Prince William Sound and Kenai Peninsula (Region 2)
Kenai Peninsula is a picturesque landmass jutting from Alaska’s south-central coastline. Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, is just a stone’s throw away, but the residents of the peninsula enjoy life at a much slower pace. With its unspoiled natural parklands, abundant wildlife, and warm hospitality, a stay on Kenai Peninsula is ideal for travelers keen to venture off the traditional Alaskan cruise ship path.
Kenai Peninsula is surrounded by some of Alaska’s most beautiful waterways. Cook Inlet is to the west, while Prince William Sound lies to the east. These waters are a haven to the region’s wildlife, including migrating birds, humpback and orca whales, harbor seals, sea otters, and more. A day cruise from the mainland is a great way to see these animals at play, and the region’s calving glaciers.
Kenai Peninsula’s wildlife isn’t restricted to the great outdoors either. It’s not uncommon to spot a moose, black or brown bear, or a Dall sheep strolling around town. It can be a bit unnerving for tourists to spot wild animals in an urban environment, but it’s important to keep your cool. If you don’t bother them, these creatures won’t bother you.
Kenai’s towns, including Kenai, Homer, Seward, Valdez, and Cordova, are some of Alaska’s most important fishing ports. Amateur anglers look forward to the region’s excellent salmon, rockfish, and halibut fishing during summer. When these migrating fish arrive, so do several opportunities for seasonal travelers. Lucky young people could find themselves working as a guide on a fishing charter boat, or as a deckhand on a commercial rig. Less glamorous opportunities also exist in Kenai Peninsula’s seafood processing plants.
Fishing is the backbone of Kenai Peninsula, but it’s not its only industry.
Tourism is also big business and local lodges and hotels are often on the lookout for willing workers. Kitchen staff, hosts and hostesses, housekeepers, and maintenance staff don’t have the most exciting work, but the perk of free accommodation in many cases is very alluring.
If you’re not lucky enough to find a free place to stay, Kenai Peninsula has you covered. RV parks and campgrounds are popular with visitors keen to commune with nature and save some cash. Unsuspecting travelers often assume that Kenai Peninsula’s boutique motels and bed and breakfasts will provide a more pampered stay, but they can be quite modest by big city standards. Shared bathrooms are common, while Internet connections and even televisions are less so. If these features matter to you, it’s wise to do your research.
This back to basics approach continues throughout the Kenai Peninsula region. Its people have little time for airs and graces, so there’s no need to dress up for dinner. Restaurant staff will care more about your manners than those hiking clothes you’re still wearing!
While major cruise lines make limited stops to the Kenai Peninsula, its towns are still very accessible. Alaska Airlines and the smaller regional carrier EVA Aviation make regular flights to Kenai Peninsula’s major towns. The Alaska Marine Highway, which is really a ferry system, also connects the peninsula’s towns. Visitors who value the experience of the journey, and their budget, can also travel between many of Kenai Peninsula towns via the scenic Seward and Sterling Highways.