First occupied around 1000 B.C., the Kenai area owes much to the history and tradition of native and Russian settlements. These nuances are translated into modern, intuitive artwork displayed at Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center and the other fine local galleries, and embraced by friendly, interesting people. The Kenai region is connected to the rest of Alaska by mountains, and this forms a stunning backdrop to your visit. Four major protected areas take structure from geography, and offer countless diversion for intrepid anglers and hikers: Chugach National Forest, Kachemak State Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Kenai National Wildlife Preserve. Over 433 miles of trails can lead you into awesome natural splendor, unrivaled in any other place.
Located north and almost equidistant from Homer and Seward, Kenai sits in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula, at the meeting point of the Kenai River and Cook Inlet. The public dock is equipped for small and large craft. Regularly-scheduled 30-minute flights from Anchorage and into Kenai Municipal Airport get you settled into fishing or sightseeing in no time; or choose a different, more exciting method, arriving by floatplane. The 3-hour drive from Anchorage into Kenai is priceless, taking you along the Sterling Highway through Kenai Wilderness and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Best known for huge King Salmon, Kenai waters also host schools of Silver and Sockeye Salmon, Halibut, and Trout inland and along the Kenai River. Guided day charters or overnight trips to fully-furnished cabins and lodges are a comfortable option, while some may choose to rough it a bit, camping and hiking for pleasure. Fly-out fishing excursions take you on low altitude trips to quiet places, with stunningly up-close views of the terrain. Mountain lakes, rivers, and streams host fly-fishing schools – of Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, and Arctic Grayling. Just don’t let the distraction of occasional brown and black bear sightings deter you from hauling in giant Sockeye and Silver Salmon. Saltwater trophies, like 300-plus pound “Barn Door” Halibut and giant Salmon, await your bait in Cook Inlet, where charters regularly bring anglers of all ages to their daily limits. Saltwater charters pass hordes of sea lions, sea otters, whales, puffin, and bald eagles, on the way out to haul in Rockfish, Halibut, Tiger Rockfish, Yelloweye, Ling Cod, Greenling, and many other popular targets.
Many places to spend the night in Kenai range from rustic lodges and cabins, to quaint bed & breakfasts, as well as posh resorts; all comfortable enough to rest and rejuvenate your mind and body, before the next day leads to further, greater sights, sounds, and loads of big fish. So many interesting and exciting aspects make Kenai an alluring destination. Combined with its reputation as home to the largest salmon in the world, you can hardly pass on a chance to add this place to your list.