Soldotna is named after nearby Soldotna Creek. It was incorporated as a town in 1960.
With its central location, Soldotna is a good place to "home-base" while exploring the Kenai Peninsula.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Road access is via the Sterling Highway, which runs from the Tern Lake junction with the Seward highway, through Cooper Landing, Sterling, Soldotna, and down to Homer. Soldotna has a small airport, most scheduled commercial flights come in at the nearby Kenai Airport. Neither Kenai nor Soldotna have a deepwater port and are not serviced by ferries or cruise lines. The nearest deepwater port is at Nikiski, but it is a purely industrial port servicing resource extraction operations such as oil rigs and tankers in the Cook Inlet area.
There is a sort of hybrid public transit system known as CARTS in this area. Routes are not scheduled, you must call ahead M-F 8AM-5PM at ☏ for pickup and be somewhat flexible with regard to timing. You must purchase a fare card ("punch card" at the CARTS office on K-Beach, on the website and through the mail. Punch cards are not sold on board. Fares are charged by zone at $2 50 per zone (May 2020).
There are several local taxi companies. For longer distances there is the "Stage Line", a scheduled van shuttle service traveling between the Peninsula and Anchorage. Rental cars are also available.
- Gary L. Freeburg Art Gallery (at Kenai Peninsula College, the Kenai River Campus). KPC's Kenai River Campus established the gallery in 1985 as a tribute to longtime art professor Gary L. Freeburg who retired after many years of service to the college. The gallery has an established reputation in Alaska as a quality, fine art exhibition space presenting original works, in a wide range of mediums and expressions. Dedicated local and regional artists, including KRC art faculty and student artists, contribute works to be exhibited throughout the academic year.
- Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Its headquarters and visitors' center are on Funny River Road.
The Kenai River Festival is a free annual three-day event held in early June. It grew out of the Kenai Watershed Forum's desire to provide a free, fun setting for the community to celebrate the river that is central to the livelihood of the local community. At the festival there are opportunities to learn how to give back to the river by keeping it healthy and productive. Legendary festival highlights include 20-foot-long Luq'A the salmon, pioneer salmon dinners, Run for the River 5/10K race, free live music riverside and more than 20 free children's activities. The Kenai River Festival is brought to the community by the generosity of local businesses and organizations. More than 10,000 people attend each year.
If you are heading on towards Homer, Soldotna is your last chance at a "big box store" in the form of the Fred Meyer store located on the highway. Nothing local or unique about it, but a good place to stock up on food or fishing and outdoor gear. Sweeny's, located about quarter mile down the Kenai Spur Highway, is another place to shop for outdoor clothing and gear.
Soldotna is the biggest town on the Kenai Peninsula and it shows. Most nationwide fast food franchises have a store in Soldotna, but there are some local eateries as well.
Acapulco restaurant, located on the Sterling highway on the outskirts of town has great Mexican food and excellent views.
- Señor Panchos, 44096 Sterling Hwy, ☏ . Cozy, busy Mexican restaurant. Self-serve salsa bar is pretty great. Somebody in that kitchen really, really knows how to cook some pork. $15-25.
There are a few mid-range hotels in Soldotna, including the Best Western King Salmon and the Aspen Hotel, which has a few rooms with jacuzzis.
As with all Alaskan towns of any size there are dozens of bed-and-breakfast establishments around Soldotna that vary greatly in price and amenities.
Camping is available at Centennial Park, on the banks of the Kenai River.
- Homer, further south on the Sterling Highway (Alaska Highway 1)
- Kenai, via the Kenai Spur Highway
- Nikiski, via the Kenai Spur Highway
|Routes through Soldotna|
|Anchorage ← Cooper Landing ←||N S||→ Anchor Point → Homer|