A cute little town on the southeast shore of Kenai Peninsula, about two and half hours south of Anchorage by car. The town is located on the shore of a deep fjord called Resurrection Bay, and the lofty summits of Chugach Mountains straddle it from both directions.
Over the years Seward was the final destination of cruises from Vancouver to Alaska, and the town was swept by swarms of tourists throughout the summer. A few years ago some cruise companies moved their activity from Seward to Whittier, and today far fewer cruises come here.
The town is still very popular among Alaskans, and many people from Anchorage and the region come here for the weekends during the summer.
History & general info
The city is named after former U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward, who was in charge of the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867 for 7.2 million USD (translates to a value of about 106 million USD as of 2016) – what turned to be a fantastic deal for the US, once oil (lots of oil) was found in Alaska.
Nowadays the city’s economy relies especially on fishing and seasonal tourism – which means that most business (restaurant, motels etc.) are open for business only during the summer. Seward port is consider to be one of the most lucrative commercial fisheries ports in the US. According to the 2016 reports it is estimated that about 13,500 tons of fish and shellfish were offloaded in Seward port (valued at about $42 million USD!).
How to get there
You can easily reach Seward by car or train – a highway and railroad is connecting it to Anchorage. And obviously, you can still find cruise ships that will take you there.
- Harding Icefield Trail
- Sealife Center
- Mt. Marathon Run
- The Locals Tip
The town is adjacent to Exit Glacier, which is in fact an extension of the Harding Icefield. The glacier is a popular destination, and many travelers visit its bottom part, but only a few climb up the trail that goes parallel to the glacier. The trail is quite challenging and long (about four hours to the top, and at least two more hours to come back down), but the views (on a bright day) are certainly worth the effort. The highlight is at the top end of the trail, a vantage point overlooking the ice field itself. Even in Alaska you don’t get to see this kind of view very often.