Have you ever been so fascinated by a place you’ve visited that you’re already imagining the next trip out there before you’ve even left? That was the case for me with Alaska. I was blown away. I knew it would be an adventurous trip but I still didn’t know exactly what to expect until I got there. My expectations were so far exceeded by this great state which is why it makes me so happy and excited to create this travel guide for any of you who are thinking of visiting. Follow along for my recommendations on where to stay, what to eat, and what to do in beautiful Alaska.
Before I start, I want to mention that we went in late summer (last 8 days of August) so the weather was a mix of sunshine, overcast, and light rain, with overall mild temperatures. I also want to note that we only had so much time to explore, so these recs are based on two areas in AK: Seward and Girdwood. There were SO many more places we wanted to hit but it will have to wait for another trip!
Since we traveled during COVID I wanted to touch lightly on the travel requirements and overall situation. As of August 2020, all travelers to Alaska are required to provide a negative PCR COVID test taken within 72 hours of the flight. We were instructed to upload our lab results onto a specific portal and they checked each passenger when we landed in Anchorage. For people that missed the memo, they offer COVID tests at the airport, however they are quite expensive (around $250) and you are required to quarantine until the results come in. My advice is to check with all destinations you are traveling to in order to make sure you are prepared and have the necessary requirements.
Another major tip is to check with your airline (before you book) to see what their COVID precautions are. We flew American Airlines and we were pretty disappointed that they were not following social distancing on their flights. Both flights were packed and we would’ve preferred a flight that blocks the middle seats!
Let’s get started, shall we? 🙂
PLACES TO STAY
Salted Roots Cabins: If you’re looking for the perfect mix of luxury and down to earth, Salted Roots is definitely the place to check out! They have 2 glass-front A-frame cabins (that sleep up to 6) on their property located in beautiful Seward. Their photo-worthy cabin was the perfect refuge for our group of friends. We cooked dinners almost every night, went on beach walks, kayaked, and had bonfires on the beach out front. They also have a gorgeous tub so you can enjoy a nice hot bath after your long adventure days. Check them out here!
Yurts at Shearwater Cove: We so badly wanted to stay here for at least 1 night, however they are booked up until May 2021. They have nightly rentals for oceanfront glamping yurts in Resurrection Bay (in Seward). We’ve heard great things about this place and the pictures on their site show just how magical it is! Check them out here.
AirBnb: is always a good option if you’re traveling with a big group. We stayed at an Airbnb when we were in Girdwood and it was perfect.
WHERE TO EAT
The Cookery: Best restaurant in Seward for elevated, local cuisine. Order the oysters and mushroom toast to start!
Ray’s Waterfront: We went here for lunch on a rainy day and nibbled on warm crab dip and fried shrimp. So delicious!
Seward Brewing Co: Perfect place to stop for a beer and some apps.
Resurrection Cafe: The best coffee spot in town! They have an amazing London Fog latte with lavender.
Most of our breakfasts and dinners were made at the cabin since we had a full kitchen and fresh caught salmon. There is a Safeway in town that we grabbed groceries from throughout our stay 🙂
The Bake Shop: The cutest little bakery with it’s exterior and patio covered in colorful exotic flowers. Come here for breakfast before a long day fishing, hiking, or mountain biking. They have fresh cinnamon rolls, great omelettes, and tons more. They’re open for lunch and dinner too!
Jack Sprats: We ate here twice! They have a very diverse menu and a big outdoor patio with a welcoming vibe. Here I enjoyed a piping hot stone bowl of Bi Bim Bap and a cold beer, and a peanut noodle dish with a glass of wine. Mmmm 🙂
THINGS TO DO
You come to Alaska for the outdoorsy adventures and that’s exactly what you’ll get! Turns out the activities are endless, but here’s what we enjoyed doing on our trip!
Major Marine Tours: This glacier and wildlife cruise took us all over the Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay area and I couldn’t recommend it enough! A beautiful catamaran took us around the national park to see a pod of orcas, a breaching humpback whale, Stellar sea lions, seals, bald eagles, puffins, salmon, and more. One of the many highlights of the trip was floating by the active Aialik glacier and witnessing the patches of ice fall into the water. The sound was incredible. The captain and crew were amazing and made the experience that much better.
Kayak Adventures: We rented our kayaks from this spot and had a wonderful guided tour up the coast of Resurrection Bay. We beached the kayaks at a secluded beach and had a short walk to see a gorgeous waterfall. Definitely recommend a kayak session when in Alaska!
Alaska Surf Guides: Hands down our favorite day of the trip. We took the Milo surf boat out in search for some waves for the boys and paddle board spots for the girls. That day there wasn’t much swell, so the boys joined in on our paddle board sesh through Spire Cove. We suited up in thick wetsuits provided by the boat and took in all the beauty from the water. It was so incredible. After lunch we visited Bear Glacier and the boys were paddling through the ice. I’ll never forget this magical day!
We loved our beach walks, forests walks (bring bear spray!), and small hikes all around the Seward area. You’ll see TONS of different mushrooms and in certain places you can pick and eat blueberries fresh off the bush. In Girdwood, there’s a short hike called Virgin Creek Falls (pictured above) that looks straight out of a magical storybook. It’s a must!
Mountain biking: Girdwood is known for their mountain bike trails in the summer time, so we had to try it out! I’ve been mountain biking once before but this mountain was pretty intense! The views from the chairlift and the way down were absolutely breathtaking– but be careful of the sharp turns and slippery rocks, they might get ya like they got me 😉
Fishing: Unfortunately we did not get to experience a fishing day on this trip, but it was one of the top things that Rudy wanted to do. Cooper’s Landing was recommended to us as a great place to go fishing on the river. Next time we go, we’re goin’ fishin!
I think it’s safe to say we had a hell of a time. I can’t wait to go back! If you guys have any questions about our trip, leave them below! Thanks for visiting xx