The End Of The Road & Beyond

12 Nights, 13 Days Exploring The Kenai’s Utterly Peaceful Remote Coastal Staycations

Anchorage – Whittier – Seward – Homer – Halibut Cove – Seldovia

 

DAY ONE: Anchorage

Flickr – Kevan Dee

 

Arrive in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city and the launching point for your Kenai Peninsula End of the Road & Beyond remote coastal adventure. Pick up a rental vehicle from Innoko Rentals, LLC or ABC Motorhome Rentals.

 

Optional Activities:

  • Learn about Alaska’s profound history, traditions and culture at the Anchorage Museum or the Alaska Native Heritage Center
  • Visit the Oscar Anderson House Museum or the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
  • Explore nature and wildlife at the Alaska Zoo or the Alaska Botanical Garden
  • Get above it all with a picturesque panoramic view over the city at Flattop Mountain
  • Enjoy a scenic walk with fresh air and incredible views at the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Kincaid Park or the Delaney Park Strip
  • Learn about the local culture and explore all that there is to do in the area with a visit to the local chamber

 

Overnight in Anchorage at any of these great hotels and motels listed HERE. If you’re looking for a resort lodging experience, head down to Girdwood (42 miles away) and stay at Alyeska Resort.

 

Yummy restaurants in Anchorage include Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, Jen’s Restaurant, Table 6, Club Paris, Glacier Brewhouse, and Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant. If you choose to overnight in Girdwood, check out the local resort restaurants or try the Double Musky Inn, Jack Sprat, or The Bake Shop.

 

DAY TWO & THREE: Whittier (61 miles) – Eshamy Bay Lodge (35 nautical miles)

Eshamy Bay Lodge

 

Depart Anchorage and head towards Whittier, where your final destination for the next two nights will be Eshamy Bay Lodge. You have the option to drive to Whittier and take a boat over to the lodge, or you can take a float plane to the lodge from Anchorage. If you decide to take a float plane, we recommend holding off on picking up a rental car until you return from your two day remote staycation in Prince William Sound.

 

If you’ve chosen to drive, take the scenic Seward Highway heading south towards the Kenai Peninsula. The Seward Highway was voted America's Most Outstanding Scenic Byway by Scenic America, and trust us – it’s a phenomenal driving experience.

 

Hop in your rental car and follow the breathtakingly beautiful Turnagain Arm while enjoying many interpretative rest stops and viewpoints along the way. Depending on the season, it is not unusual to spot beluga whales or Dall sheep from your car window. You might even spot a bear munching on berries or roaming throughout the mountainside.

 

Stops Along The Way:

  • McHugh Creek (Mile 111); enjoy a hike or picnic in the Anchorage foothills of the Chugach State Park
  • Beluga Point (Mile 110.5); great opportunities for viewing beluga whales from mid-July through August
  • Bird Creek (Mile 101); fisherman’s paradise with observation platforms that photographers will love
  • Bird Point (Mile 96); a scenic stop where you can enjoy a long hike or bike ride with spectacular views

 

After you pass the town of Girdwood (where there is also a Tesoro gas station to fuel up), continue on to the charming little town of Portage, population 2. Turn left onto Portage Glacier Road, approximately 52 miles from Anchorage. Along this winding road you’ll be spoiled with spectacular views of hanging glaciers scattered throughout Portage Valley.

 

Next, you’ll drive through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to access the charming coastal town of Whittier. Keep in mind that there is a small toll to pass through this historic tunnel. This is the longest combined road/rail tunnel in North America and a truly fascinating ‘Only in Alaska’ experience to have. Fun fact: Whittier has been named of the ‘weirdest towns in North America’ because nearly the entire year-round population lives under one roof. The summertime is much livelier, while the winter months are rather sleepy and desolate.

 

Optional Activities In Portage:

  • Go wildlife viewing and stroll the boardwalk through several ponds at the Moose Flats Wetland Trail
  • Learn about the historic Portage Valley at the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center
  • Hike out around Portage Lake or through the valley to Byron Glacier
  • Explore the glaciated waters of Prince William Sound via kayak or water taxi; book a tour HERE
  • Visit the nearby Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage
  • Learn about the local culture and explore all that there is to do in the area with a visit to the local chamber

 

Have lunch at Varly’s Swiftwater Seafood Café in Whittier before hopping on a boat over to Eshamy Bay Lodge. You should arrange transportation with the lodge directly at the time that you make your lodging reservation. You’ll need to spend (at least) two nights here to really get the full effect of the phenomenal beauty that surrounds you.

 

The lodge is located on the western side of Prince William Sound in the heart of the Chugach National Forest. The remote location offers peace and quiet, away from all the busy tourism crowds that Alaska is known for having. This untouched nature paradise is only accessible via boat or float plane, assuring that you get the tranquility that you’re seeking in a remote wilderness lodge. While staying at the lodge you’ll be fed delicious meals each day in this all-inclusive pristine coastal paradise.

 

Optional Activities:

  • Go saltwater fishing for salmon, halibut, ling cod, and rock fish in Prince William Sound
  • Go fly fishing in freshwater for dolly varden trout, cut throat trout, and multiple species of salmon in Eshamy Creek through Eshamy Lagoon and up to Eshamy Lake
  • Enjoy a sea kayaking adventure through the picturesque shoes of Prince William Sound
  • Enjoy a world-class whale watching and wildlife viewing excursion right from the waters that surround you
  • Go berry picking and hiking in the lush Chugach National Forest

 

DAY FOUR & FIVE: Whittier (35 nautical miles) – Seward (89 miles) – Fox Island (12 nautical miles)

Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge

 

Return to Whittier from Eshamy Bay Lodge. Depart Whittier on Portage Glacier Road, back through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. Head south on the Seward Highway towards the beautiful town of Seward.

 

For the next 30 miles, you’ll wind through the mountainous Turnagain Pass (mile 68.3) passing by the gorgeous east fork of Sixmile Creek (mile 61.7) before crossing the gold-bearing Canyon Creek (mile 56.7). Stop along the way and enjoy all the scenic pullouts that your heart desires.

 

Continue going straight past the Sterling Highway turn-off and continuing south. Directly after this point, turn right and enjoy a scenic stop at Tern Lake. Here you can enjoy a plethora of wildlife viewing opportunities as you snap photos of the majestic mountains reflecting like a mirror into the waters below. Wildlife viewing includes beavers, river otters, muskrats, and salmon. In the distance you might even be able to spot moose and Dall sheep.

 

Make your way eight miles down the road where you’ll drive through the picturesque town of Moose Pass. Stop for lunch and a peaceful stroll on the shores of Trail Lake Lodge. Look for trumpeter swans enjoying an afternoon swim out on the lake or moose munching along the shoreline before continuing on to Seward.

 

Once you arrive in Seward, you can park in a paid city parking lot for as low as $10 a day. Next, a short 45 minute boat ride from Seward will take you 12 nautical miles southeast to the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge on Fox Island. A Kenai Fjords Tour is the only way to reach the remote lodge on Fox Island. Due to your long days drive from Whittier, we recommend taking a relaxing dinner cruise over to Fox Island to ease yourself into the enchanting wilderness escape that you’re about to experience.

 

Reward yourself with a two night stay at this remote wilderness retreat where you’ll dine on delicious gourmet cuisine and spend your nights relaxing by the picturesque beachside campfire. This is a truly wild place with minimal carbon footprint. The lodge runs on solar and propane generator power. With large windows that have the keen ability to bring the outdoors inside, don’t be surprised if you catch occasional views of a sea lions or a humpback whales making a surprise visit.

 

On your second day, definitely hop on a Kenai Fjords Tour to prepare to experience Alaska’s #1 rated wildlife and glacier cruise. Choose from a Resurrection Bay or Northwestern Fjord cruise and enjoy a half day or full day excursion through the awe-inspiring shores of Resurrection Bay taking you deep into the waters of Kenai Fjords National Park. Experience enchanting views of towering glaciers and abundant sealife onboard a luxury cruise. Wildlife viewing opportunities include orca wales, humpback whales, gray whales, Dall’s porpoises, stellar sea lions, puffins, eagles and so much more.

 

Optional Activities:

  • Take a guided beach walk with a knowledgeable naturalist and learn about the local area
  • Take a guided sea kayaking tour and experience plunging waterfalls and breathtaking vistas  
  • Do your own thing and spend the day hiking throughout the lush forest the surrounds you

 

DAY SIX & SEVEN: Seward (12 nautical miles) – Orca Island Cabins in Humpy Cove (9 nautical miles)

Orca Island Cabins

 

Depart Fox Island and backtrack 12 nautical miles to Seward, where you’ll then hop on a thirty minute water taxi over to Orca Island (9 nautical miles). 

 

Orca Island Cabins offer the most magnificent blend of excusive and rustic accommodations. These exceptional yurts are located on a lush private island, completely nestled in natural beauty. Surrounded by the scenic shores of Humpy Cove in Resurrection Bay, this quintessential glamping (glamourous camping) experience is one that you will never forget. Get off the grid and away from the crowds where you will enjoy falling to sleep at night to utter peace and quiet. You will be positively mesmerized by the up close and personal wildlife viewing opportunities available right from your secluded haven in the trees. Observe seals, porpoise, and whales, right from your private deck.

 

Optional Activities:

  • Go sea kayaking and explore rugged coastline, snow-capped mountains and abundant wildlife
  • Take a leisurely stroll on the beach or enjoy the two hiking trails taking you up and above it all
  • Enjoy casual fishing (with complimentary gear) from Orca Island, the dock, or by rowing out in a skiff
  • Go stand up paddleboarding in the calm and picturesque waters surrounding Humpy Cove
  • Tour the island’s art gallery and view oil paintings, jewelry and locally crafted items on display
  • Enjoy breathtaking coastal seascapes on a Resurrection Bay Day Cruise
  • Do group yoga on the deck while the breeze from the surrounding water keeps you calm and cool

 

While coolers are provided, guests to Orca Island Cabins sound bring all food and ice needed for the entirety of their stay. Water is provided in the yurts and firewood is provided for outside campfires.

 

DAY EIGHT: Seward (9 nautical miles) – Homer (168 miles)

Flickr – Dave Bezaire

 

Return to Seward via water taxi from Orca Island Cabins. Depart Seward and head towards Homer. You’ll need to backtrack on the Seward Highway for about 36 miles before turning left onto the Sterling Highway (at Tern Lake) where you’ll then follow that same road all the way down south to Homer.

 

Along the way you’ll drive through some of The Kenai’s most scenic small towns including Cooper Landing, Sterling, Soldotna, Kasilof, Clam Gulch, Ninilchik, and Anchor Point. Throughout every winding town there are a tremendous amount of scenic pullouts along the way.

 

Optional Activities Along The Way:

  • Enjoy the piercing blue waters of Kenai Lake and Kenai River from Cooper Landing
  • Hike up to the majestic Russian River Falls where you just might spot grizzly bears feeding on fresh salmon
  • Watch crowds of combat fisherman reeling in massive salmon at the Russian River Confluence
  • Check out a variety of fun local events, great fishing, and scenic boardwalk sights at Soldotna Creek Park
  • Go beach combing and watch surfcasters reel in halibut at Kasilof Beach
  • Head up into the Caribou Hills to enjoy ATV’ing, wildlife viewing, hiking and more
  • Scenic pullouts at Falls Creek, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek, Whiskey Gulch or the Anchor River

 

Arrive in Homer, Alaska! This cosmic oasis by the sea is known as the ‘halibut fishing capital of the world’ and has been voted as the Happiest Seaside Town in America by Coastal Magazine.

 

Drive all the way down to the 4.5 mile stretch of land jutting out into the renowned Kachemak Bay, known as the Homer Spit. Spend the afternoon beach combing, wildlife viewing on the harbor docks, shopping on the boardwalks and trying out the local cuisine.

 

Optional Activities In Homer:

  • Go bear viewing across the bay for a once-in-a-lifetime experience; book a tour HERE
  • Take a walk in the idyllic downtown district, also known as the arts capital of Alaska
  • Go horseback riding on the beach while soaking in panoramic views of mountains and glaciers
  • Enjoy a guided wildlife viewing or birding tour while hearing the waves crash around you; book a tour HERE
  • Flightseeing with incredible aerial perspectives from Katmai to Lake Clark National Park; book a tour HERE
  • Reel in massive fish from halibut to salmon on a guided saltwater trip; book a tour HERE
  • Learn about the local culture and explore all that there is to do in the area with a visit to the local chamber

 

After a long day of driving and exploring, stay just one night in Homer before getting back across the bay to a remote destination tomorrow.

 

Click HERE for a great list of local resorts, lodges, and cabin properties. Click HERE for a great list of local hotels. Click HERE for a great list of local bed and breakfast options.

 

Delicious restaurants in Homer include AJ’s Old Town Steakhouse, Chart Room at Land’s End Resort, Captain Pattie’s, Fat Olives, Wasabi’s Bistro, Little Mermaid Café, Café Cups, Cosmic Kitchen and Two Sisters Bakery.

 

DAY NINE & TEN: Halibut Cove (12 nautical miles)

Alaska’s Ridgewood Wilderness Lodge, LLC.

 

Depart Homer for Halibut Cove via a short boat ride, float plane flight, or helicopter trip that will take you right across the bay into a majestic wilderness setting. The Danny J Ferry is a highly recommended transportation option that offers scenic vistas, birding, and marine wildlife viewing as you sail across Kachemak Bay into Halibut Cove.

 

No matter which transportation method you choose, spectacular glacier views inside Kachemak Bay State Park will reward you with the most enchanting dose of eye-candy.

 

In Halibut Cove you’ll be nestled on the shores of Kachemak Bay State Park, Alaska's first state park, and only wilderness park, containing roughly 400,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, forests and ocean.

 

Choose from a two night stay in Halibut Cove at Alaska Stillpoint Lodge or Alaska’s Ridgewood Wilderness Lodge. Both options will provide you with remarkably delicious cuisine to keep your taste buds satisfied for the entirety of your private, peaceful staycation.

 

Optional Activities:

  • Go sea kayaking around icebergs while viewing a notable amount of shorebirds and glacier views
  • Visit The Saltry for lunch or dinner, and enjoy delightful amounts of stunning local artwork
  • Take advantage of viewing opportunities including moose, black bear, mountain goats, and a verity of birds
  • Hike the 3.2 mile trail around Grewingk Glacier Lake through lush cottonwoods and Sitka spruce trees
  • Visit Gull Island (halfway between Homer and Halibut Cove) and home to more than 16,000 nesting seabirds including puffins, kittiwakes, murres, and cormorants 
  • Book a saltwater fishing trip or a wildlife viewing excursion HERE

 

DAY ELEVEN & TWELVE: Seldovia (25 nautical miles)

Seldovia Bay Ferry

 

Depart Halibut Cove and head back across the bay to Homer, where you’ll hop on the Seldovia Bay Ferry for a fast and comfortable transport from Homer to the coastal shores of the remote community of Seldovia.

 

The exceptionally beautiful town of Seldovia is located roughly 25 nautical miles away from Homer. On the fast ferry, it’ll take you 45 minutes to one hour total to reach the spectacular shores of this coastal oasis by the sea.

 

Optional Activities:

  • Walk the docs and enjoy incredible opportunities to view marine life right from town
  • Take a long walk on a private sandy beach at low tide or on the Historic Boardwalk
  • Visit the St. Nicholas Chapel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Visit the Seldovia Museum, Visitor Center & Gift Shop and experience the rich history of the local area
  • Enjoy world-class nature photography capturing the towering snow-capped mountains in the distance and the tranquil waters that greet you 

 

Stay two nights in Seldovia and choose between incredible lodging options such as the Seldovia Boardwalk Hotel or Thyme on the Boardwalk. The Seldovia Boardwalk Hotel has delicious food, as does the Tide Pool Café and the Linwood Bar & Grill.

 

DAY THIRTEEN: Return to Homer (25 nautical miles), then on to Anchorage (221 miles)

Flickr – Paxson Woelber

 

Return to Homer from Seldovia (25 nautical miles, or 1 hour on the fast ferry) before hopping in your rental vehicle and continuing back northbound on the Sterling Highway to Anchorage. Make your way to the Seward Highway junction where you’ll turn left and continue all the way into the city of Anchorage.