Wild encounters from Anchorage to Seward
Day 1 – Anchorage
Arrive in Anchorage and pick up a rental car. The city offers tons of great experiences for visitors, but our focus is animals, so your first priority on this itinerary is getting to the Alaska Zoo. Enjoy a leisurely stroll or tour through the entire zoo or sign up for a specialty experience like being able to help feed, train and look after the zoo’s wolves, seals, big cats or polar bears. On your way out of town, be sure to stop at Potter Marsh. Located just south of Anchorage, the marsh, which is managed by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, features extensive boardwalks that enable visitors to view and photograph the many birds that pass through the area. Throughout the summer it’s possible to see Canada geese, northern pintails, canvasback ducks, red-necked phalaropes, horned and red-necked grebes, northern harriers, bald eagles, gulls, Arctic terns, yellowlegs and trumpeter swans. As you head south along the shores of Turnagain Arm, keep your eyes peeled – mountain goats are frequently spotted on the rocky cliffs above the highway. On the other side of the highway, the knobby white bodies of beluga whales can be seen as they swim and breach in their search for salmon, herring and other fish during the summer months. Spend the night in the ski town of Girdwood, about 35 miles south of Anchorage.
Day 2 – Girdwood to Seward
Start the day with a short drive to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center just south of Girdwood along the Seward Highway. You’ll be charmed by the baby animals and get the opportunity to take keepsake photographs of wild creatures without fences or other barriers obstructing your view. The center’s behind-the-scenes tours, offered twice daily during the summer, give you the opportunity to get even closer to the animals, including characters like Snickers the porcupine. Before continuing south to Seward, stop at Portage Glacier and the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center for a short hike and a chance to learn more about the Chugach National Forest, which stretches from Prince William Sound to the Kenai Peninsula – an area larger than the state of New Hampshire! After your visit, drive the rest of the way to Seward and spend the night.
Day 3 – Seward
Seward is a great place to learn about and experience Alaska’s marine life. Start the day with a wildlife and glacier cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park. Day cruises depart frequently during the summer and offer the chance to see seals, sea lions, otters and hundreds of sea birds along with humpback whales and orcas. After several hours on the water, return to Seward and head to the Alaska SeaLife Center to learn more about the animals that make their home in Resurrection Bay. Overnight in Seward and prepare to either return back to Anchorage or continue your driving trip west along the Kenai Peninsula to Kenai, Soldotna and Homer.