Things to do in Seward, Alaska

Our Alaskan cruise had a one day stop in Seward, Alaska and I had that day all planned out. Unfortunately, my plan didn’t exactly work out. So there we were with no shore excursion booked and no idea about things to do in Seward, Alaska.

Related: Check out our post about Things to do in Ketchikan.

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An image of a sign post in Seward, Alaska USA
Wondering how far it is from Seward to the equator? Look no further than the Hertz sign post. Photo by Greg Olsen

A Great Idea That Didn’t Work Out

A short drive from Seward, the Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most popular road-accessible glaciers in Alaska. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can hike to the toe of a glacier and see it up close. Naturally, the cruise ship offered a shore excursion to the glacier, but it was expensive. Our plan was to use a local inexpensive shuttle to get to and from the glacier for a fraction of the cost. We would walk off the ship, walk to the shuttle site and board. Easy peasy.

An image of a woman standing in front of some colorful rail motor cars in Seward, Alaska USA
We found these funky rail motor cars on our way to the shuttle, so the trip wasn’t a complete waste. Photo by Greg Olsen

What Went Wrong

The shuttle pickup location was a short walk from the cruise terminal. When we got there, we discovered that the shuttle had closed for the season the week before. Our cruise in late September was the last of the season to stop in Seward. We thought about taking a taxi out to the glacier, but with no cell service at the site, we wouldn’t be able to call a taxi for the return trip and if the taxi forgot to pick us up at a designated time, we could miss the ship. We also popped over to the car rental agency to inquire about the cost of renting a vehicle. Unfortunately, the price was really high at the last minute. If we wanted to pay that much we would have taken the shore excursion to begin with.

An image of a man standing in front of a large piece of driftwood on the shore of Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska USA
Walking along the shoreline of Resurrection Bay is one of the enjoyable things to do in Seward, Alaska. Photo by Debbie Olsen

Finding Other Things to Do in Seward, Alaska

Since we didn’t have data on our phones, there was no using the Internet to look up things to do in Seward, Alaska. So our next stop was the local tourism office to get a map and some suggestions. Fortunately, the Seward tourism information building was very close to the shuttle pick-up site.

An image of two men fishing from shore in Seward, Alaska - Things to do in Seward, Alaska
We enjoyed watching locals fish for salmon from the shore. They were very successful on the day we visited. Photo by Greg Olsen

Salmon Fishing in Seward, Alaska

There are plenty of options when it comes to salmon fishing in Seward. You can hire a boat and guide to get you out on the water and fishing for big salmon. You can also bring a fishing pole and fish for salmon from the shore. We have done that before and had a wonderful time, but on our recent visit we just sat near the shore and watched locals reel in salmon. It was fun just watching and one of our favorite things to do in Seward, Alaska.

An image of salmon swimming in the water at Seward Alaska USA
We also enjoyed watching the salmon swim in the water. There were a lot of them in Seward. Photo by Greg Olsen

A Good Read for your Alaska Cruise: There’s nothing like reading Call of the Wild and then walking along the historic Iditarod Sled Dog Trail.

An image of the mile zero monument on the Iditarod Trail in Seward, Alaska USA - Things to do in Seward, Alaska
The historic Iditarod Trail begins in Seward, Alaska and it’s great for walking. Photo by Greg Olsen.

Walking the Iditarod Trail

Walking the Iditarod trail is a must-do activity and one of our favorite free things to do in Seward, Alaska! When you think of the Iditarod, you might think of Anchorage, Alaska where the race has it ceremonial start. Before the Iditarod became a world famous sled dog race, it was a 2,300-mile system of trails that began in Seward. You can walk the first few miles of the trail in Seward. It runs along the waterfront, is paved and has some lovely statues and monuments commemorating the history of the trail and the sled dog race it inspired.

An image of a dogsled on the Iditarod Trail in Seward, Alaska USA
As you walk along the Iditarod Trail, you’ll see several monuments to dogsledding. Photo by Greg Olsen
An image of the Founder's Monument in Seward, Alaska USA
The Founder’s Monument commemorates the 1903 founding of Seward and the Alaska Railway. Photo by Greg Olsen
An image of the Trail Blazers Monument in Seward, Alaska USA
This Trail Blazers monument sits near the parking lot of the Alaska SeaLife Center. It commemorates hardy prospectors and their pack dogs that first used the Iditarod Trail. Photo by Greg Olsen

Alaska SeaLife Center

If you continue along the Iditarod Trail, eventually you will come to the Alaska SeaLife Centre in downtown Seward. The facility is a visitor center and an important marine life research center that rehabilitates injured marine wildlife. The center also functions to educate visitors about marine life and has several special encounter experiences that will allow you to go behind the scenes and get close to the animals for an extra fee. There are massive cold-water tanks and outdoor viewing decks as well as displays of seabirds (including puffins), cold-water fish, and other marine mammals. There’s even a huge sea lion and there’s also a gift shop.

An image of St. Peter's Church in Seward, Alaska USA
Seward has many historical buildings. This is St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. It was consecrated in 1906. Photo by Greg Olsen

Things to See in the City of Seward, Alaska

Be sure to check out the Seward marina as you walk along the Iditarod trail into town. It’s a busy marina and there’s always things going on. Walking around downtown Seward is also fun. There are plenty of historic buildings and fun little shops to explore. If you’re in need of a coffee stop, check out Resurrect Art Coffee House. Housed in a 100 year-old re-purposed church, you can’t beat the funky atmosphere of this coffee shop and art gallery. Zudy’s Café makes a great lunch stop. For something really local, go for the halibut tacos or the salmon sammie. It’s fun to just walk around and discover your own things to do in Seward, Alaska.  

An image of a sailboat in Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska USA - Things to do in Seward, Alaska
A boat tour of Resurrection Bay and the fjords can be a great way to experience Seward, Alaska. Photo by Greg Olsen

Boat Tours of Kanai Fjords National Park

Several charter companies offer boat tours of Kanai Fjords National Park, but only Major Marine Tours has park rangers onboard. It’s a local family-owned company that has been in business for more than 25 years and their boat tours are one of the most popular thigs to do in Seward, Alaska. Cruises explore Resurrection Bay and the fjords and typically provide excellent whale watching opportunities. In the summer, park rangers provide narration on many of the cruises.

An image of swans swimming in Resurrection Bay near Seward, Alaska
We saw these swans while we were walking along the shore of Resurrection Bay. Photo by Greg Olsen

More Info About Things to do in Seward, Alaska

If you want more information about things to do in Seward, Alaska visit the official tourism website.

An image of a jellyfish in Resurrection Bay near Seward, Alaska
We saw this huge jellyfish while walking along the shores of Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. Photo by Greg Olsen

What Do You Think About Seward, Alaska?

We’d love to hear about your experiences visiting Seward – especially if you took the shuttle out to the Exit Glacier. We think our original plan for Seward was a good one, but we’d love to hear from someone who did it. If you have questions about things to do in Seward, Alaska we’d love to hear from you too. Please comment below.

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