Road Trip: From Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska


*This post was sponsored by Cars.com, 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

Are you planning an upcoming road trip vacation, and in search of the perfect rental car? For peace of mind before you rent, check out cars.com for the latest expert reviews, multi-car comparisons and more! 

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