Mermaid Festival & Harbor Opening Weekend Schedule

Calling all mermaids and mermen!

The Seward Mermaid Festival & Harbor Opening Weekend is back! This is a FREE event featuring Alaska artists and makers, local food trucks, live music, costumes, maritime traditions, and more!

This weekend at a glance:

Friday, May 17: 
– Pirate & Mermaid Pub Crawl (starts at Chinook’s at 7 pm)
– Some festival vendors + food trucks in South Harbor lot (5-9 pm)

Saturday, May 18: 
– Festival vendors + food trucks open in South Harbor lot (10am-6pm)
– Live music (12-5pm)
– Military appreciation BBQ in the harbor plaza (12 pm)
– Blessing of the Fleet at the Mariners’ Memorial (4 pm)

Sunday, May 19: 
– Major Marine Tours Mermaid Cruise
– No festival vendors this day

All Weekend Long: Downtown & Harbor Merchant Crawl

Check out the festival website for more!

Member Spotlight: Orca Island Cabins

Q&A With Dennis and Susan Swiderski from Orca Island Cabins

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Orca Island Cabins operates an eco-friendly cabin rental business consisting of eight yurts on a private island and nearby mainland (connected by an 80 ft. footbridge).  Alaskans and visitors can overnight in a truly remote wilderness setting 9 miles from Seward in comfort and style. Accommodations consist of 20-foot-wide yurts each with an overhead skylight, fireplace, french doors, queen bed, futon, kitchen, private bathroom with shower and compost toilet and private deck with barbecue. Guests also routinely observe marine wildlife from their private decks, including Orca and Humpback whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, harbor porpoises and much more.
We recently sat down with Dennis and Susan to learn more about the journey their family has taken to build and share Orca Island Cabins.

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

We moved from Anchorage to Seward with our three young sons in 1996. Seward’s charm as small coastal town with picturesque landscapes and seascapes captured our hearts. The many recreational and business opportunities were appealing as well.

Dennis and Susan Swiderski love sharing Orca Island Cabins with visitors from all over the world. Photo Courtesy of OIC

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

Accommodation on a private island in a scenic  and protected cove is a special experience. It is through careful planning and design that we are able to offer comfort and warmth in well-appointed yurts overlooking the ocean and its marine wildlife. Also, our lodging guests also have unlimited access to watercraft like kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, row boats and fishing gear to use whenever they wish. Staying at Orca Island Cabins is an all-inclusive experience where lodging, wildlife viewing and recreational opportunities are enjoyed in one venue.
Our location in Humpy Cove, nine miles from Seward, offers unique adventures as well. A 30-minute paddle offers access to a popular salmon-spawning stream. A magnificent waterfall cascades into an elevated pond just above the stream. Another option, a one-hour hike from our property takes you up to a World War II bunker overlooking Resurrection Bay. More casual endeavors include tide pooling and wildlife viewing. Take a walk through the art gallery that display’s Susan’s artwork along with other local artisans. You might even find a guest or two in a yoga pose (yoga mats are available in the art gallery).
Take in stunning views of Humpy Cove and Resurrection Bay. Photo Courtesy of Orca Island Cabins.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

We are particularly proud of the personalized and family-oriented service we provide our guests. Several of our family members serve in various capacities from boat captain to resident artist to overnight presence on the island. We are a family business which takes pride in providing personalized attention to each guest – a service that our guests appreciate.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

Construction of comfortable, unique accommodations in a remote wilderness setting provided us many unique experiences. Our guests are surprised to learn: (a) it took 18 years to acquire the 3 separate acres (including the island); (b) the logistical difficulties in building each cabin; (c) the overall layout of the cabins was not predetermined, but simply evolved over time. Each cabin site and boardwalk access had to be closely evaluated since each was so challenging to build; (d) how difficult the design and construction was of the 80 ft. footbridge and (e) how we came up with such a unique lodging concept in such a unique setting.

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

Both the design and construction of the 80′ footbridge that connects the island with the mainland acreage constituted a great risk. Since the island could only support 3 cabins, we needed to access the mainland property in order to erect additional cabins and thereby maximize the use of our property. Now, we marvel at our ability to walk back and forth between the island and mainland property with ease. We are grateful for the possibilities that the bridge has afforded to expand our retreat.

Kayaking at Orca Island Cabins in scenic Humpy Cove on Resurrection Bay, 9 miles southeast of Seward, Alaska

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

At the conclusion of their stay, many of our guests appreciate us sharing our island and island accommodations with them and not building just a cabin for our exclusive use and enjoyment.

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

Prepare to develop over the long term with patience and planning. Also, it’s important to keep one’s expenses at a sufficiently low level.

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

We love Seward because of its coastal setting, friendly residents and the considerable community support we have received over the years.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

Dot Bardarson is a prominent local artist, community activist/volunteer and friend that we greatly admire.

An impressive footbridge allows easy access from the island to the mainland. Photo Courtesy of Orca Island Cabins

How do you spend your free time?

During the off-season we travel a lot, which is a high priority for us. Susan spends much of her free time painting on commission and for shows as well as creating artwork for the island’s art gallery. Dennis spends much of his time planning for the next season.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Fifth Avenue Fitness, a place to reduce weight and stress.

If your life was a book, what would the title be?

Cautious Thinking Outside The Box
There are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?
You’d find us cruising to the waters near and around Nuka Bay.
Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?
Further additions/improvements to Orca Island Cabins are coming soon and will be somewhat outside the box!
Feature Image: A stay at Orca Island Cabins offers guests stunning views of Humpy Cove not only from their private yurts, but also from the water. Photo Courtesy of Orca Island Cabins.


For more information about Orca Island Cabins or Susan Swiderski’s artwork call 907.362.9014.

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.

36 Hours in Seward: Treat Yourself or Someone Special


Quiet trails and special deals await in Seward this winter!

Winter transforms Seward from a bustling visitor hub to an oasis for Alaskans to play and recharge. To celebrate this special season, we’ve launched our Winter Weekends event series. Enjoy quieter trails, fun activities and special discounts before the crowds return!

For Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend, we’ve developed an itinerary for couples looking for a low-key, luxurious getaway or for individuals and friends looking to melt away stress and rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul.


Know Before You Go

Seward Highway is generally well maintained, but it’s always a good idea to check the travel conditions before you hit the road. Make sure your winter car emergency kit is well stocked before you leave home.

Click here for a schedule of events for the weekend of Feb. 15–18. We highly encourage booking spa services ahead of your trip for the best availability. 

Evening – Dinner on the Town

Kick-off your weekend escape with a meal that you won’t soon forget. Chef Kevin Lane sources local ingredients at The Cookery (209 5th Ave) to design creative dishes that capture the essence of Alaska. Fact: Foodies from around the state have been known to make a special trip to Seward just for dinner at the Cookery!

The Cookery, Seward Alaska, local food, Alaska produce
Whether it’s local seafood or Alaska grown produce, The Cookery’s inventive dishes never fail to impress. Photo courtesy of The Cookery.

Sip a glass of perfectly paired wine while waiting for your appetizer—the mushroom toast and brussels sprouts are local favorites—and take in local artwork. Dinner specials often highlight fresh seafood and other Alaskan delicacies. 

Between courses, check out incredible art by local artists Bethany WaggonerJustine Pechuzal and Marissa Amor. Your visit to this popular local eatery wouldn’t be complete without trying Chef Kevin’s cream cheese ice cream. Guild the lily by adding bacon. Yes, to your ice cream. Trust us on this. 

Looking to inject a bit of medieval fun into your evening? The Yukon Bar is hosting a Red Wedding-themed party that should appeal to Game of Thrones fans. 


Morning – Relax to the Max

First, make like a local and head to Resurrect Art Coffee House to enjoy a lovingly-made espresso or rejuvenating tea. Soak up the light streaming in through the historic windows—the building, formerly a church, celebrated its 100th birthday last year—and browse jewelry, ceramics, and other art made by Seward residents. 

Next, it’s time to treat yourself. The Retreat, Seward’s only full-service spa, offers indulgences from manicures to full-body massages. A relaxing Tulasara facial ($85, 60 minutes) will leave your skin hydrated and refreshed. Many of the facials and massages include complimentary use of the sauna to flush toxins and a shower to energize you before heading out into the world. 

Afternoon – Walk, Shop, Lunch

Resurrection Bay, Seward, Alaska
The shores of Resurrection Bay offer a relaxing retreat to rejuvenate your mind and soul. Photo: @behendrixson

Head to historic Fourth Avenue to browse the unique collection of shops in our downtown district. Brown and Hawkins Mercantile offers a selection of handcrafted goods and jewelry made in Alaska. Browse through items such as Tlingit Botanicals health and beauty products or Happy AK headbands in a setting reminiscent of the early 1900s.

Across the street is Seward’s oldest family-owned business, Urbach’s Clothier, which offers unique clothing lines and shoes for men, women, and children. Look for Winter Weekends deals inside, like 30% off select items. 

A few doors to the north, drop into Sew’n Bee Cozy to browse a variety of colorful textiles and enjoy 25% off all red, white and blue fabrics. 

Looking for a treat? Try Frontier Trading Post for practical gifts like JACARA therapeutic skin care, made right here in Seward! Chocolate lovers will appreciate the house-made delights at Sweet Darlings

Stretch your legs with a leisurely walk along the paved waterfront path. A short stroll downtown offers stunning views of the fjords and peek-a-boo vistas of Godwin Glacier across Resurrection Bay. Here, sea lions and seals spy on visitors near the shore and you’ll often find an otter munching on shellfish from the rocky bottom of the bay.

Wanting something more active? Adventure 60 North is offering a half-day sea kayaking trip to lovely Bridal Veil Falls for $138 per person. 

Whether you’re looking for a lighter lunch or something warm and comforting, you’ll find it at Woody’s Thai Restaurant. Named after the iconic SeaLife Center’s playful sea lion, Woody’s offers fresh, nourishing dishes of Southeast Asia. Start with some crisp summer rolls and share some local favorites like the Tom Yum Soup or Penang curry.

Evening – Get Artsy

Paint your heart out at Resurrect Art this weekend!

Dog Song Designs will be hosting Beluga Love Paint Night at Resurrect Art Coffee House & Art Gallery from 6-8:30 pm. 

After fishing your masterpiece, grab a bite to eat at one of Seward’s legendary family restaurants: Thorn’s Showcase Lounge (try the fried halibut) or Apollo Restaurant (known for hand-tossed pizzas and generous salads). 

Not quite ready to call it a night? Just down the block, Shawn LaRose will be playing live tunes at the Yukon Bar. The live show starts at 9 pm. No cover. 


Morning – Breakfast with Ms. Gene

Start off your day in Hotel Seward’s intimate Victorian lounge by ordering a signature Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce at Ms. Gene’s Place (221 5th Ave). With mimosa in hand, you’ll be transported back to Seward’s early beginnings while dining on Chef Aaron’s newly updated menu.

Before leaving town, take a scenic drive down Lowell Point Road. Walk the beach at the Lowell Point State Recreation Site and lose yourself in reflection before heading back to hustle and bustle of the city.


Enjoy views of the small boat harbor while soaking in the hot tub or swimming pool at Harbor 360 Hotel. Winter rates start at $119/night, including free breakfast. Inquire about Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend specials.

Kids of all ages will enjoy taking in the wildlife and history display at Hotel Seward. Located in the historic downtown district, you’ll be steps from many shops, the Alaska SeaLife Center, and the Seward Community Library & Museum

Watch eagles nesting in the lagoon from your room in the north addition of the Breeze Inn. Classic rooms are a good fit for budget-conscious travelers starting at $69/night. 

Looking for peace and quiet this weekend?  Serenity by the Sea and Miller’s Landing on scenic Lowell Point offer charming private cabins perfect for couples on a romantic getaway.

Rates listed are based on double occupancy and are subject to change. Contact the hotel directly to make your reservation.


Have a question about winter activities? Contact the Seward Chamber of Commerce at 907.224.8051. 

Visiting Seward with your family? Check out our 36 Hours in Seward: Winter Fun For Families.


Feature Image: Resurrection Bay painted with pastels soothes even the busiest of minds. Photo: @toneloke79

Woman Raises Nearly $250,000 for Polar Bear Jump to Fight Cancer

By Kat Sorensen

The article was first published by The Seward Sun on Jan. 25, 2019. It is reprinted here with permission. 

More than 20 years ago, Christy Hill of Homer set off for Girdwood’s Slush Cup but encountered a few problems.

She was months early. And she went to the wrong town.

Hill and a friend found themselves standing along the ramps of the Seward Harbor watching as costumed men and women jumped into the frigid waters of Resurrection Bay.

“We were watching along the ramps and our pants were freezing to our legs, we were freezing,” Hill said. “We thought ‘this is not what we thought it would be at all, but this is fun.’”

As soon as Hill finished the drive back from Seward to Homer, she started fundraising for next year’s event and has been involved in the Seward Polar Bear Jump ever since. Her first jump was in 1999, and this year she’ll be celebrating her 20th year as a plunger.

“My mom is a cancer survivor so when I saw the event, I thought I might as well try it,” she said. “That first year, we all sat on our boat waiting our turn and I was kind of nervous.”

As those torturous moments ticked off, it didn’t help that a diver on hand to assist plungers developed a leg cramp.

“I told my dad, ‘nope, not doing it. No way.’ But the diver got back in the water and so I did it. I jumped,” Hill said. “It was scary, but much less painful and traumatic than anything the cancer patients are going through.”

This year, Hill said she has a longer list of people she’s jumping for including her husband’s adoptive and biological fathers. 

“They both passed away in less of a month of each other,” she said. “That’s a big drive for me. Another friend of mine got cancer last year and is doing great. He is cancer free and back home living his best life … That’s huge of me to see. I want to help find a cure and help families that can’t afford to help themselves.”

The Seward Polar Bear Jump was first held in 1986 and is an opportunity to honor cancer survivors, raise awareness about reducing cancer risk and to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Fundraisers work all year to raise funds, culminating in a quick jump into the bay on the third Saturday of January. 

This year’s jump on Jan. 26 is surrounded by a weekend of fun and festivities throughout Seward. The main event, the jump, starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Seward Harbor on Saturday.

Jumpers dress up in costumes of all types, and after 20 years Hill’s costume closet has grown to include a Gumby costume, a flirty sailor uniform and more. Her fundraising total has been growing over those 20 years too. 

“I’ve been raising money every year. The first year, I raised $1,055 but was in tenth place for fundraisers,” she said. “I’ve been raising more money every year and I’m close to $250,000.”

Hill has had some donors that have been supporting her every year, including Dr. Sue Polis of Homer, Deb Leisek of Bay Realty in Homer and the American Legion. 

This year, Hill has raised about $5,000. She said she’s excited to see some of her fellow jumpers and spend the weekend partaking in the fun activities in Seward. She’s happy, though, that the weather isn’t too frigid.

“The absolute scariest year was the time it was 27 below zero with wind chill,” she said. “It was so cold, the water was in the mid 30s and I made the mistake of wearing a hoodie. When I got out it pretty much froze to my body. It took a long time to get my clothes off after because it was so heavy.”

For Saturday’s jump, Weather Underground is calling for a balmy 35 degrees with a water temperature at about 43 degrees.

“I love doing it, it’s fun,” Hill said. “People tell me I’m crazy, but what else am I going to do to release the winter blues?”

For those looking to shake off the winter blues with this weekend’s festivities throughout Seward a full schedule can on Facebook at Polar Bear Jumpoff Festival.

Read more local news and events on the horizon The Seward Sun

Seward Polar Bear Jump Festival + Winter Weekends Launch

Join us January 25–27 for a weekend full of winter family fun! In addition to the 34th Seward Polar Bear Jump, we’ve got live music, outdoor recreation, lodging specials, and a variety of community events to enjoy. 

Schedule of Events

Friday, January 25
7:00 PM
Polar Bear Pool Tournament Fundraiser at the Breeze Inn Lounge ($20 entry)
303 North Harbor Dr. 
7:30 PM
Polar Bear Jump auction at Tony’s Bar (benefits the American Cancer Society)
135 Fourth Ave.
9:30 PM
Blackwater Railroad live at the Seward Alehouse
215 Fourth Ave. 
Saturday, January 26
11:30 AM
Polar Bear Jump Parade
Start at 5th & Jefferson; main route is along 4th Ave towards the harbor
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
301 Railway Ave.
12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Kids’ Winter Carnival at AVTEC gym, hosted by Seward Parks & Recreation (Kids 8 and under)
519 Fourth Ave. 
5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Oyster Fest at the Breeze Inn
303 North Harbor Dr.
8:30 PM
Karaoke at the American Legion
402 Fifth Ave. 
Sunday, January 27
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Locks for Love hair donation at the Breeze Inn Motel lobby
303 North Harbor Dr.

2019 Signature Events Logo Contests

The Seward Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the logo contests for our 2019 signature events:

92nd Running of the Mount Marathon Race

64th Annual Seward Silver Salmon Derby

13th Annual Seward Halibut Tournament

Designing a logo is a great way to be associated with some of the most iconic events in Alaska! Winning designs will be widely promoted and used for event brochures, web/social media content, t-shirts, and more. 

Each event will be holding its own separate logo contests with varying rules and regulations. Read on to find out how to enter and win!

How to Enter 

Important dates for all three contests:

  • The contest begins on December 4th, 2018
  • Submissions will be accepted through January 31, 2019
  • Winners will be announced in mid-February via email,, and the Seward Chamber of Commerce’s social media channels

In order for your entry to be submitted and reviewed by our judges, all entries must be:

  • Submitted directly to Elizabeth Hashem at
  • Submitted in their original source file (a scalable, vector format such as .ai or .eps).
  • Submitted as a high resolution .pdf with 300 dpi or higher.

Logo Requirements

Mount Marathon Race

  • Theme: To best convey the unique nature of the Mount Marathon Race, the logo design must include a mountain theme. 
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Mount Marathon Race 2019
    • 92nd Running
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.
  • To see logos from previous years, visit the Mount Marathon Race Website

Silver Salmon Derby

  • Theme: To best convey the nature of the Silver Salmon Derby, the logo design must include a fisheries theme.
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Seward Silver Salmon Derby 
    • 64th Annual
    • August 10th-18th 2019
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.

Halibut Tournament

  • Theme: To best convey the nature of the Halibut Tournament, the logo design must include a fisheries theme.
  • Language: The design MUST include the following words or phrases:
    • Seward Halibut Tournament 
    • 13th Annual
    • June 2019
    • Seward, Alaska
  • Color: The design may include a maximum of four colors. There are no limitations on the specific colors. The logo must look professional in color and black and white.
  • Integrity: Logos cannot contain copyrighted material. Logos must have been created and edited by the contestant(s). Logos may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published. Must be easily reproducible and scalable for large and small formatting.

Contest Details

  • One winning logo design will be selected for each contest.
  • Contestants agree that the Seward Chamber of Commerce may publish their logo and name(s) and may use both for advertising campaigns and/or marketing materials in the future.
  • Contestants assign all ownership rights, including all intellectual property rights to the logo, to the Seward Chamber of Commerce.
  • The Seward Chamber of Commerce may alter, modify or revise the winning logo as necessary for its intended use.
  • The Seward Chamber of Commerce reserves the right to not select a winner if, in its sole discretion, no suitable entries are received.  

Prize: The winning designer of each contest will receive $200!

Deadline: Thursday, January 31 at 11:59 pm AK.

Contact Elizabeth Hashem at the Seward Chamber of Commerce with any questions: 907.224.8051 or

Shop Local on Saturday, Nov. 24!

Kick off the holiday season by showing some love to Seward’s local businesses! Join us as we celebrate Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24. 

Start at our welcome station for free swag!

Start your day at our welcome station inside Sweet Darlings (205 Fourth Ave) from 10 am – 2 pm. Order a warm drink, sample their new beverages on tap, and pick up a free canvas tote bag (available to the first 200 shoppers). Then grab a Shop Small bingo card—enter to win great prizes by visiting participating businesses—and head out to shop!

Participating stores and restaurants will be ready with a variety of special treats and discounts. You’ll find sweet deals all across town, from our historic downtown to the harbor and beyond!  

Enjoy special promotions from the following small businesses.


A Flyin’ Skein 
20% off storewide. Open 11 am–6 pm. 

Alaska SeaLife Center
10% off reusable water bottles. Open 12–5 pm.

Brown & Hawkins Mercantile 
50% off select items. Santa pictures with SOS Pets from 11-4. Rise bAKed goods. Free tea, cider, and butter cookies all day. Open 9 am–7 pm. 

Frontier Trading Post
Free 12 oz latte with $50 or greater purchase. Open 9 am–5 pm.

Ranting Raven Gallery
Closeout sale on clothing and select jewelry. Open 10 am–6 pm.

Resurrect Art Coffee House
25% off Rez Art merchandise (hydroflasks, hoodies, ceramic mugs). Open 7 am–5 pm.

Sew’n Bee Cozy 
25% off all regular price fabrics. 10% off clearance. Open 10 am–6 pm.

Sweet Darlings
Buy two, get one half-off packaged items (popcorn, fudge, peanut brittle, bark, and taffy). Open 10 am–6 pm.

The Retreat Day Spa & Salon
20% off all retail. Open 10 am–5 pm.

50% off all dresses and coats. Open 10 am–4 pm.

30% off storewide. Open 9 am–6 pm.


Breeze Inn
Kids 12 and under eat free. 10% off stays booked on Small Business Saturday. Open 7 am–10 pm.

$5 appetizer special. Open 12–9 pm.

Harbor 360 Hotel Gift Shop
$2 coffee drinks of any size. Buy one get one free keychains and 5×7″ stickers. Buy one get one free $10 t-shirt bin. Open 24/7. 


LuLaRoe Amanda Hughes
Open House from 10am-2pm at 33194 Peace Avenue
Gift Boxes for the first 20 customers! All leggings are buy 3 get 1 free. 40-60% off select items. Door prizes, coffee, cocoa, and yummy treats!


Ascent Wellness Alaska
15% all wellness services booked on Small Business Saturday. Book by calling at 907.500.8415.

Seward Ocean Excursions 
15% all trips booked on Small Business Saturday. Book by calling at 907.599.0499. 


If you’re a business with a question about participating, please contact Elizabeth Hashem at the Seward Chamber of Commerce: or 907-224-8051.

Seward Tops List of “Most Instagram-Worthy Destinations” in the U.S.

Seward is a photographer’s dream, with towering fjords, dramatic glaciers, rugged coastline and incredible wildlife. So we were thrilled (but not surprised) to see our coastal town top this recent list of the “8 Most Instagram-Worthy Destinations in the United States.”

The scenery surrounding Seward is so stunning it doesn’t seem real. But, oh, it’s as real as ever. Located on a fjord of the Gulf of Alaska called Resurrection Bay, this city is one of the most beautiful in America and was made for Instagram. Have your camera at the ready when you hike through the thick forests of Two Lakes Trail. Trade the woods for the water with a day tour of the gulf, courtesy of Alaska Dream Charters (look out for orcas). If boats aren’t your thing, hop in the car and drive the Kenai Peninsula via Alaska Route 1.

Check out the full list here. Thanks to for the recognition! 

Feature image: Joel Krahn


Join Us For The Seward Music and Arts Festival Oct. 5th-7th!

We are delighted to welcome back the Seward Music and Arts Festival! A favorite celebration of music, creativity, and community returns October 5th-7th. Great tunes, tasty local food, family activities, and artisan craft vendors all come together for the perfect showcase of this seaside town’s deep love of the arts. 

SMAF logo design by artist Rob Ammerman

Now Playing!

This festival is known for an eclectic lineup that has entertainers from a wide variety of genres. There is sure to be something to get everyone dancing, no matter your taste!

Seward band Blackwater Railroad owning the stage at SMAF 2017. Photo credit: @flynnfotography

SMAF begins the evening of Friday, October 5th at 5pm with a dedication to Rockwell Kent, the artist who inspired the “Wilderness” theme of this year’s festival. Following that, the show begins! 

Over the full weekend more than 20 music and performance artists will take the stage. Prepare yourself for some mesmerizing dance moves, enchanting costumes, and immersive art. Get your dancing shoes ready for swingin’ jazz and foot-stompin’ folk. Sweet bluegrass tunes will be mixed in with psychedelic jams, funk, and alternative rock. We are not kidding when we say there is something for everyone – you might even discover a new favorite!

Music will go on late into the evening on Friday and Saturday night with the final artists starting their sets after 11pm. On Sunday the final act goes on at 4, closing out the festival. For a detailed list of artists and set times, check out the SMAF website here.

More than Great Music

Wondering what to do in between sets? SMAF offers a great variety of activities for the whole family:

  • Treat your taste buds to some festival fare including decadent smoked fish spreads, fresh baked goods, mouthwatering spinach bread, and gourmet crepes – just a few of the many delectable options!

    A potential offering by Le Barn Apetit Creperie!
  • After sampling a tasty treat, enjoy a cold brew or glass of wine in the beer garden
  • Check out handmade pottery, jewelry, skincare, fine art, tie dye, and more as you browse the wares of Alaskan artists and artisan craft vendors
  • Get a henna (temporary!) tattoo from the henna artist booth 
  • Visit the Kid’s Area for a fun open play place where the kids can get in the creative spirit. On Saturday the space will be hosted by the Boys & Girls Club with art supplies and additional activities!

SMAF Train – Arrive in Style

The Alaska Railroad is currently offering a can’t-miss package for round-trip travel to SMAF. Departing from Anchorage in the morning, you’ll arrive in Seward just in time for the beginning of the festivities on Saturday. After a full weekend, you’ll head back to Anchorage late Sunday afternoon. 

Not only will you get treated to the gorgeous fall views of the Kenai Peninsula, you’ll have on board entertainment on both legs of your journey. With her breathtaking vocals, Emma Hill will get you feeling inspired to have a weekend filled with amazing performances. On the way back up to Anchorage, Syran will end your Sunday with a unique blend of folk/rock paired with heartfelt lyrics. 

The ticket price of $125 includes your round-trip fare, live music on the train, and entry to the festival on Saturday and Sunday. Besides that, you’ll benefit from free shuttle service around Seward for the weekend along with free Alaska Railroad depot parking. 

This is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up! Book your train tickets here.

Catch fall views like this on the SMAF train! Photo credit: Alaska Railroad

Maximize Your Visit!

Seward is one of the greatest playgrounds Alaska has to offer – you’ll want to take full advantage of this incredible place while you’re here for the weekend. If you need a little change of pace from festival festivities, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you:

  • First things first – energize your morning with an expertly poured cup of coffee from Resurrect Art Coffee House or Frontier Trading Post
  • Fuel up with a hearty breakfast from The Smokeshack or The Breeze Inn
  • Take a scenic cruise in Resurrection Bay! Major Marine Tours is offering a 20% discount for SMAF attendees on their 3.5 hour Wildlife Cruise 
  • Get up close and personal with local wildlife at the Alaska SeaLife Center
  • Walk our Historic Downtown District to visit local shops and galleries
  • The waterfront bike/walking path is a wonderful way to stretch your legs! Watch for wildlife and look for the glaciers peeking out of the mountains

October is a beautiful time of year to find yourself in Seward. Our Music and Arts Festival is such a lively celebration of the creativity that makes this community shine. We hope to see you there!

Join us for the Silver Salmon Derby Aug. 11-19!

The Silvers Are Back!

We’re thrilled to announce that the silver salmon have returned to Resurrection Bay, just in time for the 63rd annual Silver Salmon Derby! This year the Derby begins Saturday, Aug. 11 at 6 am, and runs until Sunday, Aug. 19 at noon. 

Anglers are reporting taking limits both in the outer islands of the bay, and the fishing spots closer to the head of the bay. Across the board, we’re hearing that this year’s returning class is full of big coho! There are plenty of fish to go around, so don’t miss your chance to land some fresh, bright silver salmon! 

Many Ways to Win

We’ve got loads of prizes, including tagged fish (up to $50,000 cash!), prizes for the top 20 heaviest fish overall (up to $10,00 cash!), daily prizes for heaviest fish and random weights, and more! 

Proceeds from the fish buy-back program support our smolt rearing program, in partnership with Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. 

Ticket Info

Daily tickets are $10, or fish all nine days for $50. Purchase your tickets at the Derby booth (across from the Harbormaster’s office near B dock) or The Fish House (1303 Fourth Ave). 

Special thanks to our most generous partners for making this great summer tradition possible!

Visit for more info on rules, prizes, and partners.

Follow us on Facebook for daily fishing updates and photos!

Fish on!