If you have ever experienced a boat ride where mountains are bursting from the ground, water that is crisp and refreshing and while bald eagles soar above you then you know the feeling of being amazed and grateful!

Our family of five, with our children being of the ages of 7, 4, and 2, was able to experience a whale watching boat ride in the Kenai Fjords this past March. As residents of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in Alaska the drive to Seward, AK is about 2 ½ hours. We hopped in our little car and away we went…our adventure awaited!

If you are ever in Seward, there is a military hotel that you are able to stay at called the Seward Resort. The resort has various rustic lodging to fit various needs and I would recommend it since their rates are very reasonable. Seward is a very small town in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The living population is about 2,700 and was named after William H. Seward who was the U.S. Secretary of State under both Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. William H. Seward helped with the negotiation for America to acquire Alaska from Russia. Another fun fact is Mile 0 of the historic Iditarod Trail is located in Seward (you can see the picture of the marker that I took during our trip). 

While driving around Seward you can see fjords at various locations. Fjords are long, narrow inlets with steep cliffs that have been created by glacial erosion. We could see the sill (bedrock) at the mouth of the fjords which have been formed due to the previous glacier’s reduced erosion. How do I know this? Only because of our amazing tour guide during a whale watching cruise!

The gray whale watching cruise we took was one of the first of the season, so we knew the chances of actually spotted a gray whale was slim. That didn’t deter us from going though. Although our children are very young and the cruise was a total of a 3-hour round trip, our kids were entertained the entire time. YUP! You heard me right. Even our 2-year-old was enticed by the beauty of the Kenai Fjords. Everywhere you looked there are unique peaks and formations that create the breathtaking scenic beauty. We even saw several of the thirty-eight glaciers that feed into the park. The wildlife that we were able to experience during our adventure included: various sea birds, mountain goats, sea otter, bald eagles, a golden eagle and the infamous moose scat.

While you are in Seward you can experiences some of the local eateries that serve local, fresh fish. The Alaska SeaLife Center is another must see attraction. The ASC is a public aquarium that the little ones can enjoy seeing wildlife and enjoy a touch tank as well. If you ever able to make it to Seward, Alaska I promise you will NOT be disappointed. Kenai Fjords is a national park you don’t want to miss!

What will YOUR military family discover with Blue Star Parks?

By Janette Geasley, Alaska Volunteer Social Media Manager