Kayaker’s Cove: My Favorite Escape From Seward
Updated June 2023, Kayaker’s Cove: My Favorite Escape from Seward was originally published in October 2020
If you read this blog often, you’ll notice that I am finally getting around to writing about all my favorite little adventures from this summer. Since the pandemic struck this spring and shuttered many a summer travel plan, I decided that there was only one way to take advantage of a strange (cough..cough… looking at you 2020) situation- to get out and travel Alaska as much as possible this year.
The weekend before visiting Kayaker’s Cove I was up in Hatcher Pass, celebrating my friend Tay’s birthday with her and her fiance, and her parents. It was then that her mom, Lucy (she’s like a second Mom to me), said, “Hey! I’m caretaking the hostel out in Kayaker’s Cove starting next week for a bit. No one has booked at all next weekend. Wanna come out?”
I love when these little last-minute plans pop up and take you somewhere that you had never even heard of. You see, I’ve nearly traveled Alaska from top to bottom this year, taking on the Dalton Highway clear up to Deadhorse, venturing into ANWR on a day hike, and a multi-day trek into Gates of the Arctic National Park.
These are just to name a small few of the adventures I had this summer (the beauty of Alaska is the remoteness, which was perfect during COVID summer when you’re not trying to come into contact with other people unnecessarily).
The following Friday night after work we (Tay and I) were headed south toward Seward to kick off our weekend out at Kayaker’s Cove.
How to get to Kayaker’s Cove
Getting to Kayaker’s Cove was pretty painless. You’ll need to get to Seward first. From Anchorage, it’s about a two-hour drive south to reach Seward.
One to Seward, you’ll need to take a water taxi to Kayaker’s Cove. You’ll want to book the water taxi a few days in advance as they do book out in the summertime. We went with Louis at Seward Water Taxi, but Miller’s Landing also provides water taxis to and from Kayaker’s Cove. A roundtrip journey will set you back about $60-70 per person.
If you’re visiting Alaska, I definitely recommend taking a couple of days (or more) to explore in and around Seward, as there are an awesome array of adventurous things to do in Seward.
Things to do in Kayaker’s Cove
Kayaker’s Cove is the perfect place to get out an adventure both on land and by sea, or just relax and take in the gorgeous sceneries of Resurrection Bay.
- Kayaking: Of course, given the namesake of the cove, this is likely on most visitor’s agendas. Kayaker’s Cove Hostel does rent out kayaks at a rate of $25 per day (though experienced paddlers may opt to kayak all the way from Seward rather than take the water taxi!). Kayak across to Fox Island and enjoy the spit that juts out into the bay, or paddle north to explore neighboring Humpy Cove. On a calm day, you can even paddle south into the Eldorado Narrows and explore the coast as it opens up toward the Gulf of Alaska. Keep an eye out for whales, puffins, bald eagles, and more!
- Wildlife viewing: Heading out on a paddle or even just from land, keep your eyes peeled for countless wildlife viewing opportunities. On our trip to Kayaker’s Cove, we saw humpbacks, puffins, jellyfish, otters, starfish, and bald eagles. On other trips around Resurrection Bay, I’ve also seen orca, mountain goats, bears, and countless migratory birds.
- Hiking: From behind the hostel, a trail leads up into the towering mountains behind the cove. There are route descriptions written out inside the main hostel building, however, you can roam wherever you please.
- Relax on the beach: The beach out front of the Kayaker’s Cove Hostel is the perfect place to kick back and read a book or just enjoy the nature around you.
- Tide pooling: A fan favorite in really any coastal area in Alaska. Wait for the tide to go out and explore the pools of water left behind on the rocks leading out from the beach of Kayaker’s Cove. Look for crabs, starfish, anemones, and more in the pools of water.
- Take a banya: Bring your own firewood out with you on the water taxi because they have a banya (sauna) here on the property.
- Have a campfire: They do have a firepit here for anyone wanting to have a fire outside or wanting to cook over a campfire. As mentioned above, bring firewood with you.
Staying at the Kayaker’s Cove Hostel
The property has a main building with a kitchen and living room downstairs and sleeps up to 12 in the upstairs. They do have two private cabins for rent as well that can fit up to four people each. The main building as well as the cabins are artistically decorated.
The main building and the cabins are rustic, so no heat or electricity, however, the main building and cabins do have wood-burning stoves (bring your own wood as mentioned before). There are outhouse-toilets, one just outside the main building, accessible by the boardwalk, and another between the two cabins.
A gas stove, cookery, and dishes are free to use in the kitchen, but you will need to bring food and drinks, as well as drinking water.
A bed in the hostel will set you back $25 per night. A cabin will cost $75 per night. Traveling with a larger group? You can rent out the entire property (main building and both cabins) for $400 per night. Bedding (sheets) will cost $5 per stay if you need it, however, you can bring your sleeping bag or blankets. Head over to Kayaker’s Cove website here and book your stay, and read more about the property.
What to pack for Kayaker’s Cove
- Food and drinks (including drinking water)
- Sleeping bag
- Rubber boots
- Hiking boots (if you plan to hike)
- Rain jacket and rain pants (Resurrection Bay receives a lot of precipitation)
- Warm clothing that can be layered (it’s quite chilly out here, even in summer)
- Drysuit (not required, but if you have one you may want it)
- Headlamp (I’d recommend a small battery or solar-powered lights for inside especially if you’ll visit in the early or late summer)
Other Important Info
- Kayaker’s Cove is only open for booking in the summer. They usually open around Memorial Day weekend and close up for the winter at or just after Labor Day weekend.
- In general, plan to not use your phone while out here. If you walk out pretty far along the north side of the cove you can sometimes get 3G cell reception. I recommend carrying a Garmin Inreach Explorer + if you need to be in contact with anyone while out there.
- When booking your water taxi, you’ll need to set up a pickup time. If there is bad weather coming, most captains will try to communicate this to you when dropping you off to help prep you in the event of them having to delay your pickup time. If you have an Inreach or similar device as mentioned above, you can leave the number with your captain so that he can communicate a new pickup time with you.
Where to stay in Seward
Spending time in Seward before or after visiting Kayaker’s Cove? Here’s a few options in different budget ranges.
| Cityofseward.us |
Nauti Otter Inn & Yurt Village
| Booking.com | Hotels.com |
| Booking.com | Hotels.com |
Harbor 360 Hotel
| Booking.com | Agoda.com |
Seward Windsong Lodge
| Booking.com | Hotels.com |
Have any questions about visiting Kayaker’s Cove?
Ask in the comments section below.
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2 thoughts on “Kayaker’s Cove: My Favorite Escape From Seward”
How long does it take to kayak from Kayaker’s Cove to Seward? Do you see just as many sights compared to one of the outfitters that you pay to take you?
I asked a good friend of mine who’s an avid kayaker and she said that it’s a long trip and timing can vary a lot based on weather. She said to just be aware that you have to start really early because there are headwinds that can get pretty strong throughout the day. Most of the way there is nowhere to take out either. It’s rocky cliffs most of the way until you reach Thumb Cove which is about 5 miles in. In total it’s about an 8 mile kayak day.