Exploring Alaska's Kenai Fjords Guidebook

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Top Destinations (Overview)

Kenai Fjords National Park

State Marine Parks

Resurrection Bay

Aialik Bay (KFNP)

Day Harbor

Day Harbor Maps

Northwestern Fjord (KFNP)

Nuka Island (KBSP)

Kenai Fjords Maps

Alaska State Marine Parks

Alaska State Marine Parks Map

A half-dozen Alaska State Marine Parks lie within Resurrection Bay and Day Harbor. All the Alaska State Parks are within 7 to 25 nautical miles of Seward and are accessible by boat, kayak or float plane. In summer, Miller's Landing (no relationship to the author) operates a scheduled water taxi drop-off service within Resurrection Bay, although arrangements can be made for drop-offs in Day Harbor or in the Kenai Fjords National Park. Alaska State Parks allow camping and fires on the beach. You can camp for 2 weeks without fee. All the marine parks have special features, although freshwater and a safe anchorage are not necessarily guaranteed.

Caines Head State Recreation Area (Rez Bay)

Caines Head State Recreation Area (5,941 acres) is the largest Alaska State Marine Park in the Resurrection Bay area. Visitors can access Caines Head by hiking the Caines Head Shoreline Trail, or by hiring a water taxi. Of course, Caines Head can also be easily accessed by kayak or small boat by landing on North Beach.

Thumb Cove State Marine Park (Rez Bay)

Thumb Cove's prominent and alluring southeast beach front is a very popular camping and hiking area. The park is visited by touring kayak groups, backpackers, water-taxi drop-offs, and mariners in open boats needing a beach to camp. The waterfront campsites are first come, first serve. Alaska State Parks maintain two Public Use Cabins in Thumb Cove.

Sandspit Point State Marine Park (Rez Bay)

The Fox Island Sandspit is an excellent kayak haulout beach and base camp for paddlers seeking a convenient and scenic area to explore. The spit is centrally located for paddle trips to the Eldorado Narrows, Kayaker Cove, and Thumb Cove. A secluded lagoon occupies the inner portion of the sandspit. A skeleton spruce forest, killed by salt water moving in after land subsidence from the 1964 earthquake, surrounds the lagoon's perimeter.

Sunny Cove State Marine Park (Rez Bay)

The south end of the Sunny Cove beach front is available for camping. Private property lies behind the beach at the cove's head. Sunny Cove is a fair base camp for further exploration of Fox Island's steep and rugged south end.

Driftwood Bay State Marine Park

Driftwood Bay State Marine Park (Day Harbor)

Driftwood Bay is a breath taking semi-protected embayment surrounded by towering basalt dikes. The vertical cliff at Davidson Point, at the bay's south entrance, resembles a walled fortress. The bay's hook shape, forms a natural catch basin for flotsam that drifts westward on the Alaskan Coastal Current. Obtaining fresh water at the bay's head can be a problem in dry periods. Driftwood Bay is a marginal boat anchorage in easterly weather.

Safety Cove State Marine Park (Day Harbor)

The cobble beach at the cove's head provides a reliable kayak or small boat landing spot. Behind the piles of driftwood scattered along the beach berm, a small lake decorates the valley floor. The lake's mirror-like surface reflects 3,800-foot high snowy peaks and icy cirques. At the cove's south entrance stands the precipitous rock face of Chamberlain Point. Here, World War II ruins of a searchlight station, observation bunker, and powerhouse cling to the cliff, 150 to 300 feet above the water's surface.