Alaska’s coastal mountains and wild beauty are on full display in Kenai.
Few cities in Alaska give campers much bang for their buck as Kenai. As the biggest city on the Kenai Peninsula—a swath of land just south of Anchorage with a remarkable concentration of wildlife, glaciers, mountains, and parks—Kenai has ample services for summer or winter travelers, plus a fair number of campgrounds. This port city sits on the Cook Inlet and features marine wildlife watching (keep an eye out for whales, porpoises, seals, and seabirds), plus stellar views of Mount Redoubt and the rest of the Aleutian Range peaks. It’s also at the mouth of the Kenai River, a famous salmon fishing destination that draws anglers from around the world during summer runs. Red, pink, silver, and king salmon all run here, and local charters and outfitters abound to help visitors put a line in the water.
Just 30 minutes from Kenai, this charming beachfront park gives visitors a chance to explore the rugged beauty of the Alaska Coast in its natural state.
This wildlife refuge spans over 2 million acres of the central Kenai Peninsula. It features hiking trails into alpine and glacial regions, lakes and waterways for canoeing and kayaking, and the chance to spot Alaskan wildlife like moose, bears, and wolves. Popular sections of the refuge near Kenai include Skilak Lake and the surrounding hiking trail system.
June in Kenai promises warmer weather and as many as 19 hours of daylight, while July and August bring peak salmon runs and some of the year’s most dependable hiking weather. May is considered the early summer season in southern Alaska, with fewer crowds but heavy snowpack and colder weather. Winters are dark and frigid, but bring the chance to spot the northern lights.