Alaska Excursions

Alaska Excursions

A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.

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Soldotna

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River City offers excitement and more

It is no wonder that Soldotna, “Alaska’s River City,” is known as a fishing town. It’s located at one of the few points where the Sterling Highway and the Kenai River intersect. Fish processors, charter companies and tackle shops line the thoroughfare, and people at the grocery store, gift shops or coffee joints are likely talking fish. Yet Soldotna, despite being a great place to wet a line, also has much more to offer. There are numerous hiking, biking and ski trails in and around the city.

“We’ve got great hiking trails and wildlife viewing right here in town,” says Andy Loranger, superintendent of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, referring to the refuge’s headquarters on Ski Hill Road. “We also, along with cultural and natural history displays, have information on the other 250 miles of trails within the refuge, information on the Swan Lake and Swanson River Canoe system, as well as all the other great outdoor activities available here.”

For those who prefer the great indoors or want to simply take a break from their outdoor activities, there are plenty of options, such as relaxing in one of the towns many coffee shops, taking in a movie, hitting the local book store or newly remodeled library, or visiting one of the two local breweries. During the summer, there are the Saturday farmers market, which features local produce, and the Wednesday market, which includes local artisans and craftspeople.

The first stop for visitors, however, should be the Soldotna Visitors Center on the Sterling Highway. In addition to providing brochures and lists of dining and lodging facilities, there are a number of wild game mounts on exhibit as well as a mount of the world-record king salmon, which was caught by local resident Les Anderson in 1985. It’s also a short walk to the river, with 350 feet of boardwalk just below the center.

Around the corner from the Visitors Center, off of Kalifornsky Beach Road (known locally as K-Beach Road), guests will feel as though they have been transported back into time when they visit the Soldotna Historical Society’s Museum and Homesteader’s Village. Made up of original buildings and artifacts this exhibit is a taste of what life was really like for the original homesteaders of the Kenai Peninsula.

ATTRACTION

Soldotna Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center
Here you can pick up pamphlets, including the Kenai Peninsula’s “Passport to Adventure on the Kenai,” put out by the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, which features area attractions, discount coupons and expert advice on all the area has to offer. Check out the handicap accessible fishing platform below the center.
Where: 44790 Sterling Highway
When: Daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Memorial Day to Labor Day; winter hours, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free
Phone: 907-262-9814
Web: www.visitsoldotna.com

Soldotna Historical Society Museum and Homesteaders Village
This resurrected village, made up of original buildings and artifacts, provides a historical representation of old-time Alaska.
Where: Entrance to Centennial Campground on Kalifornsky Beach (K-Beach) Road at Centennial Park Road
When: Open May 15-Sept. 15 only; Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, 12 p.m.-4 p.m., closed Monday.
Cost: Free (donations appreciated)
Phone: 907-262-3832

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters
Take the self-guided nature trail or wilderness trails that surround the headquarters. The inside is filled with wildlife exhibits, a small gift shop and expert advice on where to go and what to do within the refuge.
Where: Ski Hill Road, Soldotna
When: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., year-round, Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, May-September; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays, October-April
Cost: Free
Phone: 907-262-7021
Web: http://kenai.fws.gov

Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council
Information on attractions and businesses as well as anything and everything to do with the Kenai Peninsula.
Where:35571 Kenai Spur Highway, Soldotna, AK 99669
Cost: Free
Phone: 907-262-5229Toll Free: 800-535-3624
Web: http://www.kenaipeninsula.org/

Soldotna Creek Park
A five-acre park in the middle of town on the Kenai River. Picnic tables, barbecues, a
playground for children and over 500 feet of elevated riverfront boardwalk.
Where: Sterling Highway
When: Day-use only; no camping
Cost: Free
Phone: 907-262-9107
Web: www.ci.soldotna.ak.us/soldotna_creek.html

Tsalteshi Trails
Groomed trail system for cross-country skiing during winter, and for hiking, running, mountain bikes and leashed dogs in summer
Where: Two entrances: behind Skyview High School, and across from the Soldotna
Sports Center on K-Beach Road
When: Year-round
Cost: Free (donations appreciated)
Web: www.tsalteshi.org

EVENTS:

Kenai River Festival
Annual family-friendly festival and concert with the Kenai River as a backdrop, featuring food, music, educational booths, arts, crafts and more
When: Second week in June (visit website for exact date/time, list of events)
Where: Soldotna Creek Park
Cost: Free
Phone: 907-260-4882, Kenai Watershed Forum
Web: http://www.kenaiwatershed.org/krf/kenairiverfestival.html

Kenai Fishing Academy
A weeklong outdoor education class at Kenai Peninsula College designed for those who want to be better Alaska anglers; focuses specifically on Alaska fishing and includes biology, river history, wildlife safety and caring for your catch
Where: University of Alaska Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula College156 College Road, Soldotna.
When: Aug. 4-9
Cost: Varies
Phone: 907-262-0330
Web: http://kenaifishingacademy.org

Soldotna Progress Days
This festival features a parade, dance, rodeo, car shows, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and games for kids.
When: Last weekend in July
Where: Parade begins at corner of Marydale and Binkley at 9 a.m., followed by the festival at Soldotna Creek Park
Cost: Free
Phone: 907-262-9814
Web: www.visitsoldotna.com

Kenai Peninsula Air Fair
Air show runs between eight different airports, ending in Kenai with a barbecue.
When: June 8; breakfast 8 a.m.-11 a.m., barbecue1-3 p.m.
Where: Starts at Soldotna Municipal Airport and ends at Kenai Municipal Airport
Cost: Varies depending on participation, see website for details
Phone: 907-283-7951
Web: www.kenaiairport.com

Wildflower Fun Day
Wild Berry Fun Day
These are just two of the events at The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Others include ranger-led nature walks, weekend films and much more.
Where: KNWF Headquarters, Ski Hill Road, Soldotna
When: Varies; check the wildlife refuge website for dates and times.
Cost: Free
Phone: 907-262-7021
Web: http://kenai.fws.gov

Central Kenai Peninsula Farmers Market
Enjoy Alaska-grown produce every Saturday from June through September.
Where: Intersection of East Corral Avenue and Kenai Spur Highway (the parking lot next to Soldotna Elementary School)
When: Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June through September.
Cost: Free
Phone: 907-262-5463 or 907-262-7502

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