Kenai, AK is known for having an amazing picturesque landscape, as well as holding the world record for salmon fishing. Must-see attractions include Crescent Lake and the Kenai River Estuary.
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Kenai Beach, more commonly called North Beach by its residents, is a popular place for people to spend the day in the sun. You can fish, swim, sunbathe, and have a good time with friends and family in this wide expanse of beach. There is designated parking for visitors, with the first hour offered at no charge. You’re able to get a parking pass from the attendant for the rest of the day. Additional amenities include trash-only dumpsters as well as restrooms for your convenience. Though there aren’t any restaurants established beside the beach, there are a number of food trucks that visit the area, which will allow you to try a range of delicious cuisine.
Kenai Ave, Kenai, AK 99611
2.Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center
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The Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is where you should start your adventure and exploration of this amazing city. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff mostly comprise people who are familiar with the area, many of which grew up there. What better people to get travel planning assistance from than those who have been exploring its beauty all their lives. They can help you identify things you can see and do based on your interests as well direct you in the local hotspots for fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, and more. Other services provided by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center include reservation assistance and emergency assistance.
11471 Kenai Spur Hwy, Kenai, AK 99611, Phone: 907-283-1991
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Referred to as Chunuk’tnu by the native Dena’ina people, Russian River starts from the Upper Russian Lake in the Kenai Mountains and makes its way all the way down to the town of Cooper Landing. The river is extremely famous for its fishing; its shallow depths offer many perfect spots to catch salmon, more commonly sockeye salmon and silver salmon. There are several tours provided by local companies which allow you to explore Russian River in detail, whether it be via a fishing expedition, hiking, or a scenic ride to Russian River Falls. Keep an eye out as there’s a high chance you’ll come across bears and other wildlife during your visit.
4.Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church
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Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church is a lovely Russian orthodox church that was founded in 1846. The structure itself was completed in 1896 and is the oldest-standing church of its kind in Alaska. Visitors from all over the world have come to visit the church, which has been added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is also recognized as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The church is now a member of the Orthodox Church in America Diocese of Alaska and conducts a vigil service once a week. In addition to the stunning architecture, visitors will also be able to see a rich collection of historic objects and icons.
1105 Mission Ave, Kenai, AK 99611
5.Russell Fishing Company
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The Russell Fishing Company is based in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, which houses the record-breaking Kenai River. The winding river, which is 82 miles long, is famed for its abundance of giant King Salmon as well as Coho Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Pink Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Grayling, and more. There are several yours to choose from based on what you’re looking to catch and where you want to explore; the Russell Fishing Company’s expert guides have been navigating those waters for most of the life and will ensure you have a fruitful trip. You are sure to experience one of the most memorable fishing expeditions of your life.
Kenai, AK, Phone: 907-398-0053
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Located in the heart of the Chigmit Mountains, Crescent Lake is one of the best places in Kenai to go fishing and to view the local wildlife. Each summer the lake is overrun with Silver Salmon and Sockeye Salmon, which attracts the local black bears to the shore; this allows you to fish and see the bears all at once. The wild location is spectacular, with its calm waters and panoramic views of snowcapped mountains. Since there are no developed trails or roads to get there, one of the most common ways to reach the lake is through a seaplane, so enjoy the eagle’s eye view of the site on your way there.
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If you’re planning a backpacking adventure through Alaska’s Last Frontier, there’s no better place to start than at Resurrection Pass Trail. The trail is approximately thirty-eight miles long and takes approximately three days to complete. There are several backcountry cabins which are spaced eleven to thirteen miles apart - just perfect for a day of hiking while stopping to enjoy your surroundings. The trail is open throughout the year with each season offering a different view of the vast backcountry. You don’t need a lot of experience as there’s a moderate level of difficulty but be sure to pack and plan accordingly.
8.Challenger Learning Center of Alaska
© Challenger Learning Center of Alaska
The Challenger Learning Center of Alaska is a part of a global network of Challenger Learning Centers which were established by the family members of the crew who lost their lives in the devastating Challenger incident. The center aims to promote the Challenger crew’s educational mission through programs and workshops that develop visiting youth’s interest in technology, science, math, and engineering. The space-themed simulated learning environment inspires students to grow an interest through these hands-on opportunities. It’s such an amazing place to tour and learn all about what the space centers and their trainings are actually like.
9711 Kenai Spur Hwy, Kenai, AK 99611, Phone: 907-283-2000
9.Kenai River Estuary
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An ornithology lover’s paradise, the Kenai River Estuary overlooks the grassland and harbor area of Kenai. Due to its wetland setting and its proximity to the river, a variety of bird species flock there between April and May - over 100 species have been logged already. During your visit there you’ll be able to see many notable species of birds such as bald eagles, the green-winged teal, sandhill cranes, and the short-eared owl. In addition to the birds, you’re bound to see schools of Pacific salmon swimming close to the top, harbor seals, coyote, moose, and occasionally, beluga whales.
10.ACE Fishing Adventures
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Aaron Cooper’s Extreme Fishing Adventures, popularly known as ACE Fishing Adventures, is one of the best companies to go on a fishing expedition with while in Kenai. The trusted guide service has been operating since 2004 and is conducted by professionals who know the area’s waterways inside and out. You’ll be sure to come across some of the largest King Salmon in the world, as well as Silver Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Dolly Vardon, and Rainbow Trout. Anglers will be excited at the prospect of this memorable experience, which they have at any time of the year with ACE Fishing.
115 Wooded Glen Ct, Kenai, AK 99611, Phone: 907-335-2248
© Veronica's Cafe
Veronica’s Cafe is a laid-back, relaxed location that is situated on the bluff in Old Town Kenai. It’s almost as if you’re there for a family reunion as everyone is so friendly and makes you feel comfortable from the minute you walk in. In addition to their variety of hot and cold drinks, Veronica’s Cafe also serves sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads, and desserts. The cozy coffee shop is a must-stop all year long, whether you’re sitting in the warm old house during a particularly cold winter night or whether you’re enjoying the outdoors on a sunny summer day.
604 Petersen Way, Kenai, AK 99611, Phone: 907-283-2725
12.Louie's Steak & Seafood
© Louie's Steak & Seafood
Known for their scrumptious food and friendly service, Louie’s Steak & Seafood has a varied menu but specialized in Alaskan seafood and steak. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is sure to have something to satisfy your cravings, no matter what you’re in the mood for. You can choose from one of their specialty steaks or try out their popular stuffed prawns topped with hollandaise sauce. One of the most unique aspects of dining there is their decor; while eating you’ll be able to view several unusual antiques as well as one of the largest collections of Alaskan trophy animals on their walls.
47 Spur View Dr, Kenai, AK 99611, Phone: 907-283-3660
13.The Flats Bistro
© The Flats Bistro
The Flats Bistro is owned and operated by the Thibodeaus, who were both born and raised on the Kenai Peninsula. It’s become a popular place in the community and provides delicious food that is prepared with fresh seafood and local produce. Their menu is so extensive and varied and they offer everything from bacon-wrapped dates and duck confit to shrimp curry and filet mignon. Their ‘build your own burger’ option is wildly popular and starts with a 7 oz. handmade burger that is ground in-house. While you’re dining there, be sure to enjoy the rotating display of live music as well as local art.
39847 Kalifornsky Beach Rd, Kenai, AK 99611, Phone: 907-335-1010
13 Best Things to Do in Kenai, Alaska
- Kenai Beach, Photo: Courtesy of alexandrumusuc - Fotolia.com
- Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Photo: Courtesy of BirgitKorber - Fotolia.com
- Russian River, Photo: Courtesy of Uwe Bergwitz - Fotolia.com
- Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church, Photo: Courtesy of Uwe Bergwitz - Fotolia.com
- Russell Fishing Company, Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Izzotti - Fotolia.com
- Crescent Lake, Photo: Courtesy of wildnerdpix - Fotolia.com
- Resurrection Pass, Photo: Courtesy of mtnmichelle - Fotolia.com
- Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, Photo: Challenger Learning Center of Alaska
- Kenai River Estuary, Photo: Courtesy of jayyuan - Fotolia.com
- ACE Fishing Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of Megan - Fotolia.com
- Veronica's Cafe, Photo: Veronica's Cafe
- Louie's Steak & Seafood, Photo: Louie's Steak & Seafood
- The Flats Bistro, Photo: The Flats Bistro
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of wildnerdpix - Fotolia.com