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KenaiUnited States of America

Vacation in one of the world’s best salmon-fishing regions and watch beluga whales from this Alaskan city with a Russian heritage.

Charter a boat or fly-fish in Kenai’s waters for salmon approaching 100 pounds (45 kilograms). This community on the Kenai Peninsula originated with ancient Dena’ina Athabascans, was settled by Russians in the 1700s, became an oil boomtown after 1957 and has evolved to become one of the best sport-fishing regions in the world.

Kenai’s salmon draw many fishermen to the area during the pleasant summer season. Prepare to catch king, red, Coho and pink salmon. In 1985, a 68-year-old fisherman caught a world-record 97-pound (44-kilogram) king salmon on the Kenai River. Even if you don’t fish, watch the antics of spawning salmon and excited fishermen.

Enjoy scenic views of the Kenai Peninsula, with mountains of the Alaska Range reaching toward the sky. Identify the area’s three active volcanoes: Mount Iliamna, Mount Redoubt and Mount Spurr. Bring binoculars to look over the mouth of the Kenai River at the Beluga Whale Lookout. In spring and summer, whales swim up the river to feed on salmon.

Learn about the area’s Russian development at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center. Fort St. Nicholas was established near here as a fortified trading post. See its memorial St. Nicholas Chapel, built on the site in 1906. Inspect the artifacts in the onion-domed 1895 Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church, the oldest Orthodox church on mainland Alaska.

Near Kenai are two large natural reserves. Canoe and hunt for agates in the Captain Cook State Recreation Area. Look for moose, bears and trumpeter swans in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

When you’re not fishing, get exercise at the North Peninsula Recreation Center, with pool and fitness facilities open to the public for a fee. Play golf or disc golf or watch the Peninsula Oilers, a summer college baseball team.

Kenai is about a 3-hour drive from Anchorage. To reach the city from other spots, fly to Kenai Municipal Airport. Charter boats and rent gear in the town for a once-in-a-lifetime Alaska fishing experience.

Top Hotels in Kenai

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Kenai Airport Hotel
Kenai Airport Hotel
2 out of 5
230 N Willow St, Kenai, AK
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $106 per night

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, Challenger Learning Center, and Kenai Beach. Cunningham Park ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (92 reviews)

"Staff were really welcoming and also always helpful when we needed things for our room ☺️"…"

Reviewed on May 20, 2020

Kenai Airport Hotel
Aspen Extended Stay Suites Kenai
Aspen Extended Stay Suites Kenai
2.5 out of 5
10431 Kenai Spur Hwy, Kenai, AK
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $145 per night

Situated in Kenai, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Challenger Learning Center and Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. Kenai Beach and Cunningham Park are ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (336 reviews)

"I like it the fact that have kitchen in the room. Not that many hotel have that."…"

Reviewed on May 25, 2020

Aspen Extended Stay Suites Kenai
Quality Inn
Quality Inn
2.5 out of 5
10352 Kenai Spur Hwy, Kenai, AK
The price is $110 per night

Located in the heart of Kenai, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Challenger Learning Center, Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, and Kenai Beach. Cunningham ...

3.9/5Very Good! (266 reviews)

"Friendly staff and great breakfast whenever you order it in morning"…"

Reviewed on May 4, 2020

Quality Inn

Popular places to visit in Kenai

Earthquake Park
Image for Earthquake Park

Earthquake Park

4.5/5(243 reviews)

Explore the lovely green spaces of Earthquake Park and also enjoy the hiking trails in Anchorage. While you're in the area, stroll along the lakeside.

Chugach State Park
Image for Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park

4.5/5(258 reviews)

Encounter huge lakes surrounded by mountains, glaciers and waterfalls in one of the largest state parks in the United States.

Kincaid Park
Image for Kincaid Park

Kincaid Park

4.5/5(175 reviews)

Explore the lovely green spaces of Kincaid Park and enjoy the hiking trails in Anchorage. While you're in the area, stroll along the lakeside.

Prince William Sound
Image for Prince William Sound

Prince William Sound

4.5/5(155 reviews)

Explore this protected island-dotted sound, where the waters and coastline host an incredible range of wildlife including whales, bears and otters. 

Point Woronzof Park
Image for Point Woronzof Park

Point Woronzof Park

4.5/5(40 reviews)

Delight in the picturesque vista of majestic bald eagles soaring above the Cook Inlet in this hilly park for skiers and hikers.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Image for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

4.5/5(28 reviews)

Explore the great outdoors at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, a lovely green space in Kasilof. While you're in the area, stroll along the riverfront.

Top things to do in Kenai

Boating & Hiking Tour at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Image for Boating & Hiking Tour at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Boating & Hiking Tour at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

$315
Per adult
Turnagain Arm Tour with Visit to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Image for Turnagain Arm Tour with Visit to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Turnagain Arm Tour with Visit to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

100% of travellers recommend
$165
Per adult
Fat Bike Ride in Kincaid Park
Image for Fat Bike Ride in Kincaid Park

Fat Bike Ride in Kincaid Park

100% of travellers recommend
$125
Per adult

Reviews of Kenai

4.3

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
42
5 - Excellent 48.83720930232558%
4 - Good
34
4 - Good 39.53488372093023%
3 - Okay
8
3 - Okay 9.30232558139535%
2 - Disappointing
2
2 - Disappointing 2.3255813953488373%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Oct 21, 2019

I really like kenai and we love being by the ocean.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Oct 4, 2019

Friendly people. Nice breweries and restaurants.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Sep 10, 2019

Fires limited our stay but did Make it to Homer which was our goal

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Sep 8, 2019

Love Alaska!!!

5/5 - Excellent

Warner

Sep 3, 2019

Lovely city

5/5 - Excellent

Discette

Aug 19, 2019

Absolutely beautiful. Everyone was so friendly.