Home » Alaska » RV Adventure To Seward On Sensational Resurrection Bay

Currently we are traveling to the end of the highway to Seward Alaska to view stunning Resurrection Bay. Our Seward RV Adventure today includes a day trip wildlife adventure tour on Resurrection Bay. At the moment we have a jam-packed Alaska itinerary filled with exciting activities. This marine tour promises spectacular panoramic vistas and a chance to experience the abundant marine life in the bay.

Alaska barely sees the sun set in June. Despite the RV’s room darkening blinds, we still wake up early. My guess is that we are still on eastern time. Kenai Lake’s glacial blue waters provide a stunning backdrop to this morning’s beach walk. With the lake as a mirror and the mountains as a backdrop, the scene creates a perfect photo opportunity. There is silence on the beach, a reminder that we are in bear territory. Luckily, we did not surprise one today.

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Kenai Lake Morning Reflection
Kenai Lake Morning Reflection

Where Adventure Begins: Exploring Seward, Alaska

We want an early start to our day. We prepare the RV for the road, breaking camp. The Trail Ridge Campground is only a 30-minute drive south on the Seward Highway to Seward Harbor. We have a reservation this morning for a Resurrection Bay Wildlife Tour. We make the detour to see Exit Glacier, but that is a different story, before arriving for our tour.

Seward is a picturesque seaside village, and one of Alaska’s oldest villages. It’s named after William Seward, who’s famous for negotiating the purchase of Alaska from Russia

Seward Boat Harbour
Seward Boat Harbour

Seward Harbor is at the end of the Seward Hwy, along the shores of Resurrection Bay. We know it as the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. They named the park for the many fjords carved by the glaciers as they cut slowly down the mountain from the Harding icefield. We intended to spend the day in Seward, so there is a large parking lot with RV parking for access to the waterfront shops and marina boat tours. Parking in either the North or South parking lot will cost you approximately $10.00.

Major Marine Tours, Seward
Major Marine Tours, Seward

Embark on an Unforgettable Adventure: Resurrection Bay Boat Tours Departing from Seward Harbor

I would highly recommend taking a boat tour in Seward to get the most from your visit. There are a few boat tour operators, however, Major Marine is the official boat excursion for the NPS. They offer 7 cruise options, ranging from 3.5 hours to 8.5 hours. The longer tours include the Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet.

Kayak on the rugged coast of Resurrection Bay
Kayak on the rugged coast of Resurrection Bay Credit: K. Cunningham

Exploring Resurrection Bay’s Marine Wonders: Major Marine Wildlife Tour Adventure

They are a locally owned, family company that has been in the business for 30-years. Their 5-8.5 hr tours have an onboard National Park Ranger narrator with hands-on educational materials for the kids. Major Marine guarantees reserved seating on the longer tours.

Seward Alaska Major Marine  Office man in front of the anchor

We chose Major Marine Tours for the 2 PM 3-hour wildlife cruise, making a reservation a few weeks before our trip. We arrived half an hour earlier, as requested, and the check-in process was super quick and efficient. The office manager notified us that the regular boat, Orca Song, was in dry dock for maintenance. Instead, we would go on a smaller boat, M/V Rainisong with only 20 people on-board. This was a compromise we were willing to make.

Resurrection Bay-Seward Alaska
Resurrection Bay-Seward Alaska Credit jeannetteyvonne Flickr

The tour guide suggested if you’re prone to seasickness, take a Dramamine pill. I opted to use my nausea bands as they work well for me. We make our way down the gangplank to the harbor. The views of the mountains rising out of the harbor waters are breathtaking.

Rock Outcropping island in Resurrection Bay
Rocky Island Resurrection Bay

Essential Gear for Your Resurrection Bay Tour: What to Bring for a Memorable Adventure

To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience, dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. Here’s our guide on what to bring for your adventure on the bay:

Major Marine Wildlife Tour of resurrection Bay

Leaving Seward Harbor to the Wonders of Resurrection Bay Waters

Finally, we are ready to leave on our adventure. The weather is a perfect-sunny with a bit of wind. The shorter tours are for small groups. Today we have 10 people aboard. The captain was a genuine character; think captain Ahab. He was an expert at getting us up-close to the shoreline features and finding wildlife. After our safety briefing, the captain navigates the boat toward the sheltered waters of Resurrection Bay. Leaving the harbor, we find the smaller boat creates a relaxed atmosphere. Everyone on board seems to settle in, most electing to sit inside the cabin out of the wind.

Sea Lions - Seward Wildlife Tour
Sea Lions – Seward Wildlife Tour

The tour travels through the pristine waters of Resurrection Bay, cruising past large bird rookeries and sea lion colonies. There are many great photo opportunities seeing whales and sea otters.

Seabirds on Rock outcropping on Resurrection Bay
Seabirds on rock outcropping on Resurrection Bay

Nature’s Playground: Wildlife Encounters in Seward’s Resurrection Bay

Ian was our tour guide. He was very informative and knowledgeable about the wildlife in the bay. His insight was great. Narration via microphone wasn’t available. Ian could give us a very personalized narrative instead. He told the group the history of Kenai Fjords’ national park, its geology and wildlife. He provided casual conversation, which we preferred, made the tour more personable. We did not linger inside the cabin, opting to spend our time on the deck looking for wildlife and enjoying the scenery.

Humpback Whale Seward Alaska
Humpback Whale Seward Alaska Photo Credit: NOAA

While wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, today we could see eagles, sea otters, stellar sea lions, and humpback whales. Resurrection Bay in Seward is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The captain angles the boat toward the rocky shoreline. We watch Stellar sea lion scrambling for position. Ian explains how the dominant male has a large harem of females. We watch the playful antics of the younger males.

Major Marine-Puffin-Resurrection Bay Alaska
Major Marine-Horned Puffin-Resurrection Bay Alaska-NPS Photo/ Kay White

Enchanting Encounters: Humpback Whales and More in Resurrection Bay

When the boat leaves Resurrection Bay and enters the Gulf of Alaska to turn around, the swells become much larger. Luckily for us, the wind was light. The captain told us on most days the swells cause many to be sick. The captain skillfully spies a humpback whale in the waters off the ragged coastline. In the spring, humpbacks troll these waters where they will feed and care for their young. Spotting whales, we all look for the telltale plume of mist from the blowhole as they surface. Ian informs us that the whales we see today are sleeping. Humpback whales do not sleep how humans do, meaning they rest one half of their brain at a time to maintain breathing.

Sea Otter - Resurrection Bay
Sea Otter – Resurrection Bay NPS Photo/ Kaitlin Thoresen

Barwell Island: A Secluded Gem in Resurrection Bay

They used the island during the World War II in1942. They installed a radio station and searchlights on the cliff face to warn the approach of enemy vessels defending the Port of Seward. The island is subject to inhospitable weather, dangerous currents make it very inaccessible. Boats could not dock here, so supplies traveled along iron cables connected to the shoreline at Fort Raymond-South Beach (now Caines Head State Recreation Area). Abandoned in 1946, today the sole inhabitants are the nesting birds and their rookeries.

Resurrection Bay Beach
Resurrection Bay Beach Credit: Kenai Fjords National Park

In all their colorful splendor, we observe mating puffins swimming and diving along the rocky coastline. On the way back to the bay, we see sea otters sunning themselves in the calmer waters. All of a sea otter’s life is spent on the water. Sea otters are known for their playful behavior and adorable antics. Witnessing their frolics today is a heartwarming experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Bear Glacier, Resurrection Bay
Bear Glacier, Resurrection Bay

Bear Glacier: A Glacial Marvel on the Shores of Resurrection Bay

This oarticular glacier is along the picturesque coast of Resurrection Bay. It is a mesmerizing natural wonder that beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. This is the largest glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. Bear Glacier is a valley or piedmont glacier that ends in a freshwater lake. Even from a distance, Bear Glacier’s vast expanse of ice and its striking blue hues create a scene of grandeur that’s both humbling and breathtaking. A truly memorable experience taking a Major Marine Tour.

Harbor Seal-Alaska Sealife Park
Harbor Seal-Alaska Sealife Park

A Guide to Unforgettable Activities and Sights in Seward on Resurrection Bay

Seward, Alaska, is a treasure trove of natural wonders and captivating experiences. A visit to Seward is a chance to experience the captivating landscapes and rich heritage of this remarkable coastal town, from exploring glaciers to encounters with marine life.

Alaska Sealife Center sign-Seward

Dive into Discovery at the Alaska SeaLife Center

In downtown Seward on the shore of Resurrection Bay it opened in 1998 with funds from the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. it is Alaska’s only public aquarium, operating as a private, non-profit research institution. The Alaska Sea Life Center also performs as a rehabilitation center caring for sick and injured marine animals. The family friendly above and below water aquariums feature Steller sea lions, harbor seals and seabirds. There is a touch tank exhibit where kids get to interact with different sea life. Such a great learning environment for awareness, discovery and protection of our oceans and amazing Alaskan sea life.

Mount Marathon-Seward Alaska
Mount Marathon-Seward Alaska

Conquering Mount Marathon’s Jeep Trail: Adventure Awaits

The 4,826-ft green mountain rises high above downtown Seward. The hike to the top is not for the faint of heart. Mount Marathon is a symbol of Alaska’s tenacity and determination. Every year on the 4th of July, runners attempt to race to the 2,974 feet stone marker, turning around and heading back down. Most finish in less than 2 hours.

Alaska Wildflowers on a mountain trail
Alaska Wildflowers on mountain trail

Having heard much about the Mt Marathon race, and wanted to experience at least a small part of the hike. Monroe Street is the starting point for the Jeep Trailhead. In the first 12 miles, the dirt road traverses through thick spruce rainforest. We followed the steep switchbacks. As a result of the rain, the trail is muddy and slippery. Staying afoot was sometimes a challenge.

“Despite everything, every piece of Alaska sang to me. I remembered every curve in the trails, every tree in the forest. It was familiar to me, comfortable. The more I thought about leaving it, the less I liked the idea. This was my home.“

Note: Remember to bring plenty of water and snacks. Be bear aware-it is always important to carry bear spray. Watching for signs that bears are in the area as you may encounter a bear. 

The trail splits 3-ways. We took the narrow bench trail. We stopped at the alpine meadow called the “Marathon bowl.” Here we were rewarded with breathtaking views of Seward and Resurrection Bay. Glad we made the attempt.

Seward Dining
Seward Dining

By the Water: Dining on Resurrection Bay in Seward

After our Resurrection Bay tour, we strolled the boardwalk, looking in all the different stores. We ate a hardy lunch at the Smoke Shack, an old converted train car. There is limited seating, but is it well worth the wait. The staff is phenomenal and the pulled pork sandwich was delicious. After our late lunch, we did some shopping and found the best gelato ever!! Sweet Darlings has the gelato to die for. Who would have thought that you would find it in Seward? I would recommend that this is on your list when visiting Seward. Seward is renowned for the fresh seafood, however there are many restaurants to choose from for dining.

Note: We returned to Seward, Alaska and to return to Sweet Darling just for the gelato. It was tasty in 2012 and was just as good, if not better, this time around. The store has moved downtown to a larger space, but it is still amazing. Nothing like walking the street in the cool rain eating wonderful gelato. Simply amazing!!

Rugged Coastal Shoreline Resurrection Bay
Rugged Coastal Shoreline Resurrection Bay

Exploring Sensational Resurrection Bay and Indulging in Culinary Delights

  • The Cookery – The atmosphere is inviting, and the fresh Alaskan oysters are quite delicious
  • Seward Brewing Company- friendly vibe, a rotating selection of craft and Alaskan beers, and innovative pub food.
  • Ray’s Waterfront-Known for its delicious seafood and steaks, and harbor and mountain views,
  • Chinooks Restaurant – The menu is chock full of Alaskan seafood dishes, from fresh halibut to salmon, shrimp, and rockfish. 
  • Zudy’s Cafe is best known for its decadent cheesecakes and pies.
Sailboat with mountain backdrop in Resurrection Bay
Resurrection Bay -Sailboat

Resurrection Bay-Seward Campgrounds: Where Nature and Adventure Await

Here’s a guide to the campgrounds that offer you a chance to experience the beauty of this coastal paradise up close:

  • Spring Creek Campground is owned by the City of Seward and is on the other side of Resurrection Bay from the town.
  • Miller’s Landing-oceanfront location with some site in the trees, picnic table and fire pits.
  • Seward KOA – New 2019- spacious pull through sites, water, electric and sewer at our sites, 50 amps and the park is big rig friendly.
  • Stoney Creek RV – on 15 acres, 6 miles north of Seward. Free showers, large sites with power and water, most with sewer.
Alaska Ground Squirrel spotted on the trail
Alaska Ground Squirrel spotted on the trail

Insider Tips & Essential Resources for Your Seward Adventure

Planning a trip to Seward, Alaska? Seward offers a wealth of natural beauty and adventure, and these tips and resources will help you make the most of your trip. Here are some valuable tips and essential resources to ensure a smooth and memorable experience:

Major Marine Tours, on Resurrection Bay
Seward Alaska Kenai National Fjords

Final Thoughts on our RV Adventure To Seward On Sensational Resurrection Bay

Embarking on an RV adventure to Seward along the captivating Resurrection Bay promises a remarkable journey filled with natural wonders, outdoor pursuits, and unforgettable moments. Whether it’s the sight of glaciers calving, the warmth of community around a campfire, or the quiet moments by the bay, these memories will remain with us, creating a lifelong connection to Resurrection Bay.

We pointed the RV north away from Seward, heading towards Sterling, our next destination. I keep wanting to pinch myself. Alaska’s beauty takes my breath away. Each turn of the corner is mesmerisingly beautiful. I’m sure this feeling will last forever and always hold a special place in our hearts.

Have you been to Alaska? Did your adventure include a visit to Seward? Did you take a tour of Resurrection Bay? Please share in the comments below your favorite memory of Seward, Alaska.

ResurrectionBay-WildlifeBoatTour-Seward
ResurrectionBay-WildlifeBoatTour-Seward