Caines Head State Recreation Area and Resurrection Bay State Marine Parks

Quick Facts

Caines Head State Recreation Area and Resurrection Bay State Marine Parks


(907) 262-5581

Map Directions

Things To Do


The shale-covered, forest-framed beaches of Caines Head have long been stopping points for boaters and fisherman. Dock at North Beach Visitors are invited to explore the remains of Fort McGilvray, the South Beach Garrison and the many natural attractions of this 6,000 acre state recreation area.


  • Boating

    Visitors with large boats can anchor off North Beach and dinghy ashore. Smaller boats may be brought up on shore clear of high tide line.

  • Camping

    There are picnic shelters, campsites and latrines near the main trail at North Beach. A ranger station, staffed seasonally, is located near the north end of the beach. The Derby Cove Public Use Cabin is near the beach at Derby Cove, the next beach north of the ranger station and campsites. No mooring buoy is provided at the cabin.

  • Fishing

    Follow Alaska fishing regulations.

  • Hiking

    The 4.5 mile coastal trail leads from Lowell Point to the recreation area, ending at North Beach. A portion of this trail can be hiked only at low tide. Historic trails following old army roads take hikers to Fort McGilvray and on to South Beach.

  • Historic Sites

    From North Beach, historic roadbeds lead to Fort McGilvray and South Beach. To reach the fort and sweeping vistas of the bay, take the left fork, one mile south of the North Beach Trailhead. Along the way, explore the remains of the old ammunitions magazines and the bog meadows with their unique forms of plant life. The right fork leads 1.5 miles to South Beach.

    Fort McGilvray, once the strategic command center, is perched on a 650 foot rocky cliff that offers dramatic views of Resurrection Bay. Here are the firing platforms of the two six-inch guns that once sat ready to defend the Port of Seward. The fort is open to explore, but take a flashlight to find your way through the maze of underground passages and rooms. The cliffs around the fort are dangerous. Stay on the concrete pads and trails. South Beach is a garrison ghost town with remains of the utility buildings and barracks that were home for the 500 soldiers stationed here from July 1941 to May 1943. These structures are not safe. Do not walk on or disturb them.

  • Picnicking

    There are picnic shelters at the campgrounds.

  • RVing

    RV's are allowed at the campsites.


Tides are generally mild at Caines Head, with an average high of 8.3 feet to a seasonal extreme high of 16 feet. Drinking water is scarce at times; there are few year-round sources. Weather is the key to planning a trip to Caines Head, as Resurrection Bay is subject to severe and unpredictable weather. On clear summer days, calm seas usually prevail until mid-morning when the day breezes begin, commonly from the south at 15 to 20 knots with seas of three to six feet. The annual rainfall in Seward is more than 60 inches, so prepare for wet, cool weather. Bring warm clothing, rain gear and enough food for an unexpected overnight stay due to bad weather.



Caines Head State Recreation Area is accessible from Seward by foot, via the Coastal Trail, or by boat.

Phone Numbers


(907) 262-5581