Reasons to Move to Kenai, Alaska

Mother and daughters enjoying Alaskan sunset

As more people across the US look to relocate, many people have dreamed of living in Alaska. There are many great reasons to move to Kenai, Alaska, but most people don’t know where to begin. Although many people already living in Alaska know about Kenai, those from the Lower 48 still have questions about what makes Kenai so special. 

Called “The Best Place to ALASKA”, Kenai is the ideal place in Alaska to raise a family, start a business, and enjoy the great outdoors. To get you prepared for life in Kenai, we’ve answered the hard questions that you might be considering.

Is Alaska a Good Place to Live?

The short answer is YES! But this largely depends on what you’re looking for with your next home. People associate Alaska with snow and cold, and while this is true, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Alaska experiences many warmer months that are on par with Seattle or Boise. It’s during these times that Alaskans get out and play the most.

People who move to Alaska enjoy being outdoors rain, shine, or snow. Throughout the Kenai Peninsula there are endless opportunities for hiking and camping. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and the Kenai Fjords National Park offer nature lovers abundant opportunities to experience the glory of Alaska.

The Captain Cook State Recreation Area and Kenai Beach are also within a short drive from the heart of Kenai.

Kenai is also considered the epicenter of sport fishing in the United States. The Kenai River runs directly through the city of Kenai and the Cook Inlet sits to the west. Although there is year round fishing if one includes ice fishing, it’s the summertime when the best action happens. Salmon, halibut, trout, black cod, rockfish, crabs, and shellfish are just some of the species you can enjoy during the spring, summer and fall seasons.

What’s even better is you can enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful wildlife, landscapes, and remote locations. Instead of battling traffic, crowds, and long drives, natural areas are at every turn in Kenai.

If you’re looking to make a career in Kenai, there are plenty of options. The move to remote work has made it easier for people to live wherever their heart desires despite work headquarters being in major urban areas. Aside from that, Kenai also has multiple industries to support a variety of work skills. 

Alaska’s most popular industries are: 

Oil and gas
Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality

Supporting these industries – and the cities on the Kenai Peninsula – is a thriving entrepreneurial community. This is probably one fact that surprises most people who visit Kenai for the first time. Small businesses of all types exist to make Kenai feel like a big city in a little town.

For those that make Alaska their permanent home, the Alaska Permanent Fund also offers every full-time resident royalties from the oil and gas industry. The state views this as an investment in the community, and many Alaskans enjoy earnings as high as $3,200 per year per resident, including dependent children. Calculate that for your family and see how much additional money you could receive annually for living in Alaska.

Is It Hard to Live In Alaska? Is Moving to Alaska a Good Idea?

Alaska isn’t for everyone… but for those that adapt to the Alaskan lifestyle, it’s the best decision they’ve ever made.

For starters, Alaska has no income tax or sales tax. The state supports itself off of oil and gas royalties and taxes. This allows Alaska residents to reinvest their money into their families, their businesses, and living life in nature to the fullest. Each city and borough has its own sales tax. The Kenai Peninsula Borough has a sales tax of 3%, and the City of Kenai has a sales tax of 3%.

While Alaska does have its share of cold weather, the residents embrace the mantra, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”. Durable, warm clothing allows Alaskans to get outside all year long.

Winter sports and outdoor activities include ice skating, snow shoe hiking, cross country skiing, hunting, fishing, fat tire bike riding, snow machining (known as snow mobiles to people in the Lower 48), and hockey. It’s not unusual to see runners enjoying a morning jog even when there’s snow on the ground.

It’s best to put it like this: living in nature comes with challenges. But Alaskans meet it with resilience, an independent spirit, and the joy of living life on their terms. Furthermore, services on the Kenai Peninsula provide electricity, snow plowing, and emergency support that exceeds the majority of major urban areas throughout the northern half of the Lower 48.

Where to Live In Alaska?

Even though Alaska’s overall population has been steadily declining for several years, Kenai has actually had a population growth of 9.0% since 2020. That’s because Kenai has a diverse economy, ongoing development strategies, and a work/life balance that’s not common in other parts of Alaska.

Kenai also has the Kenai Municipal Airport which runs flights to Anchorage and throughout Alaska seven days a week. A quick flight to Anchorage can set you on your travels to visit family and friends in the Lower 48 and Hawaii. Kenai also is a short drive to such scenic sister communities as Homer, Soldotna, and Seward. It’s the ultimate launch pad for easy travel and makes life in Alaska far more convenient than most people assume.

More benefits of living in Kenai, Alaska, include:

Easy access to the Kenai River
North Kenai Beach and South Kenai Beach
Plenty of fishing
Views of the volcano range across the Cook Inlet
Wildlife Viewing
Cultural and historic resources
Local City Events
Parks and recreation facilities
Easy access to hospitals, dentists, and urgent care
Access to DSL and Cable Internet

For parents considering moving to Alaska, Kenai public schools spend $18,405 per student. This is much higher than the average school expenditure in the U.S., which is $12,383. This one reason why Kenai is considered the Best Place to Raise a Family in Alaska

Kenai Is Growing

The City of Kenai is actively redeveloping land to maximize business opportunities, and improve the residential, recreational, and cultural communities within the city. With multiple efforts underway, the City of Kenai is working towards the Waterfront Revitalization project, which will see more mixed-use development that includes residential and commercial opportunities, as well as more restaurants and shopping.

The City of Kenai has also made a significant investment in stabilizing the bluffs along the banks of the Kenai River, which will help to preserve its most treasured historical district, Old Town Kenai. There are future plans to convert Millennium Square into a thriving core park to support live music events, arts and cultural events, and community-sponsored events.

For those considering moving to Alaska, Kenai really is The Best Place to ALASKA where you can discover a new life for you and your family. It has the comforts of the big city packaged into the joys one might expect from a small town nestled in the most beautiful natural areas on Earth.

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