Day Trip to Seward, Alaska

August 19, 2019

Travel, Travel Guides

During my visit to Anchorage, Alaska, I had an entire day before my late flight home to explore. My team and I decided to take a day trip from Anchorage to Seward, which is about 2 and 1/2 hours south. This beautiful little town is located right by the waters of the Gulf of Alaska and has some really incredible views and things to do!

Here’s some of the fun activities I discovered on my day trip to Seward!

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Drive to Seward

The drive from Anchorage to Seward is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken. It takes about 2 and 1/2 hours, but it is so scenic the entire way. The road passes through mountains and beside lakes.

cloudy foggy mountains beside lake and green trees on seward highway alaska

cloudy foggy mountain and green grass on seward highway alaska

Cloudy mountains with lake on seward highway alaska

As you can see, it was pretty cloudy and a little rainy, but that didn’t make it any less beautiful! Since it was raining, we didn’t make very many stops on the way to Seward. Our stops for photos and for exploring were made on the way back (which you can see at the end of the post if you keep reading), but we did make one quick rest stop at Moose Pass.

Moose Pass

Moose Pass sign in alaska with flowers and trees

Moose Pass is a tiny little town with a small hotel, a shop or 2, and that’s pretty much it. However, the views are just gorgeous! We discovered this lake where the planes land and take off right behind the hotel.

blue airplane on lake with green trees and cloudy mountains around water at moose pass, alaska

blue airplane on water in moose pass alaska

four white airplanes on lake at moose pass with green trees and mountains around water

You can even pay for a flightseeing tour here, but we had to move on to Seward.

Exit Glacier

Our very first stop when we arrived in Seward was at the lookout point for Exit Glacier.

Exit glacier view at seward alaska with mountains and trees

The place we stopped was called Glacier View, and it did provide us with a great view! You can get closer and walk on trails near the glacier. Since we were short on time, we decided to settle for just the view and head back into Seward.

Whale Watching

Once we reached Seward, I knew there was one thing that I just had to do: whale watching! Seeing a whale has been on my bucket list since forever, so whale watching in Alaska sounded like a dream! We bought tickets for a 3.5 hour cruise with Major Marine Tours. You can also book a cruise for 5 or 8 hours. These are the same experience, but your boat goes farther out of the Bay of Alaska, and with more time in the water you have a better chance of seeing whales. The cruises leave from Seward Harbor which you can see in the pictures below.

Seward Harbor and foggy blue mountains in Alaska with many white boats

Seward Harbor and foggy cloudy mountains in Alaska with many white boats

Now I’m going to be completely honest with you, we didn’t see any whales. Boooo. But I don’t regret it at all! To see a whale would have been the icing on the cake, but just the views were worth the price! While we didn’t have clear skies, the fog and clouds made the mountains on the shore look so mysterious and breathtaking!

cloudy foggy mountains beside blue ocean water in seward alaska

cloudy foggy mountains beside blue ocean water in seward alaska

foggy cloudy green mountains beside blue ocean water with waterfalls in Seward alaska

There is just nothing like being out on the water surrounded on all sides by this beautiful place. Also, you have a very good chance of seeing other wildlife beside whales. We saw this bald eagle not even 5 minutes from leaving the harbor!

perched Bald eagle on foggy day with trees in alaska

In all, we saw a few sea lions and sea otters, several puffins, 3 bald eagles, tons of seagulls, and these adorable harbor seals. You can see 5 of them right in the center of the photo.

Harbor seals on yellow mossy rocks on shore in alaska

Like I said, even without the wildlife (which was so cool) this cruise gives you some of the most beautiful views I think I’ve ever seen.

Probably my favorite views of the entire cruise were found at Spire Cove. This is only accessible by boat, and these towering rocky islands are just incredible. Plus the waters around them are the most beautiful shade of turquoise.

Spire Cove rock islands with trees in blue water in seward alaska

Spire Cove rocky islands and trees in the blue ocean water in Seward alaska

caves and green moss at spire cove seward alaska with turquoise ocean water and mountains

These small caves were also at Spire Cove. The lime green moss and the turquoise waters were really this vibrant!

I took a ton of photos, and I probably would’ve taken even more if it hadn’t been raining. If it does rain on you, the upper deck has a covering above the seats, and the lower deck has a large heated indoor cabin where you can sit and enjoy refreshments. If you are worried about getting seasick, they sell medicine and other remedies onboard. I bought a ginger ale during the last hour of the cruise when I started feeling queasy, and it fixed me right up.

old map and boat window with blue ocean and mountains outside

I found this cool map and still got to enjoy the views from inside the warm cabin of the lower deck.

You will want to bring a jacket (preferably a rain jacket) with you to protect you from the strong winds and any rain you might encounter. The crew will provide you with free high quality binoculars for the cruise if you ask. These are great for seeing the animals on the shore and the other sights. For example, you can get a good look at Bear Glacier, which is the biggest glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park! All that white area behind the trees in the photo below is Bear Glacier.

Bear Glacier and cloudy mountains beside ocean water in Seward, Alaska

Definitely bring your camera with you with a zoom lens if possible. My 18-135 mm lens was awesome for wide shots of the views around me, but even the highest zoom wasn’t quite as far as I wanted for shots of the wildlife.

Over all I definitely recommend this cruise. If you have time, the longer cruise options would probably be fun. 3 and 1/2 hours was plenty for me since it was cold and rainy. This is the shortest and cheapest option. I used this coupon that I found online here.

low hanging clouds and fog over green tree mountains in Seward Alaska

majestic clouds and fog over big black mountains in Seward alaska

Clouds and fog over mountains, rocks, and ocean in Seward, Alaska

If the cloudy mountains and ocean waters of Seward don’t make you want to take a boat tour right now, I don’t know what will!

Sea Life Center

While I was on the whale watching tour, most of my team visited the Sea Life Center. They all seemed to have a good time at this aquarium where you can see puffins, seals, and plenty of fish and other sea creatures. This aquarium isn’t huge, but it’s a fun little activity with some interesting exhibits and animal encounters. I can’t really give an opinion on it since I didn’t personally go, but everyone I talked to had good things to say!

Beluga Point and Drive back to Anchorage

Our drive back to Anchorage on Seward Highway was even better than way to Seward because the rain had cleared up and the mountains were so much easier to see!

snowy mountains on cloudy day with green grass on Seward Highway, Alaska

rainbow and mountains on cloudy day over turnigan arm waterway on seward highway alaska

We saw this rainbow over Turnagain Arm Waterway!

alaskan railroad tracks beside water at sunset on seward highway alaska

We stopped at Beluga Point where you can sometimes see Beluga whales swimming in the Turnagain Arm waterway. Unfortunately we didn’t see any, but the views were still amazing! This lookout point is only about 20 minutes south of Anchorage, so it was our last stop on the way back to the airport.

Beluga Point at Turnagin arm near anchorage alaska with mountains, water, and blue sky

On top of those rocks (Boulders? I don’t know what you would call these big rocky hills.) we climbed up for a better view, and we were not disappointed! After a slightly scary climb and a couple of minutes standing on the rocks in the blasting winds, we headed back. But this was definitely my favorite part of Seward Highway! If you don’t feel like climbing up what feels like a small mountain, the shoreline still provides beautiful views of the water and mountains!

girl in blue jacket and beanie standing on shoreline of turnigan arm waterway looking at ocean and sunset

Beluga Point and mountains over water on seward highway turnigan arm

rocky shoreline of turnigan arm seward highway alaska at sunset

Railroad tracks in alaska turnigan arm seward highway with mountains

Don’t stand on the tracks!

While I only had time to check out a few things to in Seward, there is plenty more to discover. On top of that, the town itself is beautiful and the drive on Seward Highway is over 2 hours of stunning views! What more could you want in a day trip?

If you have never been to Seward, Alaska, you need to visit as soon as possible! What is your favorite place to visit in Alaska?

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