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Most people head to Seward to hop on a boat through Kenai Fjords National Park, which is filled with dramatic bays, calving glaciers and rich marine wildlife. But downtown Seward, which juts up against the shores of Resurrection Bay and is enveloped by Mount Marathon, is worth a stopover as well.
A two-hour drive from Anchorage, Seward offers visitors a chance to enjoy the pace of small-town living on the Alaska coast.
Where to StayFamily-owned and -operated Hotel Seward is historic and unapologetically Alaskan. Taxidermy greets visitors the moment they step into the lobby — but that’s not all. Walls are plastered with yellowing newspaper clippings about the town dating from when the hotel was established in the early 1900s.
What to EatFor a small town, Seward Brewing Company is ambitious. In addition to producing a range of beer styles — from pale ales and lagers to experimental brews, such as one designed to mimic a style from Japan — the brewery features two separate restaurants. The ground-floor space, which tends to be the busier of the two, serves New American dishes with sass, such as Crabby Toast topped with King Crab meat and the Fish & Fries, featuring Alaskan cod battered in beer. Upstairs, it’s all about pizza, enjoyed with great views of the coast in a sporty atmosphere created by the snowboarding paraphernalia on the walls. Meanwhile, if you can get a table at the Cookery — whose waiting times rival those of a big-city eatery — run, don’t walk, and order one of chef Kevin Lane’s much-beloved seafood or vegetarian entrees.
What to DoWhile visiting Kenai Fjords National Park is a must, walking around Seward is an immersive nature experience as well. Head to Seward Waterfront Park, which encompasses a skate park, a harbor, playgrounds and even Mile 0 of the Historic Iditarod Trail. For more athletic clients, suggest the 4.5-mile hike to Race Point on Mount Marathon, site of a hotly anticipated annual Fourth of July race.