Kenai is located on the Kenai Peninsula, 159 miles from Anchorage, 89 miles from Homer and 11 miles north of Soldotna.
Kenai is the largest city on the Kenai Peninsula. Originally occupied by the Dena’ina people, the Russian traders established Fort St. Nicholas, or St. Nicholas Redoubt, in 1791. In 1869 the U.S. Army established Fort Kenai (Kenay). The first fish canneries were established in the 1880s. Oil exploration began in the mid-1950s, with the first major discovery made in 1957. Two years later, natural gas was discovered.
Kenai is situated on a low rise overlooking the mouth of the Kenai River where it empties into Cook Inlet, with majestic views of 3 major volcanic peaks in the Alaska Range: Mount Spurr (elev. 11,100 feet); Mount Iliamna (elev. 10,016 feet; and Mount Redoubt (elev. 10,197 feet).
Accommodations, food, gas, RV parks and shopping are readily available in Kenai. There are medical and dental clinics, banks, laundromats, pharmacies, supermarkets, and numerous gift and specialty shops are located on and off the highway and in the shopping malls. Kenai has 2 elementary schools, a middle school, high school. The Kenai Golf Course is an 18-hole course open May through October located on the Kenai Spur Highway.
- Old Town Kenai self-guided walking tour takes in Fort Kenay, the Russian Parish House Rectory, Russian Orthodox church and chapel.
- Kenai is the home of the Kenai Peninsula Oilers, one of 6 teams that make up the Alaska Baseball League.
- Kenai Landing is a 1920s era salmon cannery renovated as a resort, with shops, galleries and restaurants.
- Views from bluff of fishing boats, volcanos and whales.
- Kenai River Flats is a must stop for bird-watchers. Great numbers of Siberian snow geese and other waterfowl stop to feed on this saltwater marsh in the spring. Kenai Shorebird Festival in May.
- Play golf at the 18-hole Kenai golf course.
- The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center has art exhibits and an excellent museum store.
- Stock up on fabric art supplies at Kenai Fabric Center and Quilt Kits of Alaska.