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An Explorer's Guide to Seward, Alaska

Small boat habor at Seward, Alaska
Population: 2,625 (2021)
Latitude 60.11, Longitude -149.43

   Seward is situated on Resurrection Bay on the east coast of the Kenai Peninsula, 125 highway miles south of Anchorage, at the southern end of the Seward Highway. Seward was named for U.S. Secretary of State William Seward, 1861-1869, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867.

    Seward is accessible by road, and is serviced by the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. There is an airport near the north end of the community, with 2 paved runways - 13/31 is 4,533 x 100 feet, 16/34 is 2,279 by 75 feet. There are no scheduled flights to/from Seward, but charters are available. In 2009 there were 10,510 aircraft operations, 57% general aviation and 43% air taxis.

    Seward experiences a maritime climate. Winter temperatures average from 17 to 38°F; summer temperatures average 49 to 63°F. Annual precipitation averages 66 inches of rain and 80 inches of snowfall. The historic weather averages may help you decide when to visit.

    Trade, Transportation and Utilities are the largest employers, with 25.5% of workers. State and local governments are in close second position at 22.2%, with Leisure and Hospitality, including tourism, in 3rd place at 16.5%.

    Most visitors to Seward arrive via the Seward Highway - Seward is a very popular vacation destination for people living in the Anchorage area. Most people who arrive on cruise ships unfortunately just pass through Seward on the way to the airport at Anchorage by train or motorcoach, without spending any time in Seward. There is a single cruise ship dock, located adjacent to the Small Boat Harbor. In 2014, 67,912 guests plus crew members are expected to arrive by that method, between May 15 and September 14. Whether they arrive by road or sea, some of the most popular visitor activities are:

  • Seward is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, with nearly 40 glaciers flowing from the Harding Icefield, and a rich variety of wildlife in the sea, air and on land. The Exit Glacier can be reached by car, and guides can be booked to take you on a hike along the glacier or climb on it.

  • visit the Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska's only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center. The center is open daily year-round - in the summer - 45-60-minute-long tours are offered, including ones that allow you to get close to harbor seals, Horned and Tufted puffins, and octopus.

  • there are over 20 charter operators to take you out fishing for king salmon, silver and halibut in particular.
    The links below will give you a great deal more information about the Seward area and its attractions. In particular, our photo album is captioned to give you information about the site (or sight) being shared, and the Chamber of Commerce Web site will give you tour operators' contact information as well as lots more.

Seward Links

Seward Photo Gallery

Seward Chamber of Commerce

2024 Cruise Ship Calendar

The History of Seward

Photojournals: A Day in Seward
  - Riding the Alaska Railroad, Seward to Anchorage
  - Boat tour into Kenai Fjords National Park
  - Glaciers and marine wildlife in Kenai Fjords

Clicking on the aerial view of Seward below will open an interactive map at Google Maps, in a new window.
Seward, Alaska - Google Earth image