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 — and getting there is half the fun!
Five ways to get to Seward
- Hop on the bus: The Park Connection’s Seward Express bus departs Anchorage every morning at 7 a.m. 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 often the fastest and most convenient way to get to Seward as well.
- 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 split off into the Chugach Mountains. Rail travel also gives you a chance to get up and walk around.
- Mix and match: Take 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, flying is a real thrill.
Tip: Don't worry about lunch — the folks at Kenai Fjords Tours have lunch waiting for you onboard if you choose to do a Kenai Fjords cruise.
Our favorite route
We’re partial to the Alaska Railroad. It's arguably the most classic way to get to Seward and the most relaxing. Along the way, you’ll see glaciers, mountain meadows and other scenes that you can't see by car, all while going through tunnels, past gorges and stopping at old railroad houses.
Daily departure at 6:45 a.m. from Anchorage will have you arriving in Seward in time for a midday 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 as well.
Our insider’s list of the must-stops on your drive from Anchorage to Seward
The 120-mile Seward Highway follows the historic route that opened up the Alaskan interior nearly 70 years ago. The highway runs along 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.
Tip: Check road reports before you leave to see if you'll need extra time due to delays.
Our team at Kenai Fjords Tours drives the route regularly. Here's their shortlist of how to make the most of the trip:
- Wildlife viewing: Driving south, you'll start following the shore of the Turnagain Arm, which stretches four miles across Cook Inlet. There's a good chance you'll see migratory birds in 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 off the side of the road.
- A treat for the road: Pick up a famous sweet roll and fill up your travel mug at The Bake Shop in Girdwood. It’s also the last place to get gas for approximately 61 miles, so be sure your tank is full.
- Best leg-stretcher: At Mile 56.6, stop and stretch your legs at the pedestrian bridge at Six Mile Creek. 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.
- 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 the community of Moose Pass, a little village with an 'axe to grind'. Go slow out of respect for the people who live there.
- Take in the sights: 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.