Today, I want to share with you a journey that has a special place in my heart: the drive from Anchorage to Seward.

Alaska has always held a sense of magic for me, and this road trip with my family, including my 2-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, made it even more memorable.

From the dramatic landscapes to the unexpected encounters, this drive is an unforgettable experience for all ages. Let me take you along on our adventure and give you all the tips to plan your own.

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Anchorage to Seward Scenic Drive: Your Ultimate Road Trip Map and Guide

Anchorage to Seward Scenic Drive: Best Stops

Let me tell you, this drive along the Seward Highway is pure magic!

Designated as both a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road, it’s no wonder the scenery is jaw-dropping around every corner. I swear, I could have pulled over every minute to soak it all in.

There were definitely some hidden gems I stumbled upon that weren’t in any guidebook, and let me tell you, the views and charm were off the charts!

That’s my biggest tip for this road trip – don’t be afraid to stop whenever the scenery strikes you.

Trust me, the whole route is a postcard come to life, but there are some key highlights that will enrich your experience even further.

Here are some of my favorites, including a few secret spots along the way!

Fun Fact: If you’ve ever driven the Blue Ridge Parkway in the eastern US, you might find some similarities. Both offer stunning mountain vistas, opportunities for wildlife viewing, and a true sense of escaping into nature. However, the Seward Highway boasts a unique Alaskan twist with glaciers, fjords, and potential for marine life sightings!

Anchorage Airport: Gearing Up for Alaskan Adventures!

After an early morning flight from San Jose, we landed in Anchorage on a beautiful August morning! Just a heads up, I’m the kind of traveler who always snaps a few photographs before landing.

It gives me a different perspective about the place I’m going to explore. This time, I took pictures of the Alaskan mudflats as we descended. I had never seen anything like it before!

Then we touched down at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, which by the way, is awesome! The whole place is decorated with stunning Alaskan scenes – glaciers, wildlife, you name it.

There’s even this incredible corridor showcasing the Northern Lights in a vibrant display of colors and movement, immediately fueling my excitement for this trip and a potential return during the winter months.

Now, let me tell you something: After all that airplane excitement, my stomach was rumbling!

So, before hitting the road, we refueled at Spenard Roadhouse, an amazing restaurant just a 9-minute drive from the airport.

I still remember their delicious Ak Salmon – oh boy! I had never tasted beet pesto before, and it was the perfect sauce to complement the grilled fish.

Anchorage to Potter Marsh Boardwalk: Starting Your Scenic Alaskan Adventure

While we actually explored this incredible spot on our return trip from Seward to Anchorage, I’m kicking off this guide with Potter Marsh because it’s a must-visit stop.

Just outside of Anchorage on the Seward Highway, this wildlife refuge features a half-mile-long elevated boardwalk that winds through the wetlands, offering incredible views and opportunities to spot wildlife.

The boardwalk has interpretive signs, telescopes, and plenty of vantage points perfect for photography.

Fun Fact: This serene marsh was once part of the mighty Turnagain Arm, shaped by its powerful tides. But thanks to the construction of the Alaska Railroad, the water flow was altered, giving rise to this protected habitat we can enjoy today.

Potter Marsh to Girdwood: Mudflats, Mountains, and Majestic Views

Leaving Potter Marsh, the Seward Highway truly embraces its reputation as a scenic byway. The warm and sweet sunshine in Alaska was a welcome respite from the heat waves of California. The breeze, wildflowers, mountains, and Turnagain Arm filled me with a sense of wonder and excitement.

The road hugs the coastline, with the dramatic Chugach Mountains rising on one side and the vast expanse of Turnagain Arm stretching out on the other.

Now, this is where the drive gets really interesting. Remember those mudflats I mentioned seeing from the plane? Well, they’re a sight to behold from the road, too!

Turnagain Arm: Where Tides Shape Extraordinary Mudflats

As you drive along, you’ll notice the Turnagain Arm’s shoreline is lined with expansive mudflats, especially visible during low tide. They look so cool, almost otherworldly! But here’s the thing: they’re not a place you want to venture out onto.

Turnagain Arm is famous for having some of the largest tides in the United States, with water levels changing dramatically throughout the day.

When we passed by, the tide was in, and the water transformed the landscape. However, when those mudflats are exposed, they can be deceivingly dangerous, acting like quicksand and trapping anyone who wanders out. So, as tempting as it may be, admire them from the safety of the road.

Beyond the mudflats, the scenery continues to wow. There are plenty of pull-offs along this stretch, so don’t hesitate to stop and soak in the views. We couldn’t resist pulling over a few times ourselves.

Beluga Point: A Spectacle of Whales and Scenic Beauty

Just a short drive further down the Seward Highway, we reached Beluga Point, a renowned spot for wildlife viewing.

It was a clear day, and the sun glinted off the water, creating a mesmerizing dance of light. Scanning the horizon, we hoped to catch a glimpse of the majestic beluga whales known to frequent these waters.

While the belugas remained elusive, the scenery did not disappoint. The anticipation of potentially witnessing them added an extra layer of excitement to our exploration of BelugaPoint.

We also enjoyed stunning panoramic views of Turnagain Arm. The dramatic cliffs and the ever-changing colors of the water created a picturesque backdrop that was simply unforgettable.

Windy Corner: Where the Wild Winds Blow and Dall Sheep Roam

Continuing our journey south, we soon arrived at mile 106, a scenic overlook known as Windy Corner. True to its name, a brisk wind whipped across the landscape as we stepped out of the car.

This is the only place in the world where Dall sheep can be seen at sea level from a nearby road, and we were fortunate enough to spot two of them grazing on the rocky slopes.

The dramatic vistas of Turnagain Arm and the surrounding mountains, combined with this unique wildlife encounter, made Windy Corner an unforgettable stop.

The area is a designated Dall sheep sanctuary, and we learned that the mineral-rich soil here attracts the sheep, who come to lick the rocks for essential nutrients.

Bird Point: Where Art Meets Nature on the Turnagain Arm

Continuing our drive, we arrived at Bird Point, another scenic overlook along Turnagain Arm. The highlight of this stop was a striking sculpture of a beluga whale, its sleek form seemingly emerging from the rocky shoreline.

The sculpture served as a reminder of the rich marine life that thrives in these waters, including the majestic belugas we hoped to encounter.

The overlook offered breathtaking views of the Arm, and we took a moment to appreciate the serene beauty of the landscape before continuing our journey.

Whispers of the Bore Tide: A Scenic Interlude at Turnout 2

Continuing our drive along the Seward Highway, we soon arrived at Turnagain Turnout 2, a designated viewing area for the captivating bore tide phenomenon.

The Turnagain Arm, known for its extreme tidal variations, is renowned for producing this dramatic tidal wave.

While we didn’t witness the bore tide during our visit, the anticipation and the knowledge of the natural wonder that occurs here added an element of excitement to our stop.

The vastness of Turnagain Arm, framed by the majestic Chugach Mountains, provided a stunning backdrop even in the absence of the tidal surge.

We could only imagine the power and spectacle of the bore tide as it transforms this serene landscape into a churning mass of water.

Girdwood: A Charming Respite and Gateway to Mountain Views

As we continued our journey, we stopped in the charming town of Girdwood. Nestled in a valley surrounded by towering peaks, Girdwood exudes a laid-back, alpine atmosphere.

We refueled our car and grabbed a delicious meal at a local eatery, savoring the flavors of Alaskan cuisine.

Although we didn’t have time for the Alyeska Aerial Tram, it’s an experience I highly recommend to fellow travelers.

The tram whisks visitors up to the summit of Mount Alyeska, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and Turnagain Arm.

It’s a truly unforgettable way to appreciate the grandeur of the Alaskan wilderness.

Chugach National Forest Sign: A Photogenic Gateway to Wilderness

Just a few miles south of Girdwood, we encountered the iconic Chugach National Forest sign, marking our official entrance into this vast and pristine wilderness.

We couldn’t resist pulling over to capture a photo with the sign, a quintessential Alaskan memento. The surrounding scenery was equally captivating, with the towering mountains of the Chugach Range looming in the distance and the sparkling waters of Turnagain Arm stretching out before us.

This scenic spot is a perfect place to pause, take in the views, and appreciate the natural beauty that defines this region.

Girdwood to Seward: Mountains, Lakes, and Coastal Vistas

With the vibrant town of Girdwood in our rearview mirror, the Seward Highway beckoned us onward towards new adventures.

The journey from Girdwood to Seward showcases the breathtaking diversity of the Alaskan landscape, from towering mountains and tranquil lakes to the dramatic coastline of the Kenai Peninsula.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: A Must-Visit Sanctuary for Alaskan Wildlife

While the historic town of Portage and the retreating Portage Glacier are notable points of interest along the Seward Highway, our journey led us directly to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC).

This expansive sanctuary is a haven for orphaned and injured animals, providing them with a safe and natural environment to thrive.

We were greeted by an array of iconic Alaskan wildlife, from majestic moose and brown bears to playful otters and soaring eagles.

The spacious enclosures allowed the animals to roam freely, showcasing their natural behaviors. Witnessing these magnificent creatures up close and learning about the conservation efforts that are crucial to their survival was a truly humbling experience.

Summit Lake: A Tranquil Oasis Along the Seward Highway

Our journey continued along the Seward Highway, and we soon found ourselves at Summit Lake, a hidden gem nestled amidst the mountains.

The lake’s still waters reflected the surrounding peaks, creating a postcard-perfect scene. We couldn’t resist pulling over to the Summit Lake Lodge, a charming lakeside retreat with direct access to the water.

Stepping onto the lodge’s grounds, we were immediately captivated by the serene beauty of the lake. We strolled along the shore, enjoying the crisp mountain air and the soothing sounds of nature.

The lodge’s restaurant beckoned us with the promise of warmth and sustenance. We indulged in a coffee break and while the kids enjoyed a delicious ice cream treat.

I sat by the window, savoring the flavors and soaking in the peaceful ambiance. The mountain peaks reflected in the still water, the rustic charm of the lodge, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee evoked a sense of tranquility reminiscent of a similar experience I once had in Gletsch, Switzerland, where the alpine beauty and the warmth of local hospitality combined to create a truly unforgettable moment.

Moose Pass: A Charming Alaskan Town

As we continued our journey along the Seward Highway, we soon arrived in the quaint town of Moose Pass along Upper Trail Lake!

With a population of just a few hundred residents, this charming town nestled amidst the Chugach National Forest exudes a rustic Alaskan charm.

Moose Pass is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and a popular stop for travelers like us who are road-tripping through the Kenai Peninsula.

It was almost 9 pm at night, and the sunset had just begun. The town was quiet, but I couldn’t resist capturing the peaceful ambiance through my camera. I saw a water plane, rustic homes, and boutique hotels.

We took a leisurely stroll through the main street, admiring the colorful buildings. It was a delightful interlude on our journey, but we knew we had to move on.

We all needed some rest before our cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park the next morning.

Seward Windsong Lodge: A Perfect Basecamp for Seward Adventures

It was almost 12:00 am when we arrived at our final destination for the day: Seward Windsong Lodge. Despite the late hour, the lodge’s warm and inviting atmosphere instantly made us feel at home -providing the perfect end to our scenic drive.

Seward Windsong Lodge was the perfect base camp for our Seward adventures. Its convenient location provided easy access to all the attractions and activities that this charming coastal town has to offer.

For a comfortable and convenient stay in Seward, I highly recommend booking your accommodations at Seward Windsong Lodge.

For those seeking inspiration on how to spend their time in Seward, I encourage you to read my blog post, – Discovering Seward, Alaska: 37 Exciting Experiences for Your Travel Itinerary. It’s filled with recommendations for the best places to visit and unforgettable experiences to have in this captivating corner of Alaska.

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Travel Realizations

And there you have it, folks! Our Alaskan road trip down the Seward Highway was an absolute blast. From spotting Dall sheep on a cliffside to witnessing the power of the Turnagain Arm, every mile was an adventure.

If you’re dreaming of your own Alaskan getaway, I highly recommend this scenic drive. Trust me, the memories you make will last a lifetime.

And if you’re looking for more tips and inspiration, be sure to check out my detailed guide to Seward – it’s packed with all the insider info you need to plan your perfect Alaskan adventure.

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Chirasree Banerjee

Hello. My name is Chirasree. I have been traveling for almost 11 years to places all over the world. I enter into a separate reality during my travels and enjoy the allure of escape from the mundane. I seek beauty through nature and human-made creations. Because beauty is powerful. I seek knowledge. I observe, absorb, and write about the places I visit and the profound realizations and inspirations that each place has to offer.