Travel Guide
Traveling from Anchorage to Seward

You have a number of excellent options when lining up transportation to get from Anchorage to Seward. One option is Seward Bus Line. They'll pick you up anywhere in Anchorage and drop you off at the Nauti Otter. They depart Anchorage and Seward twice a day at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm. Another option is the Alaska Railroad. Scheduling is not quite as flexible as Seward Bus Lines, but the ride in an unforgettable experience.  Finally, you can simply rent a car. Anchorage has a number of rental car agencies to choose from. The drive to Seward is usually around two hours.

The drive from Anchorage to Seward is an amazing drive, and there are certain sights we want to point out along the way. We listed our favorites below. Note that Alaskan's refer to mile markers when talking about locations along roadways. For example, Anchorage starts near mile marker 120, and Seward is located at mile marker 0.
Potters Marsh
  • Mile marker 117

As soon as you get out of Anchorage you will notice a marsh on your left side and the Cook Inlet on your right side. The area you are about to drive on is called the "Turn Again Arm" and is about a stretch of 50 miles of highway. Potter Marsh is the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge. A wooden boardwalk winds 1,550 feet from the parking area through the marsh and across watery openings and sedges, perfect habitat for a rich variety of birds. From May to August, gulls, Arctic terns, shorebirds such as yellowlegs, and occasionally trumpeter swans are present during spring and fall migration.

In addition to birds, look for slow movement and a v-shaped wake in the waters of the marsh, signs of muskrats swimming past. Their small brownish heads peek just above the water as they meander in and out of the wetland's open areas. Moose also frequent the marsh year round. May and June are good times to see these large ungulates standing in the marsh foraging for new growth. About halfway along the boardwalk, Rabbit Creek flows underneath and provides a good spot to see spawning chinook, coho, or humpback salmon from May to August, depending on the species. Spot their bright red bodies swimming in the creek.
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Beluga Whales, Doll Sheep, and Goats
If you notice people stopping on the side of the road looking up at the mountain, they are probably viewing mountain goats or sheep. Be very cautious when stopping on this stretch of roadway, as it is one of the most dangerous highways in the world. The railroad also runs along this highway. If you notice the train stopped, it is a good indicator they are looking at whales in the bay. So find a pull-off and take some pictures! Beluga whales are the ones that frequent Cook Inlet.
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Surfing the Bore Tide
The bore tide is a massive wave, up to several feet high, that reach speeds of up to 24 miles per hour.  In the United States, bore tides only occur in Cook Inlet. These tides usually occur after a low tide in Anchorage. Surfing a bore tied is a rare opportunity to stay on a single wave for miles and miles.
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Chainsaw Carvings and Art
  • Mile marker 100

Around mile marker 100, you will notice a large log cabin on your left. My friend owns this business and all of the sculptures you see he has created with a chainsaw. His work is amazing! Feel free to stop in and see some of his creations!
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Last Gas Station Until Seward
  • Mile marker 90

At mile marker 90, you will see the Tesoro gas station. This is the last place to get gas until Seward (unless you are headed to Homer first, there is another gas station 15 miles on Sterling Highway once you turn off of Seward Highway).
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Tram at Alyeska Resort
If you want a little side trip, visit Alyeska Resort and ride the tram! Zoom seven-minutes to the top of Mt. Alyeska. The outlook at the top may be one of the most impressive in the state. On a clear day, there are panoramic views of the Turnagain Arm, two mountain ranges, and seven hanging glaciers. Enjoy a festive beverage or lunch at the restaurant at the top of the mountain. Depending on the season, search the hillsides for ripening blueberries and raspberries.
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Amazing Waterfall and Super Short Hike
Visit Virgin Creek waterfall with a 0.5 mile hike. The hike is super easy and its breathtaking! To get there, take a left by the gas station at Girdwood. Go down a few miles and take a right on Timberline and follow it to the end of the cul-de-sac.
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Earthquake Aftermath
  • Mile markers 87 through 77

On March 24, 1964 (Good Friday), the world's second largest earthquake rocked Alaska with a magnitude of 9.2. For three days after the quake, almost 300 aftershocks shook Southcentral Alaska. Eighteen months passed before the aftershocks finally ceased, which numbered more than 10,000. It totally wiped out many cities in Alaska, including a large portion of Seward. About 2-10 miles pasted the gas station you will see abandoned houses on your right which have collapsed and half buried, due to the earthquake. Dead trees stand along the side of the highway, victims to the saltwater that killed them when this ground along the waters of Turnagain Arm sank.
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Wildlife Conservation Center
  • Mile marker 80

Around mile marker 80, on your right is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which houses all of the animals native to Alaska. The price is around $18 per person. You can drive through and get out to see bear, musk ox, moose, eagles, bison, lynx and more!
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Portage Glacier
  • Mile marker 80

 Turn left at mile 80 and visit Portage Glacier, which is 8 miles down Portage Glacier Road. Portage was a town that was destroyed during the earthquake. There is a nice visitor center there and the glacier has formed a lake with ice bergs. They have a small b
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Whittier Tunnel
Want to visit Whittier? Keep driving past the Portage Glacier Visitor Center. Drive through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel—the longest (2.5 miles) highway tunnel in North America, and the first designed for -40 Fahrenheit temperatures and 150 mph winds!

The one-lane tunnel must be shared by cars and trains traveling in both directions, and it usually needs to be aired out in between trips (with jet turbine ventilation, another first!). This unique design that enables a single lane of traffic to travel directly over the railroad track saved tens of millions of dollars over the cost of constructing a new tunnel.

Arrive at least 10 minutes prior to tunnel opening. (Arriving earlier isn't a waste; park in line, then get out of your car and soak in the scenery.) Give yourself another 20 – 30 minutes to get through the tunnel. The drive is only 10 minutes, but the opening can be delayed, or there can be a line before you enter.

To Whittier: Cars leave on the half hour, from 5:30am to 10:30pm.
From Whittier: Cars leave on the hour, from 6am to 11pm.
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Photo Op!
  • Mile marker 75

As you continue your way towards Seward, just as you leave the view of the water and make your way up the mountain, you will see a "Welcome to the Kenai Peninsula" sign on your right. There is a pull out and is a good photo op!
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The Road to Hope
  • Mile marker 57
At mile marker 57, you will see a road leading to Hope, Alaska. Hope is located 16 miles down Hope Road. Hope is a very small, mining town that has a few restaurants, a bar and a store. If you were to look across Turn Again arm when driving from Anchorage, you would have seen this little town across the Inlet. Check the calendar of events for this town, they usually have locals who play music here during the summer. Neat experience!
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Cooper Landing Detour
  • Mile marker 37
Around mile marker 37 you will see the split in the road which leads to Homer. If you take the exit to Homer (Sterling Highway) and drive about 15 miles you will reach the town of Cooper Landing. This tiny town lies on the glacier fed Kenai River where you can see combat fishing for salmon and lots of wildlife. They offer scenic river rafting (very small rapids, if any) guided trips down the Kenai River for around $60. I prefer "Alaska Rivers Company" for rafting, but all are awesome! Definitely worth your time!
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Moose Pass
  • Mile marker 30

Around mile 30 on the Seward Highway you will pass through a town called Moose Pass. There is a lodge here with good food and a mom-and-pop store on your right where you can get coffee, reindeer sausage and home-made fudge. Grab some food for a picnic and take it to Ptarmagin Campground.
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Salmon Viewing at Ptarmigan Creek
  • Mile marker 23

At mile 23, you will see Ptarmigan Creek Campground on your left. This is a great place to have a picnic, view salmon or pick berries. Turn left into the camp, take a right at park by the fish viewing area.This salmon viewing location includes an all-accessible viewing platform overlooking. Sockeye salmon will be in the creek from late July to early October with the best viewing in mid-AugustAt mile 23, you will see Ptarmigan Creek Campground on your left. This is a great place to have a picnic, view salmon or pick berries. Turn left into the camp, take a right at park by the fish viewing area.This salmon viewing location includes an all-accessible viewing platform overlooking. Sockeye salmon will be in the creek from late July to early October with the best viewing in mid-August
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Welcome to the Nauti Otter!
  • Mile marker 6

If you are headed to the Yurt Village, around mile marker 6 you will see Stoney Creek road on your left. Turn left here, take your first right on Bruno, your first left on Trail and you will see us on the right about a quarter mile down.

  • Between mile markers 6 and 5

If you are at the Inn, continue straight until around mile 5.5. There will be a straight-away on the highway for about 4 miles and as soon as the road curves, you will see an green colored house. The Nauti Otter is the yellow house right past the green house. Pay attention or you will zoom right by us!
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