So, you’ve decided to escape to Homer. What’s the right amount of time to spend? It depends on what you want to get out of it…
If you're just visiting Homer to see the town and its main attractions:
We recommend a 2- or 3-night stay. Arrive in the evening and relax. It's a good 4.5-5 hours between Anchorage and Homer, and the sheer fact of driving such a beautiful route means you'll probably stop every half hour and take a picture. The next day, start with your priority, such as a fishing charter, sea-kayaking tour, or bear viewing fly-in.
Many day trips (and all half-day trips) leave you with enough time to enjoy in-town attractions and activities after you return. Both the Pratt Museum and Islands & Ocean Visitor Center stay open until 6pm, and some art galleries are open later. Remember, the summer sun offers extended hours for outdoor activities, so you can take a walk down the spit, hike up the bluffs above town, or go tidepooling (depending on the tide). Or just call it a day and enjoy a relaxing dinner - it's your vacation.
If you plan to go halibut fishing, don't do it on the day you depart-fishing boats head out around 6am, and after a day on the water, you'll be too tired to drive home that night
If you can't decide between halibut and salmon, give a day to each-a combo charter just doesn't allow enough time to get quality fish of both species
If you want to explore Homer and get a taste of life across the bay:
Drive down and spend the night in town; give yourself a chance to get your gear and food together. Leave for the east side of the bay early the next morning, via water taxi. Enjoy a day trip hiking the trails of Kachemak Bay State Park, kayaking, mountain biking, or exploring a coastal village like Halibut Cove. Come back that evening and stay in town. After that, you're free to begin your Homer adventures.
If you want to get away to a wilderness lodge across the bay:
We recommend anywhere from 1-2 nights to a week or more. No matter how long you stay, you'll find the trip worthwhile. Here's what we think you'll get out of each.
Short Stay (1-2 nights)
Get a taste for the scenic beauty and coastal riches of Kachemak Bay. You'll have time to hike, beachcomb, tidepool, read a book, kayak, and experience most of the classic area activities.
"Long Weekend" (3-4 nights)
One night is not really long enough to disconnect. When you spend extra days across the bay, it becomes a different place. Enjoy sublime moments that are unscheduled or unexpected, like kayaking out on the bay to catch a rainbow or sunset, or walking along the beach to find the stirring commotion of eagles feeding on fish. You might spend 30 minutes just watching a sea star crawling up the shore. This is a great way to slow down and immerse yourself in nature.
Extended Stay (week or more)
A longer stay lets you work in concert with the rhythms of nature, rather than competing against them. Because the longer your stay, the more flexible your schedule becomes. What if Iliamna is socked in and you can't go bear viewing, or if the sea's too rough for fishing? Instead of saying, "This is my only day, I have to go today," you can relax and reschedule. Today, you can go on a hike, take a walk on the beach, drink a little wine. Tomorrow's another chance to fulfill your plans.
If your goal is to truly feel immersed and in tune with nature while in Alaska, you might consider spending an extra few days in Kachemak Bay (instead of making the obligatory trip to Denali, for example). You won’t get to check certain sights off your list, but you’ll trade in that sightseeing for an authentic Alaskan experience.
Most wilderness lodges can arrange just about any activity you’d care to experience on a trip to Homer: flightseeing, bear viewing, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and inter-tidal studies/beachcombing. Not only that, but the food and drink you’ll experience is second to none.