At the Kenai Fjords National Park Information Center, Seward Small Boat Harbor (P.O. Box 1727), Seward, AK 99664 (tel. 907/224-7500; www.nps.gov/kefj), you will find rangers to answer questions about the park and provide information on the all-important tour boats, and a small but handy bookstore. Call or drop by here for advice on public-use cabins for rent in the fjords, guidance on a sea-kayaking expedition there, or information on hikes and trail conditions. They're open late May through early September daily 8:30am to 7pm, the balance of May and September 9am to 5pm. The center is closed October through April.
Accommodations & Camping
There are no roads into the main part of the park. The vast majority of visitors base themselves in Seward and tour the park on a day boat. My recommendations for Seward lodgings are earlier in this chapter, including the description of the Exit Glacier Campground, the only campground in the park. But there are options for staying in the fjords themselves. Like most wilderness travel, these choices are either rugged or expensive.
Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, in Aialik Bay (tel. 800/334-8730 or 907/783-2928; www.kenaiglacier.com), which opened in 2009, is the only lodging in the park and is reachable only by boat. The lodge was built to take advantage of an incredible location, in a lagoon with views of Pedersen Glacier. Guests join nature walks or kayak with guides in this coveted area, rich in wildlife and amazing scenery. Accommodations are in 16 cabins with private bathrooms, with meals and common areas in a central lodge. The rate of $650 per person ($575 for children 7-11) for a 2-night session includes meals and guiding.
Otherwise, staying in the heart of the park means camping, either on a guided sea-kayaking trip or sea kayaking on your own, if you have the expertise for such a journey. A free Park Service map shows the location of food lockers and hanging cables to keep your stuff away from bears in the kayaking waters of Aialik Bay and Northwestern Fjord. The Park Service gives voluntary permits to record your itinerary and an emergency contact phone number in case you don't return. The park will send a packet of information, which you can request through the website. They also rent out two public-use cabins in the fjords, reachable only by boat or floatplane. Contact the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage for a $50-a-day cabin permit, open for reservations starting January 2 each year.