Seldovia: An Idyllic Alaskan Seaside Village

Step off of the boat and directly into a warm welcome that greets you on the banks of the village of Seldovia, Alaska. This welcome comes from Angela at the Boardwalk Hotel and with it a lunch of fresh halibut and brownies. Lunch is delicious, yet will serve as just your first taste of a different sort of hospitality that exists in this idyllic seaside village where time seems to have long ago come to a standstill. 

Once upon a time, Seldovia (which is located on the Kenai Peninsula across Kachemak Bay from Homer) was the fishing hub of Cook Inlet. It was bigger than its now much larger neighbor, Homer, with a fish cannery and other businesses driving a bustling economy. Most of the town was built on an incredible boardwalk to service the fishing community, and was known as the ‘Boardwalk Town.’ Then came the 1964 earthquake that destroyed the boardwalk and altered life. 

Fast-forward to today and things are different than before. Instead of the fishing industry being king, it is now tourist operations that have developed as the economic life-blood to the village. And wow does it seem to suit perfectly this place and its roughly 250 permanent residents. Seldovia retains a seaside charm, thanks to rebuilt boardwalks, the drowsy harbor, and streets with more pups than street signs and cars.

Colorful buildings, mailboxes, and the homes on stilts lining the slough are aesthetically pleasing and blend perfectly with the overwhelming sense of welcome that figuratively hovers over town much as the literal fog caught in the pines. 

What makes Seldovia a ‘must-see’ Alaska experience is not only its charming community. The town is nestled against a genuine Alaska scene, where jagged mountains stand guard over sparkling waters, long stretches of sandy shores, and plentiful and towering spruce forests reaching from the tree line to water’s edge. 

Mother Nature wraps her loving arms around you in full embrace whether you are an appreciator of natural landscapes, or more interested in the wildlife who call those spaces ‘home.’ The aforementioned 250 (ish) full-time human residents here are surely outnumbered by other inhabitants not tallied by any census. 

The wildlife here includes Sea otter, Harbor seal, whales (seasonally), and an array of birdlife such as Bald eagle, Tufted puffin, murre, cormorant, and gulls.

Cruising around Kachemak Bay is by far the best way to see and capture images of all of this marine wildlife, as well as the captivating mountainous landscape that edges the water.

Sea otters seem to have similar feelings on hospitality. They are commonly seen in and around Seldovia Bay where a spectator can easily convince themselves that the cute furry critters are interacting as they, at times, appear to wave as they swim and spin about in the water with little a care in the world. Be careful, those feelings are contagious in Seldovia. Few experiences top spotting a breaching whale, also possible here at times during the year as feeding whales play hide-and-seek in the icy waters of Kachemak Bay.

Additionally, Bald eagles make themselves known as the majestic and symbolic creatures they are, and the occasional puffin screams passed at speeds faster than one would ever imagine. 

It’s a less complicated life here. In place of many of our modern distractions there instead exists an authenticity that provides visitors cause to remember with great fondness their journey to this ‘true Alaska.’ The beauty of Alaska’s signature wild places pair with its quintessential quaint community like laps of seawater kissing the sandy beach.

Just knowing such a place still exists provides warm feelings, but it might just be time for one of Angela’s halibut sandwiches.

 

 

Kenton Krueger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers, and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens, to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

 

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