Alaska’s Play­ground for Out­door Ad­ven­ture!

Where Alaska - - The Guide -

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.

KENAI PENIN­SULA

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.

COM­MU­NI­TIES

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.

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