Experience Southcentral and Southwest Alaska by land and sea in this five-day driving and ferry-based itinerary.
Day 1 – Anchorage to Seward
Start your trip in Anchorage and drive the 120 miles south to Seward. En route, you’ll be traveling along the dramatic coastline of Turnagain Arm. Give yourself plenty of time to stop at the many rest areas along the way for photos and to enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery. In Seward, consider boarding one of many day cruises into Kenai Fjords National Park. The park is known for its excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Expect to see humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, sea lions, dozens of sea birds and tidewater glaciers calving dramatically into the ocean. Back in Seward, other favorite attractions include the animals at the Alaska SeaLife Center and hiking around at Exit Glacier.
Day 2 – Homer
The next day, get back on the road and head west toward Homer. The colorful artists’ enclave offers great gallery hopping and wonderful food, as well as some of the best halibut fishing in the state. One of its most popular features is the 4.5-mile-long spit that reaches into Kachemak Bay. At the end, dozens of businesses catering to visitors are clustered along boardwalks. This is also where you’ll load yourself and your vehicle onto an Alaska Marine Highway ferry bound for Kodiak. You’ll spend the night aboard the ferry and drive off on Kodiak Island in the morning.
Day 3 – Kodiak
Kodiak was one of the first places in Alaska to be settled by Russian explorers in the late 1700s, and eventually became the Russian capital in Alaska. This history and its influence on local culture is detailed at the Baranov Museum, which just happens to be housed in the oldest building in Alaska, the former Russian-American Company store. For a look at the local indigenous culture, the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository interprets 7,500 years of Alutiiq culture on the island through art and artifacts. Round out your history lesson at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park, where the historic ruins of a World War II coastal defense installation sit amidst the spruce trees along the coast in a scenic setting.
Day 4 – Kodiak and Katmai National Park
When most people think of Kodiak, they think about the legendary coastal brown bears that inhabit the island and nearby coastal regions. Few places in Alaska offer a better opportunity to view these bears up close than Katmai National Park and Preserve, which is just a short flight from Kodiak. Several local flightseeing operators take clients to the park with expert guides for an unforgettable day of watching bears and their cubs fish for salmon and play along the river banks. At the end of the day, board the ferry for the trip back to Homer and overnight onboard.
Day 5 – Kenai and Anchorage
Upon arrival in Homer, stop in for breakfast at a local bakery before driving the 90 miles to the Kenai/Soldotna area. Spend a few hours on the way back to Anchorage fishing the world-famous Kenai River for sockeye salmon and have your catch flash frozen and shipped home. Local guides are plentiful and will take you to the best spots along the river. There are few better souvenirs of your Alaska adventure than fresh-caught, wild Alaska salmon. Complete the drive to Anchorage to conclude the trip.