Epic Blog

Things to do on the Kenai Peninsula

06.03.13

The drive to the Kenai Peninsula is scenic.

An overcast view of Turnagain Arm, on the way from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula. The drive is scenic AND worthwhile.

The Kenai Peninsula is absolutely worth visiting. Just a few hours drive from Anchorage, it’s easy to access and offers great fishing, camping, sea kayaking, hiking, beautiful scenery, and good options for the whole family. But it comes with a price – lots of people.

The following will get you started, but is not meant to be a complete list of things to do or places to visit.

Note: In general, driving anywhere on the Kenai Peninsula late June through end of August is slow going because of RV traffic and/or road construction.

Homer

A good area to spend a couple to several days. Known as an “artist’s community.” Very scenic, LOTS to do, popular with the tourist, offers mountain and coastal activities plus good saltwater fishing… but requires the longest drive from Anchorage, about 5 to 6 hours. (You can skip the drive with a short commuter flight on ERA.)

Moose Pass and Cooper’s Landing

In between Soldotna and Seward. Very small towns with character.

The Kenai Peninsula offers several campgrounds.

The Kenai Peninsula offers several campgrounds.

Gwen’s Roadhouse in Cooper’s Landing (if it’s still around) has a great burger and fun atmosphere. A favorite of the locals.

Fishing

You can fish for several different species of fish. Good access to Quartz Creek, Russian and Kenai rivers for fishing. Quartz Creek and the Russian are smaller rivers and are wading friendly. The Kenai is a large, glacially silted river, is best fished from a boat, and may offer crowds. However, it is famous for BIG rainbow trout, dolly varden and king salmon, plus it supports a huge sockeye salmon run.

Contact Alaska Troutfitters for local fishing information and for guided fishing trips. You can also find some good area info from the local Anchorage Fly Shops.

Seward

A great, small coastal town to spend a couple to several days. Within 2.5 to 3 hours drive from Anchorage, it’s one of our favorite easy-to-get-to places in Alaska to visit.

Exit Glacier

You can hike right up to Exit Glacier.

The Kenai Fjords cruise through Resurrection Bay is absolutely worthwhile. See calving glaciers, whales, puffins, sea lions and more.

Alaska SeaLife Center – a great public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center.

Exit Glacier is a highly recommended easy day hike. If you have the time, you can hike up to the Harding Ice Field (from which Exit Glacier flows) – a full and strenuous day hike, but would be absolutely incredible. If this sounds intimating, hire a wilderness guide.

Fishing

Good saltwater options – halibut, rock fish, ling cod and salmon fishing. A couple of years ago, I met a local Seward fishing guide, Hill Norvell. Seemed like a good guy. Offers halibut and other deep water fishing, plus B&B lodging.

Soldotna

Not very scenic, lots of strip malls. You pass through it on your way to Homer, but do not plan on spending anytime in the town itself if you’re after any charm. It would probably work well as a base area, however – lots of amenities.

Fishing

Alaska Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking in Whittier, AK

Fishing on the Kenai River around Soldotna can easily fall into the “combat fishing” arena – it most likely will not be a wilderness fishing experience. The Kasilof River, just a few miles south of Soldotna is worth visiting. It’s much smaller than the Kenai River, and offers viable wade-and-fish options.

Whittier

Not far from Anchorage. Charming small coastal town. Worth a day visit, or a couple of nights.

Learn more: Anchorage, Denali National Park, King Salmon

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