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 at Beluga Lookout Lodge & RV Park, Diamond M Ranch Resort and Tanglewood Bed & Breakfast; dining at Burger Bus phone ahead for pickup 907-283-9611; and Charlotte’s Restaurant phone 907-283-2777; gas, RV parks at Diamond M Ranch Resort and shopping at Already Read Books phone 907-335-2665. 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 (pictured below) and the historic St. Nicholas Chapel.
- Kenai is the home of the Kenai Peninsula Oilers, one of 5 teams that make up the Alaska Baseball League.
- Views from bluff of fishing boats, volcanoes 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.