Drive yourself or leave the driving to someone else? See what our team suggests.
The trip from bustling Anchorage to laid-back Seward is, in a word, beautiful. It’s only about 120 miles away, but the way you feel when you get there is incredibly different. Seward is a place to relax and soak up the wonders of nature. As a weekend get-away, it’s ideal! And it’s also totally doable as a daytrip—especially if you anchor your day with a four-hour boat cruise on Resurrection Bay. Either way, getting there is half the fun!
There are five ways to get to Seward.
- Hop on the bus. The Park Connection’s Seward Express bus departs Anchorage every morning at 7 AM starting in mid-May. It’s more budget-friendly than the train, and it’ll let you soak up the views.
- You at the wheel. Driving your own (or a rental) car offers the flexibility to stop when and where you want, and to keep to your own schedule. It’s arguably the fastest way to get to Seward as well. Read our recommended must-sees en route.
- Ride the rails. The historic Alaska Railroad is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. The train tracks parallel the driving route for part of the way, but then the tracks goes further and higher into the Chugach Mountains. Rail travel gives you a chance to get up and walk around. See why it’s the best choice for relaxing!
- Combine two of the above, taking the train down to Seward and the bus back – you’ll get to experience both routes. Now that’s good planning!
- A classic Alaska float plane. It’s a big splurge for such a short distance, but if you’re tight on time, it’s a real thrill.
Tip: Don't worry about lunch—the folks at Kenai Fjords Tours have lunch waiting for you onboard your Kenai Fjords cruise.
Our Insider’s List of the Must-Stops on Your Drive to Seward:
The 120-mile Seward Highway follows the historic route that opened up the Alaskan interior nearly 70 years ago, allow at least 2.5 hours drive-time to enjoy the scenery. It follows the coast of Cook Inlet, then goes up and over the mountains, and then back down to the coast again at Resurrection Bay.
There are no traffic lights, no billboards and no drive-thrus. Instead, there's jaw-dropping scenery and lots of chances to see wildlife. Expect the trip to take just over two hours.
Our team at Kenai Fjords Tours drives the route regularly. Here's their short-list of how to make the most of the trip:
- Wildlife Viewing: Driving south, away from the traffic lights, you'll start following the shore of the Turnagain Arm, which stretches four miles across Cook Inlet. It's one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in North America. There's a good chance you'll see migratory birds n Potter Marsh, especially in springtime. Watch for belugas in the water off Bird Point and Dall sheep climbing the cliffs of the Chugach Mountains just to the side of the road.
Tip: Check construction updates before you leave at the Alaska DOT (907.269.0780) to see if you’ll need extra time due to road work delays.
- A Treat for the Road: Pick up a famous sweet roll and fill up your travel mug at The Bake Shop in Girdwood.
Tip: The last place to get gas is Girdwood, so be sure your tank is full.
- Best Leg-stretcher: At Mile 56.6, stop and stretch your legs at the new pedestrian bridge at Six Mile Creek. It's a little-known but worthwhile break. It’s a popular spot for whitewater kayaking and rafting. There’s no sign, but pull over at the One Mile to Hope sign and park in the wide shoulder. Give yourself 20 minutes.
- The “Y”: Don't miss the only really key turn on the way! Hang left at what’s known as the "Y", or the Hope Turnoff at Mile 56.4.
- Slow Down at Moose Pass: After you’ve gone through what locals call "Avalanche Acres", you’ll come up to Moose Pass, a little village with an 'axe to grind'. Go slow! 'They don't like it when you speed and they're particular about that there,' says Kenai Fjords Tours’ Ron Wille.
- Pull into one of the viewpoints and snap a photo of the turquoise waters of Kenai Lake. Watch for eagles above and salmon runs in the creeks below. From there, it’s up the mighty Divide Pass. And then, it's all downhill to Seward.
Take the Train:
The historic Alaska Railroad is arguably the most classic way to get to Seward, and the most relaxing. It will let you see glaciers and mountain meadows that you can't see by car, going through tunnels, past gorges and stopping at old railroad houses. With rates starting at $72/person, it’s also quite affordable. Daily departure at 6:45 AM from Anchorage will have you in Seward in time for a mid-day cruise with Kenai Fjords Tours - and hopefully a glimpse of migrating whales! There are tour guides on board to help you spot eagles and belugas