20 Best Things To Do In Kenai, Alaska - Updated 2021

things to do in kenai ak

This incredible city is nestled next to the mouth of River Kenai, which is famous for salmon fish. The town is the largest community on the Kenai Peninsula. Kenai is a beautiful coastal city thus it has the ability to attract visitors locally and internationally. It is characterised by beautiful majestic views of the Alaska range to the west with three active volcanoes, Mount Redoubt, Mount Iliamna and Mount Spurr on the other, which make a dramatic backdrop presenting beautiful sights appealing to any visitor. The city is also rich in history and it is home to the virgin Mary church which is a Russian Orthodox Church with beautiful blue onion domes. The city’s legendary salmon is the reason Kenai is one of the oldest inhabited areas in Alaska and it has a lot to offer to its visitors. Most tourists flock the place to experience the beluga whales and the magical Salmon fish. Below is a compiled list of things to do in Kenai, Alaska.

1. Swing by Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre

Posted by Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Commerce and Visitor Centre is among the famous places in Kenai. Sitting just off the Sterling Highway at the entrance of the town, it is very vital for any visitor to make a stop at this place to have some local experience. It has over 500 local businesses great for foodies, adventurers and artists. You will get a chance to experience the great restaurants, indulge in the local cuisine, the gorgeous wilderness and the creative energy of the town. The Centre has resources and knowledge to lead you in the right direction. The chamber also arranges for local celebrations like the winter king salmon tournament. Make a stop here and start your vacation in style.

Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre

Address: 11471 Kenai Spur Hwy Kenai, Alaska

Website: Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

2. Take a leisurely stroll across Resurrection Pass Hiking Trail

If you are a nature enthusiast then backpacking adventure must be one of the activities you enjoy doing. Engage yourself in such activity while in Kenai at the Resurrection Pass Hiking Trail. The pass trail is approximately 38 mi (61 km) long and it might take you up to 3 days to complete the trail. However, there is a 13-mi (21 km) stretch ideal for one-day hiking. You will get to enjoy a spectacular view of the backcountry depending on the time of the year. There is little expertise needed but be sure to plan, prepare and pack well.

3. Admire the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church

Kenai is a lovely place to be and it is home to a rich history of the earliest inhabitants, the Russians. It’s the oldest structure standing in Kenai and was completed in 1896. It’s a major tourist attraction that invites visitors from all over the universe who come to experience and admire the beautiful architecture of the blue domes and neat features of ancient Russian architecture. Also in the church is a collection of historic objects and icons. The church is recognized as a National landmark that Kenai prides in.

Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church

Address: 1105 Mission Ave. Kenai, Alaska 99611

Website: Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church

4. Have a close encounter with wildlife at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Kenai National Refuge (KNR) hosts quite a number of wildlife creature found in the Alaska region, from bears, mountain goats, wolves, waterfowl, salmonids to other migratory and non-migratory birds. The locals’ term it as a special place among special places and visitors are privileged to engage in various outdoor adventures like hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, camping and cross-country skiing. A visit to KNR will make you feel the spirit of Alaska that is endless and full of inspiration.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Address: 1 Ski Hill Road, Soldotna, AK 99669

Website: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

5. Check out the bald eagles at Kenai Beach

things to do in kenai ak | check out the bald eagles at kenai beach
Source: oppventures on Instagram

Did you know that eagles are lifetime mates that can live up to 35 years? Well, if you didn’t get a chance to learn all the fascinating facts about the eagle at the Alaska Department of fishing games then head to Kenai Beach for eagle viewing. Kenai Beach is a famous spot for viewing eagles as it is muddy and has trees; a special feature eagles look for when they want to mate. Stop at this site near the centre and walk around the bluff and you will be able to spot the eagles soaring up close.

Kenai Beach

Address: 600 South Spruce Street, Kenai, AK 99611

Website: Kenai Beach

6. Have a look inside The Parish House Rectory

En el Pueblo Viejo de Kenai / in Kenai's Old Town - la casa paroquial de 1881 - the parish house rectory built in 1881

Posted by Elizabeth Kline on Thursday, 20 September 2018

Dating back to the 18th century, The Parish House Rectory is among the oldest buildings that still stands tall. It is situated adjacent to the Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church. The building was home to a priest of the Russian Orthodox church and has since been used as a church hall. Take time to visit this building and get to see the oldest piece of non-native art in Kenai, the copy of the 400-year-old Our Lady of Kazan.

The Parish House Rectory

Address: Kenai, AK 99611

7. Spot salmon swimming upstream at Russian River

The Russian River also referred to as Chunuk’tnu starts from the upper Russian Lake in the Kenai Mountains and flows down to Cooper town. On a good day, the river is a perfect spot to visit. You will meet people fishing for salmon, and due to its shallow nature, it’s easy to spot salmon swimming upstream. The most common types of salmon found in the river are silver salmon and sockeye salmon. The river not only provides a spot for viewing the beautiful salmon fish but it also has a hiking trail to the waterfall. There are a number of local companies that provide a tour of the Russian River and will allow you to easily explore, keep an eye while touring the Russian river for there are chances of you spotting bears.

Russian River

Address: Kenai, Alaska

Website: Russian River

8. Sing karaoke at The Bow Bar

things to do in kenai ak | sing karaoke at the bow bar

Sometimes all the hiking, fishing and biking during the day might be a bit tiresome and you may need a calm place to relax as you listen to some great soothing music and you flex your muscle as you dance to the tunes. If this happens and you are in Kenai then the most amazing place to make your stop is at the Bow Bar. You will get great music, amazing nightlife and entertainment. You will fall in love with the good live band and friendly staff who are more than happy to welcome you. Take your friends and enjoy a late-night Karaoke at the bar.

The Bow Bar

Address: 502 Main St, Kenai, AK 99611-6905

Website: The Bow Bar

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 2pm - 5am; Sun: 2pm - 12am

9. Enjoy biking with friends along Crescent Lake Trail

Nestled in the heart of Mount Chigmit, the Crescent Lake is among the beautiful places to visit in Kenai. Apart from viewing the local wildlife and fishing in Crescent Lake, it is a scenic area with a trail perfect for hiking, camping and biking. There are a lot of amazing places in the park where you will find picnic tables. Here you can stop to have a bite. If you are lucky, you will get to spot wildlife such as bears, beavers, otters and bald eagles. The biking trails are calm and peaceful with a beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains.

Crescent Lake Hiking Trail

Address: Alaska 99631, USA

10. Bring your children to Challenger Learning Center of Alaska

Posted by Challenger Learning Center of Alaska (CLCA) on Friday, 16 August 2019

This learning centre is part of the global network of challenger learning centres. They were founded by the members of the family of the team that lost their lives in an overwhelming challenger incident. The centre has developed programs and workshops that invite youths who are interested in different fields like technology, math, science and engineering to learn and interact. Taking your children to the centre will provide them with a vast educational experience that might inspire them to grow an interest through hands-on opportunities.

Challenger Learning Center of Alaska

Address: 9711 Kenai Spur Hwy Kenai, AK 99611

Website: Challenger Learning Center of Alaska

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

11. Relax and unwind at the Kenai River Estuary

Wavy sunset reflections from Resurrection River/Bay estuary - Near Seward, Kenai Peninsula. Photo by DCSL (Flickr).

Posted by Only In Alaska on Sunday, 26 March 2017

Overlooking the grassland harbour area of Kenai, this ornithology is a lover’s paradise. It’s a great place to go relax and witness what nature has to offer due to its serene environment, spectacular views, proximity to the river and wetland characteristics. There are over 100 bird species that flock to this region between April and May mostly. When you visit this place, you will be able to note bird species like the sandhill crane, green-winged teal, and short-eared owl. Apart from the birds, if you take a close look at the river you will be able to spot schools of pacific salmon swimming upstream, coyote, moose and beluga whales.

Kenai River Estuary

Address: Bridge Access Road, Kenai, AK

Website: Kenai River Estuary

12. Hang out with friends over drinks at Kenai Joe's

Great day to stop and get a drink. We are open until 11 PM today.

Posted by Kenai Joe's Taphouse on Monday, 1 July 2019

Sitting in the middle of a laid-back atmosphere and a good attitude. Kenai Joe’s is a wonderful local hang out for people who are looking for a relaxed environment to go out and have fun with their loved ones. It is among the oldest bars in the region and features live music occasionally. Joe offers different kinds of amazing drinks from local hand-crafted beer and cocktails. It has a fantastic deck with a wonderful inlet view. If you are a pool and dirt lover then you will have some good time here. It’s a wonderful place don’t miss out.

Kenai Joe's

Address: 800 Cook Ave, Kenai, AK 99611

Website: Kenai Joe’s Taphouse

13. Spot some of the largest fishes with ACE Fishing Adventures

3 brown bears a moose couple of Eagles and more silvers then we could count. What a morning on the Kenai!

Posted by ACE Fishing Adventures on Thursday, 15 August 2013

Kenai prides having the largest Salmon fish in the world. The Aaron Cooper Extreme Fishing Adventures LLC otherwise known as ACE Fishing Adventures is the best company to go on a fishing expedition. It will give you an opportunity to see and feel some of the largest King Salmon fish. They are based out of the Kenai Peninsula just two hours from the anchorage.

ACE Fishing Adventures

Address: 115 Wooded Glen Kenai, AK us, 99611

Website: ACE Fishing Adventures

14. Pamper your nails at Affinity Salon & Day Spa

From designer haircuts to professional massages, manicure and pedicure, all these services are available at Affinity Salon & Day Spa. You will fall in love with the welcoming atmosphere and the products they use on their services. The nails services at Affinity spa are a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you just love to look perfect or preparing for an occasion, have no woes entrusting the spa with your nails. Among their services are nail art, paraffin dip, basic manicure, deluxe manicure, shellac manicure, acrylic full set, gel full set and soak offset on your hand. On your feet, they do toe polish, express pedicure, foot soak, cuticle maintenance among other services. Treat yourself to a nice manicure and pedicure, you deserve it!

Affinity Salon & Day Spa

Address: 10672 Kenai Spur Hwy Ste 113 Kenai, AK 99611

Website: Affinity Salon & Day Spa

Opening hours:Tue - Sat: 9am - 6pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

15. Give in to your sweet cravings with yummy desserts at Veronica's Café

It’s a snowy day over in a Old Town Kenai.. Has us dreaming of summer! Today’s Specials.. Turkey, bacon, Swiss, and a...

Posted by Veronica's Cafe on Thursday, 7 March 2019

The fine rustic exterior welcomes you to the laid back and relaxed interiors of Veronicas Café. The café is situated on the bluff in old town Petersen Way, Kenai. It is famous for its hot and cold drinks. Apart from the drinks you can visit the café with your friends & loved ones and enjoy a range of snacks such as wraps, soups, sandwiches, salad and yummy desserts prepared by some of the fine staff who are also friendly. The place is cosy and it is open all year round.

Veronica's Café

Address: 602 Petersen Way Kenai, AK 99611

Website: Veronica’s Café

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 6pm; Fri - Sat: 8am - 8pm (closed on Sun)

16. Spend an afternoon at Kenai Golf Course

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Kenai Golf Course on Friday, June 8, 2018

Boasting as the best golf course in Alaska, it also prides as the only full-service 18 hole golf course located on the Kenai Peninsula. The ambience in the golf course is serene, with cool bright days during the summers. It’s really worth it because not only will you get a chance to engage in playing golf and driving the range but also there are chances that you will spot a mama moose with twins or sandhill crane family. The facility offers private lessons, golf equipment and merchandise. There is also a snack bar that offers fast foods for speedy lunches. Pushcart, power carts and rentals are also available.

Kenai Golf Course

Address:1420 Lawton Dr Kenai, AK 99611

Website: Kenai Golf Course

Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)

17. Spend some romantic time at Pillars Boat Launch

This is just but another beautiful and amazing place ideal for couples who want to go out on a sunny afternoon and have fun. It includes an interpretive kiosk, a viewing area and grate-walks. It is located on the north bank of river Kenai and it boasts its popularity due to its accessibility and closeness to other fishing holes. It is the only public area located in Kenai river between 20.5 mi (33 km) and the mouth of Kenai River. Activities in this facility include boat riding and site seeing, however, the facility does not allow camping.

Pillars Boat Launch

Address: 155 Silver Salmon Dr, Kenai, AK 99611, USA

Website: Pillars Boat Launch

18. Aim and hit the target at Snowshoe Gun Club Rifle Range

Pistol targets set up for the Women on Target Clinic

Posted by Snowshoe Gun Club on Sunday, 17 June 2012

It is the largest and among the oldest shooting facilities in Alaska state. The snowshoe gun rifle boat launch is located on the Kenai peninsula between the cities of Kenai and Soldotna. If you are looking for a perfect activity to do that will take your mind away from the normal day hustle and bustle stress, then you should consider aiming and target hitting at this facility. It is an interesting activity that has fun in it if you accord it the concentration it deserves. The facility provides four clays fields, a one-thousand-yard rifle range, eleven pistol bays, a two-hundred-meter tactical gun range along with a black powder gun range.

Snowshoe Gun Club Rifle Range

Address: Kenai Alaska

Website: Snowshoe Gun Club Rifle Range

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

19. Dine with your family at Louie's Steak & Seafood

Tonights yummy special! A Surf & Turf- 10 ounce New York & 5 ounce Yellow Eye topped with a white wine garlic butter sauce served with a baked potato & vegetables. #chefbrant

Posted by Louie's Steak & Seafood on Tuesday, 7 May 2019

No visit to Kenai would be complete without having a meal at the Louie’s Steak & Seafood restaurant. You can decide to have any of the three main meals of the day at the restaurant and enjoy being served with welcoming staff who will give you a memorable experience. They are specialized in Alaskan seafood and steak beef but they also provide other meals. Take your family out for dinner and enjoy the great Alaskan cuisine. From fresh juicy burgers to succulent salads or speciality steaks, at least you won’t miss a thing to bite on their menu. Also available in the restaurant are a variety of unusual Alaskan artefacts.

Louie's Steak & Seafood

Address: 47 Spur View Drive | Kenai, Alaska 99611

Website: Louie’s Steak & Seafood

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 6am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 6am - 11pm

20. Grab a seat and a bucket of popcorn at Kenai Cinemas

Closing our list of top things to do in Kenai, Alaska, with the Kenai Cinemas. Here you will relax your mind watching a movie and enjoying a bucket of crunchy popcorn with a cup of coffee. This activity is ideal for everyone. The cinema is located in Willow St., Kenai, Alaska. You will enjoy the comfortable seats, the cool relaxed atmosphere and clear sounds. The staff at the cinema are kind and friendly. For pleasant movie experiences this is the place for you.

Kenai Cinemas

Address: 215 S. Willow St. Kenai, Alaska

Website: Kenai Cinemas

Experience the richness of Kenai

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Source: Photo by user Bureau of Land Ma... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Kenai should be on the top of your travel list when you are looking for places to visit in Alaska. The region is blessed and is rich in tourist attractions. Not only will you enjoy the picturesque scenery of the snowcapped mountains and the great river Kenai but also the friendly locals. Use our list above to get the most out of your vacation.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Besides writing, studying, and loving adventure; I try my best to learn something new each day.

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