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Posted: January 1, 2012 - 1:00am

From the glaciers that carve their way toward Resurrection Bay to the towering mountain peaks wrapped with spruce trees, Seward offers great scenery and many opportunities to explore the marine habitat at its doorstep.

The gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park, you will want to consider a day sightseeing with one of the many tour operators as part of your complete vacation to Seward. The opportunity to see humpback and orca whales, puffins and sea lions are highlights of these trips.

For the rugged adventurers, kayaking is big in the area, with many options to rent gear. Or take a hike up Mount Marathon. This 3,022-foot peak is the site of a grueling footrace that draws hundreds of observers every July 4.

Arts play an important role in Seward, and you will notice eight different murals around town, in addition to a host of galleries and shops.

Equally as important is the rich history of the city. Visit the Resurrection Bay Historical Society Seward Museum and take a walking tour of historic buildings and "Millionaires Row" on Third Avenue.

No visit to Seward would be complete without a stop at the Alaska SeaLife Center. The cold-water research and education institute offers marine interpretive and live, interactive exhibits. Injured marine mammals are rehabilitated here before being released back into the wild.

Seward offers great silver salmon fishing each August. Anglers are excited to see the fish literally jumping out of the water during the peak of the run. A good place to view salmon is at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association fish weir at Bear Lake. Increasingly, saltwater anglers are trying their luck with riggings geared toward the aggressive salmon sharks that patrol the deep waters of Resurrection Bay.

The deep waters of the bay are a primary reason cruise ships dock in Seward.  You will notice the Alaska Railroad also operates its extended cargo chain via the harbor, including luxury passenger trains that operate throughout the season.

Must-see in Seward

Visit a glacier. Take the drive out for an easy walk up to the face of Exit Glacier. Located just outside of Seward off Exit Glacier Road, the ranger station there includes interpretive displays and a quarter-mile paved access path to the brilliant blue ice of the glacier.

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