You’ve plotted and planned an Alaska adventure with the family. It’s summer vacation where you live; the sun is out, the grass is green, and the temperatures, warm. You and the crew hop a plane or cruise ship and arrive in the 49th state and make your way down the Seward Highway toward Mile 0 – Seward the community. Excitement is building — and so are the clouds.
It’s raining. Raining hard. And you’re here for an entire day (or more).
What do you do?
Fortunately, Seward is used to this sort of scenario, and for its 2,500 full-time residents, a bit of rain is no cause for concern. Old or young, Seward-ites pull on the rain gear, Xtra-Tufs and hats, and power on for another day in Last Frontier paradise.
But for the Seward visitor who may not be from this neck of the woods, a rainy day or two can be a big disappointment if one is not prepared with a list of activities the whole family will enjoy, rain or shine. But especially rain. So here we go: 10 things to do — can you check them off?
- Dress for it. Anyone who comes to Alaska without proper clothing is setting him or herself up for a tough time. Even if it doesn’t rain ALL week, it is likely to do so for at least some portion, so be prepared. Seward, fortunately, is a fishing town, so finding weatherproof clothing is easy-peasy. Try The Fish House for solid, affordable rain gear, boots, hats, gloves, and a bunch of stuff you probably don’t need but should see, anyway. Variable pricing depending upon item(s). You can also arrange fishing charters here.
- Ride the rails. The Alaska Railroad offers daily service to Seward from Anchorage during the summer months. Make reservations HERE.
- Explore marine life. The Alaska SeaLife Center is the state’s only marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility, and these folks offer exhibits and tours for all age groups. Admission rates HERE.
- Sample a craft brew. The Seward Brewing Company is located across the street from the SeaLife Center (convenient, no?) and has an excellent list of brews and food that is unexpected and excellent. Kids will love their own menu, and you’ll love the decor and layout. So. Cool. Prices range from $7 +
- Visit with a ranger. Did you know the Kenai Fjords National Park headquarters is located right near the small boat harbor, and that they love to chat with kids? Yep. Stop in here for maps, books, Junior Ranger activities, and directions about getting to the lovely Exit Glacier Visitor Center. Free.
- Drive to Exit Glacier. Oh yes, you must. About 10 miles from Seward, this national park treasure is well worth the drive. Stop in at the visitor center and wander the exhibits, then pile on that great rain gear and hike the interpretive trail for a bit. Free.
- Take a day cruise. What better way to get into the heart of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park than on a Kenai Fjords Tours or Major Marine Tours vessel? Look for whales, otters, porpoise, eagles, and more. And, rangers often travel with the boats to answer questions and make Junior Rangers out of the kids. Prices range from $80-$180.
- View the Iditarod (Trail). Truth. The Iditarod National Historic Trail begins at Mile 0, right along the waterline of the bay, and you can stand there. You can even walk a section of the trail along the waterfront, and it leads to an amazing playground. Free.
- Drive to Lowell Point. Often overlooked by day trippers or those who think there’s not much to see, Lowell Point is two miles from downtown, and juts out into the bay. Hang out with the folks at Millers Landing, or drive a bit further to Caines Head State Recreation Area and the coolest black sand beach you’ve ever seen (at least we think so). Caines Head figured prominently in WWII fortification of the bay, and there’s some great history to be found. Free, but $5/parking.
- Visit the library (and museum). Seward’s Community Library and Museum are housed in a colorful building along 6th Avenue downtown. Both a place to take a breather with kids and a great location for learning more about the community’s history (check out the Iditarod Trail movie), this is a nice place to spend an hour or so with kids. And, it’s free.