Introduction to Kenai, Alaska

Kenai, Alaska, in Kenai Peninsula county, is 63 miles SW of Anchorage, Alaska.

Kenai History

The Kachemak people were the earliest inhabitants of the place now known as Kenai, and had settled in the area around 1000 BC. The Dena'ina Athabaskan people removed them around 1000 A.D. Kenai is named after Kenai Peninsula. It is possibly derived from the Russian word "Kenayskaya," which means "flat barren land." However, according to other sources, the place was named after the local Athabaskan tribe. Russian fur traders first reached Kenai in 1741. Alexander King, a prospector, discovered gold in the region in 1888. In 1940, a number of farmhouses were opened in Kenai, and in 1951 the first dirt road was constructed. A military base opened in 1953, and it served as a major post for communication. Oil was discovered near Kenai in 1957, and, with this discovery, Alaska witnessed a period of major growth.

Kenai earby Attractions

  • Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center
  • Pratt Museum
  • Beaver Creek
  • Alaska SeaLife Center
  • Captain Cook State Recreation Area

Things To Do In Kenai

The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center houses museum exhibits and features Russian, Athabaskan, and Aleut cultural artifacts. Located in the Kenai Peninsula county, the city of Kenai also offers easy access to the Pratt Museum. The Kenai Fine Arts Center offers studio space and hosts art exhibitions. The Kenai Community Library provides more information on the historical and cultural heritage of the region. The Alaska SeaLife Center features exhibits related to the marine ecosystems of Alaska. In addition, the 3,460-acre Captain Cook State Recreation Area offers facilities for boating, canoeing, and fishing.

Kenai Transportation

Air transportation is provided by Kenai Municipal Airport.

Kenai Higher Education

Residents of Kenai have easy access to the University of Alaska - Anchorage, and the Alaska Pacific University.


Total Population 7,463
Male Share of the Population 49.5%
Female Share of the Population 50.5%
Senior Citizens 12.7%
Employed Population 16+ 3,289
Age of the Population 39


% of people married 49.7%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 22.2%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $76,944
% Above Poverty Level 89.1%
% Below Poverty Level 10.9%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 17 minutes
% Working from Home 3.2%
% Walking and Biking to Work 3.5%
% Using Public Transportation 1.6%


People Living Alone 34%
Median Gross Rent $900
Median House Value $199,600


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 33.5%
US/American 0%
English 11.1%
Irish 10.8%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Kenai Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 63 miles SW of Anchorage, Alaska
County Kenai Peninsula
Standard Zip Codes 99611
P.O. Box Zip Codes 99635
Phone Area Codes 907
Time Zone Alaska (-9 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 60.554
Longitude -151.258

Kenai Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.2 miles
Jan Temp 6 to 21 F
Apr Temp 27 to 43 F
Jul Temp 48 to 62 F
Oct Temp 27 to 41 F
Annual Precip 18.9 inches
Distance 39.7 miles
Jan Temp 10 to 24 F
Apr Temp 28 to 44 F
Jul Temp 48 to 68 F
Oct Temp 29 to 43 F
Annual Precip 54.9 inches
Distance 44.2 miles
Jan Temp 7 to 23 F
Apr Temp 24 to 46 F
Jul Temp 44 to 68 F
Oct Temp 24 to 42 F
Annual Precip 21.7 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Kenai, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Nikishka (99635)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Soldotna 4,409 $68,036

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Kenai Public Libraries

Kenai Community Library
Kenai, Alaska
(907) 283-4378
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

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Kenai High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

9583 SPUR HWY.
Serves 506 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.4

A Non-traditional School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 82 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 12.1

A Non-traditional School

Study Online in Kenai
Additional Resources
Info for Kenai Government Officials

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