With all the fishing going on down on the Kenai Peninsula these days, one would think there is no room for sightseeing. Shoulder-to-shoulder, lines out, fishermen and women are into some serious salmon time, and woe to the one who gets in the way. Or so I thought.
AK Fam, during our explorations of Cooper Landing last week found a boatload of fun and yes, adventure, smack in the middle of all that fishin. And we didn’t bother anyone a bit.
Alaska Wildland Adventures,a 30-year institution known for its attention to detail and impeccable customer service invited our little cadre of Kirklands to share a raft on a two-hour scenic float down the Kenai river. Long have these blue waters fascinated us, and for years we’ve jealously viewed yellow rafts bobbing among the currents from our Sterling Highway locale. Now it was our turn.
Two river float options are available; the aforementioned two-hour float appropriate for kids age five and up, and a wilder cousin in the Kenai Canyon all-day excursion, suitable for kids seven and older. AK Kid falling in the younger category placed us in a Scenic Float raft with four other guests who wanted to experience the river too. High for midsummer, the Kenai was flowing past the Riverside Lodge (AWA’s primo-cool spot) at a rapid pace.
Our guide, Rachel, was incredibly well-informed about all things AWA and Kenai. Usually the logistics coordinator for the company, Rachel provided a wealth of information about the river, fishing, wildlife, and flora as we swept past the shoreline. AK Kid appreciated her connection as well when he out-spotted everyone else when it came to eagles. She gave him constant atta-boys to keep up his interest and yet was still able to direct her attention to the adults in the group, something we appreciated.
AWA provides guests with a complete set of raingear, boots, and PFD’s along with a comprehensive safety lecture. On the Kenai Canyon trip, guests receive a gourmet lunch and all receive complimentary transportation back to the Lodge. At two hours AK Kid was getting a little restless, but not so much that we had to do any major remonstration, and by the time he was asking “Are we there yet,” there we were at Jim’s Landing, our outtake area. Rachel further demonstrated her parent-worthiness by allowing Kiddo to jump back in the raft and mock guide it from shore while we waited for the support van. He loved it, and so did we. Companies who cater to children make everyone’s experience worthwhile, and AWA certainly knows how to do so from the inside out.
All trips depart from the Kenai Riverside Lodge at Mile 50.1 of the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing. The two-hour Kenai Scenic Float is $54/adults, $34/kids, with a $5 discount during the month of September. AND, the Great Alaskan Tour Saver has a 2 for 1 coupon. Yep, even better deal.
The Kenai Canyon All-Day trip is $140/adults, $99/kids with a $10 discount during the month of September. This trip takes passengers all the way to gorgeous Skilak Lake. An autumn trip all the way down the Kenai to Skilak? Oh, that is too beautiful a picture to comprehend.
Beautiful scenery, wonderful hosts, exciting adventure. What more could a family want? Day trip or overnight, AWA has it nailed, every time.