Nestled on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Homer is focussed around the central point of the Homer Spit. A long strip of land where you will find shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants and beaches.
There are plenty of things to see and do and a wealth of history and natural spaces to explore.
The town is also famous for being featured in the Discovery channel’s “Alaska the last frontier” and some episodes of the deadliest catch. This indicates the kind of wilderness you will find here.
When visiting Homer, you can expect lots of opportunities for adventure and there are so many local tours and friendly people who will be more than willing to point you in the right direction.
Let’s explore the best things to o in Homer, Alaska:
1. Kachemak Bay State Park
This expansive park is only accessible by boat or sea plane, there are no roads which means you are really in the middle of the wilderness when you get here.
Expect to see the marvellous glacier filled lake, waterfalls and amazing scenic views. You can take a boat ride or hike in the area although a guide is recommended. There are lots of wildlife species too, including puffins, eagles, sea otters, seals, dolphins and whales.
To get here from Homer you can rent a boat or take a water taxi across the bay. Then spend the whole day exploring before returning to Homer harbour.
2. Norman Lowell Studio and Gallery
This gallery showcases some wonderful art and a well-preserved homestead and is thought to be one of the best places to view art in Homer.
The whole gallery is dedicated to works by the owner and artist Norman Lowell. He has been painting Alaska for sixty years and every aspect of the gallery is expertly positioned and lit to make the most of the art.
You will see large paintings, such as The Spirit of the North, being the largest in the collection, measuring 7 feet by 14 feet. There are also sculptures and artefacts to browse too and about a quarter of the works are for sale. So you can take a little piece of Alaska home with you.
3. Centre for Alaskan Coastal Studies
The Centre for Alaskan Coastal Studies is an educational vicinity which offers natural history day tours for all ages. Here you will find information on guided walks, local tours, educational programs and overnight adventures.
At the centre you will also find Kachemak Bay, where a guide will show you around and offer expert knowledge about the wildlife, beaches and trails.
This centre is all about preserving the local ecology and educating guests about the wider area. So during your visit you will learn so much about what the natural world means to Homer and Alaska on a whole.
4. Pratt Museum
An amazing regional museum where you can learn about local culture and history from the Kachemak Bay area.
There’s a video to watch, plenty of interesting exhibits and guides who have lots of stories to tell, some of which are personal to them. Learn what makes the small town of Homer such a treasure to visit.
As well as the maps, artefacts and art, there are also exhibits about the habitat and life cycles of the native wildlife. Stressing the importance of respecting and preserving these animals, fish and fowl here in Homer today.
5. Ptarmigan Arts
Found on E Pioneer Avenue Ptarmigan Arts is the only cooperative art gallery in Homer. Here you will find unique, locally produced artwork and handcrafted items in a variety of different mediums.
Items include ceramics, woodworking, glass, photography, paintings and etchings, stone lithographs, jewellery, sculptures, and fine art prints. You can view the art on show and also browse pieces available for purchase.
When shopping here it is great to know you can pick up an authentic item that has meaning rather than a generic souvenir.
6. Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center
This is a partnership between the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve. Offering information and displays explaining the important work and research taking place in Homer.
Find the centre on Sterling Highway, where you can explore the exhibit hall, watch informative videos, and perhaps even take a Ranger led walk or presentation.
Both fun and educational to explore for all ages and interests. Another way to learn about the importance of nature in Alaska.
7. Bishop’s Beach Park
Loved by both locals and tourists, Bishops beach park is a lovely place to walk and discover wildlife. The best time to visit is at low tide but you must remember to check the tide schedule as it can come in quite fast.
Go rock pooling and find creatures such as star fish, crabs, eels and jelly fish. Kids will love turning over the rocks and spotting the different sea creatures.
You’ll probably need your wellies even if you just want to take a stroll. And definitely don’t expect lots of sand – its not that kind of beach.
8. Homer Spit
A unique walk to the end of the spit will make you feel like you are walking to the edge of the earth. Look out onto the harbour, out to sea and glimpse the distant glaciers.
It is also a very popular place for tourists, being close to the cruise ship docks and the bars and restaurants that line this long strip. Most of the galleries in Homer are located here too. So if you only have a short time to visit, you must explore Homer Spit.
The Seafarers Memorial is located here too. An interesting stop and is adorned with shells and rocks on the memorial with lost loved one’s names. A must visit whilst in the area.
9. Bear Creek Winery
A lovely wine tasting venue where you can enjoy the wines which are based on different fruits with grapes rather than just grapes on their own. They are sweeter than usual wines and are more suited as dessert than bold wines.
You can also stay at this winery and enjoy the beautiful scenic location on Bear Creek Drive as well as tasting the wines. After your tour and tastings, you can enjoy the lovely gardens and take a walk around the area.
10. Kayaking and Canoeing Tours
To have a real Alaskan adventure you can take out a kayak or canoe onto the water and take in all the beautiful scenery in the area.
Take a guided tour to the glacier lake, nearby islands and elephant rock and many other destinations in the area. During your tour you may even see some of the local wildlife, so make sure you have your camera handy.
11. Seldovia Bay Ferry
Take a scenic trip over to Seldovia and enjoy a day trip in the area where you can walk to most of the places you might want to see.
Enjoy the visitor centre, wooden sculptures then look over the colourful harbour and waterfront boardwalk.
The whole ride takes about 45 minutes which is enough to enjoy the scenery but short enough to take a round trip to Seldovia.
12. Horseback Riding Tours
Whether you are a novice or an experienced rider you can still try a horseback riding tour in Homer. Horse riding is part of the history pf the area and is common practice even today.
Learn the ropes with your trainer then go out with your guide for the day, enjoy the horses and the views and landscapes. Ask all the questions you want as the guides are both experts in horses and the local area, history and wildlife.
You will have an amazing adventure discovering Homer whilst taking a horseback tour.
13. Seafarer’s Memorial
As mentioned in the area of Homer split, this memorial is a must visit when visiting the town.
The memorial has a list of those friends and family who have been lost at sea, there are some photographs and memorials that are still laid by local people today. There are also many personal tributes laid here.
Definitely a place to stop and pay your respects for those lost at sea.
14. Kilcher Homestead Living Museum
There is a TV show featuring this property Alaska: the last frontier. Which is why there are so many visitors to the homestead, but you don’t have to be a fan of the show though to enjoy visiting this museum.
You will learn that the house was built by the original owners Yule and Ruth in the 1930’s. You will probably find that the son or daughter of the couple that built the house will be your guide and give you some really interesting facts about the history of the house and the surrounding area.
If you are a fan of the last frontier, the you may even get the chance to see some of the cast on location depending on when you visit.
15. Eco Tour Safaris
There are many different ways you can enjoy the wildlife in Homer, Alaska and taking an eco-safari is a great way to enjoy the wildlife and landscapes nearby.
Whether you choose a helicopter tour to explore the place from above, a wildlife tour to see the most sought-after creatures such as whales, otters and numerous birds or to capture the spectacular scenery.
Tours usually start in the centre of Homer but can often be customised or tailored for your own specific needs. Be it a whole day tour, half day or a few hours you can choose the best tour for you.