Depart from Anchorage on the Seward Highway – a designated scenic byway – and head south to the coastal town of Seward. On your way, make a stop in the ski town of Girdwood, which sits right off of the Turnagain Arm and is roughly 35 minutes from Anchorage. You can easily spend a few hours to break up the drive to Seward here dining at the local restaurants, adventuring on the local trails, or taking Alyeska Resort's aerial tram to the top of the mountain. After spending time in Girdwood, continue south to Seward. The drive from Girdwood to Seward is a beautiful, two-hour drive that will have you winding through the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula until arriving in Seward on the waters of Resurrection Bay.
Seward, once an old railroad town, is now deemed as "Scenic Seward" and is Southcentral Alaska's most popular port of call for visiting cruise ships. Also known as the gateway to scenic Kenai Fjords National Park and home to the famous Mount Marathon race; the namesake mountain looms over the gridded downtown streets and small-boat harbor. Take a marine wildlife cruise on Resurrection Bay, where you'll have a chance to see glaciers and wildlife like sea lions, puffins and whales, or make the 12-mile drive to the Exit Glacier Nature Center and wander the easy trails near the toe of the glacier. If you have time, tackle the challenging hike past the glacier to the Harding Icefield, a sheet of ice that is one of the last remnants of the polar ice age.
After grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast, spend some more time in Seward before returning to Anchorage. You can visit the Alaska SeaLife Center or embark on a sea kayak excursion to explore Resurrection Bay. On your way back to Anchorage, enjoy views of the mountains, Kenai Peninsula and Turnagain Arm. You can break up the drive with a stop by the small area of Portage, where you can see Portage Glacier. Or stop by the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to see some furry critters before returning to Anchorage.
Want to explore more of the Kenai Peninsula? Here's the itinerary for you.