21 Best Things to Do in Kenai, AK

Kenai, AK
Amber Walker / shutterstock.com

You will never run out of the best things to do in Kenai, Alaska, known for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife.

According to Dena'ina Topical Dictionary by James Kari, Ph.D. (published in 2007), the Dena'ina term 'ken' or 'Kena' means "flat, meadow; open land with few trees; base, low ridge."

Beautiful views abound the region where you'll find Kenai.

The Alaska mountain range, including Mount Spurr, Mount Iliamna, and Mount Redoubt, may be seen from the air.

The scenery is stunning, and the region is home to a wide variety of species such as eagles and bears.

There is a lot to see and do in Kenai, Alaska, and it's also a peaceful place to visit.

The renowned salmon in the river is why Kenai is one of Alaska's oldest currently inhabited European communities.

Many people visit for the fantastic salmon fishing.

If you're lucky, you could catch a glimpse of both beluga whales and polar bears feeding in the region.

Do these features excite you?

Experience this enchanting city with this list of the best things to do in Kenai, Alaska:

Go Biking along Resurrection Pass Hiking Trail

Trail at Resurrection Pass.
M.A.Dunks / Shutterstock.com

The Resurrection Pass Trail is the ideal starting point for a biking trip into Alaska's Last Frontier.

There are 38 miles of path to cover, and it takes around three days to do it.

Just 11 to 13 miles apart is a reasonable distance for a day's ride while pausing to take in your surroundings.

Waters and trees at Resurrection Pass.
M.A.Dunks / Shutterstock.com

The path is available all year round, and each season provides a unique perspective on the immense wilderness.

Despite the moderate degree of difficulty, you don't require a lot of experience, so pack and prepare appropriately.

From June through September, the trail is ideal for various activities, including hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

This route is open to dogs, but you must keep them on a leash at all times.

Hiking trail at Resurrection Pass.
M.A.Dunks / Shutterstock.com

Stop by Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center

There is a great place to begin your tour of Kenai: the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.

Most of their personnel consist of long-time residents of the region who are well-versed about it.

Travel planning advice from folks who have spent their whole lives visiting the world's wonders is a no-brainer.

They can lead you to local locations for fishing, hiking, animal viewing, and other activities based on your preferences.

The Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center also offers assistance with making emergency reservations.

Sunbathe at Kenai Beach

Kenai Beach, known locally as North Beach, is a popular spot for sunbathing and relaxation.

Whether you're looking to catch some fish, sunbathe, or relax, this beach is the place to be.

Visitors can park in the designated areas for free for the first hour.

The attendant will provide you with a parking permit good for the remainder of the day.

Restrooms and dumpsters only for waste are also available as further conveniences.

You may sample a wide variety of cuisine from the numerous food trucks that visit the region, even though no restaurants are situated directly on the beach.

Go Trekking at Crescent Lake Hiking Trail

View of the Crescent Lake.
Nathan Bladow / Shutterstock.com

This less-traveled 8.3-mile hiking route follows Crescent Lake's shoreline.

The whole family may enjoy this trek in a single day.

This trail alternates between open meadows and forested areas.

Throughout the walk, you'll be able to see Crescent Lake and its surrounding mountains.

You will need to cross a brook and pass along rugged and overgrown terrain.

There are several options for lengthier walks, and you may encounter moose, goats, and bears along the way.

The lake offers excellent fishing and hunting as long as you do it in the right season.

Catch Fish with Alaska Fish On Charters

Anglers of all levels may benefit from our expertly guided Alaska fishing experiences, from beginners to experts.

On the Kenai River, you may catch Chinook, red, pink, and silver salmon with Alaska Fish On Charters.

You may also catch a rainbow trout or halibut.

More than two decades of guiding fishing excursions on the Kenai Peninsula have taught this company everything it needs to know about the land, water, fish, and industry.

If you're searching for Alaska fishing charters, it offers several options.

Its owners aim to provide an excellent vacation experience to its clients by offering recommendations on where to stay or how best to cook your catch.

More than 70% of its profit comes from returning customers, and it would love for you to be the next one to join them.

Get Up Close with the Wildlife at Kenai River Estuary

The Kenai River Estuary and its incredible wildlife have lured humans and their villages for thousands of years.

It remains a regional hub for fishing, trade, and pleasure.

The Kenai River Estuary overlooks Kenai's grassland and seaport region, making it an ornithology lover's delight.

Over 100 different birds species gather there from April to May because of the area's wetland nature and proximity to the river.

For example, you'll get a good look at bald eagles and the green-winged teal, as well as a variety of other renowned birds throughout your time at the park.

Additionally, you may expect to observe salmon schools, seals, coyotes, and moose, as well as occasional beluga whales.

Look Back to a Heroic History at Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel

Exterior of Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel.
Joseph from Cabin On The Road, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel honors the memory of Father Igumen Nicolai and Makary Ivanov.

The chapel, completed in 1906, stands over the remains of Father Nicholai, as well as those named on the inscription outside the chapel.

As the first priest in Kenai, Fr. Nicolai was instrumental in saving the lives of many Dena'ina by bringing smallpox vaccination.

Exterior and name sign of Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel.
Nikamartinez, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The chapel stands in the northwest corner of Fort St. Nicholas, a Russian fur trade station in 1849.

There are few podiums inside, and the décor is impressive.

Although the chapel's exterior resembles a Russian shrine, it is substantially more extensive, making it a chapel.

Discover the Early Days of the City at The Parish House Rectory

The parish house rectory, Kenai's oldest building, was completed in 1881.

It is a 17th-century replica of the 400-year-old Our Lady of Kazan.

The priest of the Russian Orthodox Church resides in this location.

If you're curious about the village's long-ago Russian connection, this structure is well worth a look.

Logs are put horizontally in the wood-shingled building's construction.

The oldest non-Native artifact in Alaska is inside the structure, usually closed to the public.

Try Various Recreational Activities at North Peninsula Recreation Centre

On the Kenai Spur Highway, you may find the Nikiski Community Recreation Center (NCRC).

It features a gym, multi-purpose rooms, an adolescent center, a golf simulator, and various classrooms, among other facilities.

North Peninsula Recreation Service Area at NCRC offers a wide range of recreational opportunities.

Throughout the year, youth sports programs and camps are available for both children and adults to participate in organized sports.

Its adult volleyball league and open gyms for basketball and volleyball are popular with adults, as are its Toddler Time and Home School Open Gym.

NCRC has a teen center and hosts monthly teen evenings to keep the teens engaged and amused.

The Full Swing Golf Simulator has a variety of practice modes and world-class courses for golfers to enjoy.

We now provide weekly bicycle spinning courses for people who want to stay in shape.

Annual events all occur throughout the summer, making it a hectic period.

During this season, there are several smaller events and activities for teens to join.

Unleash Your Kids' Curiosity at Challenger Learning Center of Alaska

Challenger Center uses Space-themed simulated learning and role-playing tactics and its global network of Challenger Learning Centers to assist students in bringing their classroom lessons to life and nurture skills essential for future success.

To address the educational requirements of students all around Alaska, CLCA has served as a center of excellence.

CLCA's objective is to encourage young people to pursue professions in STEM disciplines by providing hands-on learning experiences, virtual space and Earth science missions, and online education.

A wide range of hands-on mediums is available to help participants gain crucial problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills.

CLCA is in a unique position to serve as a go-to resource for Alaska's educators and homeschool groups in the field of STEM education, thanks to its state-aligned curriculum, training resources, and classroom support services.

Pay a Visit to Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church

Side exterior of Virgin Mary Church.
Uwe Bergwitz / Shutterstock.com

The Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church, completed in 1846, is a beautiful Russian Orthodox church.

Built between 1894 and 1896, this church is the most prominent and enduring manifestation of Russian culture in southern Alaska.

An important cultural link to the West was established by this church for the Kenaitze Indians, who make up a considerable section of the population.

Roof of the Virgin Mary Church.
Menno Schaefer / Shutterstock.com

A basic, wood-frame church with clapboard cladding, Holy Assumption Church boasts a square two-story bell tower and an enormous crown-shaped dome with the three-bar Orthodox Cross.

Among historians, the interior is more important.

The icons, religious items, and historical artifacts are essential for their relationship to the specific structure and the greater symbolic connection with the Russian Orthodox religion.

Additionally, it is an exceptional example of Pskov (ship or vessel) design, making it one of the oldest Orthodox churches in Alaska. In 1970, the Secretary of the Interior declared Holy Assumption Church a National Historic Landmark because of its significance in American history.

Exterior of the Virgin Mary Church.
Uwe Bergwitz / Shutterstock.com

Relax at Veronica's Café

Old Town Kenai's Veronica's Cafe is a laid-back hangout located on the cliff.

Because everyone is so welcoming, it's almost like you're attending a family reunion.

Veronica's Cafe offers a wide selection of hot and cold beverages, as well as sandwiches, soups, wraps, desserts, and salads.

They also deliver.

The old-fashioned coffee shop is an absolute must-visit even during a chilly winter or a hot summer day.

Try Different Beer Flavors at Kassik's Brewery

Kassik's Brewery is a one-story, light-industrial structure located in North Kenai, Alaska, with a capacity of 3,500 barrels of beer per year, owned and operated by the Kassik family.

Kassik's has brewed more than 20 different types of beer since it opened, and it usually has at least ten on tap at any given time.

Using only the best ingredients from all around the world, Kassik's has earned a reputation for its handmade ales.

It produces ale in small quantities of between 5 and 7 barrels to ensure quality control.

It also uses traditional brewing methods in conjunction with cutting-edge ones to produce consistently excellent results.

In 2011, Kassik's Brewery added a bottling line to its facilities, distributing 22 and 12-ounce bottles across Alaska.

Kassik's Brewery has also begun producing artisan beers in cans, keeping up with the times.

Have a Romantic Stroll at Pillars Boat Launch

Pillars Boat Launch is another stunning and remarkable location in Kenai, perfect for a couple's day outing.

There's an observation platform, grate walks, and an explanation kiosk.

Easily accessible and adjacent to other fishing holes, this spot on the north bank of the river Kenai boasts of its popularity.

Between this point and the mouth of the Kenai River, a distance of 20.5 miles (33 km), there is no other public access to the river.

Aside from sightseeing and strolling, you may also go boating here since it's a boat lunch site.

However, camping is not permitted.

Practice Shooting at Snowshoe Gun Club

Kenai is home to the Snowshoe Gun Club, one of Alaska's oldest and most prestigious shooting ranges.

Aiming and hitting targets at this location is an excellent method to relieve tension.

Enjoy some time alone or with your buddies if you're overwhelmed by everyday life's demands.

You'll have a blast as you hit the targets!

This site has four clay fields, a 1000-yard rifle range, 11 pistol bays, a 200-meter tactical gun range, and a black powder gun range.

Pamper Yourself at Affinity Salon & Day Spa

Affinity Salon & Day Spa offers a wide variety of beauty treatments, from manicures and pedicures to massages and hair styling by top designers.

The kind service and high-quality items will quickly win you over.

Affinity spa's nail treatments are unlike any other you've tried.

No matter your reason, getting your nails done at the spa is a worry-free experience.

Or have a makeover by having a haircut or hair color!

It provides complete acrylic sets, full gel sets, soak-off French manicures, basic manicures, deluxe, and art on the nails.

It also offers brow wax and facial waxing.

Schedule an appointment if you'd like to.

Those who are unsure about their availability are encouraged to walk in.

See the Latest Releases at Kenai Cinemas

There's something about watching a movie in a cinema outside your town.

When you're in Kenai, a trip to Kenai Cinemas is an ideal way to kill time while having fun with your significant other or pals.

The experience of viewing a film while munching on popcorn and sipping coffee is guaranteed to put you at ease.

The venue offers an excellent atmosphere for watching movies, ensuring the whole gang can enjoy this night out.

You may find the cinema at Willow St.

You'll have a great time in the spacious seats, peaceful environment, and crisp audio.

Plus, the staff at the movie theater are also helpful and pleasant.

Sing Your Heart Out on Karaoke at The Bow Bar

After a long day of hiking, fishing, or bicycling, it might be nice to unwind in a tranquil setting while listening to excellent music.

Feel free to show off your secret moves by dancing to the beat or belt your favorite song at the karaoke at The Bow Bar.

Have fun with its vibrant nightlife, fantastic music, and other forms of entertainment.

The staff is also warm and welcoming.

Gather your pals and sing some tunes in the pub late at night!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Birds on the water at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Michelle Holihan / Shutterstock.com

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, located 19 minutes from Kenai, covers approximately 2 million acres of the western Kenai Peninsula.

Cook Inlet, the Kenai Mountains, rivers, marshes, and a network of lakes make up most of the refuge.

Fishing, hunting, hiking, cross-country skiing, canoeing, and camping are just some of the year-round activities available in the sanctuary.

A woman on a canoe at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Wildnerdpix / Shutterstock.com

Fishing and floating on the Kenai River are popular pastimes, as are kayaking and hiking in the refuge's lowland lakes and alpine tundra.

In addition to displays on the lifecycles of salmon, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna has a theater where visitors may see wildlife films and naturalist-led outdoor activities on the weekends.

Two short circular paths go into the neighboring woods or to a vantage point overlooking Headquarters Lake from the center.

Explore the refuge's more than 110 miles of trails, including everything from creekside walkways to alpine excursions well above the treeline.

In an area named Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, there are various campsites, boat launches, and public use cottages, as well as 12 trails that you may access.

Sunset at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Michelle Holihan / Shutterstock.com

Admire Kenai Peninsula from the Skies at Alaska West Air Tours

In addition to charters, Alaska West Air offers fly-in fishing and bear watching, as well as bear-hunting expeditions, flightseeing, and more.

With over 30 years of experience on the Kenai Peninsula and the Alaskan wilderness, Alaska West Air considers itself the finest in the industry.

Each of its aircraft can accommodate up to ten people.

If you have any queries or would want to book a trip, please feel free to get in touch.

The squad of Alaskan bush pilots led by Doug Brewer will take you on an adventure off the beaten path.

They've been flying in Alaska's wilderness for many years, so they're well-versed in the area.

They can also take you to some of Alaska's most secluded spots for fishing, bear sighting, flight viewing, and hunting.

Visit Alaska West Air's office at Nikiski, 16 minutes away from Kenai.

Final Thoughts

If you're planning a trip to Alaska, don't miss a stop at Kenai.

As the heart of Alaskan adventure, Kenai offers something for everyone.

It's a beautiful place, with mountains, lakes, rivers, hiking trails, and so much more to see and do.

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