Road Trip: From Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

*This post was sponsored by, however, all opinions are 100% that of To & Fro.

Road trips are our thing. We love a good road trip. 

When we lived in Alaska, our favourite thing to do during our summer weekends was to pack up the car with our outdoor gear and just drive. Drive to explore new places and spaces, down roads we had never been. 

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

When planning our Alaskan adventure this time around, we knew the three(ish) hour trip down to the Kenai Peninsula to visit friends was a must. We had done the drive a handful of times before, but this time was a bit different. Not only did we have a little one in tow this trip, Anchorage had been blanketed by dense fog the days leading up to our road trip. We knew that there was the potential the drive could get a bit dicey going through the mountains pass. But, as they say in Alaska, you can't plan around the weather. 

Despite the weather, the drive down to what is affectionately known as "Alaska's Playground" is always an adventure, and one serious visual buffet. 

Hop in the car. Let me take you on a scenic road trip from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska.

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

It’s 9:30am on an early November day. We hit the Seward Highway and head south out of Anchorage just as the sun is rising. The dense blanket of fog and cotton candy skies make the first leg of the journey along the Turnagain Arm especially stunning, and easily the most dramatic. 

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

As we leave the “big city” behind, the highway narrows to two lanes, and is sandwiched between Potter Marsh on our left and the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet on our right. 

Potter Marsh is a favourite for nature lovers, often welcoming snow goose on their migratory stopover, spawning salmon, bald eagles and the occasional moose. Maybe we’ll stop there on the way back, hoping the fog has lifted.

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

Past the marsh, the road begins to wind - this time, we have the ebbing and flowing tide of the Cook Inlet on our right and the steep rocky cliffs of the Chugach State Park on our left. A bit of a change of scenery. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the white specks in the mountains - they may just be dall sheep.

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

We’re in a bit of a time crunch. But, if we could, we would stop at one, or more, of the many scenic lookouts or tiny towns along the way - Beluga Point, Bird Point, Girdwood and Portage Valley, just to name a few.

As we pass the Portage Valley turnoff, where you would catch the access tunnel to Whittier and Prince William Sound, we begin to wind ourselves around the tip of the Turnagain Arm. Again, the scenery changes. Now with mountains as far as the eyes can see. We have officially reached Turnagain Pass. 

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip
Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

Continuing on the highway, we make a short pit stop to get our photo taken at the Kenai Peninsula welcome sign. A must do.

Back on the highway, a sign for Hope suddenly appears. Seeing as we’re on an adventure, let’s go down a road we’ve never traveled and check out the small town. Population 192. 

And, just as quick as we arrive, we turn back around to the highway. I'm sure its a beautiful, bustling little town in the summer, but in early November, there's not a soul in sight. 

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip
Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

At Tern Lake, we take a slight right at the fork and meet up with the Sterling Highway, one of Alaska's Scenic Byways. This highway is a popular place in the summer months as it leads to some of the best fishing spots along the Kenai River. 

During a road trip in the summer, its not rare to see shoulder to shoulder “combat” salmon fishing along the banks of the turquoise-coloured Kenai and Russian Rivers, or the odd bear wandering the banks in search of its next meal. 

This area truly is Alaska’s Playground, and is also a haven for rafting, flight seeing, horseback riding, hiking, camping and more. This time of year the bears are sleeping, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles and moose!

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

Continuing on, we pass the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and drive through the small towns of Sterling and Soldotna. Not far from Sterling is Funny River. You may have heard about the terrible forest fire that happened there a few years back. 

If you hook a right through Soldotna, you’ll be taken to the Peninsula’s namesake, the town of Kenai itself. 

Seeing as we've been in the car for a few hours now, lets make a pit stop for a snack at one of our favourite places in Soldotna - The Moose is Loose. Morley will tell you, they have the best apple fritter donuts. 

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

We're almost there, I promise.

Driving just a few miles past Soldotna, we’ve arrived at our destination of KasilofIf time allowed, we would keep on driving to the end of the Sterling Highway and reach Homer, the halibut fishing capital of Alaska. I highly recommend planning a trip to come back during the summer months for some halibut fishing on the Kachemak Bay, a must on anyone's Alaskan bucket list. 

Now that we're here, it's time to kick back and relax for a night while we catch up with some good friends.

Thanks for coming along, we hope you enjoyed the ride!

Anchorage to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Road Trip

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Have you taken any good road trips lately? I'd love to hear!

Alaskan Adventure Recap

The time between we said, "Let's go!" and, "It's go time!" seemed to crawl by at a snail's pace. And when it finally came, it flew by in the blink of an eye. Vacation is never long enough.

We are officially back from our 10 day long whirl-wind Alaskan adventure. And what a whirl-wind it was. We fit so much into our time in the Last Frontier. I'm already ready to go back.

We flew into Anchorage in the middle of the night. It instantly brought flashbacks of when we first moved up there, almost exactly seven years ago to the very date and time. We had no idea what to expect at the time. This time was different though, we knew exactly what to expect as soon as the sun came up. And we couldn't wait to experience it all over again with little miss Morley in tow.

The week was spent catching up with friends, exploring our old hangouts and favourite spaces and eating and drinking at our favourite restaurants. Some good memories indeed.

We took a trip up the winding hillside road to Flattop Mountain. Safe to say, the wind and fog made our visit pretty short. Down on flat ground, we explored Kincaid Park in the city's west end. The Park holds a special place in our hearts because it is where we got engaged back in 2012. It is also a pretty surefire place to spot one of the many moose that call the city home. Except this time, the dense fog that blanketed the city prevented us from making it back to the beach and from seeing the moose Morley had her eyes open for.

Turns out, the two moose we did actually see (that weren't at the zoo) were eating the pumpkins off a friends' neighbours' front porch. As soon as Morley saw them, she instantly knew what they were. A mama and baby moose eating pumpkins. Almost two weeks later, she still talks about it. 

While visiting, a few people asked why we were crazy enough to visit when we did. It was cold, it was dark and the threat of snow was real. But, we knew what we were getting ourselves into. It also happened to work out with our vacation time. And, if we were visiting Alaska in October, it made sense to do so at Halloween because, well, Zoo Boo. 

We knew we'd be spending some time at the Alaska Zoo, so why not do so at Halloween with old friends (both people, furry and feathery). The Alaska Zoo's Zoo Boo was also voted the top trick or treating destination in the entire state. (I can't wait to share more about this place in a later post.)

Our trip also involved lots of food and drink.

Two years ago, friends opened a brewery located about 25 minutes outside of Anchorage, in Eagle River. A trip, or two, to Odd Man Rush topped our list of "must drink places". If you're in the Anchorage area, I highly recommend a visit. Their Enforcer IPA is one of my favourites. 

One of our favourite places to eat in the city is Moose's Tooth, a local brewery and pizza joint. We were no stranger during the week. Our favourites? The Spicy Thai Chicken (roasted chicken, red onions, bean sprouts, carrot threads, cilantro, mozzarella, provolone and peanut sauce) and the Backpacker (spinach, roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, feta, mozzarella, provolone and garlic oil) pizzas and Fairweather IPA. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

After an amazing few days in Anchorage, we decided to take a drive south to visit friends on the Kenai Peninsula. With the weather in town being super foggy, we really didn't know what we were in for on the drive. But, as they say in AK, you can't plan around the weather.

The 3(ish) hour drive out of the city was stunning. The fog blanketed the Turnagain Arm making it a very scenic drive as the sun came up.

This is just a small taste of our family's recent Alaskan adventure. It's really hard to sum up the amount of fun we had and memories we made in a short 600 words. Morley had a permanent smile on her face the entire week, and we can't wait to start planning the next trip back.

Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

Upcoming Alaska posts:
A Road Trip from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula
Favourite Anchorage Outdoor Spaces
The Alaska Zoo

Have you been to Alaska? I'd love to hear your favourite things to do and see!