Kenai Fjords National Park
Food and Drink in Seward
Eating out in Seward is a casual affair and unsurprisingly centered around fish, although plenty of inventive options are being introduced with relative newcomers to the area. Look for the daily fish and seafood specials on the chalkboard of your chosen lunch spot. Restaurants are scattered around town, but you should be able to get to most of them by foot or free shuttles. If you imbibe, beer and cocktails here are given just about as much attention as the food; to spectacular results.
Seward Brewing Company: The town's own brewpub, Seward Brewing Company offers their own small-batch brews with a limited but distinguished pub menu. Come for bites like the salmon poke and tacos, or meals like the fish 'n' fries, citrus halibut salad, reindeer hot dog and a creative take on grilled cheese. Sweets include a root beer float, ice cream sandwich or -- the favorite -- chocolate salty balls. (139 4th Avenue; 907-422-0337; Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and Thursday through Sunday, open from 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday)
Lighthouse Cafe & Bakery: The bakery is a centrally located spot to grab a coffee, sandwich or pastry during your time in Seward. Apple fritters and iced maple doughnuts might help to fill your stomach before a boat tour or kayak trip. (1215 4th Avenue; 907-224-6091; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Resurrection Roadhouse Restaurant: Part of Seward Windsong Lodge, the Roadhouse Restaurant makes a great drop-in for burgers, chowders, salads or fish and chips on your way down the road to Exit Glacier or a dog mushing adventure. (31772 Herman Leirer Road; 907-224-7116; lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily)
Ray's Waterfront: Ray's features steak and seafood dining with a view of the small boat harbor and snow-capped mountains overlooking Resurrection Bay. The location couldn't be more appealing or convenient. Prices are on the high side, but the delicious fish is worth it. (1316 4th Avenue; 907-224-5606; open from 11 a.m.)
Chinooks Bar and Grill: This eatery is right next door to Ray's. The view is just as special, and the menu is inventive -- halibut BLT, smoked scallop mac 'n' cheese and lamb sliders are all tasty dishes. A handcrafted cocktail list and solid variety of beer on tap (flights are available) match drinks that are just as exciting and local as the food. (1404 4th Avenue; 907-224-2207; serving food from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
Don't Miss in Seward
Kenai Fjords National Park: The park is an incredibly scenic series of islands, rock outcroppings and fjords to be visited by small boats. Trips range from a half-day with lunch included onboard, to a full-day cruise with an island stop for a salmon and steak barbecue. Along with the spectacular fjords and glaciers, there's an excellent chance of seeing puffins, bald eagles, sea otters, mountain goats, seals, whales and occasionally bears. If you spot orcas, the captain might lower a mic below the surface so you can listen to their amazing calls. Several operators cruise into the park, including Kenai Fjords Tours (1304 4th Avenue; 888-478-3346) and Major Marine Tours (1302 4th Avenue; 800-764-7300).
Alaska SeaLife Center: This state-of-the-art aquarium and marine life rehabilitation center gives visitors a view of the local sea life from above and below water level. Check out the puffin habitat and see the birds "fly" underwater. Watch sea lions and seals soar through their tanks. For an additional fee, you can join behind-the-scenes tours and watch an orphaned sea otter pup getting groomed by its human "mom" or shake "hands" with a giant Pacific octopus. The center opened in 1998 and was partially funded by the Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement. (301 Railway Avenue; 800-224-2525; open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. Friday through Sunday)
Exit Glacier: Follow the footpaths for an up-close encounter with Exit Glacier. Weather and safety concerns determine just how close you are allowed to get. Parts of the path may be roped off. The glacier is noticeably receding (check out the date markers), making the hike to the ice longer each year. Currently, it's just under a mile, partly up hill. Exit Glacier is outside of town, so a guided tour might be the easiest way to see it. Alaska Heritage Tours (907-777-2805) offers a tour that departs from the Seaward Windsong Lodge (a shuttle runs from in front of the Kenai Fjords Tour office to the lodge on the morning of your tour).
Paddle Past an Iceberg: Liquid Adventures is located in an unassuming rail car at the north end of town, but offers once-in-lifetime experiences. Kayak then camp overnight in Aialik Bay, spend a day sea kayaking Resurrection Bay or standup paddleboard around the incredible Bear Glacier and literally paddle past ancient floating ice. If you've dreamt of getting up close to some of Alaska's most amazing natural wonders, consider getting in (well, above) the water. (411 Port Avenue; 907-224-9225)
Fish On!: Salmon. Halibut. Cod. Whatever fish is your favorite, there's a time and place to catch it. Join a charter boat tour and try your luck. Fish Seward Alaska Inc. will get you geared up. Guides will even bait your hook, if you're the squeamish type. (1408 4th Avenue; 907-947-3349)
Soar Over a Glacier: Get a sweeping overview of the massive, 700-square-mile Harding Icefield from your seat in a small plane. Contact Scenic Mountain Air (907-288-3646).