|YES, that small fringe of buildings
clinging desperately to the bottom of that big 5,000 foot
mountains is, indeed, Seward Alaska. This is your first
sign that Alaska is very different.
Seward is at the end of the Seward Highway on the beautiful Kenai (pronounced Key' Nye-accent on the first syllable) Peninsula Borough in south central Alaska. Located in the heart of spectacular glacier carved mountains, it is an easy two and a half hour scenic drive south of the only really big city in Alaska, Anchorage.
Seward sits on the sheltered shores of Resurrection Bay on the Gulf of Alaska. It is renown for its salmon fishing, halibut fishing, and gorgeous scenery. Kenai Fjords National Park sits on the mountains right behind the town, covered by the Harding Icefield. The Park is inaccessable by anything but boat or plane except for Exit Glacier. A short 10 mile drive from town, Exit Glacier is so accessible you can literally walk up to it and touch it if you want.
Seward's main industries are fishing, tourism, and government services. The Coast Guard cutter Mustang is stationed in Seward. In addition, Seward has Alaska State Fish and Game, National Park, and National Forest Stations. Alaska's only maximum security prison is located across the bay because there is only one road in and out of the area. Seward is home to Alaska's state run vocational post secondary school, AVTEC.
Educational opportunities abound in Seward. The Seward Senior Citizens Center and Seward Teen Center houses the Seward Museum. The University of Alaska at Fairbanks maintains an oceanographic research center and a vessel (The Alpha-Helix) in Seward. The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only combined cold water research, educational, and rehabilitation facility in the world. It is privately funded as well as receiving money through grants, admission, and user fees.
Seward is home to a small private airport and an active seaport. There is a local marina in the Small Boat Harbor and also dock facilities for freight, fish, and cruise ships. Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean all make stops in Seward. It is the United States' northernmost year round ice-free port.
Seward was established in 1903 to build a railroad to develop Alaska when it was still mostly native inhabitants. Seward grew and thrived when Anchorage was still a tent town.
In spite of being readily accessible, Seward was unable to expand to meet the growing need for land because of geographic limitations. National Park land starts just seven miles north of the end of the Seward Highway at the south end of town. High mountains surround Seward to the east and west. And to the south is the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean.
Seward is at north latitude 60 degrees so in the summer there is plenty of sun and in the winter there is plenty of dark. In July, Seward receives 20 hours of sun and 4 hours of twilight. The average winter temperature is 20 degrees and the average summer temperature is 60 degrees.
Wildlife you might see includes Moose, Dahl Sheep (a relative of the Bighorn), Bears, Mountain Goats, Porcupines, River Otters, Sea Otters, Whales, Seals, Sea Lions, Salmon, Bald Eagles, and Puffins.
We hope you enjoy your visit. Welcome!
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