Best Things To Do In Homer

Experience the opportunity of a lifetime as you witness the Alaska Coastal Brown Bear in its natural environment

See Coastal Brown Bears in their natural environment

1. Bear Viewing

Scenic flight, bears

Homer is close to Katmai National Park and Lake Clark National Park, both densely populated with Alaska’s massive brown bears. Hop on a 1.5 hour scenic flight across Cook Inlet for an amazing day watching these bruins in their natural habitats: along the coastline or at the famed Brooks Falls. Choose the latter to get one of those iconic photos of bears catching salmon as they jump up the falls.

For a quieter day trip with fewer people, hike with your guide to watch as coastal brown bears feast on sedge grass, dig for clams or catch salmon coming in with the tide. Either choice provides hours of fascinating viewing as bears move through their pristine Alaskan habitats.

Kayakers on the water close to a glacier

Glacier kayak with Three Moose Kayak Adventures

2. Explore Kachemak Bay

Coastal scenery, tidepooling, walks on the beach, kayaking

One of the richest marine estuaries in the world, Kachemak Bay is easily explored from kayak or shore. Walk along Homer’s beaches to find tidepools with sea stars, anemone and mussels.

Or explore Kachemak Bay up close with a sea kayaking outfitter. Immerse yourself in a natural world that is home to sea otters, puffins, and a multitude of marine life. You'll paddle past remote islands, visit a seabird rookery, and learn how extreme tidal changes (between 15 and 28 feet) contribute to the rich ecosystem around you.

You can also hire a small boat or water taxi for a custom, small group day cruise. Look for humpback and orcas and appreciate the spectacular landscape.

A group of hikers cross a small bridge in a lush environment.

Three Moose Kayak Adventures guide guests on a hike

3. Hike

Water taxi, glacier, volcanoes, stunning views, marine life

Trails into the hills above Homer bring you great exercise, the beauties of trees and flowers, the occasional encounter with wildlife, and great views of the mountains across Kachemak Bay. Or descend to the beach from the Alaska Islands & Oceans Visitor Center.

But you can discover some of Alaska's best hiking in Kachemak Bay State Park, with more than 80 miles of trails. Find trails to glaciers, mountain lakes, and miles of uninhabited beaches. It all starts with a 20-minute water taxi across the Bay.

Or take a guided hike, which includes the taxi service. Your guide can help you decide on the right trail experience for you – the easy, well-maintained Grewingk Glacier hike, or the more challenging Sadie Knob or Grace Ridge Trail hikes that promise higher elevations and amazing views.

4. World-Class Fishing

Full and half-day charters

Homer is known for some of the world's best halibut fishing just an hour's boat ride away. Look for migrating whales while you cast your lure in search of monster halibut that can top the scales at several hundred pounds! You’ll find both full and half-day charters leaving out of Homer. Some focus on halibut; others on the spectacular salmon fishery, where you can fish for Kings year round. Like variety? Opt for a combo trip. You may target different species of salmon along with halibut, or have a rollicking time chasing rockfish, lingcod or even salmon sharks, all with guidance from knowledgeable (and enthusiastic) charter operators.

A group of people on a boat hold up fish they've just caught.

Set out with O'Fish'ial Charters of Alaska to catch a halibut of your own.

5. Explore Halibut Cove

Look down on Halibut Cove and the surrounding ocean.

Soak in the scenic views of Halibut Cove. Photo by Buck Kunz.

Water taxi, marine life, art galleries, boardwalk community, fresh seafood

Halibut Cove a fairy-tale hamlet of boardwalks and homes that perch on stilts high above the lapping waves of Kachemak Bay. Take a 45-minute water taxi or the Kachemak Bay Ferry to this remote artist’s community, well-removed from the noise and hubbub of town. Along the way you’ll likely see whiskered otters, playful porpoise and hundreds of seabirds near their gathering spot on Gull Island. Once docked at Halibut Cove, stroll the boardwalks, enjoy a coffee at the water’s edge, stop in for killer chowder at the local restaurant and peruse any number of art galleries, along with one of the country’s only floating post offices.

6. Go to the Beach

Tidepooling, birding, walking, meeting locals and other visitors

Stroll Homer’s easily accessible beaches in search of marine life, eagles, seabirds, and the dramatic changes revealed by extreme tides. Boots are highly recommended for full-on exploring, along with warm layers and a windbreaker. Walk for miles along the Homer Spit, which is usually bustling with tourists, tent-campers, water taxis and charter boats. Tidepools abound at nearby Bishop’s Beach, where you can spot colorful anemones, sea stars, jelly fish, and mussels clustered on larger rocks. Bonus find: the nearby boardwalk trail around Beluga Slough, which attracts shorebirds in all seasons.

A few people stroll along Bishop's Beach with mountains in the background.

Take your time exploring the beauty of Bishop's Beach. Photo by Debra Leisek.

A couple look at art in a gallery.

Homer is bursting with fabulous art from all types of local artists.

7. Browse Local Art

Window shopping, quality souvenirs

Homer’s gorgeous setting on Kachemak Bay is muse to a multitude of artists, providing a wide range of styles for browsing and buying. Stroll “Gallery Row”, or walk the shops along the boardwalk on The Homer Spit. You’ll find everything from detailed prints made with octopus ink to historic Alaskan photographs, colorful jewelry and stylish but functional pottery. With inspiration drawn from land and sea, Homer’s artistic community offers one-of-a-kind options for both serious and impromptu collectors.

8. Visit Local Museums & Cultural Centers

Homer history, natural history, local art

Inside of the Pratt Museum.

The Pratt Museum is great for the whole family.

Spend a full day learning about Kachemak Bay and Homer’s history with engaging indoor and outdoor exhibits. The Pratt Museum focuses on art, natural history, native cultures, homesteading, fishing, and marine ecology. Join them in summer for local music jams and stroll through the botanical garden or visit an historic homesteader’s cabin. The Alaska Islands & Oceans Visitor Center offers daily guided programs to the adjacent Beluga Slough and Bishop’s Beach in summer. Kids (and those young at heart) can earn a Jr. Biologist badge on a quest through informative indoor displays, featuring history, geology, wildlife, seabirds, and more.

9. Visit Seldovia

Boardwalk, local art, history, trails

Take the 45-minute “Fast Ferry” from Homer to Seldovia to experience a charming and remote boardwalk community. As you cross Kachemak Bay, watch for diving seabirds, rafts of otters, or even humpback whales. Stroll along Seldovia’s bustling waterfront, visit art galleries, learn about Seldovia’s Russian origins and Native Alaska influences at the Seldovia Museum & Visitor Center, and stretch your legs on Rocky Ridge Trail, the Otter Bahn trail and Outside Beach.

The charming boardwalk town of Seldovia.

Visiting the unique town of Seldovia is sure to be a highlight of your vacation. Photo by Neil Andrews.

A woman shops for produce at the Homer Farmer's Market

Enjoy fresh Alaskan produce at the Homer Farmer's Market. Photo by Eric Andrews.

10. Meet Locals at the Market

Local foods and flowers, live music

Homer’s close-knit community includes all kinds of artists, along with produce and flower farmers. Find their wares at the Homer Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays & Saturdays from late May to late September. Look for a bounty of fresh fruits and veggies, along with local cut flowers (peonies are a Homer specialty), fireweed honey, smoked salmon, and yummy baked goods. Live music gives this hopping market an enthusiastic local Homer vibe, including singer/songwriter guitarists, quartets and marimba bands!

11. Attend a festival

Birding, fishing, boats, music and more

For a small town, Homer has made its name with annual festivals well-known around the state. The largest is the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, celebrating the return of hundreds of thousands of shorebirds to Homer each May. From May to September you can enter the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, with prizes up to $25,000. It’s the state’s largest and longest-running derby, fitting for the “Halibut Capital of Alaska.” In September, sea chanteys and tall tales abound over the 4-day Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival, which celebrates the city’s maritime heritage. Other festivals feature yacht races, highland games, and local music.

A large group of shorebirds take flight above the water.

The Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival is a remarkable experience for casual and professional bird watchers alike.

Homer Day Tours & Attractions View All

Season: Jun 01 to Sep 10 $850+ 8 hrs

See Alaskan Coastal Brown Bears in the wild on a float­plane trip to Kat­mai Nation­al Park. Vis­it Brooks Falls or join a guid­ed tour to oth­er remote loca­tions with­in the park. Both trips pro­vide 5 hours on the ground with the bears. Found­ed in 1991, Emer­ald Air Service’s mis­sion is to increase the under­stand­ing and appre­ci­a­tion of the unique ecosys­tem that sup­ports bears.

Season: May 20 to Oct 01 $799 per person 4 - 8 hrs

For many Alaskan trav­el­ers, bears are the ulti­mate high­light. Pair a mag­nif­i­cent sight­ing with a gor­geous heli­copter flight­see­ing ride and you’ll have an unfor­get­table expe­ri­ence. On this unique tour from Homer, you’ll take a heli­copter ride out into one of Alaska’s gor­geous nation­al parks to wit­ness these spec­tac­u­lar crea­tures in the wild.

$195+ 3/4 to Full Day Excursions

Homer is the hal­ibut cap­i­tal of Alas­ka, and this long­time char­ter com­pa­ny offers a blue-chip way to get to the fish. They have high-qual­i­ty boats, expe­ri­enced cap­tains, and enthu­si­as­tic crews — as well as an inside line on find­ing hal­ibut, rock fish and sil­ver salmon. But they also offer a vari­ety of oth­er ways to enjoy the waters off Kachemak Bay, from wildlife cruis­ing to pad­dling a kayak or hik­ing in Kachemak Bay State Park. 

Season: May 09 to Sep 06 $125+ 4.5 to 8.5 hours

Explore a qui­et coast­line just a few miles from Homer, where you’ll kayak through the pro­tect­ed waters of Tut­ka Bay in search of amaz­ing views, wildlife and adven­ture! Your guide leads the way on a half-day or full-day tour, glid­ing past dense woods, rugged shore­line and hid­den coves. Add on fish­ing for the fresh­est in Alaskan salmon or rockfish!

Season: Year Round $300+ 6 hrs+

O’Fish’ial spe­cial­izes in salt­wa­ter hal­ibut and king salmon char­ter fish­ing expe­ri­ences out of Homer, as well as Long Range tro­phy fish hunts. Own­er Chad has spent count­less hours with sea­soned Alaskan fish­er­men who shared time-test­ed advice – and their fish­ing hotspots – with him. He com­bines this knowl­edge with a cus­tomer-ser­vice focus and pas­sion for shar­ing all the excite­ment and adven­ture Alas­ka fish­ing has to offer.

Season: Jun 15 to Sep 15 $8950+ 8 days

It’s thrilling to see coastal brown bears in their nat­ur­al habi­tat, espe­cial­ly when you’re not rushed. Fly out of Homer to the Kat­mai coast for five days of amaz­ing bear view­ing with Alas­ka Bear Adven­tures. Stay overnight on the Alas­ka Dawn, a 65-foot expe­di­tion trawler, so you can eas­i­ly get back to the bears each morning.

Season: Year Round $690 Bear Viewing, $185+ Flightseeing 45 min - 5 hrs

Watch bears dig­ging for clams, wan­der­ing the sedge grass, or nurs­ing their young – all in a short flight from Homer to Kat­mai or Lake Clark Nation­al Park. Smokey Bay’s bear tours last about five hours total — includ­ing flights and about three hours on the ground. On any giv­en day there will always be a morn­ing out­ing (leav­ing at 8 a.m. at the lat­est) and pos­si­bly one that leaves around 2 p.m.

Season: About May 15 to Sep 15 $595+ 3 hrs - Multi-Day

Spend sev­er­al hours or a full day watch­ing bears in the wild on a quin­tes­sen­tial Alaskan adven­ture with a fam­i­ly-run com­pa­ny. Start with a scenic flight out of Homer over Kachemak Bay and into Kat­mai or Lake Clark Nation­al Park. Once you land, your pilot/​guide will take you to an opti­mal spot to watch and pho­to­graph these mag­nif­i­cent crea­tures in their nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment, hunt­ing, play­ing, and relax­ing. Spend any­where from 1.5 to 9 hours on the  ...more

Season: May 20 to Oct 01 $450+ per person 2 - 8 hrs

Tour­ing Alas­ka by heli­copter gets you to unimag­in­ably wild and remote places. Some of the most amaz­ing have been scout­ed by Alas­ka Ulti­mate Safaris. Explore a glac­i­er sur­round­ed by snow-capped moun­tains, or climb to the steam­ing sum­mit of an island vol­cano. In either case, the views are unpar­al­leled and the expe­ri­ence is surreal.

Season: Year Round $75+ 2 hrs - Full Day

Whether you’d like to go on a per­son­al­ized boat tour of the Homer area or take a water taxi to the Alaskan back­coun­try, Homer is an ide­al place to launch from, and Cold­wa­ter has the boats and exper­tise to get you there. Explore places like Kachemak Bay State Park, the small town of Sel­dovia, and pic­turesque Hal­ibut Cove.

Season: May 01 to Sep 15 $3,450 per day Multi-Day Excursions

Char­ter their pri­vate, live-aboard, 60’ yacht. Wake up each day in the mid­dle of untouched wilder­ness and go sea kayak­ing, hike through bore­al forests, fish for tro­phy hal­ibut and salmon, or spend a qui­et day on the water pho­tograph­ing wildlife

Season: May 25 to Sep 02 $125+ per person Half to Full-Day

Enjoy remote Alas­ka at its best. Go with this small, fam­i­ly-owned com­pa­ny in Homer for a mag­i­cal kayak­ing expe­ri­ence, with the option to add on a gor­geous hike to an ice­berg stud­ded glac­i­er lake! Trips range from half-day to full-day, and are great for families.

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Homer Parks & Trails View All

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 6 miles

This is one of Home­r’s top hikes. It starts on top of Bay­crest Hill, cross­es Dia­mond Ridge Road, then fol­lows Cross­man Ridge to the Bridge Creek Reser­voir. Through­out, it rolls through forests, mead­ows and over streams. The area is excel­lent for bird­ing and catch­ing a glimpse at the occa­sion­al moose.

Difficulty: Easy

From the base of the Homer Spit, take this 4‑mile paved trail to the Nick Dudi­ak Fish­ing Lagoon. The trail is in excel­lent con­di­tion and is flat as a pan­cake for most of its length. The first mile of trail is along a broad estu­ary that is great for bird­ing. Once you pass the one-mile mark you’ll be rid­ing past fish­ing boats that are out of the water being worked on as well as a few shops.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

Prob­a­bly the sec­ond most trav­eled trail in the park, this trail offers a great day hike for those spend­ing time in the lagoon. You can start hik­ing the trail from the ranger sta­tion or the trail­head in Hal­ibut Cove Lagoon. The trail tra­vers­es up numer­ous switch­backs to a place called First Lake. On a hot sum­mer day, a soak in this lake can’t be beat.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

One of the top trails on the Homer side of Kachemak Bay, Dia­mond Creek is a 2‑mile trail that takes you through for­est, alders, and tall grass mead­ows before descend­ing to the beach, where you’ll find small Alaskan sealife.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

This trail, hands down, is one of the most pop­u­lar hikes in the Kachemak Bay State Park. It is one of the eas­i­est hikes in the park as the trail is well main­tained, and you can’t beat the view of the glac­i­er at the lake. For the first 1.5 miles, the trail mean­ders through mixed cot­ton­wood and Sit­ka spruce. These cot­ton­woods are some of the largest in the park so take time to appre­ci­ate their enor­mous size. After 1.5 miles, the trail proceeds  ...more

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