36 Hours in Seward: Winter Fun for Families

winter ice skating in seward, ak

“Seward Second Saturdays” Launches This Weekend!

Winter transforms Seward from a bustling visitor hub to an oasis for Alaskans to play and recharge.

To celebrate this special season, we’re launching Seward Second Saturdays, a community-wide event scheduled for the weekends of Jan. 13, Feb. 10, Mar. 10, and Apr. 14. Enjoy quieter trails, fun activities and special discounts before the crowds return!

To help you make the most of your visit to our seaside town, we’ve developed the following itinerary for families looking for a weekend escape. 


Evening – A Night at the Movies

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

As you arrive in town, pick up a map of local businesses participating in Seward Second Saturdays from Harbor 360 Hotel or from your lodging provider (see more options below). 

Take advantage of a local secret: The Skip & Marie Fletcher Winter Movie Series shows popular second-run films at steep discounts each Friday at the Rae Marine Education Building auditorium (UAF Seward Marine Center at 3rd Ave between Washington & Railway). This Friday, Feb. 2, families can enjoy “Rudy” at 6 p.m. before “Dunkirk” hits the screen for adults at 8 p.m. Admission is $2 per person, per movie. Proceeds from this week’s (shockingly affordable!) concession sales benefit Seward Prevention Coalition.


Lace up your skates at Second Lake. Photo: Patrick Lewis 

Morning – Enjoy Your Own Winter Wonderland

Start your day with a hot breakfast at the Breeze, a family restaurant serving up American-style favorites. Feel free to sleep in; breakfast is served until 2 p.m. 

Next, lace up your ice skates, bundle up and head to Second Lake at Two Lakes Park. Seward Parks and Recreation uses an Ice Dragon—an Alaskan made, ice re-surfacing machine—to keep the ice in good condition for skating. There’s often a bonfire going near the shore to warm-up between pick-up hockey games. 

Please note: Relatively warm winter temperatures may result in unsafe conditions for ice skating. If in doubt, stay off the ice.

More comfortable in boots than skates? The short, gently rolling loop trail (0.7 mile) around the park is also a local favorite. 

Afternoon – Visit a Baby Beluga Before Stepping Back in Time

Warm up with homestyle macaroni and cheese at Alaska Seafood Grill across from Seward’s scenic small boat harbor.

You’ll be charmed by Tyonek, a young Beluga calf. Photo: Alaska SeaLife Center

A short one-mile drive will land you at the Alaska SeaLife Center, a world-class public aquarium and our state’s only permanent marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility. Experience hands-on exhibits and watch the sea lions, birds and otters play (Adult entrance $24.95, Children $12.95).

Take advantage of a rare opportunity to see a baby Beluga that was rescued from Cook Inlet last fall. Tyonek spends most of his time in an outdoor pool in public view, and interpretive staff are available to talk about the extensive care he receives. For a special treat, upgrade to an unforgettable behind-the-scenes tour of the Center ($74.95 per person).

You’ll find a wealth of historic artifacts inside this modern building. Photo: Seward Community Library & Museum

From the SeaLife Center, wander a couple blocks up Fourth Avenue to explore the historic downtown district. See if the kids can find the 100-year-old, brass cash register located in Seward’s oldest family-owned small business

Cap the afternoon with a visit to the Seward Community Museum (open 12-5 p.m.), featuring a well-curated collection of historical artifacts and photographs. Ask for the Museum Explorers Guide and scavenger hunt activity sheets at the front desk. Admission is free during the winter.

Evening – Go Greek

Apollo Restaurant offers kid-friendly pastas and pizzas that will satisfy even “selective” eaters. The ravioli is a hearty way to fill up after a busy day. 

Traveling with a teen? The Teen Rec Room ($5 admission) is open from 5-10 p.m. and offers music, ping pong, skee ball, computers, Xbox, Netflix, movies, snacks, pool tables, crafts and more. 


Morning – Slip Sliding Away

The Divide Ski Area at Mile 12 features nordic ski trails for all levels of experience. Photo: Seward City News

Fuel up with hot chocolate and bagels at Resurrect Art Coffeehouse (open at 8 a.m.). Kids can take in the birds-eye view from the loft while you browse local art and jewelry. If you need supplies to play in the snow—from hand warmers to trash compactor bags for impromptu sledding—the friendly folks at the Fish House can take care of you.

Look for bald eagles in the trees surrounding the lagoon as you head out of town. If conditions permit, some of the best sledding and nordic skiing around can be found at the Divide (Mile 12). The consistently groomed trails are ideal for skate skiing.* A map of local ski trails, courtesy of the Seward Nordic Ski Club, may help you find a new favorite ski spot as you head towards home. 


Enjoy views of the small boat harbor while soaking in the hot tub or swimming pool at Harbor 360 Hotel. Winter rates start at $89/night, including free breakfast. Mention Seward Second Saturdays when booking to receive 20% off your stay. 

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. During Second Saturday weekends, a one-night stay for two, including breakfast, is $80. 

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. Use code “SSS” when booking to receive 10% off your stay. 

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


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

Feature image: Local kids can turn just about any frozen surface into an ice rink. Photo by Heidi Zemach for Seward City News. 

Member Spotlight: Adventure 60 North

Q&A With Monica Cooper & Rick Brown of Adventure 60 North

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.

Whether you’re looking for half-day kayak trips, multi-day expeditions, ice hiking or gold panning, Adventure 60 North gives year-round visitors an experience to remember. Co-owners Monica Cooper and Rick Brown also provide rentals—from camping gear to satellite phones—for solo adventures into Kenai Fjords National Park.

We recently sat down with Monica to learn more about the journey she and Rick have taken as small business owners in Seward. 

Owners Monica Cooper and Rick Brown
Living the dream: Monica Cooper and Rick Brown have built a thriving adventure travel company. Photo Courtesy of Adventure 60 North.

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

We both came to Seward repeatedly on vacation and loved it. Rick moved here permanently in 2003 and I became a year-round resident in 2004. Rick started as a kayaking guide and then later hung his own shingle as Adventure 60 North. I found full-time work at the Seward Chamber of Commerce, and after a few subsequent jobs in marketing and tourism, I found my happy spot at Adventure 60 as general manager and eventually as co-owner with Rick.

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

The people, the place, mountains and ocean—what’s not to love?  We both love the outdoors and meeting all the folks that come to visit.

What makes your business special or unique? 

We are open year-round. Rick was always big proponent of winter tourism during my tenure at the Chamber. I told him he needed something for me to pitch, and the next thing I knew, he bought a snowcat. People thought it was crazy, but now we’re celebrating our sixth year of being open all year. Even though the snow isn’t what it used to be, we continue to adapt our services with the changing climate.

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

Our customer service. We go out of our way to take care of our customers. Sometimes that entails a 45-minute phone call about Seward, climate changeAlaska State Troopers, you name it. We never rush our conversations and make sure to give our clients our undivided attention.

Guests delight in discovering remote corners of Northwestern Fjord. Photo Courtesy of Adventure 60 North.

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

Making the decision to stay open year-round has been tough and not always profitable, but we both feel that Seward has a lot to offer in the off-season. Our payoff hasn’t always been in terms of money; it is awesome to see more owners joining us in offering year-round or extended shoulder season activities and services. The momentum created by the Seward Business Network is exciting and can only bring great things.

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

Hang in there. Things don’t develop overnight. Network, network, network. There is nothing better for you than to pound the pavement with cards in hand and introduce yourself to everyone. In this day and age, many think everything can be done online, but nothing beats meeting people in person and having a good old-fashioned talk. Be prepared to be married to your business, so make sure it is something you love. Passion for what you do and the desire to get up and do it over and over will carry you far.

How do you spend your free time?

We are both hands-on and always available at the shop. When we are able to carve out a little time, Rick heads to the Legion for steak night and I go foraging or bake something crazy.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Rick and I love to bond with our staff at the bonfire pit behind the shop. We’re a close-knit family.

Feature Image: The Adventure 60 North crew enjoys a sunny summer day. Photo Courtesy of Adventure 60 North.


For more information about Adventure 60 North, click here or call 907.224.2600. 

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

Member Spotlight: Seward Ocean Excursions

Q&A With Bixler McClure of Seward Ocean Excursions

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

Our series kicks off this week with Captain Bixler McClure, a fifth-generation Sewardite. With ample experience both on the water and under the water, he and his wife, Captain Krystin McClure started Seward Ocean Excursions to help visitors experience our beautiful region. Their year-round, boat-based adventures are the perfect platform for sightseeing, fishing, SCUBA diving, and custom trips

We recently sat down with Captain Bixler to learn more about his journey as a small business owner in Seward. 

Image of Captain Bixler on beach_Seward Ocean Excursions
What cold? Captain Bixler is known for wearing shorts year round.

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

We have lived in Seward since 2012, and Alaska since 2009. My grandma and mom were born in Seward. I had visited Alaska and Seward extensively all throughout my life, and after sharing the beauty of Alaska (and especially Seward) with my wife Krystin, it was an easy decision to make it our home.

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

Winter tours in Resurrection Bay! We love taking people out on the bay in the winter when no one else is out and sharing the beauty, wildlife, and tranquility with our guests. It is amazing to be out on the water with no one else around! We communicate with all of our guests to customize each trip.

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

Starting! We bought our boat and set everything up having no idea if the market was saturated, or if it would work out at all.

The starting of the business was a leap of faith. The business “went live” seven days after the birth of our son. That event—and the substantial work and investment to start it—was very questionable at first (especially at the time) but thankfully it all worked out!

Image of Missing Lynx_Seward Ocean Excursions
“Missing Lynx” is named for Bixler and Krystin’s son, who was born one week before they launched their business.

What is the best compliment that your business has received?

Many people have said things like, “This is the coolest thing I have ever done.” So many people are still in touch with us even way after their trip.

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

My mother, Sue McClure. After growing up in Seward, leaving, and retiring in California, she moved back here to be with family and be part of the community (City Council, choir, Borough Assembly, the list goes on). Many people here know me as “Sue’s son.”

Ed. note: Sue McClure was recently recognized for outstanding community service at the Seward Chamber of Commerce Community Awards. 

How do you spend your free time?

Any and all outdoor pursuits. Most of the time, this involves our boat, be it fishing, sightseeing, SCUBA diving, or hanging out. Even in the summer, after running trips for 12 hours straight, we often head back out on the boat on our own to go fishing or diving!

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

Anywhere on the ocean! Thumb Cove is one of our favorite places to hang out and explore.

Another favorite is Two Arm Bay in Kenai Fjords National Park. It is so remote and seldom-visited that you feel like you are the only people on the earth.

Feature image: Captain Bixler at the helm of his vessel, Missing Lynx. 


For more information about Seward Ocean Excursions, click here or call 907.599.0499. 

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


Winter Fun Awaits in Seward This Weekend!

Feature image by Luke Davis (@akdronepix)

Seward Second Saturdays Launches This Weekend!

To help you keep cabin fever at bay, the Seward Small Business Network is celebrating Second Saturdays this winter (January – April) with community-wide activities and special offers!

Seward is a haven of unique shops, art, food and quiet natural beauty during the winter. Whether you’re looking for family fun, a relaxing retreat or a bit of adventure, Second Saturdays offer the unique opportunity for Alaskans to come and explore our little town at the gateway of Kenai Fjords.

WHAT: Outdoor activities, live music, and special offers on shopping, dining and lodging!

WHEN: Weekends of January 12, February 10, March 10 and April 14. 

WHERE: All across town. Pick up a map of participating businesses at Harbor 360 Hotel on your way into town.

For more information, visit Seward Second Saturdays on Facebook!