Homer, Alaska is known by several different phrases, most commonly “the end of the road,” and it is a place you definitely want to make the time to visit while in Alaska. Located about 4 hours or 216 miles south of Anchorage, it marks the end of the Sterling Highway. The Sterling Highway alone is worth the drive, being named on of America’s Scenic Byways. But when you come up over the last rise before you begin your descent into Homer, the view will take your breath away. Katechemak Bay is spread out in all of its amazing glory and you’ll spend the rest of the drive down into the town of Homer not knowing where to look first.
Homer is a vibrant town with places to explore no matter what your interests. Here are a few of our top favorites.
- Kachemak Bay State Park is Alaska’s oldest park and covers about 400,000 acres of glaciers, forest, and oceans. It is common to see seals, sea otters, whales, and porpoise in the water as well as moose, black bear, mountain goats, coyotes, and wolves on land. The air is full of eagles, gyrfalcons, puffins and many, many more birds. The park boasts over 80 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult. You’ll find camping spots at select scenic spots in the park as well as public use cabins you can rent.
- Homer Spit is a 4.5-mile strip of sand believed to be the remains of an ancient glacial moraine that nature would have washed away many years ago if not for the determination and hard work of the locals. Archaeological finds give us a glimpse of its past including Pacific Eskimos, Dena’ina Athabascan Indians, Russian explorers, and coal miners. Now it is a haven for fishing, beach combing, arts, rafts, eagle watching, and much more.
- East End Road heads out of town and connects remote Russian villages like Kachemak Selo and Voznesenka with the rest of the outside world. The road is partially paved and gravel the rest of the way and provide unforgettable views of Kachemak Bay as it winds ever higher up the mountains and deeper into the bay. If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, it is well worth the trip.
- North Fork Loop Road is a 14-mile loop out of the community of Anchor Point (right before you get to Homer). You’ll get treated to amazing views of the peninsula, the mountains, more mountains, and even more mountains. The road is paved as far as the community of Nikolaevsk and then gravel the rest of the way, so again, make sure you have a 4-wheel drive truck.
- Salty Dawg Saloon. No list of Homer must do’s would be complete without the infamous Salty Dawg Saloon. It has a long and rich history in the community, starting out in1897 as a post office, railroad station, grocery store, and even a coal mining office. After changing hand and purposes over the years, it officially became the Salty Dawg Saloon in 1957, two years before Alaska was even a state. It remains one of Homer’s most well-recognized landmarks and is worth a visit just because.
Now it’s worth noting that Homer has much, much more than this to offer. The community does an amazing job with their website that covers their fine dining, arts, fishing, adventure and ecotourism attractions. Check them out at www.homeralaska.org.