FAQ Seward, Alaska
Below we’ve listed the most common questions we receive about Seward, Alaska, and our cabins and rooms. If you have a question not answered here, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. You’re coming a long way and it’s important to us that you have the best time possible. Take advantage of our local insight! Be sure to give yourselves enough time to experience some heavenly relaxation in our very special cabins, with spectacular wildlife and scenery surrounding them, just south of Seward, Alaska on the shores of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula.
Are you really open year round?
We strive to stay open year round. Sometimes, between the months of October (or late September) and March, depending on staffing, we may close for brief periods of time, in order to take a vacation or visit family on the east coast.
What kinds of wildlife will we see while at the cabins?
The Wing, Gatehouse and Cloud 9 Cabins sit right on our own waterfront on Resurrection Bay. Wildlife is abundant! In the waters in front of the cabins you can routinely see sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, orcas (killer whales), Dall porpoise, harbor porpoise and a huge variety of sea birds and ducks. In addition to waterfowl which includes oystercatchers, mergansers, cormorants, and loons; other fowl include eagles, hummingbirds, swallows, and even Great Blue Herons! And of course, don’t forget the salmon when they’re jumping! Occasionally larger whales will enter the bay, such as Humpbacks & Grey whales.If you are interested in seeing Puffins, while they do reside inside the confines of Resurrection Bay, they don’t come quite this far north, so you’ll have to take a boat ride for Puffin viewing. Around the Heron’s Roost Cabin most of the wildlife you’ll see up close will be birds (lots of hummingbirds in the summer, and other small birds year round). There have been bear sightings, and lots of eagle sightings. You’re just a stone’s throw from the Caines Head trailhead, and a very short walk to the beach. In the greater Seward area, additional wildlife viewing includes moose, black bear, brown bear, coyotes, Dall Sheep & mountain goats.
What kinds of clothes should we bring?
For the Seward area and Alaska in general, the best thing to do is to plan on dressing in layers, so you can add or remove things as needed. During the summer months it’s not normally very hot along the coast, but having one pair of shorts just in case is probably a good idea. If you’re spending any time in the Interior, you’ll want a couple of pairs. Be sure to bring rain gear too. You don’t need to be too concerned about bugs right near the water, but inland you can anticipate mosquitoes and flies. If you’ll be doing any kayaking or hiking we strongly suggest an under layer of polypropylene; it can be life saving!
What will the weather be like? Will it rain? I checked the 10 day forecast!
During summer months temperatures will normally range from the 40s to the 60s, occasionally the 70s in the Seward area. Very occasionally it can be warmer or colder. North of Seward and in the Interior it can sometimes get as warm as 80 or 90. It may rain; the rainy season tends to begin in August or September, but rain is a possibility year round.
During the spring and fall seasons, temperatures will normally range from the high 30s to the high 50s/low 60s. There is a higher chance of rain.
During the off-season temperatures will normally range from the 20s to the 30s in the Seward area. It can occasionally be colder, but this is an ice free port, so the bay will rarely freeze, although there may be icing along the edges. The wind can blow, and depending on the form of precipitation, roads and walkways can be icy. We suggest having a pair of ice grips (available in town) if you are visiting between November and April.
In general, do no rely on weather forecasts, particularly long range reports; because of the mountain ranges and ocean influence those reports are rarely accurate.
What kind of rainy day activities are there?
In Alaska, we do everything, even fishing, boat tours, hiking and kayaking in the rain, so don’t let a little rain ruin your fun (but a rough day on the watr is not recommended). For indoor activities, the Alaska SeaLife Center is a marine research facility open to the public year round, with extended hours in the summer. Be sure to include a “behind the scenes” tour, usually given around noon; it’s absolutely worth the extra fee. They also offer some other specialty tours that are well worth the money. The Liberty Movie Theatre downtown has matinées and evening shows of current run movies (may be closed Thursdays depending on the season). Don’t miss the Seward Museum, the Institute of Marine Science and the Kenai Fjords National Park Office. The Seward Library, downtown on 5th Avenue shows a movie about the 1964 earthquake during the summer months, which is very interesting. There are a number of Internet cafés for those who can’t live without. There are a number of very cute shops in downtown and in the harbor.
Many guests in our waterfront cabins spend rainy days just sitting in the comfortable chairs, looking out the windows
We are going fishing (or on a boat tour), what should we wear? What if the weather is bad?
Alaska waters are cold year round, so even on a hot sunny summer day, it can be cold on the water. We suggest dressing in layers, with the outer layer being windproof. We also suggest having a hat & gloves. Whether you’re fishing or wildlife viewing, outside on the decks of the boats your hands and ears can get quite cold. A good pair of sunglasses and sunscreen are also suggested. Also, if you’re fishing, you’ll need to bring food and drinks with you; and of course the proper fishing license. If the weather is bad and you don’t want to go, there may not be any refunds available. If the weather is bad and the company cancels the trip or changes the scope of the trip, you may be entitled to a refund. If you have any concerns about the weather you should be sure to discuss your concerns BEFORE STEPPING ON THE BOAT!
Be sure your digital items are fully charged and you have LOTS of storage available with you ~ there’s nothing worse than a whale breaching and running out of storage or battery!
Should we go to Homer? What about Wittier or Valdez?
The one common mistake people make when planning their trip to Alaska is failing to realize how BIG the state is, how far things are from each other, and how much time it will take travel the distances. Be certain to get a good map of the state and study the scale of it. Remember, if you were to super-impose the state of Alaska on top of the lower 48 states, Alaska stretches from Florida to California and Wisconsin to Texas!
For example, it’s at least a 5 hour drive from Seward to Homer, on a 2 lane highway with very few passing lanes. Getting into and out of Whittier can be tricky, and the tunnel schedule difficult to read, so let us help you figure that out. Feel free to ask us about other specific destinations you may be considering. Consider making Seward your entire vacation location! There are so many things to do you can easily spend a week. Many of our guests stay between 6 and 18 days! One great thing to do if you only have a week to visit Alaska, is to pick an area like Seward and use it as a base of operation. If you have two weeks, split it between two good bases of operation; Seward and the Denali area for example. You’ll be happier, we can assure you! You wouldn’t try to see the entire 48 states in a week or two; but quite often folks plan Alaska vacations without realizing that what they have planned for themselves amounts to trying to do that here!
What are the roads like? Will there be any road construction?
Most roads in Alaska are simple two lane highways. Most main roads are paved, while most other roads are not. There are frequent passing lanes on the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Seward. You should be certain to observe the Alaska law that you must pull over if you have 5 or more cars behind you. On the Seward Highway, headlights are required at all times. There are certain designated “highways” that are unpaved, and not allowed by rental car companies. There are no restricted roads to get to Angels Rest on Resurrection Bay and the roads are paved except for the last 3 miles.
The is always road construction in the summer in Alaska, somewhere! It’s a good idea to contact the various places you will be visiting, shortly prior to your trip, to learn what the current road conditions may be in the area you will be traveling through. If you have to arrive somewhere by a certain time, you should call ahead and talk to a local about projected travel times*. Some construction stops may be brief, while others may be as long as a half an hour wait or more, so be prepared with a book to read, a game to play, or maybe a snack. Chances are, wherever you are stopped, it will be beautiful! (*There are times during major construction that a highway will close at night to all traffic, so certainly if you are planning on driving between midnight and 6:00am, be sure to check that your highway will be open!)
We will inform you of any construction delays on the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Seward that we are aware of.
When will the sun set? Are the cabins and rooms dark inside?
Above the Arctic Circle (and most trips to Alaska do not go that far north) there are 84 continual days of darkness in the winter and 84 continual days of sunshine in the summer. If you are planning a visit during summer and especially the month of June, no matter where in Alaska you visit, you’ll experience very long days (18-22 hours of sunlight). The farther north you go, the longer the day. Conversely in the winter, the farther north, the shorter the day. In December in Seward, we have about 5 hours of sunlight per day. Off-season & winter months can offer exceptional and dramatic sun rises, sun sets, moon rises and Northern Lights viewing.
All our cabins have light blocking blinds on the windows. For those sensitive to light, during summer months we suggest a low cost sleeping mask available at most drug stores.
You’re already sold out; when should we have contacted you? Where should we stay?
Generally we say to contact us preferably via our Inquiry Form or email, as soon as you know you’re coming to Alaska. Never assume we’ll be sold out, or that you can’t get in last minute! You might be surprised! For the most popular dates of June through August, it’s best to call as much as a year in advance, to ensure you get the cabin of your choice, for the dates of your choice. For a stay around the 4th of July, as much as 18 months in advance may be necessary. If you’re looking for more than one cabin, the sooner you call, the better your chances. If we’re already sold out for the dates you’re looking for; we’ll offer you our closest opening, in case you have any flexibility to your itinerary. Sometimes guests will completely re-arrange their schedule in order to stay in one of our cabins.
If all else fails, and we can’t accommodate you, we’ll direct you to our personal recommendations for other lodging.
Why is your check-out time so early? Is there daily maid service?
Check-in and Check-out times are different for each lodging property because each property has different staffing. In our case, being a tiny “ma & pa” operation we need the time to prepare for each guests’ arrival. We have a 10 am check-out and a 4pm check-in, because in our experience, we need this much time between one departure and the next arrival to property prepare for your arrival. If we were to extend our check-out time to a later time, we would then have to restrict our check-in time to a later time also.
Our cabins and rooms are set up up to be self-catering. As a tiny “ma & pa” operation, we have very limited staff. We’ll service your unit every 3 days with fresh towels and every 7 days with fresh sheets. And we’ll check supplies, replenish, and remove trash every 3 days. Daily maid service is available for $10 per visit. Please mention this at check-in (or before) if you are interested in daily maid service.
a. Do you serve breakfast? I found you on a bed and breakfast website!!!
We apologize for any confusion our “bed & breakfast” category may cause! Since all of our cabins and rooms include kitchenettes, we are often included in a bed and breakfast category. OR, because there IS no “cabin” category, we end up in the bed & breakfast category since we are neither a hotel or motel. Because what we offer is so special, most guests don’t mind! 😉
Kitchenettes are stocked with a GOOD French Roast coffee, and Lipton tea. We also supply sugar, and half & half. We DO NOT supply any chemical sweeteners or artificial creamers. If you prefer these, we count on you traveling with your own supply.
What is the surrounding area like?
Many visitors are not quite prepared for how different Alaska is from other places they have visited. Since this is still the last frontier, you will encounter many things you may have never seen before. One of the reasons for this is that in certain areas, such as ours, there are NO laws governing the use of land. No zoning, no ordinances, no restrictions, basically ~ no rules. Lowell Point is one of these such places. Lowell Point is an unusual and unique place, and while some will be shocked when they first arrive, we can assure you, you will be pleased with our property and your experiences here.
Why is so difficult to reach some of the vendors you recommend?
One of the biggest frustrations our guests report is their inability to reach some of the vendors we recommend for tours, kayaking, and fishing. This is because we tend to recommend small “ma & pa” operations such as ours, with limited staff. Depending on the time of year you are trying to reach them, they may be taking a needed break, or extremely busy. Additionally, with the time zone differences, it can be hard to find the right time for you to call, that is also the right time for them.
We suggest allowing us to make your reservations for you, for these reasons. Not only are we in the same time zone as the other vendors; these are all folks for whom we have cell phone numbers and we generally know their schedules. We can take a lot of the frustration out of your activities planning for you!