While researching things to do in Homer, you are bound to find endless blogs about fishing. And while we are all about fishing, Homer has even more to offer! Homer is not only known as ”Halibut Capital of the World”, the quant whimsical town is also known as “The End of the Road” because it truly is the end of the road going south on the Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Every year, the small town of 5,000 people triples in size with its 12,000 visitors, mostly who are drawn to the abundant fishing opportunities. It’s a tourist destination that is on every avid fisherman’s bucket list, but let’s explore what else there is to do.
1. Visit the Homer Spit:
A focal point of Homer is the Spit, a long strip of land with shops, art galleries, seafood restaurants and beaches. Fishing boats dock at its harbor. Salty Dawg Saloon is a historical trademark. Go fishing in the Homer Spit Fishing Lagoon which is stocked with hatchery raised king and silver salmon that are released and return mature with no fresh water destination for spawning. A 4.5-mile path stretches from the beginning of the Homer Spit and ends at the tip.
2. Walk Around Downtown Homer:
If the hustle and bustle of tourism on the spit has you wanting to venture elsewhere, then perhaps a nice walk around “Old Town” can help you escape the crowds.
Pratt Museum is the only interdisciplinary museum in the 25,600-square-mile area of the Kenai Peninsula. Indoor exhibits focus on art, natural history, native cultures, homesteading, fishing, and marine ecology. Additional attractions are Alaskan wildlife, salt-water aquaria and a fine museum store. Outdoor exhibits include the historic Harrington cabin, botanical garden and forest nature trail enlivened by summer and permanent art installations.
Near the Pratt Museum, art galleries cluster on Pioneer Avenue which show local art and artifacts. There are also many coffee shops and restaurants along the avenue for foodies and caffeine lovers.
The Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitor Center is your window to the largest seabird refuge in the world, with all of the wonders of Kachemak Bay. You can journey through the refuge’s past and present, experience the sights, sounds and even the smells of a seabird colony, and follow biologists as their research ship sails to remote islands each year.
3. Adventure & Ecotourism
There are enough activities for the avid adventurer to seek until their heart is content.
Hiking – while hiking in Homer you may get to see moose, black or brown bear, and perhaps rabbits, fox or porcupines. You should see many species of birds, including eagles and sandhill cranes. Here are some popular Homer hiking options:
Wynn Nature Center
China Poot Lake Trail
Water taxi over to China Poot Bay and go tide pooling (be sure to check the tide schedule).
Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies museum- you can schedule an overnight trip or day trip with them to Peterson Bay and hike over to China Poot Bay.
Sea Kayaking & Paddleboarding – explore the waters in a non-conventional way one a kayak or paddle board.
Kayak – Take a water taxi to a secluded paddling area in one of the many bays located across Kachemak Bay or take guided trips from one of several outfitters for ½ day, full day, or overnight.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) – Stand-up paddle boarding (SUPing) is an ancient way to explore the sea. It’s the perfect way to explore the Alaska coastline. From a higher vantage point than a kayak, it’s easy to see all the amazing creatures deep in the water as well as wildlife and the landscape far off in the distance. SUPing is quite easy to master
While a variety of delicious fish abound in our bay, Homer is widely known as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World”. Visitors get a thrill from hooking the large, white bottom-feeder fish ranging in size from 25 lbs upwards to 400 lbs. Anglers return year after year for the thrill of catching them and bringing home some healthy and coveted white fish. Fishing for salmon runs a close second in popularity. In Homer we target kings, silvers, and winter feeder kings in the saltwater. Most people fish for salmon in the summer, but winter kings are fishable from September through April and keep enthusiasts well-entertained. Deep sea fishing also provides a wide spread of species, including lingcod and rockfish.
When booking a trip to Alaska, make sure you make it to “The End of the Road”. If traveling to Alaska and experiencing all it has to offer has been on your bucket-list, then Homer is a must-visit.