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Things to Do in Homer, Alaska: Explore the Last Frontier

Updated: 4 days ago


Come see the Homer Alaska Peony Festival held in July
Visit a Peony Farm during the Peony Festival in July

Are you tackling the challenge of finding the best things to do in Homer, Alaska?

This list, curated by a local, cuts right to the chase with various outdoor adventures, culinary delights, and cultural hotspots. 


Key Takeaways - Things To Do in Homer, Alaska


  • Stroll along Homer Spit, a 4.5-mile natural phenomenon teeming with beachcombing, birdwatching, and dining activities, complete with breathtaking wildlife and unique photo ops.

  • Don't miss the exhilarating halibut fishing in Homer—the world's capital- offering a range of fishing trips and the chance to catch monumental fish while respecting conservation limits.

  • Experience close encounters with Alaska's majestic wildlife through bear viewing tours, whale watching, and birding, and savor the rich local history and art at cultural landmarks like the Pratt Museum.

  • Schedule your trip around one of Homer's Iconic events, like the Homer Halibut Derby in June or the Peony Festival in July.


Discover the Magic of Homer Spit

Envision yourself meandering down a slender strip of land, extending into the ocean's embrace, where every footfall uncovers a fresh marvel—this is the famous Homer Spit. This 4.5-mile natural wonder is a hive of activity, offering a smorgasbord of experiences from:

  • beachcombing

  • birdwatching

  • shopping

  • dining


During your stroll along the Homer Spit Trail, remain vigilant for the flitting of wings and the delightful frolics of sea otters, adding to the enchantment of your visit. Whether you're here during the golden hues of summer or the crisp freshness of spring, Homer Spit is a must-add to your Homer trip itinerary.


But it's not just about the visual treats; the Spit caters to your comfort with various accommodations. From RV camping on the shore of Kachemak Bay or Cook Inlet to cozy rentals with amazing views and the epic Lands End hotel, you'll find the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration, all equipped with essential amenities to make your stay as delightful as the views.



Experience Beachcombing

As the tides of Kachemak Bay ebb and flow, they reveal a treasure trove of marine life and geological wonders along Homer Spit's shores. The thrill of beachcombing here is unmatched, with extreme tidal changes that unveil the rich tapestry of the ocean's depths. At the very tip of the Spit, the dance between the sea and shore offers a pristine stage for beachcombers to witness the vibrant marine ecology up close.


Low tide is a beachcomber's paradise, bringing forth tide pools with colorful anemones, sea stars, and jellyfish. At the same time, mussels cling to the rocky shoreline, painting a picture of life beneath the waves. With extensive shores and an assortment of shells, Bishop's Beach in Old Town Homer invites you to wander, wonder, and collect natural souvenirs from your visit to Homer.


Whether you're a veteran marine wildlife fan or simply searching for a peaceful getaway, beachcombing on Homer Spit provides an experience that aligns you with nature's rhythms. High tide or low, each visit promises discoveries and unforgettable adventures.


Capture Iconic Photos

A journey to Homer, Alaska, would only be complete by encapsulating this magical location's spirit through a camera's lens. As you journey along the boardwalks, the harbor presents as a canvas awaiting the stroke of your camera's shutter, with shops and the maritime scene offering picturesque backdrops for your visual storytelling.


Capture the sunrise over the mountains and time your photo walks with the golden hour, when the sun dips low and bathes the Spit in a warm, golden glow, perfect for those unforgettable adventures you'll look back on for years. Every snapshot is a memento of the exquisite beauty of Homer, Alaska.


Embrace Adventure with Halibut Fishing

Should you yearn for the exhilaration of a catch, prepare yourself for a thrilling experience in the world's halibut fishing capital—Homer, Alaska. 


The waters of Kachemak Bay and the surrounding Alaska islands are teeming with these majestic fish, offering anglers from all corners of the globe a chance to reel in the big one. With options ranging from:

  • full-day excursions

  • half-day jaunts

  • party boats

  • private charters

There's an adventure for every level of expertise. The peak of halibut fishing season may run from June to August. Still, the broader season from April to September ensures that your Homer trip can almost always include a day out on the water.


Armed with heavy rods, no-stretch lines, and large circle hooks, you'll drop baits like salmon heads and herring to the seafloor, enticing the halibut to bite. The thrill of the chase is matched only by the satisfaction of a successful catch, with anglers often landing hefty specimens, sometimes even surpassing the 100-pound mark—known locally as 'barn doors.' 


But remember, with great fishing comes great responsibility; to ensure the sustainability of your sport, be mindful of the daily limits, size restrictions, and the need for a proper fishing license.


Experience Wildlife Encounters: Bears, Whales, and Beyond

Homer's fauna mirrors its varied landscapes, providing awe-inspiring encounters. Some of the activities you can enjoy include:


  • Soaring above Cook Inlet on a scenic flight bound for bear-viewing hotspots like Katmai National Park and Lake Clark National Park

  • Witnessing coastal brown bears in their natural habitat as they forage, fish, and frolic along the coastline

  • Taking guided tours that offer a safe and respectful way to observe one of nature's most magnificent creatures in their realm


These experiences allow you to appreciate the beauty of nature and get up close with wildlife, such as bald eagles, during wildlife viewing.


But the wildlife wonders don't end there. Kachemak Bay serves as a stage for one of nature's most enchanting performances: whale watching. 


From May through September, the bay's waters welcome gray, humpback, and orca whales, each with unique behaviors and migratory patterns. 


Orcas grace the bay year-round, gray whales appear by April, and humpbacks follow in June. 


Embarking on a wildlife tour brings you face-to-face with these marine giants. It offers a chance to spot a rich array of birds, sea otters, and puffins set against the majestic backdrop of Kachemak Bay.


And for bird enthusiasts, Homer's shores are a critical stopover for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds—a birder's paradise. With specialized shorebird tours, you can witness these feathered travelers in their natural rhythm, a testament to the rich tapestry of life that calls this place home.


The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies provides tours and explorations of Homer's bird population, hiking tours through beautiful Inspiration Ridge, and trips across Kachemak Bay to the Peterson Bay Field Station, an opportunity to learn more about the birds and marine life of Kachemak Bay.


Delve into Homer's Rich History

Homer's rich cultural and historical tapestry is best unraveled at the Pratt Museum. With exhibits that span from:


  • local history

  • maritime activities

  • native cultures

  • intricacies of marine ecology


The museum offers a comprehensive look into what makes Homer, Alaska, unique. 


The botanical garden and summer music jams add a touch of vibrancy to your visit, making it a memorable part of your Homer trip.


Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center opens a window into the natural history and geography of the region. Guided programs lead you through the adjacent Beluga Slough and Bishop's Beach. At the same time, interactive exhibits entice with their informative and engaging displays. Together, these cultural hubs invite you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the story of Homer.


Embark on Breathtaking Hikes

Put on your boots and explore the network of trails in Kachemak Bay State Park, or try sea kayaking. 


Whether you choose to venture out with the guidance of an expert or strike out on your own, the park's paths cater to all levels of hikers. From easy, well-maintained trails to those that challenge steep ascents and rocky terrain, each route rewards with stunning vistas of glaciers, mountains, and beaches.


Perhaps the most iconic of these trails leads to Grewingk Glacier—an easy three-mile journey through lush forests, ending with the awe-inspiring sight of icebergs dotting the lake. 


The convenience of Homer's water taxi services ensures that the park's trails are within reach for a day hike or camping trip, allowing you to experience the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.


And for those who wish to connect with nature, the park's camping sites and Yurts offer the perfect setting for a night under the stars, surrounded by the beauty of Kachemak Bay.


Savor the Flavors of Local Cuisine

Homer's gastronomic scene is as diverse and packed with flavor as the very sea it borders. 


From food trucks and cozy coffee shops to gourmet sandwich locales and casual eateries to upscale dining experiences, the town caters to every palate, especially the fresh seafood that is a hallmark of the local cuisine. 


Favorites like Captain Pattie's Restaurant on the Spit, AJ's Steakhouse in Old Town, and The Kannery on Sterling Highway are just a sampling of the many food establishments in Homer. There's something to please every palette.


Ice Cream and gelato are a big deal in Homer, Alaska. If you enjoy frozen and sweet, you want to taste award-winning Carmen's Gelato, Bubbles Soda Parlor, and Udderly Delights Ice Cream. Udderly Delights is available at the Homer Farmers Market and Sav-U-More grocery at the food concession and in the freezer.


Craft beverage enthusiasts will find their thirst quenched with mead, country ales, and wines made from local fruits at establishments like Bear Creek Winery and Homer Brewing Company, where tours offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the brewing and winemaking processes. 


Unleash Your Inner Artist

The vibrant and tangible artistic heartbeat of Homer is on full display along Pioneer Avenue and the Homer Spit, reflecting the community's flourishing creativity. 


The local art scene reflects the stunning natural surroundings, with pieces ranging from prints made with octopus ink to historic Alaskan photographs, each capturing the essence of this unique place. 


Homer Council on the Arts, The Pratt Museum, and Ptarmigan Arts Cooperative Gallery stand as pillars of the arts community, offering various hand-crafted items, original art, and photos celebrating local culture and natural beauty.


Pier One Theatre, a community-supported initiative, exemplifies Homer's commitment to the arts, with a history spanning half a century. 


The Theatre adds a dynamic layer to the town's cultural scene through its performances and community engagement, inviting you to experience the stories and talents nurtured here. 


The Theatre is on the Homer Spit, next to the Fishing Hole. Performance details are posted at the Theatre and on the website.


Day Trips to Enchanting Nearby Destinations

Extend your explorations beyond Homer's coastline to uncover the captivating nearby locales, enticing them with their historical, artistic, and scenic allure. 


Convenient ferries, water taxis, and wildlife tours launch from Homer Boat Harbor, offering passage to charming locales like Seldovia and Halibut Cove. 


Seldovia has birdwatching opportunities, museum visits, hikes, and cultural experiences. Take advantage of the Otterbahn, a hike designed by elementary school students.


Halibut Cove lures with its artistic vibe, galleries, and the famous Saltry restaurant. The trip to dine at the Saltry is done on the Danny J Ferry, and the captain and crew provide a narrative about the bay and wildlife spotting commentary along the way there and back.


 Whether indulging in a roundtrip Wildlife Tour with a three-hour town visit or simply soaking in the picturesque Kachemak Bay, these day trips promise unforgettable adventures that complement your Homer experience.


Events in Homer, Alaska

  • March - Homer's Winter King Salmon Tournament

  • May - Shorebird Festival

  • May - Kachemak Bay Writers Conference

  • May - A Taste of Homer

  • May - The Motherbird Fair

  • June - Homer Halibut Derby (all month)

  • June - Summer Solstice Celebration

  • July - Homer Peony Festival (all month)

  • August - Salmonfest

  • September - Alaska World Art's Festival


Summary

From the adventurous spirit of halibut fishing and the awe of wildlife encounters to the stories etched in local history and the art that colors the community, Homer, Alaska, is a mosaic of experiences waiting to be discovered. 


Whether you're savoring the local flavors, hiking through breathtaking landscapes, or capturing memories through your lens, Homer promises a journey that resonates with the soul and lingers long after the trip has ended.


Frequently Asked Questions


How many days should you spend in Homer, Alaska?

A day in Homer will create beautiful memories and a yearning to return. For the full Homer, Alaska experience, you should spend about five days experiencing all its attractions without feeling rushed. This will give you time to enjoy the beautiful nature, wildlife, art galleries, shops, and dining options without missing out on anything.


When is the best time to visit Homer for halibut fishing?

The best time to visit Homer for halibut fishing is during the peak season, from June to August. However, you can also enjoy fishing from April to September, and limited charters are available for winter fishing. Remember to check local regulations and book a charter in advance for the best experience.


Are there any opportunities for bear viewing near Homer?

You can take scenic flights from Homer to national parks like Katmai and Lake Clark for safe bear viewing in their natural habitats. It's an incredible experience!


Can I find hiking trails suitable for beginners in Kachemak Bay State Park?

There are hiking trails throughout the Homer area for beginners. The Grewingk Glacier Lake hiking trail suits beginners in Kachemak Bay State Park.

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