Kenai Alaska Travel Guide

Located just south of Anchorage, nothing about the Kenai is formal or stuffy. In fact, no other destination offers such an up close and personal Alaskan experience. That’s why they are known as Alaska’s Playground.

The Kenai Peninsula offers some of the most accessible wilderness adventures in Alaska. There are multi-day hikes through the snow-capped Kenai Kenai Alaska, Alaska Beaches, things to do in Kenai, best hotels in Kenai, best restaurants in Kenai, Kenai Alaska Travel GuideMountains and mind-blowing paddles through glaciated fjords. You’ll camp on never-seen-before lost coves in remote corners of Kenai Fjords National Park and Kachemak Bay State Park, and battle some of the biggest fish around. And in every forgotten corner you’ll be close to the natural world, the mountains, the lakes, the rivers and the people that make Alaska wild.

Approximately the size of Belgium, the peninsula is a top pick for first-time Alaska explorers. The eastern peninsula is dominated by large ice fields, the jutting Kenai Mountains and the icy waters of Resurrection Bay. To the west it flattens out, with rolling hills, large lakes and a long coastline.  Our Kenai Alaska Travel Guide has everything you need to start planning your Kenai Alaska vacation.  Also visit more great Alaska beach locations by <<Clicking Here.>>   Need to know what to pack for your Alaskan Vacation?  << Click Here >>

Kenai Weather (When to Visit)

Average temperatures in Kenai Peninsula vary greatly. Considering humidity, temperatures feel cold for most of the year with a chance of rain or snow throughout most of the year. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Kenai Peninsula, the hottest months are June, July, and August.  The warmest time of year is generally mid July where highs are regularly around 65°F with temperatures rarely dropping below 50°F at night.  Spring (March – May) have average temperatures between 58°F and 34°F with warmer temperatures in the later months. Rain is somewhat common with 5 to 8 days of significant precipitation per month. Fall (September  – November) temperatures range from 59°F and 33°F, which will feel chilly given the humidity and wind. Tourism is the slowest during these months due to the weather, so hotels may be affordably priced.  Weather is far too cold December – February in Kenai Peninsula to be enjoyable for warm weather travelers. The average high during this season is between 36°F and 29°F.

Kenai Area Attractions

Kenai Beach, Kenai Alaska, Alaska Beaches, things to do in Kenai, best hotels in Kenai, best restaurants in Kenai, Kenai Alaska Travel GuideKenai Beach

Down below the bluffs is an oddity in Alaska: a sweeping, sandy beach, ideal for picnicking, Frisbee-chucking and other waterfront fun. There are stellar views of the volcanoes across the inlet, and from July 10 to 31 you can watch hundreds of frantic fishers dip-net for sockeye salmon at the mouth of the Kenai River.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters & Visitors Center, Kenai Alaska, Alaska Beaches, things to do in Kenai, best hotels in Kenai, best restaurants in Kenai, Kenai Alaska Travel GuideKenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters & Visitor Center

Opposite Kalifornsky Beach Rd near the Kenai River is the junction with Funny River Rd. Follow signs to Ski Hill Rd, following it for a mile to reach this excellent, kid-friendly information center that has an exhibit hall, bookstore and 2.2 miles of trails that wrap around the nearby lake.  There are displays on the life cycles of salmon, daily wildlife films and naturalist-led outdoor programs.

Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center, Kenai Alaska, Alaska Beaches, things to do in Kenai, best hotels in Kenai, best restaurants in Kenai, Kenai Alaska Travel GuideKenai Visitors & Cultural Center

This excellent visitors center is among Kenai’s main attractions. The museum features historical exhibits on the city’s Russian heritage, offshore drilling and a room full of stuffed wildlife staring down from the rafters. It also has quality Alaska Native art from around the state. Free movies about the city’s strange history are screened.

Captain Cook State Recreation Center, Kenai Alaska, Alaska Beaches, things to do in Kenai, best hotels in Kenai, best restaurants in Kenai, Kenai Alaska Travel GuideCaptain Cook State Recreation Center

The area offers swimming, camping and the beauty of the inlet in a setting that is unaffected by the stampede for salmon to the south.  The Kenai Spur Hwy ends in the park after first passing Stormy Lake, where you’ll find a bathhouse and a swimming area along the water’s edge. Discovery Campground has 53 sites on the bluff overlooking Cook Inlet, where some of the world’s greatest tides ebb and flow. The fishing in Swanson River is great, and this is a fine place to end the Swan Lake canoe route.

Kasilof Beach, Kenai Alaska, Alaska Beaches, things to do in Kenai, best hotels in Kenai, best restaurants in Kenai, Kenai Alaska Travel GuideKasilof Beach

You’ll either enjoy a peaceful walk through a secluded and beautiful estuary ripe with bird life—or have a ringside seat at the annual salmon dip netting extravaganza, featuring hordes of crazed locals armed with 10-foot poles. The beach road emerges from the forest at a river-mouth lined by dunes, tidally influenced beach, an estuary and broad salt marsh. The woods to the north and south offer a chance to view bald eagles and moose. Several distinct habitats occur within a few hundred yards of the river mouth due to the dramatic change with each tide.The mouth of the Kasilof River was once used by Dena’ina Natives to gather and dry salmon.

Best Kenai Tours & Activities by Viator – Tours, sightseeing tours, activities & things to do

Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise from Seward

Watch the Alaskan wilderness awaken on this 6-hour morning cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward. Aboard a warm and spacious vessel customized for comfort, cruise past alpine and tidewater glaciers among the fjords and take in a bounty of wildlife sightings, including whales, sea lions and birds. Enjoy a delicious lunch on board, and visit the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge for great views of seabird rookeries. Don’t miss one of Alaska’s most popular wildlife and glacier cruises!  Learn more about the Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise.

Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise with Optional Buffet Lunch

Explore the pristine waters of Resurrection Bay on this Kenai Fjords cruise. Travel along the rugged coastline and admire alpine glaciers nestled high in the mountains. Snap plenty of memorable photos as you sail past Bear Glacier and stop close to sea lion colonies and seabird rookeries. Along the way, keep watch for whales, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, eagles and mountain goats. Enhance your maritime journey with an upgrade to enjoy an Alaska salmon and prime rib buffet, served onboard while you cruise.  Learn more about the Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise w/Optional Buffet Lunch.

Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay Half-Day Cruise

Treat yourself to an abundance of wildlife viewing with this 3.5-hour Kenai Fjords cruise in Resurrection Bay from Seward Harbor. Travel 55 miles (round-trip) along a rugged coastline and snap plenty of memorable photos as you sail past Bear Glacier. Sail close to sea lion colonies and seabird rookeries, and keep your eyes peeled for whales, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, eagles and mountain goats.  Learn more about the Kenai Fjords & Resurrection Bay Half-Day Cruise.

Half-Day Fishing Trip on the Kenai River

There are so many beautiful areas of Alaska to explore while you’re visiting, but the Kenai River is a must-see. This fishing trip along the river takes you into permitted areas near the Chugach National Forest for stunning sights as you work alongside a fisherman that gives tips to people of all fishing levels. Plus, all your fly or spin fishing equipment is provided for the day, and your biggest catch is cleaned for you.  Learn more about the Half-Day Fishing Trip on the Kenai River.

Full-Day Upper Kenai River Guided Fishing Trip

Spend the day on the Upper Kenai River fishing for local species in the company of a guide. Learn how to fly fish or spin fish from your guide; the small group size will ensure you get plenty of personalized attention from your guide. You’ll get the best possible chance to catch salmon, dolly varden char, or rainbow trout as your guide takes you to hidden spots on the river.  Learn more about the Full-Day Upper Kenai River Guided Fishing Trip.

Best Kenai Restaurants

Paradisos Restaurant  $11 – 30

A family-run place that’s been around for 40 years, Paradiso’s serves up Italian and Greek food, plus seafood and even some Mexican. They’re best known for their pizza and Greek food, but you can score a good seafood dinner here on the right night. Ask the staff. The locals come for the Greek food, which is scarce on the Kenai.  Telephone:  907-283-2222  Web:   Paradisos Restaurant.

Veronica’s Cafe  $11 – 30

In an Old Town log building dating from 1918, Veronica’s serves espressos and healthy sandwiches and hosts open mics, folk jams and live bands. There’s a warm wooden sun porch filled with flowers – the best place in town to relax with a sandwich.  Telephone:  907-283-2725  Web:   Veronica’s Cafe.

Louie’s Steak & Seafood  $11 – 30

Specializing in Steak and Alaskan Seafood, they have all kinds of meals on the menu and have daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials. Whether you enjoy fresh salads, juicy burgers, or succulent specialty steaks you’ll find something on our menu for every taste and pocketbook. On display you’ll find the largest collection of Alaskan trophy animals on the Peninsula, not to mention a variety of unusual antiques.  Telephone:  907-283-3660  Web:   Louie’s Steak & Seafood.

The Flats Bistro  $11 – 30

Enjoy fresh, fun food with excellent service at The Flats Bistro.  Visit Flats for wild Alaskan seafood, house-smoked meats and local ales hand crafted in Alaska. They believe in making their food in house and offer hand-made pasta dishes, hand-ground burgers, and home-made desserts. Their deck offers a beautiful view of the Kenai River Flats, with caribou and eagles roaming the area regularly.  Telephone:  907-335-1010  Web:   The Flats Bistro.

Brother’s Cafe  $11 – 30

The Cafe’s interior reflects the sensibilities of the surrounding area while also paying tribute to Alaska’s storied past. The 2200 square foot restaurant offers the choice to observe passers-by from the Coffee Bar, the surrounding dining room, or the overflow area just outside the Cafe.  They have the best burger in Kenai!  Telephone:  907-335-2233  Web:   Brother’s Cafe.

Best Kenai Bars

Rafter’s Lounge

Looking for a great place to recount the day’s fish tales? This is the spot—a fly fishing-themed bar located inside the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge with a deck overlooking the Kenai River. Settle into a rocking chair on the deck with an Alaska-brewed beer or a cocktail. The bar has four Alaskan beers on tap, a selection of 52 wines, and a full bar. And although most people show up just for an afternoon drink, lunch and dinner are also served. The pub fare includes burgers and sandwiches, as well as entrée salads and of course plenty of seafood.  Telephone:  1-800-426-0500  Web:   Rafter’s Lounge.

Kenai Joe’s

Kenai Joes is located in Old Town Kenai Overlooking the Mouth of the Famous Kenai River! Kenai Joes is The oldest Bar in Kenai, Established in 1935!  Best bar in Kenai; Awesome bartenders, amazing customers and great drink prices. Big back deck, BBQ if you want to grill your fresh fish or thick steaks, beer garden and horse shoe pits.  Telephone:  907-283-5637 Web:   Kenai Joe’s.

The Upper Deck

Beautiful view. Friendly staff. Quiet atmosphere. Smoke free. If hungry, the restaurant downstairs delivers amazing burgers, upstairs, so you can enjoy the view, beverage and dinner.  Telephone:  907-283-2277  Web:   The Upper Deck.

Main Street Tap & Grill

Your Entertainment & Sports Headquarters on The Kenai! Dancing, Awesome Music, Drink Specials $5 Fireball, $6 Jack Daniels, $20 buckets of Corona, Great Food, The Party is Always Down On Main Street!  There is always something going on at Main Street Tap & Grill.  Telephone:  907-395-0394  Web:   Main Street Tap & Grill.

Best Kenai Hotels

Aspen Suites Hotel

Just minutes from the Kenai Airport and close to shopping and restaurants, Kenai Aspen Suites Hotel is the newest hotel on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.  Guests will appreciate complimentary WiFi and generously sized guest suites with fully equipped kitchens and spacious bathrooms. All guestrooms are air conditioned for those warm summer days and nights.

Eagle Rock Lodge

Tucked half way between Soldotna and Kenai is our little lodge.  Ten rooms from efficiencies to one and two bedroom suites with full kitchens.  We are clean, quiet and love to help our guests experience the Alaskan dream.  We can help you plan the fishing trip of a lifetime or give you a wonderfully quiet weekend getaway.

Kenai Airport Hotel

Located 5 minutes’ drive to Kenai Beach, this Kanai, Alaska hotel is across the street from Kenai Municipal Airport and less than a mile from the Kenai Rover. Free Wi-Fi is provided in all rooms.   A daily breakfast is served to guests. A launderette is also onsite at Airport Hotel Kenai. Kenai Recreation Center is 10 minutes’ walk away from Kenai Airport Hotel.

Salmon Catcher Lodge

Salmon Catcher Lodge is one of the Kenai Peninsula’s premier fishing lodges in Alaska, offering outdoors men and families luxury accommodations in the finest handcrafted spruce log cabins. Each cabin rental unit at our Alaska fishing lodge has been tastefully decorated embracing Alaska’s great outdoors while ensuring luxury and comfort for the most discriminating.

Uptown Motel

Whether it’s your annual fishing trip or for business, their mission is to make you feel at home here at Uptown Motel. With comfortable accommodations, on-site dining and lounge options we’re happy to cater to your needs while you’re here! From seasonal world class fishing to the million dollar views on the beach, Kenai is a great place to be no matter the time of year!


  1. Dira

    It looks like an interesting place. I’m fascinated with the nature and it looks like once you’re there its a peaceful getaway. Since it’s a coastal city I’m assuming that it will probably be in the itinerary of the cruise ships that goes to Alaska. I live in the Caribbean and so far I have seen there are very few seasonal trips to Alaska. Let’s say I take a cruise to Alaska. How do I get to the city? Can I reach it on foot once we get a chance to leave the pier and explore?

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Kenai is not a cruise port, but you will find shore excursions that do include parts of the Kenai Peninsula. It is not far from Anchorage as well, so if you were to fly into Anchorage, then Kenai is easily accessible. Thanks for visiting my Kenai Alaska Travel Guide.

  2. Carole Latouche

    Hi Leahrae, a very interesting place to visit. As a matter of fact, this place has been on my bucket list for quite a while. Now, with all this great information, it is time to get it out of the bucket and put it in action. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Good Carole, the whole Kenai peninsula is just beautiful. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. I would be happy to help.

  3. Jonathan

    It seems like you know this place like the back of your hand, awesome article.

    I come from the Netherlands and Alaska have always been some kind of fairy tail land for me because it seems so far away. I have no idea what Fahrenheit is in Celsius but when I’m traveling the world I will make sure that I’ll stop by Kenai and take a look at your guide again. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Ok, to convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius, use this formula: (F – 32) * 5/9, or of course you can go online and have it converted for you. Wow, Alaska would be a huge change of scenery for you, but you will find it to be very beautiful. I lived in Alaska for 22 years, and have been all over the state, so yes I do know it like the back of my hand 🙂 Thanks for visiting my Kenai Alaska Travel Guide.

  4. Mike Beatty

    Hey Leahrae!

    This sounds amazing!! I really want to give the SUP a go out there…

    I can’t believe how much there is to do in Alaska so thanks for sharing. This is moving higher and higher on the list thanks to your work,


    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      And thank you Mike for stopping by and visiting my Kenai Alaska travel guide. I hope you can make it there soon. When you do, let me know.

  5. Marvin

    Oh my god, what a thorough guide. I used to work on a cruise ship and visited Alaska quiet frequently, I never got the chance to visit Kenai but it is definitely on my bucket list now

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Marvin! I am glad you enjoyed my Kenai Alaska travel guide. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Lakesha Malone

    Great post. I like the scenery enough to visit or live one day. I was thinking about Canada, but if Alaskas patronage of paid residency is the truth,then I like Alaska better?

    Serendipity, I saw an episode on Simpsons last night, where Homer moved the family to Alaska because he destroyed the living capacity of Springfield.

    I wonder if I’ll get homesick like Marge and the chidlren did?

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      LOL Lakesha! Alaska is beautiful. I guess it depends on where you are moving from. I know that a drastic change in the weather, etc can lead someone to get homesick. Who knows, you may love it. That is what they say about Alaskans…they either love it or hate…not much in between. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Puiu Andrei

    Very interesting article.
    A lot of useful and detailed information.
    I do not think there’s anything else to say that you have not already mentioned.
    As I read the article I closed my eyes for a few seconds and already seemed to see me there, as if I heard the waves of water.
    Iven if i live in Italy is a bit far away, this article has awakened something in me and I will definitely do my best to get there, no matter how long it will take.
    Congratulations to an article of note 10 .

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Puiu! I too envision going to Italy! Definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

  8. Phomrong Hongsha

    Wow, this is such an exciting travel guide one shouldn’t miss. You have given a very long and yet, an interesting explanation on the Kanai Alaska.

    Was wondering to know how big the fish are in the Kenai Peninsula? The warmest weather during June, July, and August ranging from 65-degree Fahrenheit to 50 at night somewhat corresponds to my own climate here in Imphal City, Manipur of NE-India bordering Myanmar.

    The Cultural Center, the scenic beauty of the beach and the Salmon Catcher lodge all look inviting.

    I think that I should mark this natural place of visit in my list if a traveling trip crops up.

    Thanks for sharing the useful information.

    All the best.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome, and the salmon get quite large….the average sockeye salmon gets up to 3 feet long! I hop you can make it soon Phomrong, and thank you for visiting my Kenai Alaska Travel Guide!

  9. FelixC

    I really like your article and it look like really cool out there I would like to go over there and Alaska is great thanks for all this info it is very complete and detail some day I will go there

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I hope you can make it someday Felix! Alaska is just a beautiful state, none other can compare to the beauty and wildlife. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Rob

    This is another awesome place I’d want to visit. The Salmon Catcher Lodge would be my choice here. It’s something I always wanted to do for a long time. Go fishing in Alaska.
    I love the beach and have never experienced it in a place like Alaska so Kenai beach would be the place to go. I’d be taking many pictures and videos visiting a place like this.
    The Kenia Fjords tour would be out of this world! I don’t know where I would begin when I got there!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      There is so much to see and do for sure Rob! Don’t miss the Kenai Fjords, and my top pick is also the Salmon Catcher Lodge, wonderful place. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my Kenai Alaska Travel Guide.

  11. Scarlett

    This an awesome article we have been wanting for years to go to Alaska having just retired maybe I’ll get there. I loved all the info you’ve supplied not to mention your descriptions of everything. I’m ready and raring to go. Love the lodge type buildings for staying. And love, love, love, fishing. Thanks for the great read. Almost like being there. Lol

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed your digital visit to Fairbanks Alaska Scarlett! Thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations.

  12. Russell


    My cousin has lived in Alaska for years. Although it’s cold, he claims it is an amazing experience to be there. The wildlife and the outdoor adventure cannot be topped elsewhere. I am actually trying plan a trip to go visit him and this article definitely helped. This area really seems worth visiting.

    Thank you!


    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is worth visiting! And you will not find the wildlife and outdoor wonder anywhere else in the U.S. It is so beautiful. I lived there for 22 years 🙂 I hope you can visit your cousin soon! Thanks for visiting my Kenai Alaska Travel Guide!

  13. John

    Even though the Kenai area does not have a beach to swim at, this is an place where you can vacation and see things like no other place in the world. Alaska is so different that any other state, taking the time to explore it again would be a great adventure as I was very young when I lived there.
    I have tasted the fresh Salmon that my dad caught for our dinner, it does not compare to the store bought stuff today.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree John! I lived there 22 years, and fresh caught salmon (my dad was an avid fisherman) cannot be beat. When I get salmon, I am very picky….fresh not frozen and never farmed. You are right, Alaska is like no other place and definitely a place everyone should see.

  14. Katie

    I am so happy I came across this post! I have been thinking about taking a trip up to Alaska for a long time! This Kenai Alaska Travel Guide has been very informative and has shown me a lot of new places I can go do! Cannot wait to see it!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You will love Kenai Katie! Please let me know if you need any additional information!

  15. Cris

    Alaska has been on my ‘Places to Go’ list for a very long time. I have a friend who is actually there on vaca right now. The pictures are just AMAZING! I am going to forward this website, and keep it in mind for my own trip one day. I have to say, also, that I agree 100% on the salmon… fresh and unfarmed is the only way to go. Thanks so much for sharing all of this information!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Cris! I am glad you enjoyed visiting my Kenai Alaska Travel Guide. Please come back when you are ready to plan your Alaska vacation.

  16. Nicole Stiles

    The beach with the volcanoes visible across the sea sounds great! If I ever go to Alaska, I’ll have to remember about that. I’d love to see it.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The whole Kenai Peninsula is wonderful and you would enjoy! Thanks for visiting my Kenai Alaska Travel Guide, and I hope you can make it to Alaska soon!

  17. Joanne

    Thank you for this post. I am ashamed to say that I have bought and eaten Alaskan Salmon, and never bothered to find out any more about it. It’s so interesting to read about where it might have been from!
    It looks like such a wild environment, as I would expect. I would be interested to see some photos of villages where locals live?
    You have definitely sparked an interest for me in Alaska. Well done and thank you for that!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I lived in Alaska for 22 years, and now I live in Florida. Just a tidbit about the Alaskan salmon….buy it fresh never frozen, and not farmed. Fresh caught, unfarmed salmon is the best. Hard to find for me here in Florida, but wonderful. I will be doing a few more posts on Alaska and I will include some cultural photos for you 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Daniella

    What a beautiful place, Alaska! One of my best friends is planning a trip to Alaska. She still wondering where to stay. I will share this article with her so she can get some good ideas. She is taking two weeks vacation in Alaska. Do you think it will be enough for her to visit Kenai?

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh yes Daniella, she can see a lot in two weeks! I think she will have a wonderful time. Please let me know if needs any additional information. I would be glad to help.

  19. Maureen

    This entire website is incredible. I would love to get to Alaska one day. Everyone I know who has gone has absolutely loved it.
    So much great information on Alaska. So many places to choose from.

    Thanks agan for such a great site.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you for visiting my Kenai Alaska Travel Guide Maureen. It is beautiful, that is for sure! I know, I lived there 22 years. When you are ready to start planning, please let me know.


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