Alaska’s Playground for Outdoor Adventure!
Measuring only 70 miles wide by 150 miles long, the Kenai Peninsula (commonly referred to as “the Kenai” by Alaskans) is endowed with spectacular scenery, moderate weather, copious wildlife and countless recreational activities, from bear viewing to halibut fishing.
A smorgasbord of activities to fit every interest makes the Kenai the go-to destination for Alaskans and Alaska visitors. Fish for “Russian reds” (that’s shorthand for the Russian River’s red/ sockeye salmon run); fish the Kenai River from a raft, drift-boat or the riverbank; take a scenic raft trip on the Kenai River; join a halibut or salmon charter for Cook Inlet fishing; camp, fish, bike, shop, drink, eat or go beachcombing on Homer Spit; canoe the 80-mile Swanson River Canoe Trail; hike the Resurrection Trail; kayak Resurrection Bay or Kachemak Bay; or learn more about this region at several good museums and cultural centers. It’s all just a reasonable drive south from Anchorage: 127 miles or a good two hours to Seward; 150 miles or about 2-1/2 hours to Kenai/Soldotna; and Homer 232 miles or about a 4-hour drive.
If you don’t feel like driving, The Alaska Railroad offers service between Anchorage and Seward, and regional airlines link Anchorage with Kenai (30-minute flight) and Homer (about a 40-minute flight). Local flying services in Seward, Soldotna and Homer offer bear viewing, fly-in fishing and transportation.
The largest cities on the peninsula are Kenai, Soldotna, Homer and Seward, but many smaller communities dot the peninsula.
Kenai (pop. 7,132) is a very busy place during dip-net season, when Alaskans arrive for this subsistence fishery. Soldotna (pop. 4,299), located only 12 miles from Kenai, offers ready access to the Kenai River, Kasilof River and Cook Inlet for freshwater and saltwater fishing.
The communities of Homer (pop. 5,153) and Seward (pop. 2,609) enjoy spectacularly scenic settings—on Kachemak Bay and Resurrection Bay, respectively.
Homer is known for its art galleries and resident population of artists, as well as marine exhibits at the Pratt Museum and the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center. Homer also has one of Alaska’s most popular and recognizable landmarks: the Homer Spit. Jutting 4.5 miles out into Kachemak Bay, the Spit is home to a crazy-quilt of services and businesses, many of them seasonal: a busy small-boat harbor, charter fishing services, campgrounds, eateries, bars (you can’t miss the Salty Dawg Saloon—literally, it’s a lighthouse), and colorful boardwalk shops. Ferry service is available from Homer Spit to Seldovia and Halibut Cove.
Seward marks the end of the Seward Highway from Anchorage, and is also the southern end of the Alaska Railroad. It is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and the site of the Mount Marathon Race. Don’t miss the Alaska SeaLife Center, a premier aquarium and institution for marine research. See wildife and enjoy the scenic beauty of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park aboard one of the narrated cruises departing daily from Seward Boat Harbor.
Just outside Seward, take Herman Leirer Road to see Exit Glacier, part of Kenai Fjords National Park. Short trails lead to close-up views of the glacier, or take the longer hike to Harding Icefield.
Short on time? Reserve a half-day scenic float or fishing trip on the Kenai River out of Cooper Landing, a 100-mile drive from Anchorage.