Southeast Kenai Locations:

Seward Small Boat Harbor

Seward Small Boat Harbor. ©Doug O'Harra

Notable Species

  • Harbor seal
  • Sea otter
  • Steller sea lion
  • Common goldeneye
  • Barrow’s goldeneye
  • Mergansers
  • Double-crested cormorant
  • Pelagic cormorant
  • Glaucous-winged gull
  • Black-legged kittiwake
  • Arctic tern
  • Common murre
  • Northwestern crow

Human-tolerant, fish-eating birds are easy to find at this harbor, where the local fish processing plant pipes ground-up fish scraps just outside the harbor, serving as a kind of birdfeeder for gulls, kittiwakes, terns and more. Scan breakwaters and navigation structures for attentive bald eagles. Watch for sea otters floating just outside the harbor entrance. Vast flocks of gulls land on breakwaters, floats and vacant gravel lots. Many seabirds find sanctuary here in the winter; watch for goldeneyes, mergansers, murres, murrelets, cormorants, and loons. Ravens, Northwestern crows and gulls feed along the shore, and harlequin ducks dive at the tide’s edge. Kingfishers often rattle from poles and swoop over the scene. In summer, watch for tree, violet-green, and cliff swallows swooping gracefully above, and listen for song sparrows year-round.


The Seward Small Boat Harbor essentially encloses a salt-water lagoon along the edge of the deep marine waters of Resurrection Bay. Breakwaters and structures provide nesting and perching habitat for a wide range of birds. Human activity limits visiting birds to human-tolerant species.

Geologic Connection

In 1964, the great Alaskan earthquake, magnitude 9.2, triggered 30-foot waves that devastated Seward’s waterfront, causing 12 deaths and millions of dollars in damage. The boat harbor was relocated here after the quake.


Viewing Tip

Winter is an especially good time to spot rare birds and watch sea ducks.

Helpful Hints

Stay off private boats without permission; watch your step on the ramps and floats. Be careful of footing if you explore slippery breakwater rocks. Do not approach or attempt to feed Steller sea lions or sea otters: it’s dangerous and it violates federal law.

Getting There

Seward Highway milepost 1.6. The small boat harbor anchors Seward‘s commercial district across from Seward Lagoon. There are several paid public parking lots located off Fourth Avenue in the harbor area.