Alaska Excursions

Alaska Excursions

A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.

Iditarod 41

Photos and stories from the last great race.

Anchorage: 37°/54°/Cloudy

Fairbanks: 30°/52°/Partly sunny

Juneau: 36°/56°/Cloudy

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Kenai Peninsula: Wildlife, fishing, glaciers and fun-filled days

Bishop's Beach in Homer is a nice place for a stroll along Kachemak Bay. The Kenai Mountains rise above the bay.


Bishop's Beach in Homer is a nice place for a stroll along Kachemak Bay. The Kenai Mountains rise above the bay.

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24/48: Seward

Majestic Mat-Su: Glaciers, mountains, rivers and history give Valley life

Kenai Peninsula: Wildlife, fishing, glaciers and fun-filled days

A good day of sightseeing at Kenai Fjords National Park

24/48: Fairbanks

Bear-viewing options

What not to ask

Kayak operators

Questions to ask

If you go flightseeing

Get dirty: Off-road bike riding spots

First Friday art walk

Mountains, glaciers, parkland define the biggest state

If you go roadside fishing

Kenai, Russian rivers are just the beginning for anglers

Fish and bears: Kodiak's bruins get so big because of all the salmon

Angling paradise: Seward has a line on halibut and salmon fishing

Fishing fever: Early-season anglers converge on the lower Kenai Peninsula

Fishing for fun: Kachemak Bay's waters are full of halibut and salmon

Valley waters: Anglers discover outstanding fishing just outside Anchorage

Gateways to Chugach State Park

Alaska culture: Where and when?

An explosive past

Water wonderland: Whittier is the place for fishing, cruising or kayaking

Seward's surroundings leave visitors gasping for breath

Bear essentials: Planned encounters with fishing grizzlies is a highlight

Copper Valley: History and wilderness join forces at Wrangell-St. Elias

Fairbanks: Enjoy nearly endless daylight, Gold Rush history

Gifts galore: From downtown markets to art galleries, options abound

Celebrations: Music and food are summer festival highlights

Flightseeing helps visitors grasp Alaska's immensity

Golden destination: Hikers and history buffs all enjoy Hatcher Pass

Heaven on wheels: Trails across Anchorage, through wilderness keep cyclists moving

Wilderness wonder: Chugach State Park, city parks full of excitement

A touch of history: Old Town Kenai should be on the itinerary for visitors

Chefs turn the bounty of the sea into something beautiful

Wild water: A trip down an Alaska river will leave rafters cheering

Lake Clark National Park's scenery and remoteness impress

Small but scenic: History, location combine to make Cooper Landing special

Sea kayaks give paddlers a different lifestyle

Denali Park: Ride horses, fly or raft in shadow of Mount McKinley

Cozy cabins: Public-use facilities aren't fancy but they're fun

Valdez: From the Gold Rush to glaciers, Sound community has it all

Eagle River: Hiking, history and festivals keep visitors busy

Anchorage is blessed with plenty of spots to drink or dance

Stepping into history: From the airport to museums, Alaska shows off unique past

Peninsula hamlets: From Hope to Anchor Point, small towns are worth a stop

Fairbanks: Gold Rush history, weather extremes are part of the culture

UAF tours

Southeast Alaska: Off-the-roadway fishing at its finest

Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center

The visitor center is a window to the largest seabird refuge in the world. From sea stars to sea lions, the year-old facility depicts the amazing diversity of life found in Alaska's island and ocean habitats. Beautiful exhibits and films take visitors on a virtual tour of the 4.9 million-acre Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, into a seabird colony and on a visit to a wildlife biologists' field camp. Guided walks and programs include the slough, tide pools and marine discovery lab. The center is on a 60-acre site, and trails lead to Bishop's Beach. The building also houses beautiful public art, including stained glass, a hand-painted mural of the Aleutian Islands and ceramic wainscoting of an intertidal zone. It is a partnership of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve.

Where: 95 Sterling Highway, Homer

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day

Cost: Free

Phone: 1-907-235-6961


Alaska SeaLife Center

Explore an exciting undersea world at this facility on the shores of Resurrection Bay. The center is dedicated to understanding and maintaining the integrity of the marine ecosystem of Alaska through research, rehabilitation and public education. View seals, octopuses and sea lions up close and watch puffins dive and swim underwater in a huge viewing tank. Common, Steller's and spectacled eiders are housed in a special outdoor habitat. The center's exhibits also include aquariums with marine invertebrates, a new jellyfish exhibit and the Discovery Touch Pool, where visitors can feel sea stars, anemones and other sea life. Behind-the-scenes tours, scheduled animal feedings, lectures and special presentations take place regularly. Special tours and educational camp can be arranged. There is a gift shop at the center.

Where: 301 Railway Ave., Seward

When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, April 15 to Sept. 15

Cost: $14 adults, $11 children ages 7-12, free for children 6 and younger; family and group discounts

Phone: 1-800-224-2525, 1-907-224-6300


Carl E. Wynn Nature Center

The 140-acre center run by the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies has several trails, including one that is wheelchair-accessible. The trails lead through wildflower meadows and spruce forests. Guided walks put an emphasis on medicinal and Native uses of plants. Self-guided tours, evening and children's programs also are offered.

Where: Mile 1.5 E. Skyline Drive, Homer

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, June 15 to Labor Day

Cost: $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children younger than 18

Phone: 1-907-235-6667


Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

In addition to operating the Wynn Nature Center, the center offers guided natural history tours across Kachemak Bay. The tour includes a 15-minute boat ride, viewing the Gull Island seabird rookery, exploring the intertidal area and guided hikes. The tour leaves from Homer harbor. Reservations are required.

Where: 708 Smokey Way, off Lake Street, Homer

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day

Cost: $95 adults, $63 children younger than 12

Phone: 1-907-235-6667


Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby

This is the derby's 20th anniversary with special prizes and events, but it might be difficult to top last year. Don Hanks went home with a 352.6-pound fish and a record payout of $51,298. The largest halibut taken in derby history was 376 pounds. There are prizes for monthly winners, more than $120,000 in tagged fish prizes and a prize for a released fish.

Where: Must leave from and return to Homer harbor

When: May 1 to Sept. 30

Cost: $10 daily

Phone: 1-907-235-7740


Kenai Fjords National Park

To really enjoy the majesty of the park, hop on a boat and enjoy one of the tours offered. Tours take visitors into the fjords, past glaciers and islands and into the company of a variety of wildlife. Exit Glacier outside Seward is the only part of the park accessible by road. Visitors can walk the trails, listen to programs or get close enough to the glacier to touch the ice if conditions are favorable. The Harding Icefield Trail takes hikers on a seven-mile round-trip hike to an overlook of the ice field, one of the largest in North America. Guided hikes to the ice field are usually offered Saturdays in July and August, and wildlife encounters are possible. The glacier is accessible from Exit Glacier Road.

Where: Outside of Seward

When: Open daily year-round

Cost: Varies depending on tour selected; $5 per vehicle fee to Exit Glacier

Phone: 1-907-224-7500


Kenai Fjords National Park Service Visitor Center

The center provides information about the park, brochures, maps and a sales area with books and related items. Videos are shown upon request. Ranger talks are scheduled occasionally, and the center has a few displays. Staff members are available to answer questions.

Where: 1212 Fourth St., Seward

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day

Cost: Free

Phone: 1-907-224-7500


Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters

The visitor center provides information on the 2 million-acre refuge, including details about birding, hiking, camping, canoeing, hunting, fishing and lakes. There are wildlife displays, a small gift shop, a mile-long nature trail with interpretive signs and a three-mile-long centennial trail, which opened in 2003. Interpretive programs are offered throughout the summer. The refuge has several free campgrounds.

Where: Ski Hill Road, Soldotna

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends

Cost: Free

Phone: 1-907-262-7021


Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Contact Station

Rangers and volunteers staff the facility and provide information on camping, hiking, fishing and boating in the refuge. There are bathroom facilities and a bookstore with natural history information.

Where: Mile 58 Sterling Highway

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily June 3 to late August; also open May 28-29

Cost: Free

Kenai River Festival

The festival is a celebration of the river. The family event includes food, crafts, games, live music, puppet shows, a parade, artisan booths and educational programs. The Run for the River, a five-kilometer race, is June 11.

Where: Kenai City Park, Kenai

When: June 11-12

Cost: Free

Phone: 1-907-260-5449


Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center

More than 30 Alaska Native artists will be featured during the center's summer art show, "Alaska 2005: Native Arts Now." The show opens May 13 and closes Sept. 16. Beginning in June, the center is home to three hourlong interpretive programs offered at 3 p.m. Monday is "Science on the Kenai," Wednesday is "Artists on the Kenai" and Friday is "Alaska Heritage Day." Self-guided walking tour maps of Old Town are available. The center is home to Kenai's cultural and natural history museum. Travel and fishing information is provided.

Where: 11471 Kenai Spur Highway, Kenai

When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends May to August

Cost: Free; $3 for the museum and art show

Phone: 1-907-283-1991


Mount Marathon Race

For the 78th time, a group of racers will climb and descend 3,022-foot Mount Marathon in this unique footrace that starts and ends on the streets of downtown Seward. Hundreds of men, women and youths will enter the race. Other Fourth of July activities include fireworks, games, crafts, food booths, a carnival and a parade.

Where: Downtown Seward

When: July 4

Cost: Free to watch

Phone: 1-907-224-8051


Pratt Museum

The museum's main exhibit, "Kachemak Bay: An Exploration of People and Place," continues this summer. The exhibit features community-based videos, photo essays, computer interactive displays and remote video technology to take visitors beyond the museum's walls to historic and contemporary life around Kachemak Bay. Also from June to mid-August is "Alex and Friends," an exhibit on artist Alex Combs and artists influenced by his work. In addition, there are films on bears and the Exxon Valdez oil spill, area cultures and a remote wildlife camera on Gull Island. Ongoing exhibits include local history and culture, commercial fishing, homesteading, marine mammals and aquariums. Outdoors, the "Facing the Elements" exhibition is along the forest ecology trail.

Where: 3779 Bartlett St., Homer

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, mid-May to mid-September

Cost: $6 adults, $5.50 seniors, $3 for children ages 6-18, family $20

Phone: 1-907-235-8635


Russian River Falls

The two-mile Russian River Trail takes visitors to a viewing platform for the falls. It's a good place to watch salmon navigating upriver, and it's possible to see brown bears too.

Where: Mile 52.6 Sterling Highway

Cost: Free

Seward Museum

The museum takes visitors on a historical trip through Seward's past. Exhibits include information about the building of the Russian ship the Phoenix in 1794, the founding of the town in 1903, President Warren Harding's visit, the railroad's role in the town, the Iditarod Trail and the 1964 Good Friday earthquake.

Where: 336 Third Ave., Seward

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, mid-May to mid-September

Cost: $3 adults, 50 cents ages 5-18

Phone: 1-907-224-3902

Seward Silver Salmon Derby

Seward celebrates its 50th derby this summer. Thousands of silver salmon return to the area every August, and the derby is a chance to catch some fish, cash and other prizes. There are dozens of cash prizes totaling more than $100,000, including a $50,000 tagged fish.

Where: Resurrection Bay

When: Aug. 13-27

Cost: $10 daily, $50 for derby

Phone: 1-907-224-8051


Soldotna Homestead Museum

The museum, located next to the Soldotna Visitor Center, is a collection of homesteading-era buildings. Several of the cabins are furnished. There also are wildlife mounts, Native artifacts and crafts.

Where: Centennial Park Road, Soldotna

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 15 to Sept. 15

Cost: Free

Phone: 1-907-262-3832

Soldotna Progress Days

The annual community event includes a parade, dinner, dances, rodeo, car shows, live entertainment, food and vendor booths.

Where: Parker Park and Soldotna Creek Park, Soldotna

When: July 22-25

Cost: Free

Phone: 1-907-262-9814


Soldotna Visitor Center

The center offers maps and information about the area as well as a 250-foot fish-walk along the Kenai River. There are stairs to the river, and interpretive signs provide details about the river, salmon and the local environment. On display at the visitor center is the late Les Anderson's world-record 97.4-pound king salmon.

Where: 44790 Sterling Highway, Soldotna

When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, mid-May to September

Cost: Free

Phone: 1-907-262-1337


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