July 21, 2015

Soggy Seward

Before deciding to boondock on Exit Glacier Road, we made a trip into Seward to have a quick look around.  We wanted to get a sense of the town and see if by chance any waterfront spaces might be available so late in the day.  Seward has set aside a large portion of its waterfront park for nearly 300 campsites, most of which are very close together.  Of course, the few sites directly on the water are the most popular, and all were full.  In fact, we saw very few empty spaces, period. 

Trying to Find a Campsite

Maybe because it was raining, or maybe because we were so overwhelmed by the number of RVs on the streets and in the waterfront campgrounds, but we did not have a great first impression of Seward.  We couldn’t even find a place to park to have dinner in town.  Options were limited to 30-minute, on-street parking spots or all-day lots for $10 since our small RV exceeded the 19-foot maximum for the three-hour lot.  We couldn’t wait to get out of town and back to our quite boondock spot.  On the way we found a place to eat where we had a delicious dinner.  The Salmon Bake Restaurant on Exit Glacier Road prepared the best salmon we’ve had since leaving Sitka.

We mostly stayed put in our boondock spot on Thursday.  It rained all day long, and not just the gentle rain that we’ve become accustomed to, but downpours.  Not a fun day to be sightseeing, so we only ventured out in the afternoon to visit the Alaska SeaLife Center.  This is a small, but very well done aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center that focuses on Alaska’s marine ecosystems.  It was great to have such a close-up view of the harbor seals and the Stellar sea lions, but our favorite stop was the aviary. 

Who's Steering that Boat?

You Can Watch Me Above the Water
Or Below

This Is a Better Show than TV

The “bird room” was filled with an assortment of sea birds, and of course puffins were the main attraction.  Watching their antics really put a smile on my face.  Tim and I just stood there and let them entertain us for a very long time.  I quickly gave up trying to take photographs of them and decided to simply enjoy the show.

Some of the other birds were just as delightful to watch, even when one unidentified bird tried to dive-bomb us!  However, it wasn’t until we went down to the first level and looked into the underwater tank that I got my biggest chuckle of the day.  If you think puffins are fun to watch on the water and in the air, just try observing them from under the water.  Their little web feet seem to move just as fast as their little wings when they try to fly.  The SeaLife Center is certainly worth a visit, even if it’s not a rainy day.

For an Extra Fee, You Can Feed the Birds

Stars of the Show

A Quite Place Away from the Crowds

By early the next morning we had to move from our boondock site.  The lack of sun had not been kind to our solar panels, and we had no choice but to find hookups.  So, into town we drove as it continued to rain.  There is only one section of the Seward waterfront park with hookups, so that’s where we headed.  Even though it was way before noon, the lot was crowded.  We had not expected to find a waterfront spot, so we were not terribly disappointed.  We were grateful for the one open site on the upper terrace, where we pulled in and hooked up.  We had a slim view of the water between the RVs in front of us.
We Settled for an Inland Campsite

I had fully expected to fall in love with Seward.  Everyone else seems to.  Maybe because we didn’t have a great first impression, or perhaps because the rain never seemed to let up, but the town never grew on me.  To me, there seems to be a real disconnect between the historic downtown and the harbor.  Normally, I’m drawn to the historic part of town, but in Seward we seemed to spend our time at the harbor.  It was even difficult to see the boats since a row of buildings stands between the street and the harbor.  I now especially appreciate the town plan in Valdez, since no buildings interfere with the harbor view.

Despite my criticism, Tim and I did enjoy our time in Seward.  We had a great dinner at Ray’s Waterfront Restaurant one night, and we were blessed with very nice neighbors on either side of us in the campground.  The rain mostly cleared out by Friday evening, and the light on the mountains across Resurrection Bay was beautiful.  If you can’t camp on the waterfront, you can walk along there on the very nice bike path.

A Bike Path Extends Along the Waterfront

Heading Back to the Harbor

Looking Across Resurrection Bay

A Nice Time for an Evening Sail

We also booked a cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park while we were in Seward, and that trip was wonderful.  I’ll tell you about that next time.


  1. I'm sorry Seward didn't click for you. I imagine it being the height of the season and all that rain worked against you. We were there at the end of the season. No motorhome; so we stayed at the military resort just outside of town. At least it wasn't all a total waste as you hinted.

    1. Our visit to Seward may not have started out on a positive note, but things did improve and we enjoyed our visit. I'm still glad we included it on our itinerary.

  2. I think you got dive bombed by the same bird we did! I think our impression of Seward was definitely influenced by our camp location - right next to the sealife center. It was pretty uncrowded down there and right next to old town. I probably wouldn't have cared much for it had I been up in the main campground - it seemed tight and busy. It would have been overwhelming after the beauty and quiet of Exit Glacier!

    1. That's too funny about the bird! It's true that our impressions of a place can be shaped by things like campsites and weather. It doesn't seem quite fair, but it's reality. We tried to get into your camp location, but it was full. Maybe next time.


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