Road trips have always been one of our favorite ways to travel. There is something to be said for life on the road. There are endless opportunities and a beautiful sense of freedom, but they don’t come easily. Road trips are travel at its finest, where the journey itself is the destination, the art of “yes” is practiced daily, and the most memorable moments are created through splendid spontaneity. One of the greatest American road trips is the Alaska road trip through the Kenai Peninsula.
We spent a total of three weeks in Alaska on an Alaskan Cruise, then in Anchorage, and finally on a road trip around the Kenai Peninsula. We had originally planned to head up to Denali National Park after our cruise, but after listening to many local recommendations, we decided to change our Alaska road trip to the Kenai Peninsula.
Where is the Kenai Peninsula?
The Kenai Peninsula is located south of Anchorage and the Chugach Mountains and it is where many cruises either begin or end. While it’s known amongst local Alaskans, it’s often overlooked by tourists. With plenty of adventures such as halibut fishing, hiking, bear viewing, seaplanes, and white water rafting, the Kenai Peninsula is a local favorite of Alaskans.
While we loved our Alaskan cruise, we wanted to explore a lesser known part of Alaska and that’s why we chose to explore the Kenai Peninsula in an RV on our Alaska road trip.
Alaska RV Rental
RV’s are a common way to road trip Alaska. While you can road trip Alaska with a car, van, or RV, we definitely recommend a campervan or RV because of the freedom that it allows. Alaska is very camper friendly and it’s not known for its accommodations so an RV was the perfect way for us to navigate our Alaska Road Trip.
While there are dozens of RV booking websites, we used Outdoorsy, a site/app that is similar to AirBnb – but for RV’s, to book our RV. We’ve used Outdoorsy before and we loved the unique selection of RV’s and Campervans as well as the ease of use. Since we booked this trip last minute and it was high season in Alaska, there was limited availability. Luckily, we were able to find an RV that would work for the two of us for our road trip around Alaska.
The Minnie Winnie!
Recommended Kenai Peninsula Road Trip Itinerary
Pick up RV / Car in Anchorage
Homer / Homer Spit
Seward / Kenai Fjords National Park
Whittier / Portage
Return to Anchorage
- Camp at Homer Spit Campground and make a reservation early. Try to score an oceanfront spot! Book early by e-mailing or calling, and then keep emailing and calling because they rarely respond.
- Explore the Homer Spit. The “spit” is a 4.5 mile long road that goes into the ocean. It’s sprinkled with cafes, campsites, and tour companies. While Homer itself is stunning, the Spit is a must visit and it’s where we spent the majority of our time.
- Eat at The Little Mermaid. HEAVENLY HALIBUT! …but seriously – the BEST HALIBUT EVER! And that is no small feat in Alaska! It’s very fitting considering the restaurant is located in the “Halibut capital of the world” The Little Mermaid is a hot ticket, even in a small town. It’s sea and farm to table and they make their daily specials based on what the local fishermen caught!
Try to make a reservation ahead of time, but don’t worry if you can’t score a reservation at one of its coveted few tables because The Little Mermaid accepts walk-ins. We recommend arriving ~4:45 and grabbing a glass of wine and an appetizer before they release their daily specials at 5 pm.
- Eat at Two Sisters Bakery. Leave your diet at home and indulge in the chocolate bread (as if bread couldn’t get any better), cinnamon buns, and breve coffees at Two Sisters Café.
- Drink at The Salty Dawg Saloon. No trip to Homer, Alaska would be complete without a trip to the Salty Dawg Saloon. An institution in Homer since 1957, The Salty Dawg saloon is dimly lit and decorated in dollar bills. The Salty Dawg Saloon is the perfect place to order a round of duck fart shots (whiskey, Kahlua, and Baileys), enjoy some local music, and escape the Midnight Sun.
Kisses on the Homer Spit
Catch of the day: fresh halibut in the halibut capital of the world!
Don’t forget to imbibe in some duck fart shots at the Salty Dawg Saloon!
- Camp at Quartz Creek Campground. This campground is situated on Kenai Lake and it’s a great place to call home.
- White water raft on the Kenai River. This beautiful and bright blue river offers Class II rapids. You can choose a half day or full day rafting adventure.
- Go fishing on the Kenai River. This river is known to have some of the best salmon fishing in Alaska!
- Camp at Seward Waterfront RV Park. This waterfront RV Park was the most beautiful place that we parked our RV on our entire Alaska road trip through the Kenai Peninsula. We could see the glaciers in front of us, otters playing along the shoreline, and we could walk to town!
- Eat at Thorn’s Showcase Lounge. This restaurant and bar looks like it was stuck in the 70’s and I hope it never changes. Thorn’s has been an institution in Seward for decades and it serves up the most delicious halibut bites and white russians ever. It’s low-key, unassuming, and always packed.
- Eat at The Cookery. The Cookery serves fresh farm and sea to table foods including delicious local halibut and Alaskan oysters. Mark our words — Alaskan oysters may not be known around the country as a delicacy, but it’s Alaska’s hidden secret!
- Drink coffee at Resurrect Art Coffee House. This art and coffee house serves the most delicious coffee in Seward. We highly recommend ordering a Breve to warm up on a chilly or rainy day.
- Drink beers at Seward Brewing Company. Located on the main street of Seward, Seward Brewing Company has delicious local beers and pizza!
The tastiest Halibut bites in the world at Thorn’s Showcase Lounge. Not pictured: WHITE RUSSIANS! Mmmmm
Delicious Alaskan oysters at The Cookery in Seward AK
Whittier // Portage
While many people recommended Whittier and Portage to us, we unfortunately didn’t have the time to visit these towns (because we stayed extra days in Seward!). Whittier is around 60 miles southeast of Anchorage and it is home to about 200 citizens. To enter Whittier, you must travel through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, a one-way, 2.5 mile tunnel, which is only open at certain times of the day. To check the summer tunnel schedule, click here.
There are plenty of places to adventure in Whittier including Horsetail Falls Trail, Granite Bay State Marine Park, and Surprise Cove State Marine Park. Whittier Harbor is also a beautiful place to explore, waterski, and kayak.
Return to Anchorage Alaska
Since you’ll most likely need to overnight in Anchorage prior to your flight out, you can “camp” for free in the parking lot at Cabelas located at 155 W 104th Avenue. While it’s not going to be as picturesque as Homer or offer the same views as Seward, it’s free and it has its own dump station. If you have time to explore Anchorage, check out our guide to Anchorage Alaska here.
What a fantastic Post! Thanks for sharing the information. This is so chock full of useful information, What an epic road trip this is! I’ve only done Alaska by cruise ship. But I would LOVE to get back and hit the road for some stops like this.
Road trips are amazing to do. Using an RV or a camper in these adventure is very fun and good way to bond with the family. Such a great experience.