One Week Kenai Peninsula Road Trip
Updated December 2020, One Week in Alaska: Kenai Peninsula Road Trip was originally written in July 2017
This road trip takes in the best of southcentral Alaska. The journey will take you to the highlights of the Kenai Peninsula in one week including Whittier, Seward, Kenai, Soldotna, Seward, Homer and more.
The Kenai Peninsula Road Trip is part of a series of posts I’ve put together with one-week road trip itineraries all over Alaska. Check the Alaska DOT’s 511 for construction info, delays, and road condition information. Another trusty source of information is the Alaska Milepost, I highly recommend purchasing one before your Kenai Peninsula road trip!
Day 1: Anchorage to Whittier
As mentioned before in the previous articles in this series you’ll probably arrive in Anchorage super early in the morning (12 am-2 am). Grab your rental car and head for a nearby hotel or hostel to rest up.
When you’re finally rested, stop by any stores you need to grab any food or supplies you may want, although items will be widely available in most of your destinations on this road trip.
Where To Stay In Anchorage
If you’re looking for a place on the cheap check out my Best Hostels In Anchorage Post. Otherwise here are a few options:
You’ll begin your Kenai Peninsula road trip by heading south. The drive between Anchorage and the tunnel to Whittier is only a little over an hour south on the Seward Highway for 60 miles. To read about Seward Highway safety click here.
You will likely stop at a number of the scenic stops along the highway on the first day of your Kenai Peninsula road trip (there are many mentioned in the first itinerary) and Girdwood definitely warrants a stop. Girdwood is very close to the Whittier tunnel and has several good restaurants and short hikes, and a very short walk to the Virgin Creek Falls.
Planning to spend extra time in Anchorage? Check out the Anchorage Travel Guide for ideas
To get to the tunnel from the Seward highway take Portage Glacier Road (will be on your left, and is very well signed). You can easily stop off for the short hike to Byron Glacier and the viewing point for Portage Glacier on this road.
The tunnel lets cars through on the half-hour from 5:30 AM to 10:30 PM daily and cars can return from Whittier on the hour between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM. It’s best to arrive 10 minutes before and you will be charged $13 each way for use to the tunnel.
The scenery on one side of the tunnel to the other is dramatically different and personally, I think the Prince William Sound side is one of the prettiest scenes in Alaska.
If wanting to splurge a little, opt for a Prince William Sound glacier cruise, great ones available include Major Marine’s Blackstone Glacier cruise and Surprise Glacier cruise. They range from $130 to $170+ per person and are half-day cruises.
There are a couple of places to camp for the night around Whittier, or you could opt to leave back out the tunnel and find camping en route to Seward, or go back to Girdwood for the night.
Read the Girdwood Travel Guide and plan your stay
Where To Stay In Girdwood
The Loft At Alyeska (Girdwood)
| Booking.com |
Day 2: Exit Glacier & Seward
The total drive time today will be around 1 hour 45 minutes and 90 miles. There are several beautiful places you may want to stop off on the way to Seward making the drive a bit longer.
Another great option is to take the turn off for Exit Glacier and go explore the face of the glacier or if feeling adventurous, do the strenuous 8.4 mile roundtrip hike up to Harding Icefield. Make sure to bring plenty of water, proper footwear, and some bear spray. There are plenty of places to camp along the road to the glacier as well as designated campsites for a fee, and the same around the town of Seward.
Plan your time in Seward: The Seward Travel Guide + 9 Things To Do
Day 3: Seward
Take today to explore the little town of Seward. You could check out the Sealife Center (Adult 13 yrs+: $24.95, Senior 65 yrs+: $21.95, Child 4-12 yrs: $12.95 Kids 3 and Under are Free), walk to the downtown area, visit the beach, or even go on a Kenai Fjords wildlife cruise. I highly recommend booking with Major Marine Tours for your Kenai Fjords wildlife adventures, after the lovely wildlife cruise I went on with them.
If you have a little more time in Alaska, I’d recommend adding a night or two in Kayaker’s Cove to your Seward itinerary, for those looking for an active getaway.
Where To Stay In Seward
| Cityofseward.us |
Orca Island Cabins
| Expedia.com |
Day 4: Cooper Landing and Kenai/Soldotna
Take off from Seward to Cooper Landing with a short 1 hour long, 50 mile drive. Cooper Landing is a picturesque area worthy of a stop. If wanting to sneak in some world-famous combat fishing, the nearby Russian River is the place to do it, (make sure you have an Alaska fishing license!)
The next leg from Cooper Landing to Soldotna and nearby Kenai is only 45 miles and should take roughly an hour. Plenty more fishing opportunities can be had in Kenai and Soldotna which both offer many areas to camp as well as hotels. Search for rooms in Kenai, Soldotna & Cooper Landing.
Where to Stay In Kenai & Soldotna
Book Your Kenai River Fishing Charter Here
Day 5-6: Homer, Kachemak Bay, Seldovia
The drive from Soldotna to Homer should take about 1.5 hours to make it the 75 mile distance. Some areas to stop include Kasilof, Ninilchik, and Anchor Point before arriving into Homer. Use these two days to explore the fun little town of Homer, Kachemak Bay, and Seldovia.
Take a halibut charter out of Homer if you want to get some fishing in (expect to pay $150-300+ per person). Take a scenic cruise of the stunning Kachemak Bay (will run $75+ per person), or kayak beautiful Halibut Cove (expect to pay $150-200 per person including tour and gear rental), if you are an experienced kayaker you can opt to rent a kayak for about $40 per day for a single or $60 per day for a double.
You can also take the ferry or a water taxi to Seldovia to explore the small community and nearby areas. One way ferry tickets run $40 for adults, kids 3-13 yrs $25, Seniors 60 yrs+ $30, and kids under 2 yrs are free. Mako’s Water Taxi offers roundtrip services to several destinations in Kachemak Bay, as well.
If you want to plan the perfect getaway for a couple days along Kachemak Bay, I recommend booking one of the luxury cabins at Between Beaches, across the bay on MacDonald Spit. Between Beaches is so far my favorite accommodations I’ve come across in all of Alaska.
Wanna See Grizzly Bears In Pristine Alaska?
Check out these wildlife viewing flightseeing tours to Katmai NP & Lake Clarke NP!
Where To Stay In Homer
Camping (tent & RV)
| Cityofhomer-ak.gov |
Plan your Homer visit: The Homer Travel Guide + 14 Things To Do
Day 7: Drive Back To Anchorage, Fly Home
Make your way back to Anchorage. The drive from Homer to Anchorage will take about 5 hours for the 220 miles.
Use this day to sightsee along the trip back to Anchorage for anything you missed on the journey down. You could optionally make a stop in Hope before leaving the Kenai Peninsula.
*This Kenai Peninsula road trip could be altered slightly starting in Seward and doing a loop back to Anchorage after an Inside Passage cruise from Seattle, or the itinerary as is would be a great tour of southcentral Alaska before boarding a cruise to the Inside Passage in Seward.
Have Any Questions About This Kenai Peninsula Road Trip?
Ask your Kenai Peninsula travel questions in the comment section below.
Want More Ideas For One Week In Alaska Itineraries?
Check out the following posts in the ‘One Week In Alaska’ series:
- Hit The Highlights- Anchorage to Fairbanks
- North To The Future: The Dalton Highway
- Glaciers, Fjords, & South Central Alaska
- The Big Loop: Anchorage to Fairbanks & Back
- The Denali Highway Road Trip
- The Best of Wrangell St. Elias and Prince William Sound