Featuring breathtaking valleys, towering ice walls, and some of North America’s most unique wildlife, the Kenai Fjords, and surrounding waters are indeed a sight to behold.
Kenai Fjords National Park is comprised of more than 1,000 square miles and more than three dozen individual glaciers, making it a magnet for nature lovers, photographers, and all-around lovers of the great outdoors.
Most tours of the area depart from Seward and come in a variety of lengths and options suitable for those of most ages, interests, and levels of physical ability.
Below are 14 of the best and most popular Kenai Fjord tours.
1. Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise
Even during the summer months, the weather conditions in Alaska can be downright harsh, and short tours are usually best.
This six-hour tour includes ample time with amazing fjords and glaciers, as well as a chance to get up-close-and-personal with whales, otters, and puffins.
Guests will be whisked to the park on one of the largest, fastest, and most stable catamarans in the area. If the weather gets to be too much, it’s possible to retreat to the indoor restaurant and bar for refreshments.
Narration from a park ranger is included, as is an impressive lunch buffet if you’ve chosen that option at booking.
2. Kenai Fjords Half-Day Wildlife Cruise
According to those who’ve been, Resurrection Bay is one of the most secluded stretches of pristine water they’ve ever encountered.
In addition to the epic fjords that tend to leave viewers speechless, tour participants can generally expect to see lots of wildlife, like dolphins, otters, whales, and a variety of marine bird species.
The boat tour includes narration from an experienced guide, free use of binoculars while onboard, and round-trip transportation from the train station or cruise ship port.
It’s best to wear layers appropriate for a variety of weather conditions and to bring a few dollars for food and drinks.
3. Kenai Fjords National Park 7.5-Hour Cruise
For hearty travelers who laugh at frigid temperatures and stiff sea winds, this 7 ½ hour tour of Kenai Fjords National Park is probably a perfect fit.
It’s longer than most tours, which means more opportunity to take in the once-in-a-lifetime sights along the Alaskan coast.
Guests will get within a stone’s throw of staggeringly big tidewater glaciers, sea lion colonies, and marine bird breeding grounds.
The tour includes the services of a National Park Ranger, who’ll impart lots of interesting information about the area’s wildlife and geologic history while you’re being mesmerized by the sights.
Coffee, tea, and water are complimentary.
4. Kenai Fjords Wildlife 5-Hour Cruise
For most warm-blooded visitors and those without stout sea legs, tours to Kenai Fjords National Park that last between four and five hours are generally the best.
Though this five-hour cruise tour of Resurrection Bay focuses on wildlife, it also gives guests unparalleled access to the park’s majestic fjords, mountains, and glaciers.
You’ll definitely want to bring a camera to capture it all. It’s possible to choose a lunch option which includes fresh Alaskan salmon and prime rib served buffet-style.
Expect to see tons of wildlife, amazing vistas, and massive chunks of glacial ice plunging into the deep blue waters below.
5. Full-Day Kenai Fjords National Park Adventure Cruise
Young? Fit? Adventurous?
If you answered yes to all three, then this full-day Kenai Fjords National Park Adventure Cruise should be on your itinerary.
Forget stepping onto a massive catamaran with dozens of other passengers; this is a small-boat excursion, which means a more exciting and intimate experience.
The tour winds its way through Resurrection Bay, Granite Pass, and the Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.
That means epic sights, lifelong memories, and up-close access to lots of unique marine animals that may include killer whales, humpbacks, sea lions, otters, and puffins.
Not sure? Click the link below for specific information.
6. Bear Glacier Private Flight Tour from Seward
There’s really no bad way to take in such a stunning natural wonder as Bear Glacier, but it’s definitely special to see by air.
Bear Glacier is the longest in Kenai Fjords National Park, and for those who are traveling on tight itineraries, this 30-minute tour is the perfect way to see it in all its majesty.
Due to the tour’s short length, you won’t get a buffet meal or complimentary champagne, but they’ll probably be the farthest things from your mind as you swoop over some of the continent’s most impressive natural formations.
A number of departure times are available to accommodate those with different schedules.
7. Aialik Glacier Wildlife Cruise and Kayaking
First off, kayaking in Alaska isn’t a good idea for everyone, but it’s one of the most memorable ways to experience Kenai Fjords National Park for those who’ve got the guts and muscle.
This 10-hour tour is limited to 12 persons, so it’s great for young families and those traveling in groups looking for a more intimate and exhilarating experience than they’ll find elsewhere.
It includes lunch, light snacks, all the necessary gear and training, and an experienced guide dedicated to making the excursion a safe and memorable one.
Plan on seeing lots of wildlife along the way as well, and sleeping like a log when the day is done.
8. Small Group Whale Watch & Wildlife Cruise
With a maximum of only six guests, this half-day whale and wildlife cruise is excellent for those who prefer to distance themselves from the crowds.
That means a truly VIP experience, and although the vessel is relatively small, there’s ample room in the cabin to get out of the elements if necessary.
During the summer, it’s common to see whales and orcas, but since animals rarely cooperate, the captain will tailor the tour depending on the conditions at the time.
Tours typically last between three and four hours and include amazing views of the glaciers.
They depart at 9:00 am, and all guests must be at least two years old.
9. Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise from Seward
At nearly 100 feet long, the vessel that conveys sightseers to Kenai Fjords National Park on this six-hour morning tour is fast, safe, and warm.
The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is brimming with fantastic wildlife. When seen in conjunction with the stunning natural wonders for which the park is most well-known, it makes for a uniquely unforgettable experience.
Lunch is included, as is a professional narration from an experienced guide, who’ll describe the things you’re seeing and their significance in a fascinating and educational way.
It’s a great tour option for those traveling with little ones and the elderly.
10. Bear Glacier Kayaking Adventure with Jet Boat Transport
You may just fancy yourself a budding Bear Grylls after tackling the great outdoors in this adventure tour that includes jet-boat transportation and kayaking around the majestic Bear Glacier.
Eager participants will be whisked from Seward to Bear Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, and from there, depart on the kayak portion of their trip.
Definitely a tour best left to the young at heart, it’s limited to just six guests, ensuring that each hearty paddler gets the personal attention they expect.
Sea otters, seals, and a variety of marine birds are commonly seen, and both morning and afternoon departures are available.
11. Glacier & Wildlife Cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park
At between seven and eight hours, this glacier and wildlife cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park is a bit on the long side, but it’s a great option for those who have a whole day to dedicate to seeing the area’s scenery and wildlife.
It’s limited to six guests, so it’s a VIP-style excursion.
The tour is conducted on a small vessel, which previous participants agree provides a much more memorable experience than those on large boats with hundreds of other guests.
Depending on the season, it’s not uncommon to see whales, orcas, and other marine animals in addition to the towering glaciers and mind-boggling fjords.
12. Helicopter Glacier Landing
Helicopter tours definitely aren’t the cheapest option when it comes to experiencing the Kenai Fjords, but they offer tour guests views that boat tours just can’t.
This 45-minute tour departs from Seward and includes time over Kenai Fjords National Park, Resurrection Bay, and the Godwin Glacier.
For photographers, it’s in a class of its own, and leaves plenty of time for those who’d like to schedule a half-day boat tour later on.
Due to comfort and space issues, weight restrictions apply, and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
There’s also a minimum of two guests per booking, so find a friend before scheduling your tour.
13. Orca Quest Cruise
Nearly all cruise tours of the Kenai Fjords include both glacier and wildlife viewing, but this four-hour orca cruise is one of the few that focuses solely on killer whales.
The orca season generally lasts from May to June, and they’re often seen in Resurrection Bay.
Guests will not only have a high chance of seeing the majestic marine mammals, but hearing them as well through a hydrophone that clearly captures the clicks and chirps they use to communicate with one another.
Tours include narration from an experienced naturalist, who’ll explain their family structure, feeding habits, and seasonal migratory patterns.
14. Half-Day Whale Watch & Wildlife Cruise
This half-day whale and wildlife cruise generally lasts between three and four hours, and departs at 3 pm, making it a good option for those who’d like to take another tour in the morning.
The tour is capped at six guests, and though the boat is small, there’s heated indoor seating and restrooms.
The summer months in Alaska are when a variety of whale species are seen around Seward, and massive humpbacks are the most common.
Conditions can still be cold and rough, so it’s wise to wear warm layers, as the conditions can change on a dime.
Please note that the tour isn’t wheelchair accessible, but service animals are allowed.