Alaska State Fair - the Best in the U.S.!

Fodor's Travel:
"Gwin's roadside establishment is the epicenter of much of the activity on the peninsula and a one-stop shop for visitors and locals alike, providing food, lodging, and fishing tackle ... The travel agency can book fishing, hiking, rafting, and other adventure travel anywhere on the peninsula. The lodge is the fishing headquarters of prospective anglers during the annual salmon runs on the nearby Russian and Kenai rivers."
"Gwin's Lodge - Historic landmark, traditionally crafted log roadhouse and guest cabins, full of local history and a good source for what to do in Cooper Landing."
"Gwin’s Lodge, in Cooper Landing (roughly in the middle of the Kenai), is a good base for exploring the peninsula. The kids will love the loft beds; Mom and Dad can hike up to Russian River Falls to watch leaping salmon and maybe spot a moose."
Barefoot Guides: 
"The Kenai Peninsula is Alaska's Playground"
Best Trip Choices:
"The peninsula serves as the Alaska sampler because it has the wildlife; the dramatic glaciers, mountains and wilderness; multipurpose rivers; a fjord-lined coast — plus churches, mining towns and other attractions associated with Alaska’s settlement story."
"Rich in gold mining, early settlers and Alaska Native history, Cooper Landing has long been a destination for serious anglers wanting easy access to the Russian and Kenai rivers and Skilak and Kenai lakes for trophy salmon, trout and a host of other species...Whatever your passion, be it fishing, hiking, rafting/kayaking, sightseeing, exploring Alaska culture or hanging out with the local folks, you'll find it all in Cooper Landing."

Alaska is the biggest state of the United States, and its state fair has been recognized as the best in the U.S. by Country Living Magazing. The state fair takes place in Palmer, about an hour’s drive North of Anchorage. In 2011, the Alaska State Fair celebrated its 75th anniversary.

​Because of the long periods of daylight during the Summer, Alaska’s vegetation is spurred to grow vigorously reaching enormous proportions. Previous heavy-weight produce winners include a 127-pound cabbage, a 20-pound carrot, an 83-pound rutabaga, and a 1,101-pound pumpkin.


​Beautiful flowers and plantings decorated many corners of the fair grounds. 

​There were competitions of many types of flowers, from roses to dahlias, to oriental lilies.  Of course there are the usual competitions for agricultural produce like tomatoes, and other produce, etc., too many to list. 

We also enjoyed chatting with a bonzai enthusiast who was repotting his bonzai creation at the bonzai exhibit.  A fibers exhibit featured knit clothing items made from different types of yarn, including ones from a white fluffy dog.  We also had fun at the petting zoo, which featured an aviary full of budgies that would perch on people’s arms and hands to get at the food.


Of course, the fair food is a primary focus of fair goers. ​​We saw a lot of seafood like lobster bisque, shrimp, and crab cakes. There is also the requisite reindeer sausages and buffalo burgers. We also happened upon a culinary competition between three local restaurants featuring — beef.  Each taster received a free decent-sized portion, enough to get a good taste of each chef’s bovine creation. All three were delicious.
















Another feature at the fair not commonly found in other states is a lumber jack competition. We were glad to see that men as well as women competed in various events, like sawing, log rolling, etc. Pretty exciting!

Give us a call (907.595.1266) or send us an email (, and our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you plan your dream Alaska vacation for no additional cost.

Gwin's Lodge

P.O. BOX 769




ALASKA  99572-0769


mo. 907-398-3987

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   907-595-1266 & mo. 907-398-3987  

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Welcome to Gwin's Lodge and Roadhouse!

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About Gwin's Lodge

Established by pioneers Pat and Helen Gwin, Gwin's Lodge first opened in January 1952, before Alaska was even a state.


They began harvesting logs from the surrounding Chugach National Forest in 1946. Gwin's Lodge is the oldest surviving roadside lodge on the Kenai Peninsula. 


Gwin's Lodge has been an iconic and historic landmark, well-known for delicious home cooking and comfortable lodging. 


Gwin's Lodge is under new ownership and management. The entire property has been renovated and remodeled.


Whether it's fishing, wildlife viewing, sightseeing, scenic or whitewater rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, or hiking...  make Gwin's Lodge your Kenai Peninsula recreation headquarters! 


The amazing turquoise blue waters of the Kenai River and the crystal clear waters of the Russian River are home to Sockeye Salmon, Silver Salmon, King Salmon, Dolly Varden, and Rainbow Trout.


This combined with the breathtaking forest, rivers, lakes, mountains, beaches, and abundant wildlife make the Kenai Peninsula a sportsman's paradise and perfect vacation getaway.