The Best Lodge-Based Adventures in Alaska

Published: February 21, 2024

Discovering an “off-the-grid” travel experience in Alaska, far from any urban hustle and bustle which immerses you in nature – by day, and comfort – by night, is one of the best parts of an Alaska lodge-based adventure tour. There are so many Alaska destinations and landmarks to be explored on easy day trips based out of comfortable and hospitable wilderness, seacoast and remote “fly in” lodges all over the state.

People at a log-cabin lodge watching a float-plane take off from an adjacent lake

Redoubt Bay Lodge on Big River Lake in the Redoubt Bay State Critical Habitat Area

Alaska’s lodges are typically owned and managed by passionate Alaskans and their welcoming teams of helpful staff who love giving visitors their best tips about everything from where to go fishing, what hiking trails to set out on, and how to hook up with an outfitter who can take you kayaking, canoeing or rafting. They will also introduce you to “only in Alaska” opportunities for bear and glacier viewing fun.

Many of Alaska’s lodges are truly something beautiful to behold architecturally, with their massive log exteriors and quaint and charming interiors. They typically feature simple-to-elegantly prepared, delicious cuisine made with the freshest local ingredients delivered with a “down home” spirit of dining and warm hospitality. Their cozy accommodations (from rooms in the main lodge to small private cabins) include comfy bedding and soothing saunas, allowing guests to rest and relax as much or as little as they like. And while they each vary in terms of their level of amenities, all offer unmatched peace and quiet, a chance to soak up the surrounding rugged beauty of the Alaskan landscapes and fresh Alaska air, and the opportunity to strike a balance between relaxation and excitement, comfort and exploration.

Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge dining room.

Now be aware that once at these lodges, you will often be unplugged. No TV/internet and no cell service. This is truly an “off the grid” experience for the most part so make sure you plan accordingly. Often it is an adventure just getting to these lodges, as many are accessible only by boat or small plane, which means thrilling flightseeing, wildlife cruises and exciting experiences en route. That said, a few of Alaska’s most popular lodges are actually on its road system and make for the perfect stops on an Alaka driving tour.

So, if you’ve decided this is the way you want to experience your Alaska vacation, how do you decide which lodge is the right one for you?

We thought you’d want to get the scoop about the best Alaska’s can’t-miss wilderness lodges and locations, and the lineup of luxury, charm and adventure that each offer. Just remember, these lodges sell out – FAST. You need to plan ahead if you want to book a stay at one of these sought after destinations. And, the Alaska Tours team of experts can easily incorporate any of these into your Alaska travel itinerary.

Kenai Peninsula Lodges

For fishing fanatics visiting Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula is the state’s must-fish location and an easy trip south from Anchorage. The Kenai Riverside Lodge is where fishing enthusiasts often stay so they can chase world-class fishing opportunities (at least until their casting arms wear out) before relaxing in classic Alaska comfort. The lodge has cozy private cabins, homecooked meals, a sauna and a large wood deck with fire pit and views of the Kenai River, both beautiful and bursting with salmon in the summer. Another bonus is that this lovely lodge lies on the road system at Cooper Landing, two hours south of Anchorage, making it a desired destination for those on Alaska driving tours. Not a fisherman? Kenai Riverside Lodge is still a spectacular lodge stay, and is the perfect home base for rafting trips, hiking and wildlife viewing nearby.

several wooden rocking chairs on a wooden deck overlooking the Kenai River in Alaska

Overlooking the Kenai River at Kenai Riverside Lodge (Wayde Carroll)

Kenai Fjords National Park Lodges

Kenai Fjords National Park is one of Alaska’s most amazing travel destinations and exciting opportunities for seacoast adventures, a gateway to glaciers and marine wildlife that is unmatched even within Alaska. Getting here is fairly easy, as travelers can travel south from Anchorage by way of the Alaska Railroad or by road to depart Seward into Resurrection Bay.

two wooden chairs facing out to grass coast line, a lagoon with a canoe and a tidewater glacier

Viewing Pederson Glacier from Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge lives up to its namesake’s grand reputation as the only lodge located within the park itself, situated on a private lagoon with stunning views of Pedersen Glacier and the Harding Icefield. After a 4-5 hour glacier and marine wildlife boat cruise from Seward, you’ll disembark at Aialik Bay and walk to the Main Lodge. There you’ll be escorted to one of the lodge’s nicely appointed private cabins with private baths. You can enjoy a drink on the lodge’s expansive deck overlooking Pedersen Lagoon or enjoy the lodge’s wood sauna, the perfect resting spots after exciting days of sea kayaking, guided hikes, and beach strolls.

Kayaking in Pedersen Bay at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge is nestled on popular Fox Island, just a one-hour boat ride from Seward. This remote lodge provides a true wilderness lodge experience with comfortable, cabin-style rooms with private baths, a wood fired sauna, expertly prepared meals, and outdoor fun including guided kayaking and beachcombing opportunities.

a log cabin lodge with chairs on a deck and steep mountain cliffs behind

Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge

Travelers seeking a deeper dive into Alaska’s natural environment will love Redoubt Bay Lodge, set in one of Southwest Alaska’s most iconic locations, Lake Clark National Park. This lodge is framed by majestic mountains, dense coastal rainforests and tranquil lakes. And as a bonus, it hosts some very hot fishing spots and impressive salmon runs. Lake Clark National Park is also home to big brown bears, bigger glaciers, and huge volcanoes. Some of Alaska’s best guided bear viewing trips are easy add-ons to any Redoubt Lodge stay, as are salmon fishing and lake kayaking outings. And despite its remote vibe, Redoubt Bay Lodge is a quick hour-plus flight away from Anchorage and locations on the Kenai Peninsula.

two people in a kayak on a lake looking at a brown bear on shore

Guests of Redoubt Bay Lodge viewing grizzly bears from kayaks

Glacier Bay National Park Lodges

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Southeast Alaska is a land of serene coastlines, tidewater glaciers, deep fjords, lush rainforests and an all-star lineup of Alaska marine and land wildlife.

Glacier Bay Lodge gives visitors easy access to these natural wonders in an unforgettable location which is actually, officially a World Heritage Site. The rustic and cozy lodge, which visitors reach via boat, has a nostalgic vibe to go with its welcoming fireplace, on site park interpretive center, gift shop, and restaurant. National Park Rangers offer guests their naturalist insights about the Park’s history, geology and wildlife from its eagles, seals, sea lions, brown bears to whales. Because of Glacier Bay Lodge’s remote location and the always interesting rainforest ecosystem’s weather, most trips here include overnights in Juneau, Alaska’s fascinating and fun capital city.

Glacier Bay Lodge

Arctic Circle Lodges

Visitors dreaming of an Arctic adventure in Alaska will love Bettles Lodge, located 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle and surrounded by natural giants: Gates of the Arctic and Kobuk Valley National Parks, Noatak National Preserve, and the Brooks Mountain Range. This is as remote and rough as it gets for Alaska lodges, and truly puts the “wild” in wilderness. This historic lodge’s northern locale, however, makes it a very popular destination for northern lights hunters on dark winter nights. And thankfully, the lodge is a warm and welcoming respite with its pioneer history blended with modern amenities. Guided summer adventures from the lodge include float plane flightseeing tours over the incredible Gates of the Arctic National Park and Kobuk Sand Dunes, fishing, river rafting trips, and more.

Bettles Lodge aurora viewing in the winter

Alaska Bear Viewing Lodges

For those seeking some serious Alaska thrills to go with their wilderness lodge chill time, a few remote bear viewing lodges cater to those seeking up-close views of Alaska’s always popular furry and burly residents.

Katmai Wilderness Lodge is a coastal wilderness lodge in Katmai National Park near Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge and is accessible only by bush plane from Kodiak Island. With salmon running all summer here, this is where bears congregate to get fat for winter and put on a show with their constant fishing and frolicking. Expert guides lead daily excursions from the lodge treating guests to safe and exciting wildlife viewing.

a brown bear sow and two cubs walking between rocks and vegetation

Katmai Wilderness Lodge bear viewing

Visitors can also witness the mass and mystique of the Kodiak brown bear relaxing in its natural habitat at the Kodiak Brown Bear Center. Set on Karluk Lake in the heart of the 1.9-million-acre Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, this remote lodge offers private cabins with a maximum capacity of six guests, making it a deeply immersive wilderness lodge experience. And what an experience it is! The Center was developed to offer unparalleled opportunities to observe and learn about the legendary Kodiak brown bear. Personalized, lodge-based guided bear-viewing excursions by boat allow visitors to explore this culturally historic part of Kodiak Island and one of the highest densities and concentrations of brown bears in the world.

Kodiak Brown Bear Center lake front cabins

These are just some of the many Alaska lodge opportunities available to you in America’s 49th state. The team at Alaska Tours is standing by just waiting to help you select the best one or two for your upcoming visit. Just give us a ring anytime