Seward (Anchorage), Alaska

Seward (Anchorage), Alaska

Seward, Alaska is a port city and an alpine resort town. Imagine a sparkling body of water, Resurrection Bay, with towering mountains lining its shores. Mt. Marathon, where the famous Fourth of July race is held, lies in front of the Harding Icefield which extends down the coast. Marine life abounds, eagles and seabirds fill the air, and mountain goats, bear and moose, all inhabit the surrounding forest.

Seward is a picturesque harbor town sporting the catchy motto “Alaska starts here.” What that means is that Seward really is the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park, a vast treasure trove of marine life. It’s the launching point for kayaking and fishing adventures. And it’s the start (or end) of the Alaska Railroad and the historic start of the famous Iditarod sled dog race.

You’ll find Seward about 125 miles south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula and standing at the head of Resurrection Bay. For most cruisers, it’s an embarkation or disembarkation port (but there’s plenty of ways to spend your time with one day in Seward). You’ll likely fly into Anchorage to meet your ship, or arrive in port after a cruise tour to Denali. True, the port of Whittier is closer to Anchorage and is challenging Seward for cruise traffic, but there’s no comparison when it comes to sightseeing, staying and playing. More than a quick port stop or mere point of embarkation, Seward makes a handy, not to mention charming, base for exploring the peninsula and its quirky small towns.

The disabled cruiser visiting Seward

Where You’re Docked

Cruise ships dock at the north end of town on Port Avenue. The Small Boat Harbor where Kenai Fjords tour boats depart is less than a mile’s walk south. The downtown area is roughly another mile further down the road.

There’s not much happening right at the cruise dock. But you’ll find everything — shops, restaurants, tourist information and tours — at the Small Boat Harbor.

Good to Know

Getting seasick on small boat tours around the islets and inlets of Kenai Fjords National Park. Most operators provide meds if you feel queasy, however be aware the pills may put you to sleep, and you might have to forgo a little glacier viewing to spite the nausea. It helps to watch what you eat and spend some time outside in the fresh air. But if you aren’t sure, be certain to take the pills at least a half-hour to an hour before your boat departs the harbor, just to be safe.

Getting Around

Getting To the Port: If you’re traveling on your own from Anchorage (the airport gateway), Alaska Tour & Travel has bus service to Seward twice a day. Salmon Berry Tours offer day tours with your transfer from Anchorage to Seward so sightseeing time isn’t wasted. If you don’t mind getting up early, the Alaska Railroad departs from Anchorage at 6:45 a.m., and arrives in Seward at 11:15 a.m. Leaving Seward, it departs at 6 p.m. and arrives in Anchorage at 11:05 p.m. 

On Foot: The two main walking areas are the historic downtown and the Small Boat Harbor. They are within a mile of each other, and both have souvenir shops and cafes. Fourth Avenue is considered “downtown.”

By Shuttle: A free shuttle bus runs from the cruise dock to the tour boat docks, Alaska SeaLife Center and downtown. It’s available daily, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The schedule is posted in various shop and cafe windows.

By Car: Taxis gather near the cruise dock or can be flagged down in town. However, there are only a dozen or so in service. 

Currency 

U.S. dollar. ATMs are available in banks and at Safeway, the local grocery store.

Language

English is spoken in Seward.

Shopping

For adults, yummy salmon you’ve caught yourself, had processed, packed up and shipped home and for the kids, a cuddly toy sea otter from the Alaska SeaLife Center.

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.

Points of Interest

  • Seward – a seven-

Seward Accessible Excursions

Whether your cruise ship stops in 

Seward Accessible Guided Tour

This 4 hour accessible