The Soldotna Visitors Information Center (907/262-9814, www.soldotnachamber.com, daily 9 a.m.–7 p.m. May–Sept., Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct.–Apr.) is on Sterling Highway just south of the bridge over the Kenai River. Stop by to sift through several hundred pamphlets describing B&Bs, fishing charters, RV parks, restaurants, and other businesses. The walls are lined with photos, and be sure to see the 97-pound king salmon that was caught nearby in 1984; it’s the largest ever caught by a sport angler. Just out the door, a short path leads to the Kenai River, where the Kenai River Fish Walk provides a spot to try your luck at catching an even bigger one.
For the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center (907/262-7021, http://kenai.fws.gov, Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 9 a.m.–6 p.m. June–early Sept., Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. early Sept.–May), take a left at Kalifornsky Beach Road (named for a prominent Native Alaskan family), then an immediate right, and go a mile up Ski Hill Road. You can buy books and posters, see the free wildlife videos, stroll the mile-long nature trail, and climb the observation tower.
Soldotna Homestead Museum (Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. noon–4 p.m. mid-May–mid-Sept., free) is a collection of a half-dozen log cabins on the way into Centennial Park. Inside are the usual settlers’ items, stuffed critters, and Native Alaskan artifacts. The real treat is that this surprisingly quiet spot is just a short distance from the bustling Sterling Highway.
For recreation, try the Birch Ridge Golf Course (907/262-5270, www.birchridgegolf.com), a nine-hole private course three miles from town.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition