Updated: March 20, 2024

Visiting Alaska, USA, and missing out on cruising through the captivating Kenai Fjords National Park would be a regrettable oversight!

This glacial wonderland, boasting spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife sightings, is a must-see for adventurers seeking the essence of Alaska's untamed beauty. However, with numerous boat tour options, choosing the right one can be daunting.

Fear not, for our comprehensive guide is here to assist you in selecting the perfect Kenai Fjords National Park cruise from Seward, Alaska. Learn about what makes this park truly special, discover how to pick the best Kenai Fjords boat tour, and gain essential tips for an unforgettable adventure. 

Moreover, we'll uncover the top activities and sights within the Kenai Fjord National Park, provide insights into the best time to visit, and address all your lingering questions in our helpful FAQ section.

Let's get started!

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Compare the Best Options for a Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise from Seward, Alaska

Here is our carefully curated selection of top-rated Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise Tours, chosen for their exceptional valueFrom family-friendly half-day cruises to full day adventures, explore the best options to experience the wonders of this remarkable destination. We have included quick links, as well as concise descriptions, highlighting their unique features. 

Quick Booking Links to 4 Top-Rated Cruises

Descriptions of the Tours


Discover the most sought-after Kenai Fjords National Park cruise by fellow travelers. This 6-hour and 160 km (100 miles) journey from Seward promises wildlife sightings and breathtaking views of Holgate or Aialik Glacier. Depending on weather conditions, explore the Chiswell Islands or Cape Resurrection, home to thousands of seabirds.

Enjoy engaging commentary from the experienced naturalist onboard, and take advantage of reserved seating in the heated cabin when you need a break from the wind on the deck. Binoculars, a delectable lunch, and complimentary beverages are all included, ensuring a comfortable Alaskan wilderness experience.


  • Reserved seating in the heated cabin
  • Water, coffee, and tea
  • Use of binoculars
  • All taxes and fees included
  • Lunch
  • Onboard Naturalist Narration

Tour Details

  • Departs from: Major Marine Tours Check-In Office at Harbor, 1412 4th Ave. Seward
  • Starting Time: 8:00 AM or 11:30 AM
  • Duration: approx. 6 hours
  • Participants: maximum 150 travelers


Operated by renowned Kenai Fjords Tours, this popular 6-hour cruise from Seward explores Kenai Fjords National Park offers with flexible morning departure times. Enjoy stunning views from the 29-meter (95-foot-long) non-smoking vessel's warm cabin with huge windows, or the multi-level observation decks.

As you glide past calving glaciers, fjords and icy cliffs, listening to expert commentary, spot an array of wildlife, like sea lions, Alaskan birds, and even whales. Experience captivating seabird rookery views at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Onboard lunch is provided.


  • 6-hour sightseeing cruise
  • Lunch
  • On-board wildlife guide

Tour Details

  • Departs from: Kenai Fjords Tours; 1304 4th Ave, Seward
  • Starting Time: 8:00 AM or 11:30 AM
  • Duration: approx. 6 hours
  • Participants: maximum 130 travelers


This 7.5-hour catamaran tour, covering about 210 km (130 mi), stands out as the only Kenai Fjords cruise to visit two active tidewater glaciers in Aialik Bay. With an expert onboard naturalist as your guide, marvel at Alaskan wildlife as well as Bear Glacier and Holgate Glacier, spending 20 minutes in front of each glacier amidst the icebergs. Aialik Glacier awaits in Aialik Bay, offering a glimpse of its majestic calving. Included are water, coffee, and tea, use of binoculars, reserved heated cabin seating, and a deli lunch.


  • Water, coffee, and tea
  • Use of binoculars while on board
  • All taxes and fees included in price
  • Restroom on board
  • Onboard Naturalist Narration
  • Reserved seating inside a heated cabin
  • Lunch

Tour Details

  • Departs from: Major Marine Tours Check-In Office at Harbor, 1412 4th Ave. Seward
  • Starting Time: 09:30 AM
  • Duration: approx. 7.5 hours
  • Participants: maximum 150 travelers


Experience a memorable half-day cruise through Resurrection Bay, ideal for those with limited time, families who don’t want to spend much time on the water or those who are prone to motion sickness. Standing out for prioritizing the best wildlife viewing areas in the region, this tour is accompanied by an onboard guide's insightful commentary.

Benefit from a convenient shuttle service from the railroad depot or cruise ship port, along with expert commentary and binoculars for wildlife spotting. Visit Cape Resurrection, marvel at Bear Glacier and cruise through waters surrounding Kenai Fjords National Park. Unlike other tours, this one does not include a visit to Aialik Glacier or food and drinks.


  • Wildlife cruise
  • Binoculars to use on board
  • Shuttle from railroad depot or cruise ship port

Tour Details

  • Departs from: Major Marine Tours desk inside the Harbor 360 Hotel, 1412 4th Ave, Seward
  • Starting Time: 12:30 PM
  • Duration: approx. 4 hours
  • Participants: maximum 150 travelers

How to Visit Kenai Fjords National Park?

Visiting Kenai Fjords National Park can be an unforgettable adventure, and the small town of Seward serves as the main entry point to this natural wonder. To fully immerse yourself in the park's beauty, a Kenai Fjords Cruise from Seward is the way to goas much of the national park is only accessible from the water. Road access is limited, with only Exit Glacier reachable by car.

For travelers with 2 or 3 days to spare, consider dedicating one or two days to exploring the accessible hiking trails reachable by car and reserve another day for a captivating cruise. If your time is limited to just one day, a boat cruise will allow you to witness the true essence of Kenai Fjords' breathtaking landscapes and wildlife.

If you're traveling from Anchorageit takes around 2.5 hours, but with traffic it’s best to allocate 4 hours for the drive. Once you arrive in Seward, you can conveniently park your car at one of the two full-day public parking lots near the Seward Small Boat Harbor.

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What is so Special about Kenai Fjords National Park?

Kenai Fjords National Park, spanning over 600,000 acres, is a breathtaking wonderland, boasting a raw beauty that sets it apart. Among its many marvels, the park boasts the vast 936-square-mile Harding Icefield, from which countless tidewater glaciers descend, carving deep valleys that are filled with seawater to form stunning fjords. The other two main parts are the valley glacier Exit Glacier and the rugged coastline, home to an abundant wildlife.

This remarkable fusion of mountains, ice, and ocean creates a mesmerizing wilderness that allows you to experience the wonders of Alaska up close. Here, you can marvel at the awe-inspiring spectacle of calving glaciers, ancient relics from the ice age, and spot incredible marine mammals like humpback whales and orcas, as well as native bird species like Puffins that call this region home. 

A visit to Kenai Fjords National Park lets you travel deep into the Alaskan wilderness, leaving you with cherished memories to last a lifetime. From thrilling wildlife cruises and kayaking adventures to hiking to hidden glacier viewpoints, every moment spent in Kenai Fjords National Park is an unforgettable adventure, and therefore well worth a visit!

How to Choose the Best Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise?

As you plan your Kenai Fjords National Park adventure, selecting the perfect cruise is a key decision that can greatly influence your experience. One of the primary considerations is the duration of the cruise, as it directly impacts the itinerary and what you'll see along the way.

See below the 3 major cruise options available:

Half-Day Tours: If you prefer a shorter tour, a Half-Day Resurrection Bay Cruise may be ideal, especially if you have limited time, are prone to motion sickness, or traveling with kids. This tour stays close to Seward, exploring the more protected waters of Resurrection Bay. You can expect sightings of Bear Glacier and wildlife encounters with sea otters, whales, sea lions, eagles, and puffins. >> See our recommendation.

6-Hour Kenai Fjords Tours: For a more comprehensive experience, the 6-hour Kenai Fjords National Park Tour is the most popular choice. This journey takes you on a mesmerizing route through Resurrection Bay, Gulf of Alaska, and into Aialik Bay to see a calving glacier, either Holgate Glacier or Aialik Glacier. You'll make a stop in front of the glacier to witness the awe-inspiring sight of large chunks of glacial ice breaking off and crashing into the water. >> We have listed two of our favorites in our ticket overview.

Full-Day Tours: For those seeking an immersive and extensive exploration, we highly recommend the full-day tour lasting 7 to 8 hours. These cruises venture deeper into Kenai Fjords National Park, allowing you to witness two to three different glaciers and a plethora of wildlife. Experience spectacular close-up views of calving glaciers, and the chances of encountering orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, and more are at their best on these extended journeys. >> Check our full-day recommendation.

Kenai Fjords National Park Seward 4

What to Expect from a Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise from Seward?

Having familiarized yourself with the various cruise options, durations, and itineraries, let's now explore the practical aspects of a typical Kenai Fjords Boat Tour from Seward.

Cruise Companies: Three main companies offer fjord cruises, each providing various options to suit your needs and interests: Major Marine, Kenai Fjords Tours, and Phillips Cruises and Tours. We've handpicked our favorite cruises with great reviews and the best value, making it easier for you to decide.

Seasonal Availability: Most tours are available from mid-March through late September, ensuring you can experience the beauty of Kenai Fjords National Park during the best time of the year. 

Accessibility: The wildlife cruises are wheelchair accessible, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the breathtaking experience. However, as the cruises (besides half-day tours) venture into the open Gulf of Alaska, it's important to note that these may not be recommended for those prone to motion sickness.

Departure: The cruise adventure departs daily from the harbor of Seward, typically in the morning, offering multiple options to fit your schedule. Some tours even offer hotel pick-up for added convenience.

Safety Briefing: Onboard, you'll typically receive a short safety briefing to ensure your comfort and security throughout the journey.

Onboard Amenities: During your cruise, you'll have the flexibility to choose between seating options, either enjoying the breathtaking scenery outside or staying cozy inside the vessel. For added comfort during colder weather, most tours even offer heated cabin reservations. Additionally, onboard, you'll find a selection of drinks and snacks available for purchase.

Complimentary Lunch: For the majority of the tours, a deli lunch is provided as part of the ticket price, saving you the trouble of packing your own. Keep in mind that on shorter half-day tours, lunch is usually not included in the package.

Kenai Fjords National Park Seward 3

What to Do and See in Kenai Fjords National Park?

Kenai Fjords National Park beckons adventure seekers with an array of thrilling activities to partake in, making it a paradise for nature and adventure enthusiasts, ranging from hiking and kayaking to glacier exploration and wildlife sightings.

Here are the top 10 things to do and see at Kenai Fjords National Park:

1. Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center: A great starting point for your journey, the visitor center provides valuable information about the park's attractions. Discover the park's fascinating history, get expert advice on top activities, and secure helpful maps for a well-planned adventure.

2. Exit Glacier Road & Nature Center: Your road to discovery begins here! The scenic drive along the Exit Glacier Road is just as breathtaking as the destination itself. Serving as the only part of the park accessible by road, the Exit Glacier Nature Center is a captivating hub. Engaging exhibits unravel the mysteries of glacier formation and its fascinating changes. Little explorers can elevate their journey by becoming junior rangers, creating lasting memories along the way!

3. Hiking Trails: From the Exit Glacier Nature Center, three walking trails lead to unique vantage points of Exit Glacier:

  • Glacier View Loop Trail (1.6 km/1 mi): A leisurely one-hour round-trip accessible loop through lush forests, rewarding you with a scenic view of Exit Glacier.
  • Glacier Overlook Trail (3.5 km/2.2 mi): For those looking for a closer encounter with the glacier, this moderately strenuous trail features some steps and uneven terrain.
  • Harding Icefield Trail (6.6 km/4.1 mi): For experienced hikers seeking a challenge, this trail rewards with breathtaking scenery and panoramic vistas from the top of the cliffs. Be prepared for a 6-8 hour hike to the edge of the Harding Icefield and back. >> Book your hiking trip with a professional guide here!

4. Wildlife Cruise: With most of the national park being ice or water, cruising the fjords on a motorized vessel is without a doubt the best way to witness the park's wonders up close. Get ready for unforgettable wildlife sightings and awe-inspiring glacier views from the water. Highlights include (but may vary depending on the cruise you choose):

  • Spotting Wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled for harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters, orcas, humpback whales, doll’s porpoise, bald eagles, and mountain goats, and nesting birds, including the adorable puffins along the rocky cliffs.
  • Bear Glacier: Featuring two impressive medial moraines, this is the largest glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park.
  • Aialik Bay: This stunning fjord, with its awe-inspiring beauty, will leave you mesmerized as you cruise through icy waters surrounded craggy rocks, towering cliffs, and floating icebergs. Complemented by the abundant wildlife that calls this fjord home.
  • Aialik Glacier: A major highlight, this majestic tidewater glacier dipped in white and blue surrounded by ice chunks in the ocean offers an unforgettable spectacle of calving.
  • Holgate Glacier: This is another actively-calving tidewater glacier in the national park.
  • Cape Resurrection: Home to nesting Alaskan seabirds like puffins, kittiwakes, and cormorants. The boat stops close to the nesting areas, providing excellent photo opportunities.

5. Kayaking: Another great yet more adventurous way to explore the national park is kayaking through coastal fjords, surrounded by dramatic glaciers and breathtaking scenery.

6. Glacier Hiking & Ice Climbing: For thrill-seekers, glacier hiking and ice climbing are one of the park’s top activities. A mesmerizing journey through icy terrain, where you can explore the beauty of glaciers up close and even challenge yourself.

7. Camping & Lodging: At Kenai Fjords National Park, you'll find the intimate Exit Glacier Campground, offering 12 walk-in tent-only campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. For a more rustic experience, explore the three public use cabins and a wilderness lodge nestled along the breathtaking fjords.

8. Flightseeing Tour: For a bird's-eye view of Kenai Fjords National Park, embark on a thrilling flightseeing tour. Hop aboard a scenic helicopter flight or opt for an adventurous backcountry helicopter hiking trip, and witness the park's stunning landscapes from the sky. >> Book here!

9. Winter activities: For those seeking winter excitement, the national park offers thrilling activities as soon as the road to Exit Glacier is snow-covered and closed. These include cross-country skiing, dog sledding, fat biking and gliding through the snow-covered landscape on a snowmobile.

10. Fishing: Fishing enthusiasts will discover their paradise in Kenai Fjords National Park, with opportunities for both freshwater and saltwater adventures. Test your skills in the pristine rivers and streams, aiming for salmon. Meanwhile, in Seward and Resurrection Bay, reel in halibut, rockfish, and lingcod for a rewarding fishing experience.

Kenai Fjords National Park Seward 6

When is the Best Time for Visiting Seward Kenai Fjords National Park?

The best time to visit Seward Kenai Fjords National Park depends on your preferences and activities. The park is open year-round, with the peak months being June, July, and August. Keep in mind that the park has reduced services in May and September. Late fall through early spring, the park's coastal backcountry becomes inaccessible due to rough seas.

  • If you're interested in wildlife cruises, the best time to go is from June through mid-September, as most tours are available during this period. For prime whale watching opportunities, visit between June and early August, when the chances of spotting these majestic creatures are highest. 
  • If you're looking for some exhilarating snow fun, consider visiting in the winter season As soon as the road to the Exit Glacier is snow-covered, the area is closed to automobiles, becoming a perfect spot for winter activities such as dog sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, fat-biking and more. Guided tours or shuttle can transport you safely to Exit Glacier during this time.

9 Essential Tips for your Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise from Seward, Alaska

To make the most of your Kenai Fjords adventure, it's essential to be well-prepared. Here are some valuable tips to ensure an enjoyable Kenai Fjords adventure:

  1. Know Before You Sail: Keep in mind that this adventure depends on Mother Nature's mood! If the weather doesn't cooperate and the cruise gets canceled for safety reasons, no worries! You can either reschedule for another date or receive a full refund. 
  2. Dress in Layers: The weather in Kenai Fjords National Park can be quite unpredictable, with temperature changes throughout the day. Dress warmly in layers to stay comfortable, as the sea breeze and rain can make it feel colder. Bring a warm rainproof coat, hat, gloves, and comfortable, rubber-soled shoes.
  3. Embrace the Weather: Speaking of the weather, the weather in Alaska can change rapidly, so be prepared for varying conditions. You may encounter rain or fog during your cruise. Instead of letting it dampen your spirits, embrace the unique atmosphere it creates, adding an element of mystery to the landscape. Consider packing a change of clothes, especially if there's a chance of getting wet, and carry sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  4. Bring Binoculars and Camera: While some tours may provide binoculars, it's great to have your own for a more personal experience. Also, don't leave your camera behind! Bring extra memory cards and batteries to snap incredible shots of this visual feast of wildlife and stunning landscapes! Keep in mind that tripods are usually not allowed.
  5. Bring Snacks and Water: While some tours may include lunch, it's advisable to carry water and snacks, especially for longer cruises. Staying hydrated and having a quick bite to eat will keep your energy up, ensuring you don't miss any remarkable sightings along the way. Be sure to refrain from bringing alcoholic beverages, as this is not permitted.
  6. Combat Motion Sickness: If you are prone to motion sickness, take preventive medication a few hours before boarding or choose a seat farther back on the boat, as it can help reduce discomfort.
  7. Stay Safe Onboard: During the cruise, it's best not to stand around the open area of the deck. Instead, stay seated or hold on to the railings for safety, ensuring the well-being of yourself and others.
  8. Plan for Wheelchair Accessibility: If you require wheelchair accessibility or have limited mobility, make sure to submit your request in advance, as seating may be limited.
  9. Be Flexible: In the wild wonders of Kenai Fjords National Park, nature follows its own rhythm, and wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. While the cruises do their best to showcase diverse marine life and magnificent glaciers, keep in mind that the park's inhabitants roam freely. So, be patient and open to the unpredictable magic that awaits you at every turn
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FAQ - Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise from Seward, Alaska

Where is Kenai Fjords National Park?

Kenai Fjords National Park is situated on the southern coast of Alaska, United States. It is located in the town oSeward, at the edge of the Kenai Peninsula. Seward is approximately 130 miles (209 kilometers) from Anchorage, making it accessible and a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

What town is closest to Kenai Fjords National Park?

The town closest to Kenai Fjords National Park is Seward, Alaska.

How to get to Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward? Can you drive?

Since only one tongue of the ice field, Exit Glacier, is accessible by car, choosing a Kenai Fjords Cruise from Seward offers a more rewarding experience of the park's beauty. If you're traveling from Anchorageit takes around 2.5 hours but it’s recommended to allocate 4 hours for the drive. Once you arrive in Seward, you can conveniently park your car at one of the two full-day public parking lots near the Seward Small Boat Harbor.

Where to stay in Kenai Fjords National Park?

When it comes to staying at Kenai Fjords National Park, you have some wonderful options to choose from! If you love camping and getting up close to nature, the cozy Exit Glacier Campground with its 12 walk-in tent-only campsites is perfect for you. For a touch of rustic charm, you can rent one of the three public use cabins, two of which are open in summer, while one near Exit Glacier awaits you in winter. Additionally, you'll find a wilderness lodge nestled along the stunning fjords, offering a more comfortable and picturesque stay. 

There are also hotels and lodges available in the town of Seward, providing a range of amenities and services to suit your preferences and budget.

Is Kenai Fjords free or is there an entrance fee?

There are no entrance fees charged at Kenai Fjords National Park.

How many days do you need in Kenai Fjords National Park?

For travelers with 2 or 3 days to spare, consider dedicating one or two days to exploring the accessible hiking trails reachable by car and reserve another day for a captivating cruise. If your time is limited to just one day, a boat cruise will allow you to witness the true essence of Kenai Fjords' breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. >> See the most popular boat tours here!

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