Homer is on the Kenai Peninsula in Southcentral Alaska.
- Flying: Taking a plane from Anchorage to Homer is the best way to get in during the winter, with multiple flights daily on Era Aviation. About $125, 35-minute flight.
- Drive: During the summer months, the 220-mile drive from Anchorage along the Seward Highway is well worth it. The scenery is breathtaking and it will give you a chance to visit some of the smaller towns on the Kenai Peninsula that can't be visited by plane.
- Bus: The [Homer Stage Line] is a bus service driving a few times per week along the Kenai Peninsula from Anchorage to Homer. $95, about 5 hours.
- Rideshare: [Craigslist rideshare] is a cheap way to find a ride from Anchorage.
- Hitchhike: Your best bet for hitchhiking to Homer from Anchorage is either from the airport, or at the Tesoro Gas Station at the turnoff to the town of Girdwood (about 40 miles from Anchorage). Hold a sign that says "HOMER" to your captive, fuel-pumping audience.
There is no public transportation system in Homer. Thus, your options are:
- Walk: Homer is fairly spread out, but is walkable with enough time; the Spit is 5 miles from end to end with a nice walk/bike path. The town has plenty of walking paths and sidewalks to get around safely. There is a nice, very short walk (less than 1 km) from the Islands and Oceans Visitor Center" to Bishops Beach.
- Bicycle: Rent or buy from Saw and Cycle, which is near the airport.
- Hitchhike: Not too difficult in this town.
- Car Rental: There are 3 car rentals in Homer, all near/inside the airport: Hertz, Adventure Alaska, and Polar. Hertz and Adventure Alaska are also in Anchorage, so you can rent a car in Anchorage and drive to Homer (220 miles, 4- or 5-hour drive), drop your car off, and fly back to Anchorage (35 minutes).
- Taxi: There are a few taxi companies in Homer; you can ask the airline attendant to call one to the airport.
- Homer Spit: Open all year; however, shops at the end of the spit generally close around mid-September and re-open in April. A massive spit built out into the middle of the bay that claims to be the farthest west that is accessible via road on the North American continent. Spectacular wildlife can be seen along the Spit, and it is particularly well known for the flocks of bald eagles that nest and feed there. A walk from the start to the end of the Spit will take around an hour. A walk along the beach is a beautiful way to see the Spit, but the beach isn't always accessible at high tide.
- Skyline Drive: Open all year, is a beautiful way to see the Spit from above (it's actually where most of the postcard photos come from). It is an easy 5 minute drive up a windy road to the lookout up the top. Walking up the road will take you about 45 minutes but provide you with lots of opportunities to stop and marvel at the surroundings (traffic is low and there are plenty of places to step out of the way of cars and trucks).
- Across the Bay: Kachemak Bay State Park - The jewel of Alaska, Kachemak Bay State Park was the first State Park in the Alaska. Inhabited by wildlife on land, in the air, and in the ocean, there is so much to see and do here that one could spend a lifetime exploring. Mountain goats grace the cliffs of remote and beautiful Sadie Cove from the entrance and up to the wilderness lodge of the same name on the South facing shore. Black bears live high in the mountains and can also be seen in the springtime on the shores of the Park searching for the first foods of the new season. Bald eagles fly above and in the ocean there are seals, sea lions, humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, sea birds, and more. The Park has a plethora of well-maintained hiking trails for the novice as well as the experienced hiker. Many guides in Homer offer adventure trips and the wilderness lodges offer an experience second to none for adventure luxe. To get to the Park you can hire a water taxi from Homer and enter a new world away from the chaos of civilization. We recommend Red Mountain Marine at (907) 399-8230 because they have a very nice classic wooden boat and very knowledgeable, pleasant, accommodating, and courteous skippers. Owned by Tom Hopkins of Homer, Alaska.
- Homer Public Library has free internet access, with 19 public use computers that can be reserved up to one day in advance.
- Kachemak Bay State Park for great hiking; it accessible across the bay via Water Taxi. Check out the Saddle Trail for an easy day hike to a lake at the base of a glacier.
- Halibut fishing: Central Charter offers a great fishing trip for $200. The ship leaves at 4:00 PM and returns the next day at noon. This charter usually has 30 people onboard but never feels overwhelming. Alaskan law only allows you to keep two halibut a day, so this overnight trip will let you bring home four. The boat has bunks for you to catch a quick wink if you need it.
- Combined experiences: Mako's water taxi "Seldovia Package" ($150) gives you a boat ride, wildlife, a view across the bay looking toward Homer, a visit to a small town, and a plane ride back toward Homer over the bay. It's an excellent way to experience what Homer has to offer in one day. (907) 235-9055
- Pratt Museum
- Islands and Oceans Visitor Center: Free visitor center open year-round with interactive exhibits and short films about the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The visitor center also has a path down to the beach with a lot of opportunities for seeing birds and other wildlife.
- Homer Visitor Center
Homer has an abundance of small businesses. If you need something, chances are someone does it. Ask a local.
- Auto: Napa, Carquest, O'Reilly.
- Tools/Hardware: Ulmers, SBS, Gear Shed/Redden Marine.
- Groceries: Kachemak Wholesale, Save-U-More, Safeway.
- Electronics: Tech-Connect.
- Clothing: Homer Jeans, Gear Shed, Salvation Army.
Homer has many unique and delicious types of fresh local food. During the summer, almost all food is local; during the winter, primarily local seafood is served. Specials at restaurants will generally be local seafood catches. The food in most Alaskan is not as good as in Homer; while other towns feature "classic diner"-style food or chain restaurants, Homer's food is passionate and artistic. You can buy fresh seafood like halibut, salmon, cod, mussels, and oysters down on the Spit above the docks. Food on the Spit is generally more expensive and aimed toward tourists. As the Spit itself becomes quite sleepy during the winter, these restaurants close down. However, Lands End Restaurant remains open year-round. There are many more restaurants in Homer than you might expect considering its size. Your best bet is to ask a local where they eat.
- Cafe Cups makes excellent food, seafood, steak, and intricate nightly specials. It has the best burger in Homer.
- Wasabi's is an Asian-themed steak and sushi restaurant with local seafood and a full bar. Finer food, dinner.
- Little Mermaid is a well-priced option on the Spit for food in the summer. Local beers on tap, burgers, seafood, pizza.
- Cosmic Kitchen on the main drag is an eclectic little restaurant with fair prices for Alaska and excellent service. Burgers, Mexican, tap beer.
- Finn's Pizza is on the Spit. It has a nice view of the water from the back deck. Great pizza and local beer.
- Starvin Marvin's is near the airport and offers great pizza, including two large 2-topping pizzas for $30. Located right along the water before you hit the Spit.
- Two Sisters is a wholesome bakery with delicious pastries, cookies, sandwiches, soups, biscuits & gravy, coffee, lemonade, and a very pleasant atmosphere with personable staff. Year round, local favorite, near the beach.
Year-round restaurants such as Fat Olives, Cups, and Wasabis, among others, deserve extra credit as they entertain the people of Homer all year long.
The Alibi, Alice's, Kharacters, and the Otter Room are within walking distance of one another on the main road in Homer, forming your closest equivalent to a pub crawl.
- The Salty Dawg Saloon on the Spit is a colorful place to get a beer, including Homer Brewing's beers. Bring cash, as the Salty Dawg does not take credit cards (they do have an ATM). No beers on tap. Located at the end of the Spit, about 7 miles from town.
- The Alibi serves food until last call, and as such is the latest place to find food in town. It draws a younger crowd with popular music. Non-smoking.
- Kharacters is a crusty bar for locals, generally the latest open. There is often live music. Smoking inside, pool table.
- Alice's Champagne Palace just reopened. It is non-smoking, serves food, and often features live music with a good dance floor. "Burger and brew Tuesdays." Best atmosphere.
- Otter Room Part of the Best Western hotel, food served.
- Down East Saloon has a large variety of beers on tap, local music, pool, pinball, and other activities. There is an outdoor porch with tables and benches, a stage, and a lawn. Smoking is allowed inside, although it doesn't smell as bad as Kharacters. The stage is an appropriate distance from the bar, so you can hear your friends when music is playing. Its location is inconvenient if you can't drive.
As with most accommodation in Alaska it is best to ring ahead and book a place a few nights in advance during the tourist season (spring, summer, and fall).
- Camping: Plenty of wilds here. Go forth into the woods or down the beach (just pack out what you pack in).
- WWOOF: There are many WWOOF farms near Homer. Do work trade on an organic farm in Homer for room and board, and meet and live with locals.
- Couchsurf: Many couchsurfers here. Homer is a worldly community; people here know what it's like to travel and are willing to let you into their lives if you're respectful. Many couches available.
- Seaside Farm Hostel. Nice little hostel 5 to 10 minutes outside of town. It is a working farm, and contains a hostel as well as rooms and cabins that you can sleep in. A room for 3 is about $80, while the hostel price for the dorm is around $20-$30. Great people who run it. It is located 6 miles out of town so you will need a car.
- Alaskan Suites, 3255 Sterling Hwy., (907) 235-1972, . Located just before the well-known scenic pull-off on the hill above Homer. The view looks into Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet and includes the volcanoes of Mt. Redoubt, Mt. Illiamna, Mt. Augustine, and Mt. Douglas.
- Kenai Peninsula Suites, 3685 Sterling Highway, (907) 235-1866, . Located a couple of miles from the heart of town. Cottages, subterranean units, and yurts, all equipped with modern amenities.
- Alaska's Ridgewood Wilderness Lodge, LLC, Halibut Cove (Across Kachemak Bay from Homer), ☎ (907) 296-2217 ([email protected]), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 10AM. A Kachemak Bay wilderness lodge capable of housing up to ten people in Halibut Cove with an on-site oyster farm. Rooms have private baths, WiFi, housekeeping, and free laundry services. Hosts can arrange activities such as brown bear photography, trophy salmon and halibut charters, fly-fishing for rainbow trout, hiking, and bird-watching. $500 pp/pn. (59.5991,-151.2185) edit
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