Anchorage To Seward | 6 Great Things To Do Along The Way

There are so many incredible spots to visit around the beautiful state of Alaska, including the two towns of Anchorage and Seward!

Driving between Anchorage and Seward, Alaska is a popular scenic journey that takes you through some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes. The drive is around 127 miles (204 kilometers) on the Seward Highway and takes about 3-4 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.

The Seward Highway is a National Scenic Byway that starts in the city of Seward and ends in Anchorage. Along the way, you will pass through the Chugach Mountains, which offer stunning views of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and wildlife.

You will also pass through the Kenai Peninsula, where you can see the Kenai River, the Kenai Mountains, and the Kenai Fjords National Park.

One of the highlights of the drive is the Turnagain Arm, a body of water that runs parallel to the highway. The Arm is known for its bore tide, which is a wave that travels up the Arm’s narrow inlet and can reach heights of up to 16 feet. The best time to see the bore is during high tide.

The drive also takes you through the towns of Girdwood, Indian, and Hope, which offer a glimpse into Alaska’s history and culture.

Girdwood is a ski resort town that is popular for its ski slopes and hiking trails. Indian is a small community that was once a gold-mining town. And Hope is a picturesque town that is surrounded by the Chugach Mountains.

As you approach Anchorage, you will see the city’s skyline in the distance. Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and offers a variety of activities and attractions, such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.

There is a lot of things to do in both Seward and Anchorage and both are worth the 2.5 hour drive! And there is a lot to do in between, too!

What Is There To Do In Seward, Alaska?

Seward, Alaska is a small coastal town located on the Kenai Peninsula, and is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Some fun things to do in Seward include:

  1. Visit Kenai Fjords National Park: This park is located just outside of Seward and offers breathtaking views of glaciers, wildlife, and the ocean. Visitors can take a boat tour to see the park’s glaciers, or hike the many trails to see the park’s wildlife and natural beauty.
  2. Take a boat tour: Seward is a popular departure point for boat tours that take visitors out to see the glaciers, wildlife, and sea life of the Kenai Fjords. Some popular tour options include whale watching, fishing, and bear viewing.
  3. Explore the Alaska SeaLife Center: This marine research and education center is home to many species of marine life, including sea otters, puffins, and sea lions. Visitors can take a tour of the center and learn about the marine ecosystem.
  4. Go hiking or backpacking: Seward is surrounded by beautiful wilderness areas and offers many hiking and backpacking trails. Some popular trails include the Exit Glacier, the Harding Icefield Trail, and the Lost Lake Trail.
  5. Take a scenic drive: The Seward Highway offers beautiful views of the Kenai Mountains and the ocean and is a National Scenic Byway. Along the drive, there are many pull-offs and viewpoints where visitors can stop and take in the views.
  6. Visit the Alaska Veterans Memorial: This memorial is dedicated to the veterans of all wars who served in Alaska and is a must-see for history enthusiasts.
  7. Enjoy the local seafood: Seward is a fishing town and is known for its delicious seafood. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants or purchase it at the local fish market.

Seward is a small town, but it offers many fun activities for visitors to enjoy and explore the natural beauty of Alaska.

What Is There To Do In Anchorage, Alaska?

Anchorage, Alaska is the largest city in the state and offers a wide variety of activities for visitors.

Some popular things to do in Anchorage include:

  1. Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center: This center is dedicated to preserving and sharing the culture and history of Alaska’s indigenous people. Visitors can learn about the various cultures and traditions of Alaska’s Native groups through interactive exhibits and cultural performances.
  2. Take a tour of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail: This 11-mile trail runs along the coast of Anchorage and offers beautiful views of the Chugach Mountains and the ocean. Visitors can hike, bike, or rollerblade the trail, and take in the scenery. Watch out for the moose!
  3. Visit the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum: This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of aviation in Alaska and features many exhibits and aircraft on display.
  4. Visit the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts: This center hosts many performances throughout the year, including theater, music, and dance. Visitors can check the schedule and catch a show while they are in town.
  5. Go fishing or hunting: Anchorage is a popular destination for fishing and hunting, and there are many guided trips and charters available. Visitors can catch salmon, halibut, or other fish, or hunt for bear, moose, or other big game.
  6. Visit the Alaska Botanical Garden: This garden features many species of plants native to Alaska and is a great place to take a walk and enjoy the natural beauty.
  7. Visit the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center: This museum features exhibits on the history, art, and culture of Alaska, and provides an overview of the state’s history and culture.
  8. Visit the Campbell Creek Science Center: This center provides an interactive and educational experience for visitors who want to learn more about the natural environment of Alaska.

Anchorage offers a wide variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences. With its natural beauty, historical and cultural significance, and great restaurants in Anchorage – it definitely is a city worth spending some time in!

What Is The Distance Between Anchorage and Seward?

There are a little over 126 miles between Anchorage and Seward. Seward lies south of Anchorage on the edge of Resurrection Bay. This distance can be traveled in a car, on a plane, or riding a train on the Alaska Railroad!

Many visitors will choose to take the Alaska Train between Anchorage and Seward.

Travel By Car

To drive from Anchorage to Seward, you will take the Seward Highway south. The drive is approximately 127 miles (204 kilometers) and takes about 2.5 – 3.5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.

Starting from Anchorage, you will head south on the Seward Highway, which will take you through the Chugach Mountains. You will drive over Turnagain Pass, one where you may even see snow long before anywhere else along the way.

You will also drive through the Kenai Peninsula, where you can see Kenai Lake, the Kenai Mountains, and eventually Kenai Fjords National Park.

When you leave Anchorage, you will be driving alongside the Turnagain Arm, a body of water that runs parallel to the highway. This is a great place to catch sight of beluga whales, best spotted during high tide.

There are plenty of pulloffs along the way where you can pull over and take some great photos.

As you approach Seward, you will pass through the Exit Glacier area, where you can take a hike to the glacier.

The Seward Highway is a National Scenic Byway that offers some of the most beautiful views in Alaska but can be affected by weather conditions and road closures, so it is always best to check the road conditions before heading out.

During winter months, the road can be icy and snowy, so it is important to drive carefully and be prepared for winter driving conditions.

Travel By Bus

Let someone else do the driving; your focus should be the scenery!

The Park Connection Bus is a popular mode of transportation for tourists and locals in Alaska, offering daily services between Anchorage and Seward during the summer months.

The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours, and provides stunning views of the Alaskan countryside, including mountain ranges, wildlife, and stunning scenery, making it a top choice for visitors who want to visit Seward or catch their cruise.

The bus service is known for its comfort, offering spacious seating, large windows for optimal sightseeing, and sometimes Wi-Fi and onboard restrooms for convenience. Passengers can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic route without the hassle of driving.

Not only is the Park Connection Bus a comfortable option, but it is also an eco-friendly and affordable way to travel. With the increasing focus on sustainability, the bus service has become a popular choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint while exploring the beauty of Alaska.

Whether you are a local resident or a tourist visiting the state, the Park Connection Bus is a convenient and enjoyable way to get from Anchorage to Seward. With two daily trips, a scenic route, and comfortable amenities, it is no wonder why this bus service has become a popular choice for Alaskan travel.

This is a cost effective choice for those who want to travel from Anchorage to Seward, while allowing you to skip renting a car or driving.

Travel By Train

Alaska Railroad Headed South Towards Seward From Anchorage Alaska
Photo – Gary Demientieff

The route by rail from Anchorage to Seward is known as the Coastal Classic on the famous Alaska Railroad.

Taking the train from Anchorage to Seward is a scenic and relaxing way to experience the beauty of Alaska. The Alaska Railroad offers daily train service between Anchorage and Seward, with several departure times to choose from. The trip takes about 4 – 4.5 hours depending on the schedule, and is 115 miles long.

The train departs from the Anchorage Railroad Depot and travels through Anchorage with views of downtown, as well as some residential and commercial areas. Then you head south through the scenic Chugach Mountains, passing by the Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Peninsula.

The train offers a dome car, which provides panoramic views of the passing scenery. The dome car features large windows and an open-air observation deck, providing an excellent way to take in the views.

When planning your trip, it is a good idea to check the schedule and book your tickets in advance, as the train can fill up quickly during peak travel season.

The Alaska Railroad also offers a variety of packages, including rail and hotel packages, as well as rail and tour packages that allow you to explore Seward and the surrounding area.

Taking the train from Anchorage to Seward is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Alaska while enjoying a comfortable and scenic journey. The train ride offers spectacular views, and the opportunity to learn about the culture, history and natural resources of Alaska, making it a great way to start your adventure.

Book your ticket on the Alaska Railroad to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Alaska Railroad

What Is There To Do Along The Way From Anchorage To Seward?

1.) Stop Along Turnagain Arm

Turnagain Arm View At Sunrise On The Way To Seward Alaska
Photo – Debra Kelly

Turnagain Arm is known as one of the most beautiful drives in the entire country!

It is a waterway that is known for its bore tide, which occurs when a low tide and a high tide crash into each other. This usually occurs about 2-3 hours after low tide, when lucky daredevils actually surf this rare wave!

Our favorite pullout is Beluga Point, where it is easy to spot the beluga whales that travel the arm. If you catch it on the right day, you may see an entire pod! If not, don’t worry – the views are well worth the stop anyway. Just be aware of the Alaska Railroad, which travels right by the parking lot. Stay off the tracks and stay safe!

2.) Take The Alyeska Aerial Tram For A Scenic View

Alyeska Aerial Tram In Girdwood
Looking at Alyeska Resort from inside of the tram | Photo – Skinny Kenny Roberts

Take a quick sojourn to see some beautiful Alaskan views by air!

You will board your tram and take the three to seven minute ride to the top of Mount Alyeska. From the top, you’ll have views of Turnagain Arm, peaks of the Chugach Mountain range, and several “hanging” glaciers.

Alyeska Resort

3.) Go Support Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center And See Alaskan Wildlife

Wood Bison At The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center Near Portage Alaska
Wood Bison At The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center Near Portage Alaska | Photo – Patrick Albert

With over 200 acres of animal enclosures, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a great way to view some of Alaska’s wildlife! This is a great stop on your way from Anchorage to Seward. Many tourist will stop here because you are guaranteed to see the amazing wildlife that Alaska has to offer.

The AWCC is a nonprofit sanctuary designed to protect Alaskan wildlife. Most of the animals that come to the center are injured or orphaned, and the center offers them a permanent home. It is accessible by foot, bike, or car.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

4.) Eat Lunch At Girdwood Brewery

It is no secret that we are fans of the Girdwood Brewery Company!

Though it may seem like a brewery is not a great stop mid-road trip, Girdwood Brewery is family-friendly and offers non-alcoholic beverages like home-brewed root beer, cold brew, and kombucha.

They also have a rotating calendar of some of Alaska’s best food trucks for a quick bite. This is a great option if you are traveling with picky eaters or can’t decide where to stop for lunch!

If you want to take one of their iconic brews to go, they offer 4-packs and growlers so you can enjoy an alcoholic beverage once you have safely reached Seward.

Girdwood Brewery

5.) Visit Moose Pass

A Stop At Moose Pass On The Way From Anchorage To Seward Alaska
Photo – Daniel Lim

Moose Pass, Alaska is a small picturesque town located on the Kenai Peninsula and surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. It is close to Seward and means you are getting close to the end of your drive! (Or just starting out, if you began in Seward and are driving to Anchorage.) 

Whether you are a local or a tourist, there are plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy in and around Moose Pass.

  • Outdoor Adventures: Moose Pass is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a range of activities such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Take a scenic hike through the Chugach State Park. 
  • Check Out The Upper Trail Lake: This is a stunning lake that’s worth stopping and taking a closer look. Whether you have brought your fishing equipment, or just want to have a picnic with a view, this is a beautiful lake that is located right in the center of town.
  • Scenic Drives: Take a scenic drive through the town and the surrounding areas, and admire the stunning natural beauty. From Moose Pass, you can access the Seward Highway, a popular scenic drive that offers breathtaking views of glaciers, wildlife, and the Alaskan coastline.
  • Winter Activities: Moose Pass is also a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. With its proximity to the Chugach State Park, there are plenty of opportunities for backcountry cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and sledding.
  • Dine At A Restaurant: Moose Pass doesn’t have too many places to eat, but it is a great place to stop and stretch your legs! Grab some food or hit up the local fudge shop in town to take a break from driving.

Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply to enjoy the peace and quiet of a small Alaskan town, Moose Pass has something to offer for everyone.

6.) Hiking Trails Along The Way

The Seward Highway gives you easy access to some of the best hiking trails on the Kenai Peninsula. All along your drive are plenty of great places to pull over and explore Alaska’s beautiful backcountry.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Exit Glacier Nature Trail: This short, easy trail takes visitors to the base of Exit Glacier, where they can see the glacier up close and learn about the geological and environmental processes that shape it. The trail is suitable for all ages and skill levels, making it a great option for families and beginners.
  • Primrose Trail: The Primrose Trail is another option for those looking for a longer hike. This 6-mile trail takes visitors along the shores of Kenai Lake and into the Chugach National Forest, offering a variety of landscapes and views along the way. It is a part of the original Iditarod National Historic Trail. 
  • Johnson Pass Trail: The Johnson Pass Trail is a longer hike that takes visitors deep into the wilderness, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. This trail is about 14 miles round trip and can take upwards of about 8-10 hours to complete.
  • Crescent Lake Trail: The Crescent Lake Trail is a popular trail for those looking to explore the lake and the surrounding wilderness area. This trail is about 13 miles out and back, and takes about 6 hours to complete. It brings you right into the valley for stunning views.

There are so many ways to enjoy the Seward Highway on your travels from Anchorage to Seward!

As you journey down the Alaska coastline on your way to Seward, you may see some beautiful wildflowers dotting the mountainsides and roadsides along the way! Learn more about Alaska’s wildflowers so you can impress your travel mates with your flower-spotting knowledge.

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After living over 14 years in Alaska, Megan McDonald can confidently state that there’s not much of the state on the road system that she hasn’t visited. From the Brooks Range to McCarthy, Homer, and everywhere in between, every nook and cranny of Alaska is always her new favorite place.

As President and co-founder of Alaska-based boutique media agency HuMu Media, she spends her work time writing, photographing, and traveling, and her off time writing, photographing, and traveling. They say do what you love, and she is lucky enough to do so!

You can follow her travels on Instagram at @theitinerantginger

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