A Local's Guide to Family Adventures in Seward
Four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race winner Dallas Seavey has been training for the race practically his entire life. His grandfather, Dan Seavey, is a veteran Iditarod musher who competed in the first Iditarod race in 1973 and three other races after that. Dallas’ father, Mitch Seavey, is a longtime competitor and took first place both in 2004, 2013, and 2017. Dallas is the youngest musher to ever win the Iditarod, and is the current record holder for finishing the 975-mile race in eight days, 13 hours, four minutes and 19 seconds. He was born March 4, 1987 in Lorton, Virginia, but has no recollection of living anywhere but Alaska. The majority of his childhood was spent in the family’s dog kennel just off of Exit Glacier Road in Seward. Today, Dallas homesteads and operates his dog kennel in Willow, about an hour’s drive north of Anchorage, but he still considers Seward to be his home.
Seward is a small fishing town with a history that would make a city the size of Los Angeles proud. It's not just breathtakingly beautiful with its backdrop of glaciers and snow-peaked mountains. It is also the perfect destination for families with children, outdoor enthusiasts, fishing enthusiasts, and anyone interested in Alaska’s wildlife on land and sea.
Seward is surrounded by the mountains of Kenai Fjords National Park and sits on the shores of Resurrection Bay. Visitors can choose from numerous hikes up scenic mountains, sea kayaking, fishing charters, wildlife and glacier-viewing cruises, shopping, dining, dog mushing, and many other recreational activities. Most of my time is spent with my family — human and canine — but there’s always time for other kinds of fun and these are some of my favorite things to do when I am back at my hometown.
1. Family-friendly hiking
I like to take my daughter out to Tonsina Point on the Caines Head trail; it's a fun walk that is easy to do with children. My grandfather would take us there fishing when we were kids, and it's still one of my favorite places. The bridge and beach at Tonsina Point are good spots for seeing wildlife and there are a lot of salmonberries to pick. The trail continues 3 miles past Tonsina Point but it is important to check the tide times if continuing on to Caines Head.
2. Peking Restaurant
Our family's favorite place to eat in Seward is Peking Restaurant. Mimi and Jon are longtime Seward residents. The food is good, and the people are awesome!
3. Swimming in Bear Lake
Bear Lake is the locals’ swimming hole. Drive north out of town on the Seward Highway 6.6 miles and turn east on Bear Lake Road. During the summer months, stop on the way at the Bear Creek Weir and see the salmon spawn, then park by Bardarson Studio and canoe out to the rope swing. It's a little chilly, but if you jump in you're a real Alaskan!
4. Historic Iditarod Trail
Walk the Iditarod National Historic Trail from the Alaska SeaLife Center, just past mile marker zero of the historic trailhead. The bike path runs along the beach where it’s not uncommon to spot a sea otter floating on its back feasting on salmon or a seal peeking its head out of the water. The path ends at the Small Boat Harbor where you can get an ice cream cone, walk the docks and see the boats and fishermen, and watch for otters or other marine mammals and seabirds.
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