cruise started in Vancouver and ended in Seward, Alaska. Most people hurry through this small town at the base of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula. But this area is more than worth exploring and ended up being one of our favorite spots in Alaska. I am thankful that while I was planning, I decided to spend some time exploring this city instead of Anchorage. We spent two days in Seward, but I could have easily filled up a few more. If you are wondering what to do in Seward, Alaska, read on…
what to do in seward alaska
Fireweed, a pink flower that is ubiquitous in Alaska- You can even get fireweed jelly.

Things to Do in Seward

We spent the full day that our cruise ship arrived and the next day until we had to catch the train to Anchorage, which left in the early evening. Here is what we did with our two days in Seward.
The town of Seward has a free shuttle. This shuttle was our mode of transportation within the city. It picks up at the cruise ship terminal and has stops all over town. It is a white bus with red letters on it. Peruse their website for stop and timing information.

Day 1 in Seward

what to see in seward alaska
The Holgate Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park

Take a Boat Tour of the Kenai Fjords

Many recommendations were made to take a boat tour of these fjords. We had just spent eight days cruising the waters of Alaska. Did we really want to go directly onto another boat? We decided to go for it, and the decision was the right one. The perspective is so different from a small boat, and the amount of wildlife you will see is unbelievable. We saw orca whales, Dall porpoises, sea otters, puffin colonies, and seals. For more information about how to see wildlife in Alaska, read my Alaskan wildlife guide.

Kenai Fjords National Park is over 50 percent water containing fjords and glaciers. It is mainly accessible by boat or plane.

We took a half-day (6-hour) tour with Major Marine, and I can not recommend them more. They picked us up right at the cruise ship terminal and held our luggage while we were on our tour. On the ride out, you can choose to have a delicious buffet lunch. There is a park ranger on board to narrate.
An orca whale swims in front of Bear Glacier.
A few things to consider:
  • It is pretty bumpy getting out of the bay. Take seasickness medicine for this part of the journey. Shop for Bonine on Amazon (I am an Amazon affiliate, read my footer for details), or buy it when you check-in for your cruise. We also swear by SeaBands, a nonpharmaceutical approach.
  • It is windy out there, so bring a waterproof, packable windbreaker, even in the summer.
  • Bring a zoom lens with you for great pictures of the animals. I used my Sony RX-10 High Zoom.

Walk the Iditarod Trail

We took the free shuttle to our hotel, The Best Western Suites, and dropped off our luggage. Then we took a walk along the ocean on the Iditarod Trail.
People came for the gold rush, and they needed a way to get people around. They also needed a way to move mail around. To solve this problem, they started the Iditarod Trail, which began in Seward, where boats would drop off people and mail. Much later (in 1967), a sled and dog race began along part of the trail (it starts in Anchorage and no longer runs through Seward) to honor the trail’s history. Along the paved sidewalk, you will see placards about the history of the trail and race. At Mile Zero, there is a statue of a dog and driver.
It is a lovely walk along the water and through campgrounds where you can enjoy the mountains looming above. If you have enough time, you can rent waders and fishing poles.
Near the end of the walk, you will see the active fishing boats coming in. If you walk the whole way through town to the Harbor 360 Hotel, it is a little under one and a half miles.
fishing in Seward, Alaska

Enjoy Dinner on the Docks

Eat local seafood at Chinooks to enjoy the water view.

Gelato Time!

Head back to the other side of town for gelato or candy at Sweet Darlings.

Day Two in Seward

We spent our second day doing a few tours in Seward.

Alaska SeaLife Center

Things to do in Seward, Alaska. 2 days in Seward. #thingstodoinSeward #sewardAlaska #thingstodoinAlaska

Seward has a very impressive aquarium, The Alaska SeaLife Center. Spend half a day exploring it. If you love sea animals as we do splurge for a puffin, sea otter, or octopus encounter. We did a puffin encounter and got to interact closely with the unique birds. We had seen them flying and roosting on our boat tour. It was special to then learn about then up close. In Mystic, Connecticut, we have done the beluga whale and penguin encounters.

Have Lunch at Thorn’s Showcase Lounge

Eat at Showcase, a campy, funky, laid-back restaurant frequented by locals near the Alaska SeaLife Center.

Meet Sled Dogs!

Where to see sled dogs in Seward, Alaska
How cute is this little sled dog?!

Our half-day at Seavey’s Ididaride Sled Dog Tours was a highlight of our whole trip and very convenient. They picked us up at the train station, where we were able to drop off our luggage and made sure to get us back in time for the train.

The tour takes place at a real Iditarod sled dog camp. There we learned about the dogs and the race. We got to take a ride on a dirt trail with the pups, who seem to love the run. We even got to snuggle with adorable puppies — such a great way to learn about the sport.

Book your sled dog ride now.

2 days in Seward, Alaska

If we stayed another day, we would have also considered some of these things to do in Seward

Where to Stay in Seward, Alaska

Best Western Plus Edgewater Suites

We stayed here because we wanted an inexpensive room that would easily fit our large family. It is across town from the cruise dock, but across the street from the Alaska SeaLife Center, which is a stop from the free bus. It is not fancy, but it includes breakfast, and it was perfect for us.

Book your room at the Best Western Plus Edgewater Suites now.

Harbor Hotel 360

If you are looking for a more plush room right on the docks, check out the Harbor Hotel 360.

Book a room at the Harbor Hotel 360 now.

How to Get from Seward to Anchorage

seward things to do
Our train

We then took one of the most stunning train rides ever. We took the Alaska Railroad with GoldStar Service from Seward to Anchorage, which wound through verdant green mountains, by shining lakes, through wetlands where moose sightings were possible, by tumbling waterfalls and even the Spencer Glacier. The Goldstar service is a glass-domed train with drink service, white napkin meal service, a viewing platform, and staff narration.

Train ride from Seward to Anchorage
Sunset from the train window

I hope I have inspired you to spend some of your time in Alaska in this town with so many things to do.

Let me know in the comments your plans, questions, or if you have other ideas of what to do in Seward.

If you liked it, please share it. Thank you!

9 thoughts on “Things to Do in Seward, Alaska”

  1. I lived in Alaska for 10 years and visited Seward alot. One of my favorite camping spots was along the river near Exit Glacier. Reading your post was like being there. The Sealife Center is amazing and buying fresh halibut off the docks is a must if you are planning to some cooking at the campsite. I’d love to do the sled dog tour! How fun!

  2. When we did an Alaska cruise, we did not have enough time to explore. And we wish we had planned some extra time inland. Good to read that when we plan our next trip we should spend a few days in Seward. Love that the town has a free shuttle to get around. Even after a cruise I would want to take a boat ride to see the fjords and glaciers. in Kenai Fjords National Park. I am sure it was a lovely walk along the Iditarod Trail. But I probably am not going fishing. I have never had that much patience! We missed puffins when we went to the Faroe Islands. So it would be good to see them on a visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center. We would want to try to kayak around Bear Glacier and tick off this bucket list item too. And a drive up to Turnagain Arm would give us a view of beluga whales we have never seen. Thanks for adding Seward to our next Alaska trip.

  3. Wow, this all looks so beautiful. Alaska has always been one of those places that have piqued my interest as it is basically in Canada but uniquely its own. I would be drawn to The Holgate Glacier – looks unbelievable.

  4. This post makes me want to book a trip to Alaska! I wish I didn’t get horrible seasickness otherwise I would love to do the boat tour of The Holgate Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. But even if I can’t do that I was happy to see the dog sled. That is one thing on my bucket list that I want to do someday whether it be in Alaska or in Northern Europe. How cool that you got to play with puppies. I am so amazed by the train ride! The views look incredible and look like none other train ride I have ever seen.

  5. I’m actually from Vancouver and have never done a cruise despite our port being so readily accessible. (Seems like reading this is a sign!) Alaska is seriously so beautiful and I can’t imagine how much more breathtaking it must’ve been witnesses all of these incredible sights in person. How fun you got to interact with puffins too! I’d wanted to see them in Iceland, but didn’t get a chance. Note to self: book a Kenai Fjords boat tour + puffin aquarium visit at Alaska SeaLife Center! Oh and bring seasick medicine hahaa.

  6. Someday we’ll have to visit Alaska! We’ve heard that the nordic lights can be seen in summer, which is amazing because we can only travel far during summertime. The Kenai fjords look quite impressive too! And we’d also love to take the Goldstar rail; the views from the glass-doomed roof must have been wonderful!


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