If You Happen to Vacation in Alaska
If you happen to find yourself in Alaska on vacation on the Fourth of July, you’ll want to make sure and take a trip out to Seldovia. I should mention that taking a trip to Seldovia takes planning, since no roads lead to the town. You can travel by ferry, water taxi, or air taxi.
My parents and I boarded the Discovery at 10:00 and took the scenic tour across Kachemak Bay. Victoria, the captain, points out local landmarks, narrates the history of the area, and stops for all wildlife sightings along the route. In fact, she navigates around Gull Island, where you’ll probably see Tufted Puffins, cormorants, and gulls, of course). We saw numerous sea otters, including a raft with mother and pup pairs, a sea-lion, a porpoise, and about 15 species of birds.
Once we arrived in Seldovia, Paul (my dad’s college roommate) picked us up at the dock and drove us to his home where Ginny had lunch waiting. After lunch, we walked down to the bridge over Seldovia Slough, where I enjoyed a sea otter’s antics. The slough and lagoon provide the perfect place for beginning kayakers and paddle boarders to try their skills.
I wandered around town and discovered a calendar of events for the festivities the following day—including a 5K fun-run (the Salmon Shuffle). Almost every business has a beautiful chainsaw carving masterpiece out front. Ginny later explained to me that the town holds an invitational chainsaw carving contest over Labor Day weekend. Artists have 24 hours to create a masterpiece. The artwork stays in the city for residents and tourists to enjoy.
Celebrating the Fourth in Seldovia
The next morning, I signed up for the Salmon Shuffle, and wandered down the street to find a latte. The Harbor Inn (and most local businesses) opened early, so I grabbed a latte and scone before headed back to the starting line. The family friendly (and walker-friendly) race had about 170 participants this year. The hilly course starts and ends on Main Street and covers a good part of the town.
After the race, I went back to Ginny and Paul’s to clean up before we headed back into town for the parade. The parade, replete with kids on their decorated bicycles, themed floats, and lots of candy tossing, lasts about 14 minutes. Don’t show up late! The library also holds a yearly book sale, so Mom and I picked up a box of books for our school library.
In addition to the parade and fun run, the city hosts a variety of activities for kids and adults. My favorite? The salmon toss. Think egg-toss, only with a salmon. Spectators had to keep moving back as the participants increased the distance between throws.
The locals also challenged the visitors to a tug-of-war down the middle of main street. Afterwards, we walked down to the harbor for canoe jousting and log-rolling.
The locals say that the population swells to over a thousand on the Fourth of July, and the ferries make special runs for those who want to participate in the festivities for the day.If you ever have the opportunity to celebrate the Fourth of July in Seldovia, AK, take it! #family #vacation Click To Tweet
Spend More than a Day if You Can!
But if you’re on vacation, you might as well spend a few days in Seldovia. Then you’ll have time to explore the gift shops, art galleries (Ginny and Paul’s granddaughter owns Asta Gallery), and hike a few of the local trails. I highly recommend the Otterbahn Trail that leads to Outer Beach.
The trail follows a spine of higher ground with towering trees and eventually drops down into a swampy area with a boardwalk before rising to the edge of the ocean. On a clear day, the views take your breath away. For most of the trail, you’ll feel like you’re walking in a green cathedral. Apply mosquito repellant, carry bear spray, and make sure you know basic bear safety rules before you hike anywhere in Alaska.
So, if you’re looking for a great place to vacation and celebrate the Fourth with your family, Seldovia fits the bill. The city designed the activities (most of them free, except for those involving food or the fun run) especially for families, and the only motored vehicles I saw on Main Street participated in the parade.