Exploring in the Kenai Peninsula Alaska

My next stop on my Alaska adventure,  I headed due south to the end of the Kenai Peninsula. Homer, Alaska is a small town, but big on activities. During the summer months Homer is a busy place, there is so much do to here you could easily spend a few days or a week.

There are plenty of gift shops, galleries, coffee shops, and a variety of restaurants to choose from. Looking for something sweet & delicious, check out Two Sisters Bakery. Since I was here early in the season, I was able to watch King salmon fishing. I also watched the halibut haul and I was stunned at the size of these fish . Believe me, there is nothing that tastes better than Alaskan seafood caught fresh!

 

Homer offers plenty of fishing charters, wildlife viewing tours by boat or air, including bear watching. I saw plenty of wildlife just walking and hiking around Homer from moose, masses of bald eagles, otters, and a variety of birds.  There are several hiking trails to choose from with  beautiful views at the end.   You won’t get bored here that’s for sure.  Sitting on the edge of the beach I watched a frenzy of bald eagles being fed by the locals.

Leaving Homer and heading north on the Sterling Highway take a short detour to Ninilchik.  Once a vibrant Russian Village, Ninilchik is known for its beautiful views of the Ninichik River, a Greek Orthodox Church that was founded in 1901, and yearly salmon and clam festivals. Sit by the river and watch bald eagles dive for their lunches.

NINILCHIK

FISHING ALONG THE COOK INLET in KENAI

 

Exploring the town of Soldotna where I got a chance to watch wood artisans carving amazing pieces of art.  Take a fishing charter boat tour and try catching your own lunch.  Visit the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to do hiking or biking. More scenic views and lakes to see.  If your into motorcycling like I am, stop by the Harley-Davidson Showroom.

 

As you continue on to Seward driving through the Chugach National Forest (Hwy 9),  pull off the beaten path somewhat and see Exit Glacier up close and personal and to a little hiking on the Harding Ice Fields, an 8 mile round hike that will give you fabulous views at the end. This is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by road.

EXIT GLACIER

Heading to Seward, Alaska, which was founded in 1903,  is surrounded by beautiful mountains and is a designated port for many cruise ships. It’s easy just to park your car and walk around town. Seward is also home to the Alaska Sea Life Center, Alaska’s only permanent marine mammal rehabilitation facility. The Center is very informative with plenty of interactive displays for the kids to enjoy. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours here.  Then spend some time walking and shopping around town. Don’t forget to try the fish & chips!

 

The next day I took an all-day boat cruise down through the Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords covers over 587,000 acres. There are several tour companies to choose from and cruises will vary in length. It is best to call ahead or make your reservations on cruise tour websites.

Cruising through Resurrection Bay we came to the first of three glaciers on this trip, Bear Glacier, the largest in the Kenai Fjords, then into Aialik Bay we saw Aialik Glacier and then a big finale,  Holgate Glacier.  The captain was able to get us oh so  close as we watched chunks of ice break away, this is known as glacier calving. The pictures you see here are not on zoom!

 

CHISWELL ISLANDS AND RESURRECTION CAPE AREAS

Throughout the tour along the coast sections and the islands  I saw a  variety of wildlife such as eagles, puffins, otters, mountain goats, and even humpback whales. The ultimate highlight for me was sighting a pod of nine Orca whales, five adults and four calves.

Glaciers, wildlife, beautiful scenery, great seafood, and  friendly people, Alaska has it all and more!  Next stops, we head north and east of Anchorage, visiting Wrangell-St Elias National Park.

ALSO VISIT:

 

Just a few suggestions for dining:

Homer:

  • Two Sisters Bakery @ 233 E Bunnell Ave.
  • The Homestead @ 55829 E End Rd
  • The Chart Room @ 4786 Homer Spit Rd.
  • Boardwalk Fish and Chips @ 4287 Homer Spit Rd
  • Other choices like Mexican, Thai, and several coffee shops

Seward:

  • Rays Waterfront @ 1316 4th Ave.
  • Chinooks Waterfront Restaurant @ 1404 4th Ave
  • Resurrection Roadhouse @  31772 Herman Leirer Rd.
  • Terry’s Fish & Chips @ 1401 4th Ave
  • Le Barn Appetit @ 11786 Old Exit glacier Rd.

 

Soldotna:

  • Harley-Davidson @ 41605  Sterling Hwy.

 

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76 comments

  1. Looks like a really nice adventure in Alaska! I liked the wood artisans works, and Alaska has a beautiful nature, I was thinking there’s only mountains of snow, but your pictures surprised me, Alaska has a shiny sun a quite green nature. Impressive!

  2. Alaska is incredible! It looks like the perfect place to go for a hike and watch wildlife. The glacier is beautiful and I love to try the fish – Alaska hasn’t been on my bucket list, but now it is 🙂

  3. Would definitely love to visit Alaska one of these days. It seems to have plenty of magnificent nature but also a culture all its own. Ninilchik definitely seems like the most unusual spot there and would love to see it. When I do eventually visit, I’ll be sure to refer to all your posts Lisa.

  4. I’ve wanted to visit Alaska for a while. I love these old towns that show glimpses of the past. I’m hoping I will get the chance to visit Homer one day.

  5. Wow so many beautiful scenic views! Your experience of watching the King Salmon fishing and halibut haul sounds unbelievable! We would love to experience that first hand and enjoy the freshest seafood in Alaska!

  6. The photos are stunning and bring alive the stunning landscapes of Alaska in great detail. The Kenai Peninsula comes across a fairyland of nature where one can be thrilled by the beauty of nature.

  7. What a beautiful place! We would definitely love to trek and climb mountains there. Ninilchik is pretty cute as well.

    Our boss is from Alaska, and he has been vigorously inviting us to visit there. He knows we love outdoor adventure and stunning vistas.

  8. It’s long been a dream of mine to visit Kenai Fjords National Park! The beauty is indescribable. My husband would have a hay day catching fish in Alaska too! Those looked awesome. 🙂

  9. Thanks for this extended tour of Alaska – it’s rare to see many blog posts about it and you have given a great insight into the life there and highlighted loads of things to do. Halibut looks huge!

  10. Hi Lisa, I’d love to visit Alaska – been on my radar for a while. The outdoors, nature, wildlife, solitude – I love them all. I’ve seen glaciers like that in Nepal. I’m from Scotland and sometimes (not often) Orca pods are sighted off the coast in the north of our country. Nice post. Safe travels.

  11. Alaska is such a magical place. While we’ve never been it’s definitely high on our list, especially after reading your post. I can’t wait for the day where we can eat freshly caught king crab. Ok, I’m drooling now!

  12. Thanks so much for the tour of Alaska..it makes me want to go even more. Did you do the fishing trip? I have always thought that would be so fun 🙂

  13. Argh! I so want to go to Alaska it’s still on our bucket list. We did see our first glacier last year in Greenland, but I’m now greedy for more, Alaska looks so stunning I just long to see it even more now after reading this and seeing your great photos, top inspiration!!

  14. Lisa, your posts about Alaska make me wanna push this to my top list. I hope one day I can get there and experience all of these amazing things. The wildlife pictures are stunning, thank you for sharing.

  15. We could only dream of being able to see bald eagles and otters while hiking. Hopefully we don’t meet a bear while hiking with Scarlett! This got us pumped for our Alaska road trip this summer. We will add some of these destinations to our list. Thanks Lisa!

  16. After reading this I am so ready to go to Alaska! Such a wonder place I will have to pin this for later use. The town, tour and food looks amazing. Stunning photos!
    Questions for you…Did you fly into a place and rent a car? Any recommendations on lodging?
    Thanks for Sharing 🙂 #feetdotravel

    1. Hi Stephanie…I flew into Anchorage for both trips. One I did in an RV the other a rental. So many nice places to stay so it just depends on where you want to go.

  17. How lovely! I’m stunned by all your pictures; we’ve never been to Alaska, but somehow despite being a part of the USA, it seems like an entirely new continent. The glaciers are incredible, and the nature there just looks so peaceful and happy… I would love to visit someday. Thanks for all the great tips! We’re saving this post for later in the event we ever get up to this area. 🙂

    P.S. That seafood looks too good to be true. I don’t think I’d ever want to leave if I tried some. <3

  18. I would just love the fresh seafood! I can’t wait to go to Alaska next year, thanks for sharing 🙂

  19. Wow it looks amazing. Alaska has been on my list for a while but still not made it there yet!! I really want to go now seeing your amazing pics 🙂

  20. Love seeing all the animals! We didn’t see nearly that many animals when we went on a cruise, but I really hope to get back and explore more of Alaska in my life

  21. There’s plenty here that I would love to do, the fishing charters for one. Alaska offers such amazing scenery opportunities and some of which is so foreign to me. Looking forward to hopefully tacking this onto a Canadian trip next year.

  22. What a gorgeous part of Alaska! I haven’t been there yet but 3 other cities that I loved. Is King Salmon the one that goes through the salmon ladder in Seattle? I saw them jumping up that ladder once and it was so cool but not sure if the same fish. They are gorgeous. I bet they were tasty!

  23. Gorgeous scenery! We have toyed with the idea of an Alaskan road trip next summer, so this helps. And halibut is my favorite, they are big for sure, I caught an 80 lb one as a kid on my grandparents boat off the northern BC coast. Would definitely love to take the boat trips to see the fjords.

  24. Wow, this is awesome! I’ve yet to explore Alaska, but those mountains are definitely calling me. I imagine summer is the best time to visit. Do you know if that’s when the orcas are around?

  25. After deciding to leave America to travel the rest of the world, I sometimes forget how beautiful my homeland is, and how much there is to explore there. Your photos are wonderful. I’ll have to add this to my bucket list, especially since Orcas are my favorite animal!

  26. Alaska is just one of those places that fascinates me. Your post just made me want to visit there even more! 🙂

  27. Stunning images and what a great few days. I love the North with its contrasting snowy peaks and glacial waters. I really hope to get to Alaska myself one day!

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