Kenai Fjords Tours from Seward, invite you to a world nestled in the remote wilds of Alaska, where glaciers have sculpted towering fjords and marine life frolics in pristine waters.
This breathtaking spectacle at Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula offers a unique beauty, with nearly 40 glaciers flowing from the Harding Icefield to create a rugged coastline teeming with wildlife.
Accessible by boat from the charming harbor town of Seward, this landscape is a glimpse into a world where nature’s grand theater unfolds.
On a crisp and clear Alaskan day, my husband, our 22-month-old son, and our 7-year-old daughter and I embarked on a journey with the Kenai Fjords National Park Tour.
This six-hour voyage took us across seas that whisper ancient tales and landscapes that echo the songs of Earth’s very creation.
From the icy embrace of Aialik Glacier to the playful leaps of humpback whales, the adventure became a tapestry woven with threads of wonder, discovery, and connection.
Join me as I recount a voyage unlike any other, a tour that beckons not just to the traveler in you but to the seeker, the dreamer, and the philosopher.
How does the wild Alaskan landscape speak to a 7-year-old’s imagination? What is the gentle sway of the boat to a 22-month-old toddler?
Come along on this journey and witness a family adventure through the eyes of young and old, where the majestic meets the mystical and where every discovery holds a reflection of ourselves.
Looking for more tips for your trip to Seward? Don’t miss this post!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.Embark on the Kenai Fjords Tour and find the joy of unhurried existence. The beauty of nature's profound artistry awaits. #Travel #Alaska #wilderness Click To Tweet
Quick Facts: Planning Your Kenai Fjords National Park Tour from Seward
Before diving in, here are a few highlights to help you plan your trip
Best Time to Visit: The summer months of June, July, and August
How to Get There: The nearest airport to Seward is Kenai (ENA) Airport, which is 69.8 miles away. Other nearby airports include Anchorage (ANC) (76.6 miles) and Homer (HOM) (78.3 miles). To find the best prices, consider browsing flight options on a platform like Skyscanner.
How to Get Around: The easiest way to get around Seward is in your own car. Use Discoverlcars.com to browse deals on rental cars.
Packing Essentials for Your Kenai Fjords National Park Tour from Seward
I was hosted by Kenai Fjords Tours, operated by Pursuit Collection, on a 6-hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise. I wrote this post as part of a campaign with Pursuit. All opinions are my own.
A Guide to Visiting Kenai Fjords National Park
You can explore Kenai Fjords National Park by car or foot at locations like Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield near Seward.
However, I believe the most enriching way to experience the park’s 669,984 acres of coastal Alaskan wilderness, where mountains merge with ice at the sea’s edge, is through one of the Kenai Fjords Tours cruises from Seward.
Given the coastal and glacial nature of these fjords, exploring the park by boat is undoubtedly the best way.
The ideal time for visiting Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is open all year, but the summer months of June, July, and August are optimal for visiting.
Many key attractions close in winter due to rough seas and heavy snow, while the transitional months of May and September may see limited services depending on weather conditions.
A Guide to Visiting Seward
Seward is a beautiful city in Alaska, located on Resurrection Bay, 120 miles from Anchorage. It’s the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, which is just outside the town.
Getting to Seward is simple. Follow the Seward Highway (AK-1) south from Anchorage, continue on AK-9, and you’ll arrive in Seward. Enjoy the beautiful 2.5-hour drive from Anchorage.
The journey offers scenic views, and the road is accessible year-round.The Kenai Fjords Tour: a testament to the enduring allure of the wild. Answer the call of the untamed #Travel #Alaska Click To Tweet
Kenai Fjords Tours Cruise Options at a Glance
1. Spring Resurrection Bay Tour
|2. Resurrection Bay Tour With Fox Island||5 hours||$133||$66||Dinner|
|3. Glacier Dinner Cruise||5.5 hours||$162|
|4. Kenai Fjords National Park Tour||6 hours|
|5. Kenai Fjords NationalPark Tour With Dinner On Fox Island||8.5 hours||$189||Lunch+|
|6. Northwestern Fjord Tour||8 hours||$210||$104||Lunch+|
The table above offers a variety of choices, catering to different preferences and expectations. We chose the 6-hour Kenai Fjords National Park Tour, mindful of our children—our 23-month-old boy and 7-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
Along with this, we took advantage of the Special Offer – “Save 10% when you bundle your stay at Windsong Lodge“, and enjoyed every bit of it. Windsong Lodge is just a few miles away from the Seward harbor.
Book your stay at Windsong Lodge!
This specific 6-hour tour seemed like the right balance, providing ample time without overwhelming our young ones. The 6 hours allowed us to marvel at the Aialik Glacier and experience the wildlife in a manageable timeframe.
It turned out to be an excellent option for families like ours with children of varying ages, allowing us to embrace the wilderness and the comfort of the lodge in perfect harmony.
Overview of the Tour: A Journey Through Kenai Fjords from Seward
- Beginning at Windsong Lodge: Our adventure commenced at the picturesque Windsong Lodge, from where we drove to a designated parking place. Our car was safely parked, and we noticed a shuttle bus waiting for us, ready to usher us to the next phase of our journey. It was a simple and streamlined beginning to an extraordinary day.
- The Shuttle Experience: Inside the comfortable shuttle, we joined fellow travelers, all eager for the day’s expedition. Friendly faces a sense of anticipation and camaraderie filled the air.
- Ticketing Process: Upon arrival at the drop-off point beside the ticketing office, we easily exchanged our printouts for tickets. Conveniently, the office was situated right next to the dock from which our boat would depart.
- Boarding the Boat: After a brief wait, we boarded the boat. Open seating allowed us the freedom to choose our spots, inviting us to settle into our adventure.
- Safety First: Once we settled in, one of the crew members briefed us about the safety measures and emergency procedures—a reassuring start to our journey.
- Freedom to Explore: Throughout the cruise, we were free to move about, ascending, descending, and venturing to the sides to soak in the gorgeous scenery all around.
- Indoor Comfort: The cold outside was initially challenging, but the cozy indoor seating with wide-open glass windows and engaging captain’s commentary made the indoors inviting.
- Mealtime and Refreshments: A few hours into the journey, lunch was served, featuring a tasty chicken wrap, Alaska chips, fruit, and a granola bar. It was delicious. While returning, we savored a fresh, hot cookie – a satisfying treat to complement the wondrous views!
- Coffee with a View: The option to purchase coffee or hot chocolate at the snack bar inside the boat was lovely. I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while witnessing the breathtaking scenery outside.
- Six Hours of Splendor: Our time on the cruise was nothing short of extraordinary. We were fortunate to encounter humpback whales, Orcas, puffins, sea lions, otters, and more in their natural habitat. Each moment added to a lifetime of memories. This is one incredible experience among many from Pursuit’s Alaska Collection. Their thoughtful planning allowed us to embrace both the wilderness and the luxurious offerings of the cruise. This is one incredible experience among many from Pursuit’s Alaska Collection. Their thoughtful planning allowed us to embrace both the wilderness and the luxurious offerings of the cruise.
Return Journey: After the tour, we were transported back to the parking lot where our car was parked, leaving us with grateful hearts and cherished memories. The seamless transportation made our return journey as enjoyable as the tour itself.
In crafting this experience, The Kenai Fjords National Park Tour has successfully combined comfort, adventure, and an intimate connection with nature.
The detailed planning and attentive service set the stage for the extraordinary natural beauty that unfolded before us.
This tour is an impeccably designed and executed journey that any traveler would be privileged to embark upon.See nature's profound artistry up close. From glaciers to marine life, the Kenai Fjords Tour is a trip like no other #Travel #Alaska #KenaiFjords Click To Tweet
Kenai Fjords Tours Experience: A Review
As the boat gently glided away from the Seward harbor, the anticipation of the unknown gave way to a profound connection with nature.
As the beautiful town of Seward started retreating into the distance, our vessel ventured deeper into the embrace of Resurrection Bay.
Slowly, a surreal landscape unveiled itself, where the hyper-realities of the San Francisco Bay Area, the relentless march of Artificial Intelligence, and the whirlwind speed of modern existence all slipped away from consciousness.
Time slowed down, as if yielding to the pulse of the earth itself. Lush forests, towering walls of rock, untamed wilderness, and abundant wildlife emerged as primal brush strokes on a canvas, painting a picture far removed from human contrivance.
Here, in the heart of Kenai Fjords, we found a sanctuary where nature spoke in whispers and roars, beckoning us to listen, observe, and simply be.
Wildlife Encounters in Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise: Highlights of our Trip
From the air filled with the cries of seagulls to the mysterious depths inhabited by whales, every moment aboard our cruise brought new discoveries.
What follows is a chronicle of these encounters, a testament to the unspoiled beauty that thrives in these cold northern waters.
Seagulls, Puffins and Bald Eagles
As our boat made its way through the shimmering waters near the Chiswell Islands, the cries of seagulls and puffins filled the air, singing the songs of the wild Alaskan frontier.
Among the bustling bird activity, the Beehive Islands I and II stood out, named for their constant flurry of winged artists, especially the puffins—both tufted and horned.
This heavy concentration of nesting puffins buzzed around the islands as if they were the beating heart of nature itself.
As we learned from the captain’s enlightening commentary, these islands are a microcosm of puffin life. Tufted puffins, ranging as far as Big Sur in California to Hokkaido in Japan, and horned puffins, inhabiting areas from Vancouver, British Columbia to Siberia, found solace here.
Unlike other birds, puffins prefer a nomadic existence, making their homes on the open waters over the continental shelf after nesting time ends.
Our cruise through Resurrection Bay brought more wonders, like spotting bald eagles, a symbol of Alaska’s majestic bird population.
Alaska boasts more bald eagles than the combined total of the other 48 states within the United States, with Hawaii being the only state with no bald eagles.
It became apparent that one cannot embark on a cruise in Resurrection Bay without encountering the diversity of seabirds and migratory birds.
During the captain’s informative commentary, we learned more than 20 species of seabirds soar above in this area, adding to the richness of the experience, even though we may not personally encounter them all.
Stay vigilant; you may observe black-legged kittiwakes, cormorants, common murres, petrels, harlequin ducks, and many more.
Orca Whales or Killer whales
As our journey continued through Resurrection Bay, a sudden stir of excitement caught our attention. Emerging from the depths, a group of orcas gracefully surfaced, breaking the monotonous blue with their striking black and white patterns.
These majestic creatures, also known as killer whales, are often spotted in Kenai Fjords National Park. The thrill of witnessing them in their natural habitat is indescribable, a glimpse into the grand design of nature.
As the orcas danced through the waves, the excitement on the face of our 7-and-a-half-year-old daughter was a sight to behold, a pure reflection of joy and fascination.
Meanwhile, our 22-month-old boy’s eyes sparkled with wonder, captivated by the majestic display of life before him. In those moments, we were all united in awe, touched by the wild and beautiful essence of nature.
In Kenai Fjords, there are three genetically distinct groups of orcas: resident, transient, and offshore. Through the insightful narration of our captain, we learned that the resident orcas prefer to eat fish, especially silver salmon, and are most often seen when the salmon return to the area.
As our journey continued, we arrived at the southern end of the Resurrection Peninsula in Resurrection Bay, where a boisterous ensemble awaited us. Steller sea lions, those masters of leisure, were hauled out on rocks, basking and playing in the sun.
These sea lions, distinguished by their reddish-colored fur, differ from their relative, the California sea lion. On the near-threatened list due to their low numbers, males can grow up to 8 feet in length and weigh as much as 2,200 pounds, feeding primarily on fish and mollusks.
Observing their antics, a memory stirred within me. These delightful creatures reminded me of the sea lions at San Francisco’s Pier 39. Though miles apart and in distinct surroundings, the essence of their playful existence remained the same.
The resonance between these two experiences struck me deeply. In the joyous, carefree behavior of the sea lions, I recognized a universal truth transcending geographical boundaries.
Here, in the rugged beauty of Alaska, the sea lions seemed to symbolize a profound connection between places, bridging the familiar with the extraordinary.
Through their playful gestures, they whispered a message about the unity of life, making distant lands feel like home and binding the pulse of the San Francisco Bay Area with the wilderness of Kenai Fjords.
Seeing mountain goats during the Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise with Kenai Fjords Tours took me by surprise.
I had always pictured mountain goats as creatures of the inland terrains. Yet, there we were, afloat on the sea, gazing at a pair of these goats as they grazed contentedly on the cliff above us.
At Kenai National Park, a tender tableau unfolded before our eyes. A harbor seal and her pup were reclining on floating ice, their eyes radiating a serene wisdom. The simplicity of the moment was imbued with profound elegance.
Both meetings, though set against the backdrop of Alaska’s icy expanse and California’s golden coastline, sang a similar tune of universal harmony.
These seals, whether floating amidst Alaskan ice or basking under the Californian sun, signified a thread of life that weaves through Earth’s divergent ecosystems.
In these hushed encounters, I sensed an unspoken conversation between two geographically distant yet spiritually connected landscapes.
Though separated by miles and climates, the seals formed a bridge, stitching together Alaska’s untamed wilderness with the picturesque allure of the California coast.
In the tranquil poise of these captivating beings, I discerned nature’s universal language—an eloquent silence that dissolves borders and marries the soul of two far-flung realms.
As our boat neared the rich waters of Aialik Cape, a unique spectacle began to unfold above the waves. Hundreds of Black-legged kittiwakes, gulls of the northern oceans, were hovering and diving, creating a frantic yet orchestrated pattern on the surface.
Our experienced captain, with a knowing smile, informed us that this was often a sign of humpback whales feeding underneath.
A collective breath was held, eyes widened, cameras ready, but nothing could truly prepare us for what came next.
And then, as if on cue, the star performers of this natural theater made their breathtaking entrance: a group of 13 humpback whales, surfacing with powerful exhalations, their sprouts like a poetic salute to life.
It was a rare opportunity to witness a scene that epitomized the wilderness’s unspoiled beauty.
This encounter with the humpback whales near Aialik Cape was not just a highlight but a privileged insight into the life of these magnificent beings, a reminder of the wonder, complexity, and harmony that exist.
As our exploration extended into Aialik Bay, a feeling of enchantment remained with us, our hearts still in resonance with the spectacle of the humpback whales. Then, a fresh joy caught our gaze.
Three sea otters, floating with an ease that spoke of their natural mastery, were engaging in a dance of playfulness upon the crystalline waters.
Their gentle floating and exuberant playing were like a playful serenade, a testament to the simple joys that lie at the core of existence. Unhurried and unburdened by human complexities, these sea otters were ambassadors of a happiness and freedom.
The sight enchanted us all, but it was our children who perhaps felt it most deeply. The sparkle of excitement in our seven-and-a-half-year-old daughter’s eyes, matched by the wide-eyed wonder in our 22-month-old son’s gaze, transcended mere observation.
It was a connection, a resonance with something profound and universal. These three sea otters, with their carefree frolicking in the waters of Aialik Bay, were a lesson in the art of living with joy and grace.
In their simple and elegant existence, we found a reflection of life’s inherent beauty, a dance that continues to resonate within us, long after our return from the wild embrace of Kenai Fjords.
Aialik Glacier: A Spectacle of Ice in Kenai Fjords National Park
As our boat journeyed deeper into the mystical waters of Aialik Bay, a curious sight began to unfold. Flashes of white specks floated on the water’s surface, symbols of a breathtaking spectacle that awaited us.
The weather shifted to a cooler temperament, as if preparing us for a moment that transcended the usual boundaries of human experience.
The captain’s voice broke through the anticipatory silence, announcing our imminent arrival at a tidewater glacier.
Those floating pieces of ice were whispers from the Aialik Glacier, beckoning us closer to witness one of nature’s most awe-inspiring marvels.
A Close Encounter with Aialik Glacier
The word ‘Aialik’ comes from the Sugpiaq language, meaning ‘surprising place,’ and it couldn’t be more fitting for this astounding marvel of nature.
Situated at the head of Aialik Bay, Aialik Glacier is a breathtaking sight, an icy wonder fed by the vast Harding Icefield, which lies just four miles up from the glacier’s face.
This vast icefield, a relic of the last Ice Age, spills out in all directions, forming glaciers that stretch into the rugged hills of the Kenai Peninsula and the craggy coast of the Gulf of Alaska.
As our boat drifted closer, the weather seemed to grow cooler and the air tinged with the essence of frozen time.
Suddenly, the Aialik Glacier unveiled itself in its full glory, a massive wall of ice towering before us, where the echoes of the last Ice Age still resonate.
The spectacle was more than just visual; it was an encounter with Earth’s primordial past, a sensation of touching something eternal.
We witnessed the glacier’s calving, where, with a thunderous roar, a colossal chunk of ice broke away from the glacier, crashing into the cold seawater below.
It was a moment of pure awe. The sight was both humbling and exhilarating, a powerful testament to the ever-changing nature of glaciers.
These icebergs, some reaching up to 200 feet high, are more than just a spectacle; they add fresh water and nutrients to the ecosystem, contributing to the richness of life in these remote waters.
Is the Kenai Fjords Tour from Seward Worth It?
The question that often lingers in the minds of travelers seeking more than a mundane experience: Is the Kenai Fjords Tour from Seward truly worth it?
The answer, as with many profound questions, lies in the exploration of various dimensions that shape the essence of the journey.
1. Safety: Safety is paramount, and Kenai Fjords Tours excels in this regard. Utilizing a catamaran, known for its stability compared to single-hull boats, passengers are afforded comfort with ample room to spread out. With indoor and outdoor areas on both decks, the design not only ensures safety but also adds to the pleasure of the trip.
2. Cost-Effectiveness: This tour offers an exciting possibility for those looking to balance adventure with budget. Being part of the Alaska Collection, under the Pursuit Collection umbrella, discounts may be available for multiple bookings or combination offers with other services. The option to bundle a stay at the enchanting Seward Windsong Lodge adds to the appeal, as my experience with a promotional offer that discounted both the cruise and lodging pleasantly demonstrated.
3. Thoughtful Arrangements Inside the Boat: The interior arrangements are designed with convenience in mind. Seating configured around tables of four or six, proximity to outdoor access, and amenities like a snack bar onboard create a welcoming environment. The arrangements were especially ideal for my needs, allowing for quick movements to capture scenic views while also providing comfort for my children.
4. An Incredible Day with Wildlife: A tour filled with wildlife sightings the chance to observe orca whales, humpback whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and many other species brings the natural world into an intimate perspective. From the seagulls and puffins to the majestic sea otters, the tour provided lots of wildlife encounters, making it an incredible day that surpassed expectations.
5. The Surreal Experience of Aialik Glacier: Among the five tidewater glaciers in Kenai Fjord National Park, seeing Aialik was nothing short of surreal. With 38 glaciers flowing from the Harding Icefield, only a select few reach tidewater, and Aialik stands as a mesmerizing spectacle. Witnessing the calving of this massive glacier was a moment that transcended mere sightseeing.
The Kenai Fjords Tour from Seward isn’t just worth it; it’s a necessity for those seeking an intimate connection with Earth’s vibrant pulse.
It’s a great trip that promises an incredible day filled with the best ways to engage with marine animals.
With safety, cost-effectiveness, and meticulous planning, the boat tour brings wildlife viewing into the heart of the experience, revealing nature’s profound beauty and wisdom.
Essential Tips for an Unforgettable Experience with Kenai Fjords Tours
- Secure Your Spot: Seats are limited on each boat. Make reservations early to ensure your spot.
- Layer Your Clothing: Dressing in layers is wise, with temperatures ranging from 50 to 70 degrees. Even on warmer days, a hat, gloves, and extra layers may come in handy, especially near the Glacier, where chilly winds blow.
- Protect from the Sun: Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun.
- Brace for Wind and Rain: The coastal weather may surprise you with rain and wind. Pack rain gear, including pants and a jacket or coat, to stay dry.
- Navigate the Seas: If you suffer from seasickness, consider a cruise within Resurrection Bay instead of the Gulf of Alaska. Either way, bring seasickness medications just to be safe.
- Pack Snacks: Though lunch is served, having some personal snacks can be delightful during the long journey. For extra treats, a snack bar onboard offers candy, hot beverages, and even beer.
- Capture the Moment: Wildlife is often visible, but to capture the best pictures, bring a zoom lens. It ensures quality photos while respecting the safe distance from marine life.
- Arrive Early for Best Seating: Early birds get the best choice of seating. Arriving closer to departure might mean sitting outside or splitting up from your group.
- Embrace the Disconnect: Enjoy the break from technology; cellular service is likely unavailable during the cruise.
- Recommendation: If you are taking the Kenai Fjords National Park Tour, choose the 11:30 a.m. slot. Mornings can often be cloudy, and this timing may provide clearer conditions.
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In an era where artificial intelligence reshapes our daily existence and the clamor of modern life often drowns the whispers of our inner selves, the question of worth in travel is more nuanced than mere sightseeing and entertainment.
The Kenai Fjords Tour is not just a journey through the icy waters, the dancing seabirds, or the majestic humpback whales of Alaska’s wild frontier.
It is a pilgrimage to a place where time stands still, where nature’s grandeur echoes the profundity of existence, and where the soul finds communion with the very essence of life.
This tour transcends the confines of a mere holiday excursion. It is an opportunity to witness the theater of life in its most primal form – from the playful antics of sea otters in Aialik Bay to the monumental spectacle of the Aialik Glacier, a living relic of the Earth’s primordial past.
As the boat returns to the Seward dock, and the icefields retreat into the distance, what remains is a sense of fulfillment, a renewal of wonder, and a reconnection with a part of ourselves often lost in the chaos of contemporary living.
The echoes of this journey linger, a soothing balm for the soul, a reminder that there exists a world where simplicity reigns and where nature’s wisdom still holds sway.
Disclosure: I was hosted by Kenai Fjords Tours, operated by Pursuit Collection, on a 6-hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise. I wrote this post as part of a campaign with Pursuit. Opinions on this blog, as you can tell, are always mine.
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