18 Best Scenic Stops Anchorage to Seward Highway & More 2024

Looking for the perfect itinerary for your adventure from Anchorage to Seward? I've got you covered with 18 of the best stops on a road trip in Alaska.

Stops Near Anchorage

1. Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary: As you begin your journey on the Alaska route, your first stop is about 15 minutes from the ANC airport. A wildlife viewing area just south of Anchorage, known for birdwatching and spotting native wildlife like moose and waterfowl. In Alaska, there is no shortage of wildlife viewing! With a little patience, you can have the best time whether it's in a popular spot or a rest area or parking lot.

2. Turnagain Arm: As you leave Anchorage, the Seward Highway hugs the stunning shores of Turnagain Arm, a narrow glacial fjord renowned for its dramatic beauty. Be sure to stop and take in the scenery and get your pictures! Keep an eye out for beluga whales gracefully gliding through the waters and bald eagles soaring overhead. A good time to spot the beluga whales is about mid-July through August.

3. Beluga Point
: With its panoramic vistas of Cook Inlet and the Chugach Mountains, Beluga Point is a great spot for a picnic or a short hike. Keep your eyes peeled for pods of beluga whales surfacing near the shoreline.

4. Bird Point: Another scenic viewpoint along Turnagain Arm, with this part of Alaska offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and water.

5. Visit the Alyeska Ski Resort: A resort along the Seward Highway in Alaska, stands as a beacon of outdoor adventure and natural beauty. Home to the renowned Alyeska Resort, this destination offers a captivating blend of rugged wilderness and world-class amenities. In winter, powder enthusiasts flock to its slopes for exhilarating skiing and snowboarding experiences, while summer brings hikers, bikers, and nature lovers seeking scenic trails and breathtaking vistas. Whether indulging in luxury accommodations, dining with panoramic mountain views, or embarking on adrenaline-pumping adventures, Alyeska captivates visitors with its unrivaled charm and boundless opportunities for exploration.

Views all Around & Coffee

6. Town of Girdwood: This cozy mountain town is all about laid-back vibes and outdoor adventures galore. Picture yourself surrounded by lush forests, towering peaks, and babbling streams—seriously, it's like something out of a postcard! When winter rolls around, it's all about hitting the slopes at Alyeska Resort for some epic skiing and snowboarding action. But don't worry, once the snow melts, there's still plenty of fun to be had. Think hiking through scenic trails, biking along mountain paths, and just soaking up the natural beauty all around. Plus, with its friendly locals, cute shops, and artsy scene, Girdwood is the perfect spot to unwind and get your dose of mountain magic. You won't want to leave!

7. The Grind in Girdwood: If you're needing a little pick me up and craving some caffeine, stop at the Grind! Plus, its convenient location makes it a perfect pit stop during your journey along the Seward Highway. So, if you're craving a caffeine fix or just want to experience a taste of local charm, be sure to swing by The Grind in Girdwood.

8. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: Just a short drive from Anchorage, about 55 minutes, you'll find the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. It's a sanctuary that focuses on educating people about wildlife and improving our preservation and quality of care for wildlife. This place provides a close-up encounter with Alaska's diverse wildlife. Marvel at majestic Dall sheep, observe powerful brown bears, and learn about efforts to conserve these precious species.

Portage Lake & Byron Glacier

9. Portage Lake: Stop by Portage Lake for unparalleled views of Portage Glacier and the surrounding Chugach Mountains. If you're feeling adventurous, hop on a boat tour to get up close to the shimmering blue icebergs. I highly recommend taking the hike to see the glacier. You will end up on one side of the lake with a view of the glacier on the other. The hike is not too strenuous and a small backpack with water and snacks is sufficient.

10. Byron Glacier: Near Portage Glacier, Byron Glacier is another easily accessible glacier. A short hike leads to a viewing area where you can see the glacier and its icy blue hues. There is a 1-mile trail here that you can easily knock out! It's also a great place to stretch your legs and give yourself a break from the car.

11. Whittier, Alaska: Venture through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to reach the secluded town of Whittier, nestled on the shores of Prince William Sound. Explore historic buildings, embark on a wildlife cruise, or simply soak in the serene atmosphere of this hidden gem

Wildlife Views and Exit Glacier

12. Moose Pass: In the heart of the Kenai Mountains, Moose Pass is actually a charming small town. Take a scenic detour off the highway for a chance to spot moose grazing in the marshlands. The Kenai Peninsula has about 10,000 moose so your chances of seeing one are pretty good. Always exercise caution around these animals and especially when you are in their home. If you aggravate a moose or encroach on his territory, he may be agitated and charge or try to kick out at you as he is protecting his space. Maintain a safe distance from any moose you see to avoid any unfortunate accident. If a moose approaches you, do not take that as cute or think that he wants you to pet him. They are wild animals, unpredictable, and should be respected and admired from afar.

13. Chugach National Forest: This American national forest is almost 7 million acres! The Seward Highway meanders through the lush landscapes of Chugach National Forest, offering endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Explore hiking trails, go fishing in pristine lakes, or simply immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. This forest is also America's most northerly National Forest. It boasts of more than 500 miles of trails so whether you're looking for a short walk or a a complete day trip with exploring, you have plenty of options here.

14. Exit Glacier Road: This glacier is super close to Seward and can easily be accessed from town. I suggest staying a night in Seward so you can not only have time to explore the little town but also venture out into nearby areas. You are definitely going to want to lace up your hiking boots and embark on a short hike along Exit Glacier Road to witness the awe-inspiring Exit Glacier up close. Take the time to marvel at the vivid blue hues of the ice and listen to the creaks and groans as it slowly advances. Exit Glacier is absolutely stunning and is one of the most visited glaciers in Alaska. When you make it to this glacier, soak up the views. I mean they are truly incredible. This glacier is one of my very favorites in Alaska!

15. Alaska Sealife Center: I love a good wildlife or nature center! It's great to learn about the animals up close in a safe environment. Be sure to allow time to dive into the underwater world at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward. Discover fascinating marine creatures, including sea lions, puffins, and octopuses, and learn about ongoing research and conservation efforts in the region. Check out the tour encounters offered to see if there's one that peaks your interest.

Visitor Center in Kenai Fjords National Park

16. Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center: This national park is 1,047 square miles and was established in 1980. The visitor center is in Seward, and you will quickly realize why a visit to Kenai Fjords National Park is a must for nature lovers. You can take a boat cruise through icy waters to witness towering glaciers calving into the sea, spot playful otters frolicking in the waves, and catch a glimpse of elusive orcas hunting for prey. This national park has over 35 glaciers that flow from the Harding Icefield. You will have plenty of opportunities to get beautiful pictures for your memories!

17. Seward Road Trip: Explore the charming town of Seward which is also known as the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Stroll along the waterfront promenade, indulge in fresh seafood at local eateries, and embark on a thrilling boat tour to spot whales, sea lions, and more. There are cute places to stay and restaurants where you can eat delicious seafood. Now, that you've made it to Seward, you are in the perfect location to continue exploring the southern parts of Alaska.

Taking a road trip along the Seward highway during the Summer is one of the best things you can do to see some of the best places in Alaska. You may also catch some sightings of black bears along the way too! As with moose, always keep your distance and never approach or feed them. If they come to public areas such as a parking lot or other city areas, stay in a building until you can safely reach your car. Watch road conditions and stay alert while driving as weather conditions can change quickly especially during the colder months.

Explore the Kenai Peninsula

18. Kenai Peninsula: I suggest you round off your journey with a scenic drive along the rugged coastline of the Kenai Peninsula. Admire spectacular views of snow-capped peaks, pristine beaches, and tranquil bays, and savor every moment of this unforgettable road trip. I love puffins! There are actually two different kinds of puffins on the Kenai Peninsula. You can find both the Tufted and Horned Puffins in this region. Puffins love the sea so you can often find them near cliffs by the water. If you ever stop on the side of the road, be mindful of other traffic. It's recommended to wait until you can safely pull over into a designated lookout point whenever you're road tripping.

Whether you're marveling at majestic wildlife, exploring ancient glaciers, or soaking in the natural beauty of Alaska's wilderness, driving from Anchorage to Seward via the Seward Highway promises an adventure of a lifetime.

So pack your bags, hit the road, and prepare to be captivated by the unparalleled beauty of North America's last frontier. It truly is a great place to explore!

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