Migrating whales are showing up in Alaska’s waters – how about you? If you’ve ever wanted to watch whales breaching and flukes flapping, sign up for a whale watching trip in Resurrection Bay and Seward this summer. Seward is an easy 130-mile drive from Anchorage and – while you could technically do this trip in one day - you’ll want to take some time to explore all that Seward and the surrounding area has to offer.
Be sure to book your wildlife watching trip in advance as walk-ons may not be allowed.
From Anchorage, head south along the Seward Highway approximately 130 miles to Seward. Keep an eye out for moose, swans, and other wildlife – including big congregations of eagles and maybe a beluga if the hooligan are running. Stop at the Turnagain Pass rest stop, especially in July, to check out the amazing blooms of wildflowers – or just to stretch your legs. Pause at the overlook at Six Mile River near the Hope Turnoff to watch for river runners, then continue through Moose Pass until you reach the outskirts of Seward. Before you reach town, turn left onto Exit Glacier Road and take a side trip to explore Exit Glacier. Although the National Park Service visitor center is currently closed, you can walk along the Exit Glacier Trail where signs mark the gradual regrowth of vegetation as the glacier has retreated. Here, you can walk close to the face of Exit Glacier’s blue ice or, for more active hikers, climb up the Harding Icefield Trail.
Continue your drive into Seward for an overnight stay at a campground, hotel, lodge, or B&B.
After overnighting in Seward, get ready for a whale-of a good time on a half- or full-day excursion out onto the waters of Resurrection Bay. Depending on the time of year, you may see up to six species of whales in the waters near and around Seward. Orcas are around year-round, while other species like humpbacks are most common between April and September. Look for seagulls in the air and bait balls in the water – they’re a good indicator that a hungry whale may be lurking below. Keep an eye out, too, for otters bouncing around in the waves and Steller sea lions hauled out on the rocks. Bring your camera, binoculars, and a warm hat – it can get a little breezy out on the boat.
After an overnight in Seward, head over to the Alaska SeaLife Center. You’ll need to book online ahead of time. Admissions are timed to promote social distancing and you’ll be asked to wear a face covering, but once inside, you might get a glimpse of a new Steller sealion pup due this spring and proud mom, Mara. The SeaLife Center is a great family friendly venue and has plenty of opportunities for kids – and adults – to learn about animal rehab, ocean science, and just get a close look at some really amazing critters.
As you slowly make your way back to Anchorage and the weather is nice, stop to explore the trails in Hope, Portage Glacier, or Girdwood.