Captain Cook State Recreation Area
Virtually undiscovered by most visitors to the Kenai Peninsula, Captain Cook State Recreation Area offers a peaceful setting of forests, lakes, streams and saltwater beaches. The recreation area is named for Captain James Cook, the English mariner who in 1778 explored what is now known as Cook Inlet. At that time, Dena’ina Indians, who harvested seasonal runs of salmon and other wild food, occupied the area. Remains of Dena’ina barabaras, traditional sod-roofed homes built into the ground, are evidence of their earlier presence. In recent years, this area has been used for commercial fishing with beach set nets.
Expect to see a wandering moose or bear, coyotes, wolves, beavers and muskrats. Beluga whales and harbor seals swim in the waters of the inlet, and in the salt-free waters of Swanson River and Stormy Lake, anglers will find rainbow trout, silver salmon and arctic char. Bird species include bald eagles, sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, Pacific and common loons, golden-eye ducks, mergansers, thrushes, warblers and jays.