Written by Bernard Rosenberg
Welcome to Alaska’s most favorite coastal community! The crew at Crackerjack Sportfishing enjoys living in Seward Alaska. We are pleased that you plan to take the time to join us in our spectacular setting. We are proud of our community and want you to know that we will strive to do everything to make your experience the best it can possibly be. Seward is fortunate to have so many things to make your trip comfortable and enjoyable. Telling you a little more about our surroundings should only add to the excitement of your joining us. Truly, Seward is Alaska’s Favorite Seaside Town!
Alaska holds her discovery to the Russians and her growth to the Americans. It was Secretary of State William H. Seward who negotiated the purchase of the territory in 1867 from Russia. In what has to be the most amazing deal of the century, 586,000 acres were purchased by the U.S. at a cost of $7.2 million dollars. That’s a little more than 2.5 cents per acre and at that time our town was unknown, unnamed, and aside from some scattered First Nation settlements, generally uninhabited. Inclusion as a territory and the Klondike Gold Rush changed all of this, and by the early 19th Century thousands of Lower 48 adventurers were making their way north to discover the rewards of timber, mining, trapping, and fishing. Canneries were established and the importance of a harbor was recognized. Seward grew, but a very slow rate. It was mainly just a sleepy coastal community for many years.
Seward’s later development paralleled other Alaskan coastal towns as a result of WWII; highways were constructed, waterside fortifications were built, and thousands of military personnel flooded the entire state. War never came, but the interest in fishing and further exploration remained. Statehood in 1959 was the biggest change of all. The Federal Government brought education, housing, and transportation to the community and Seward started to boom.
Disaster struck us on Good Friday in 1964. The largest earthquake in North America arrived at 5:36 PM and for up to five whole minutes 9.2 magnitudes of Richer Scale nightmare almost devastated our community. The ground rolled in three foot undulations. Waterfront homes and commercial buildings were destroyed. Oil pipes erupted and entire storage tanks exploded. Burning petroleum spewed out in a sheet of fire and almost the complete harbor was set ablaze.
But Seward persevered and survived. We redesigned and we rebuilt. And many of the structures and the waterfront that you see today are the result of those efforts. In the decades since those late 60’s Seward has been “rediscovered” by many. Cruise lines love us due to our terrific port. The highway that arrives into our town is designated as one of the most scenic in the entire state. And even the Alaskan Railroad arrives by rail at our back door. Here are some things that you might like to know to make your visit even more enjoyable.
Seward is located directly on Resurrection Bay on the southeastern tip of the Kenai Peninsula. By highway, it is 126 miles from Anchorage. Since it is a deep-water port town, its location serves as both an embarkation and destination point for travelers who use the marine highway. Both cruise ships and ferry lines use this port in stopovers and staging for passengers who travel around Alaska by the Inside Passage. Upwards to 100 cruise ship dockings occur during the months of May through September, and The Alaska Marine Highway ferries passengers and vehicles all year long.
Seward lies at the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park , and almost 608,000 miles of stunning spectacular wilderness starts right outside our front door. The park is capped by the Harding Ice field, which is literally a left-over from the Ice Age and today is recognized as the largest ice field entirely within U.S. borders.
If there was one word to use to describe the community, that word would have to be breathtaking! Where else could you see majestic snow-capped peaks that rise thousands of feet into aqua blue skies that just as suddenly then drop back into emerald colored seas? Arrive in our town and your senses will stirred by the aroma of spruce intermixed with the salt of the sea.
Surrounding hillsides are covered with thickets of dense alder, and around the streams and ponds grow occasional settings of sweeping cottonwoods. Wildflowers are just about everywhere and even the magenta of Fireweed sometimes wind their way alongside our streets.
Seward is at sea-level and walking in our town is easy. Yet if you are adventuresome, you can climb the 3,022 foot path to the top of Mt. Marathon and enjoy a breathtaking view from the pinnacle that serves as the backdrop for the entire community. Legend has it that two sourdoughs had an argument about whether it was possible to climb and descend that mountain in less than an hour, and today Seward celebrates that event by staging its own race up and down the mountain during the Forth of July.
From placid lagoons to calving glaciers, and from impossibly steep elevations of peaks of snow and journeys into clear blue seas, we have it all.
As is true with any Alaskan coastal community, the first-time visitor will discover a variety of climatic conditions. Wind, sun, clouds, rain, fog, and temperature all contribute to the weather of the day, and the key to success in enjoying our community is to dress in layers. Visitors are always encouraged to have raingear at the ready and even a sweater and lightweight jacket should be brought. Temperatures during the summer months will average in the high 60’s during the day, and will drop about another 10 degrees into the mid-50’s at night. But be advised, there are now extremes to those averages. Some days can be hot and even sunscreen and lip balm will be needed. And on the flip-side of the coin, windy and drizzle days can be downright chilly.
Most travelers carry everything in terms of apparel in a backpack ( hats, sunglasses, rain gear). This is always recommended and is quite useful. As well, waterproof and comfortable rubber soled shoes will keep your feet dry throughout your day. Even rubber duck boots are appreciated, especially when you come onboard. Don’t forget your camera.
Bugs are not a big factor in our community. Thankfully the comforting sea breezes keep them at bay. But even a small amount of repellent should find its way into your pack.
If you like to drive, than nothing could be finer than the 126 mile run from Anchorage to our town. The Seward Highway leaves Anchorage to the south and has been designated as a National Forest Scenic Byway. This drive is approximately two hours and fifteen minutes. It is marvelous journey that takes you along the north shore of Turnagain Arm through the Chugach State Park and National Forest and right through the Kenai Mountains.
Rail Service is also available. From May through September there are daily runs to and from Seward from Anchorage . The views alone are worth the price of the ticket and the charm of the rails is beyond compare. Stay the day or stay the night; either way the Alaskan Railroad will accommodate you.
Even if you’re a cruise ship passenger we have services for you. You can rent a car, taxi, take a shuttle, or even rent a bicycle in our community. But we are small enough that you can traverse our entire business center in just a few minute’s walk. Transportation in our area is easy and is never a problem to your enjoyment.
This is where our coastal community absolutely outshines any other small port towns in the entire state of Alaska. We live in a setting that is truly unique and we provide services that cater to just about every whim designed to compliment our town. By far, the largest attraction is our fishing. Simply put it is world-class and around the state there is none finer. Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska contain some of the finest prizes that any fisherman could ever wish, and we do our best to bring them your way. Our Annual Silver Salmon Derby is the largest and richest in all of Alaska, and that should give you a clue to our town’s popularity. In 2004 alone there were 22 International Game Fish Association line class world records broken on our boats!
Summer is a very busy time for just about everything and the populations of those who have discovered us just keep right on growing. Because of this reservations are always advised! We would never want a visitor to miss what we have to offer; please plan ahead and do this months ahead of time.
Amenities in Seward are so vast that the community publishes its own guide to assist you. Everything you will need to know in planning your visit is yours for free. Simply visit the Chamber’s website to request yours. Anyone who makes the journey to Alaska and plans on joining us will find this extremely helpful. And here’s a tip from a local in the know: request your guide and start making your plans a full year ahead of time. Believe it; we can at times be that popular.
In terms of lodging Seward has an array of services. From hotels and motels, to inns and B&B’s, and you can even spend on night on our boat as part of a two day fishing excursion. Whatever your wish, we have a place for you. We recommend that our guests stay at Seward’s finest hotel, the Hotel Edgewater. Even the recreational camper is welcome and hook-ups and campsites are available. Finding a place to stay is no problem providing you follow our advice in looking ahead.
From restaurants and kayak tours, to water taxis and outdoor adventures, it’s all here. You can trail ride on a horse or visit the world class Alaska Sealife Center. You can hire your own flight or dogsled on a glacier. Shop to you drop in our gift stores right down town and admire our buildings representative of a frontier town. Sleep in or fish your heart out. Whatever you want, we have it to compliment your decision to stay with us.
Our harbor has a natural collection of marine mammals. Sea lions, seals, and sea otters await your discovery. Our skies are an assortment of aviaries without bounds. Terns, eagles, puffins, and ducks punctuate our skies by the thousands. And our rich waters and incredible underwater structure, are the reason we have one of the finest fisheries left on this Earth. From the giant halibut on the bottom to the massive salmon shark on the top, we venture out into the waterways of living things and show you how to catch them. You’ll bring home prizes for sure, and they will become the finest culinary gifts that you’ll ever consume. But even after they are gone, the linger of your Seward days will never be forgotten.
Join us in Seward for a great time and some great fishing. You will bring home plenty of fish and the memories of a lifetime.