Hotel at a Glance: A Swan Nest Inn
Handcrafted Alaskan birch and spruce furniture and local artwork give the rooms at A Swan Nest Inn a rustic vibe. Each unit also contains a loft with extra beds, perfect for children or trapeze artists who prefer to be closer to the ceiling. Next door, a three-bedroom townhouse features a full kitchen, front deck with hot tub, and unobstructed views of Resurrection Bay, where sea lions and otters can often be seen at play.
- Distance from downtown: 0.25 mile
- Breakfast pastries: Included with all standard rooms (upgrade to a full breakfast for $7.50 per person)
- Room with a view: The breakfast room at A Swan Nest Inn overlooks Resurrection Bay and has a wood-burning stove.
- Local wildlife: Spot humpback whales, harbor seals, and bald eagles on a three-hour tour of Resurrection Bay.
Seward, Alaska: Harbor Town at the Start of the Iditarod Trail
It's not uncommon to see local fishermen with 400-pound halibut or stringers of silver salmon at fish-cleaning stations in Seward. The harbor town, which sits at the northern tip of Resurrection Bay in Kenai Fjords National Park, is surrounded by a bounty of wildlife; take a harbor cruise in the summer, and you'll likely spot humpback whales, harbor seals, and dolphins. Moose, black and brown bears, and mountain goats are year-round residents of the park's glaciers and fjords.
The Iditarod Trail begins in Seward and runs more than 1,000 miles to the northwest. The actual race takes place in March, but visitors can take dogsled rides along the trail all year long.
In the 1800s, Seward was an important fur trapping and gold mining city and a transportation hub, earning the nickname "Gateway to Alaska." You can learn more about the town's past at the history museum, which is open daily in the summer. There are also plenty of restaurants, art galleries, and shops lining the small downtown area.