A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Things to Do in Homer, Alaska During Summer. 

If you’re lucky enough to visit Homer, Alaska in your lifetime, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the town’s charm, views and opportunities for adventure. As the southernmost town on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, with a 4.5 mile spit that dead-ends into the ocean, Homer quite literally sits at the “land’s end”. Best known as the Halibut fishing capital of the world, Homer comes alive in the summer with locals and tourists that have a deep appreciation for the ocean and its bounty. But Homer’s second most-loved slogan is “the cosmic hamlet by the sea”, which gives a nod to our town’s artsy, lighthearted underbelly. Whether you identify with the fisherman or the arts world (or both!), as long as you have a sense of adventure, you’ll fall in love with our little alaskan haven .

As long-time locals, we’ve put together a reliable list of the best things to do in Homer, Alaska during the summer. Everything from outdoor activities to local shopping and arts is in this comprehensive guide. 

 

You can’t talk about the best things to do in Homer without mentioning outdoor activities. 

The adventure potential in Homer is great. There are plenty of trails and fun things to do in town, as well as opportunities to have epic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences in the alaskan wilderness across the bay.

Here are some of our favorite outdoor activities that you can do in the town of Homer in the summer:

 

For a quick hike that feels like a good workout and takes you to the beach, go to the Diamond Creek Trail.

Just a five minute drive from the Baycrest Lodge property, the Diamond Creek Trail is a relatively short out-and-back trail that starts at around 550 ft of elevation and descends down to the beach. It can be made longer or shorter depending on where you choose to begin. If you start hiking from the upper parking lot, you’ll wind through tall spruce trees on a single track trail for 10-15 minutes before you hit the lower part of the trail that heads for the beach. The lower parking lot is sometimes difficult to access depending on the dirt road’s conditions and the car you’re driving. If you decide to start your hike at the lower parking lot, we recommend driving a vehicle with good clearance. 

For more details and directions to the Diamond Creek Trail, click here.

 

Walk the Eveline Trail for wildflowers and sweeping views of Homer and Kachemak Bay.

The Eveline State Recreation Site offers short, beginner trails that boast stunning views on a clear day. In the middle of summer, the area fills out with wildflowers of all varieties. It’s a bit of a drive out East (roughly 14 miles out of town), so we recommend taking a lunch or buying sandwiches at the Fritz Creek General Store to make a day of it. There is a great big picnic table that sits on top of the hill, not far from the parking lot where you can eat and take in the beauty. 

For more details and directions to the Eveline State Recreation Site, click here.

 

Go for a bike ride at your own pace or book a bike tour.

Thanks to our friends at Cycle Logical, you can easily rent a bike and ride down the Homer Spit and back. Cycle Logical’s seasonal bike share program allows you to rent a bike for just $6/hour. There are stations set up all along the Homer Spit: one at Mariner Park, one by the Fishing Hole, and one at the end of the Spit. One of our favorite things to do is gather up the family for a bike ride to La Baleine Cafe or Carmen’s Gelato.

Cycle Logical also offers fat bike and gravel bike tours that provide a unique opportunity to cover good ground on the beaches around Homer or across the bay near the small village of Seldovia. 

For a list of bike rental options, click here. For bike tours, click here.

 

Clear your mind with a stroll on the beach.

Homerites love their beach walks, and for good reason. No matter the beach you choose, you’ll have incredible views of the Kenai Mountains that rise out of the water on the other side of the bay. Just remember to keep an eye on the tides because the beach will nearly disappear at high tide in Homer. It’s best to go at low or mid tide because you’ll have flatter surfaces to walk on, as well as some opportunities for tide pooling if you’re lucky!

We recommend parking at Bishop’s Beach, Mariner Park’s day use area, or anywhere at the end of the Homer Spit and heading out for your beach walk from there!

 

Learn about Homer’s flora and fauna with a guided hike at the Wynn Nature Center. 

Run by the Center For Alaskan Coastal Studies, the Wynn Nature Center is an educational outdoor space that offers interactive trails, guided walks and special events designed to teach visitors about the nature surrounding Homer. Located off of Skyline Road, the Nature Center feels remote but in reality, is not very far out of town. 

For more details and directions to the Wynn Nature Center, click here

 

Enjoy a day of fishing on the world-class Anchor River. 

The beautiful Anchor River is just a 10 minute drive North from Baycrest Lodge. It’s home to excellent bank fishing for salmon, steelhead and dolly varden. Most fishermen enter the river from the Anchor River State Recreation Area. A quick google search will find you a handful of options for guided tours if you’d like to fish with a local. 

 

Experience Homer’s outlying areas on horseback. 

For those seeking a truly unique way to experience Homer, horseback riding might just do the trick. Traveling atop one of these majestic animals through Alaska’s rugged wilderness is such a raw dose of nature that you’ll leave feeling changed for the better.

There are limited horseback riding outfitters in the Homer area. Both are run by rugged Alaskans who aren’t as connected to the digital world as you might expect so have a sense of humor when attempting to book your trip. We recommend contacting them at least two weeks ahead of time in order to ensure you can get on their schedules! 

  1. Alaska Draft Horse
  2. Trails End Horse Adventures – leave a message for Mark at (907) 235-6393


We think the best thing you can do in Homer is get out on the water in some capacity. Here are our favorite sea-faring activities:

Kayak around coves and islands or on a glacial lake! 

True North Kayak Adventures offers single-day and multi-day trips across the bay from Homer. They’re fortunate enough to have a basecamp on Yukon Island, making it easy for their clients to hop in their boat and get to some amazing spots in and around Tutka Bay and Eldrid Passage. All groups meet in the Homer harbor and leave from there.
 

Book a sports fishing trip and catch the best fish you'll ever taste.

Kachemak Bay is teeming with life, making sports fishing an unforgettable experience. There is a lot you can catch out there including all types of salmon, halibut, rock fish, and lingcod! Your charter captain will have more information on licenses, catch limits, processing and shipping. 

Here are some of the best fishing charters in Homer:

  1. Dakota Ocean Charters – Enjoy a long day on the water on the Current Lady, a state-of-the-art fishing boat. It's even equipped with stabilizers that will help you combat sea sickness. 
  2. Destination Alaska Charters – The best option for people who want to treat themselves to a luxurious adventure. They offer much more than fishing too!
  3. Coldwater Alaska - The only spearfishing outfitter in Homer. If you want to get in the water with some rugged alaskans who love a good time, the Coldwater crew are your people. 
  4. North Country Charters – Offers experienced, reliable captains and crew.
  5. Blount Adventure Cruises – Offers a more economical option, run by a husband and wife duo who are determined to keep their fishermen happy.

 

For a more mellow adventure, go on a wildlife tour in Kachemak Bay.

When you sign up for a wildlife tour in Homer, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your boat. Simply sit back and enjoy the ride! We have a couple different options that we think you’ll enjoy:

  1. Coldwater Alaska – Private wildlife tours are Coldwater Alaska’s bread and butter. Their boats are comfortable, fast and clean. Stand on the big deck or stay inside the heated cabin – either way, you’ll have great views of the bay and its wildlife!
  2. Seabird Ventures – An economical option for wildlife tours as seats are booked individually (no private groups). Hop on the Seabird for a fun day trip on Kachemak Bay. Owners Lindsey and Davey Baird will have you smiling with their charm and knowledge of the waters they know and love. 

 

If you enjoy hiking, you must take a trip to Kachemak Bay State Park.

Only accessible by boat or float plane, Kachemak Bay State Park is a remote playground for outdoor enthusiasts. There’s plenty you can do there like packrafting, climbing, paragliding etc. but we’re going to focus on our favorite hikes! If you consider yourself to be an adventure-lover, you MUST go on a hike across the bay. Any water taxi in Homer will get you to your trailhead but we like Mako’s Water Taxi the best. Don’t forget your bear protection!

Here’s a list of must-do hikes across the bay:

  1. Grewingk Glacier. There are a few ways to hike to Grewingk Glacier (your water taxi can help you figure out what makes the most sense with the tides) but probably the most common is via the Saddle Trail. It’s a relatively easy out-and-back hike (3-4 miles) that ends at a gorgeous glacial lake, the perfect spot for a lunch break. 
    • If you’re looking for something harder that still gives you a view of the glacier, try the Alpine Ridge Trail. It’s also accessible from the Saddle Trail and takes you up into the alpine above Grewingk Glacier. This is a great trail if you want a challenge and prefer to see very few people while you’re hiking.  
  2. Grace Ridge. Similar to Grewingk, there are a couple ways to get to the summit of Grace Ridge but we usually recommend that first-timers do the out-and-back trail starting at Kayak Beach. Clocking in at around 9 miles and 3,000 ft. of elevation gain, this hike is a long, challenging one but the views make it worth every sore muscle. Plus, if you don’t have the energy to make it to the top, there is an excellent lunch spot that sits just above the treeline and about an hour below the summit. In fact, it’s very common for people to hike to this “knob” and turn around. 
  3. Lunch Mountain. One of the lesser known trails in the area due to its remote location, Lunch Mountain has everything you could want in a hike. The trail weaves through tall trees, then parallel to a bright blue river (feel free to take a dip!) and eventually pops you out into a seemingly endless expanse of colorful tundra. Clocking in at 6-8.5 miles (depending on where you start) t’s just a small part of the larger Tutka Backdoor Trail.

 

Rent a SUP and explore the Homer Spit from the water.

Puffin Paddle Co. offers stand up paddle board rentals in the summer from 10am - 7pm, Wednesday-Sunday. Paddle boarding is a fun and easy way to get on the water without having to travel far. 

 

 

When you visit Homer, Alaska, you should dedicate at least one day to cruising around the town.

Experiencing Homer’s rich food and arts scene is one of the best things to do in the town itself. We’ll cover food in a later blog post but for now, let’s talk about the shops, galleries and events you can take part in. 

 

Make sure you don’t miss these shops. 

Homer is fiercely supportive of its small businesses. You’ll find very few chains here. Even the one fast food restaurant, McDonalds, is a locally owned franchise. Here is a list of some of our favorite shops in town:

  1. Homer’s Jeans – Clothing store that carries high-end outdoor apparel and accessories.
  2. Oodalolly – Home goods and gifts. 
  3. Northwind – Modern fashion apparel, home goods and gifts. 
  4. Bunnell Street Arts Center – Ceramics, art, jewelry etc. from local artists.
  5. Fish and Flagship – Apparel, accessories, decor and canned fish from arguably Homer’s favorite brand, the Salmon Sisters.

As for shops on the spit, we recommend peeking inside as many as you can – it’s easy to walk to all of them and pop in as you please. However, a few of our favorites that stand out include Homer Clay Works, AK Leather Co. and High Tide Arts.

 

If you have a craving for performing arts…

Homer’s local theater and art galleries make for a fun way to feel connected to the local community. 

Check the Pier One Theater’s events page for upcoming shows and times. Or try Alice’s Champagne Palace, a local watering hole with a homey, alaskan vibe that loves to host musicians from all over. For a more elegant, refined arts experience, check out Bunnell Street Arts Center’s events page

 

Looking for something extra unique to do in Homer?

So far, we’ve given you a good list of the best things to do in Homer, Alaska. But the following suggestions detail the slightly more obscure things to do in and around Homer that you won’t find in any old travel blog. 

 

Take a jewelry making class with a local silversmith. 

Maggie Larue of Alpha Kilo Metalworks offers beginning jewelry making workshops. Learn to saw, solder and set stones in sterling silver. Each class is about four hours long and drinks and snacks are provided. Plus, you get to leave with a piece of jewelry that you design and create yourself! Check out her website here.

 

Tour a local beekeeping farm. 

Stoked Beekeeping Co. is run by James Reid and his friends and family. They’ve gained quite a bit of notoriety this year, after being featured on the New York Times’ Holiday Gift Guide and making guest appearances on The Discovery Channel’s show Homestead Alaska. You can sign up for a tour of one of their local apiaries where Homer honey bees forage for the highly coveted fireweed nectar. Visit the Stoked website here and click “book a farm tour” at the bottom of the page.

 

Visit the Farmer’s Market. 

The Homer Farmer’s Market is small but has an incredible selection of local produce and some special alaskan goodies that you won’t find anywhere else. We’re talking zucchinis the size of your arm, birch syrup from local trees, all kinds of mushrooms and more! The market happens every Saturday and Wednesday in the summer. Find more information here.

 

Treat yourself to a boat ride and dinner at the Saltry in Halibut Cove. 

Whether for a romantic date or a fun night out with friends, dinner at the Saltry will be one of the highlights of your vacation. Take a boat across the bay to Halibut Cove, an exclusive, remote community that’s scattered along the coast line. The Saltry offers an exquisite fine dining experience in a setting that is so beautiful, you’ll never want to leave. Visit their website to secure your spot on the restaurant’s water taxi and make a reservation.

 

Take a day trip to Seldovia.

The city of Seldovia is a very small coastal town nestled in the mountains across the bay from Homer. Its population is just over 200 people! In the summer, you can take a ferry over there and go exploring. Grab a drink at the bar or go for a walk on the Otterbahn Trail. You can also bring kayaks or other outdoor gear on the ferry for an extra fee. July 4th is an especially fun and lively time in this tiny town.

 

Go bear viewing in some of the most pristine wilderness Alaska has to offer. 

A quick flight across the inlet is all it takes to enter into some of Alaska’s wildest spaces. Most bear viewing outfitters in Homer fly to Katmai National Park, home to huge brown bears that would be a terrifying encounter under different circumstances. Trust us when we say these bear viewing trips are life changing. We’ve heard good things about all of the bear viewing guide services in town but we highly recommend booking with Sasquatch Alaska Adventures if you can!

 

Don’t forget to book travel accommodations with Baycrest Lodge…the best place to stay in Alaska!

No matter what you decide to do with your time in Homer, you’ll be happy to come back to a clean, well-built home after you’re done adventuring for the day. With private hot tubs and ocean views, the guest homes at Baycrest Lodge are the finest accommodations you’ll find in Homer. Read more about our lodge and its amenities here

We hope to see you in the summer!

 

View All Guest Homes
 

Back to the Baycrest Blog