Homer is located on the southern tip of the Western Shores of the Kenai Peninsula, While Homer may be a small city it proudly lays claim to a grand title, often referred to as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World!” Its approximately 220 miles south of Anchorage at the end of the Sterling Highway. Positioned between the Kenai Mountains and Kachemak Bay, Homer provides breathtaking views of glaciers, mountains and ocean.
How To Get To Homer:
Driving to Homer takes about 5 hours with no delays, It’s about 220 miles south of Anchorage. From Anchorage, take the Seward Highway (Alaska Highway 1) south to milepost 37 where you connect to the Sterling Highway which ends up in Homer. You can visit our post about traveling the initial portion of this route along the Turnagain Arm.
The Homer Spit:
Extending 4.5 miles into Kachemak Bay is the narrow strip of land known as the Homer Spit. It’s home to the city’s harbor, shops and restaurants where you can explore galleries, enjoy seafood, and watch boats come and go. There’s plenty of wildlife in the area too! You’ll often spot bald eagles, sea otters, seals and even whales. You can learn more about the area and local marine life at The Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.
Homer has a number of charters and guides available for fishing enthusiasts. Other outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking, wildlife viewing, camping as well as bird watching. Kachemak Bay State Park is located just across the bay. One of the most popular and easier hikes in the park is the Grewingk Glacier Lake Trail which rewards you with views of the glacier at the lake.
Where To Stay In Homer:
Homer offers a range of accommodations depending on your preference and budget. You can choose from hotels, bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals, cabins and campgrounds. Many are located in and around the Homer Spit area. Always seeking out places to stay that are away from the busyness of town we scored another win at Bear Creek Winery & Lodging. Not only is it located in a more secluded area our stay included a complimentary bottle of wine and halibut & cheese hors d’oeuvre’s as well as the opportunity for nightly wine tasting.
We stayed in the Artic Room which has a waterfall and koi pond just outside your private deck. You are free to walk the grounds which are beautiful and have access to the hot tub and fire pit that includes everything you need (matches, paper, wood) located in the nearby firewood shed.
Bear Creek Winery & Lodging Gallery:
If you are looking for excellent seafood then you’re in luck. A number of restaurants and seafood shacks along the spit offer fresh seafood dishes, especially halibut & salmon. You’ll find a variety of other dining options available in the city. We enjoyed a meal at Captain Pattie’s Fish House and nightly coffee from Coal Town Coffee & Tea. In town we had a great meal at The Alibi Bar & Cafe which was recommended.
The Skyline Drive Overlook:
While you’re visiting be sure to take in the spectacular panoramic views from the Skyline Drive Overlook. The overlook affords views of the sea, mountains & glaciers from the head of Kachemak Bay to Augustine volcano, Skyline Drive can be accessed from either W Hill or E Hill Roads.
Notable Stops Along the Sterling Highway:
Some notable stops along the Sterling Highway to keep in mind while drive to or from Homer
- Tern Lake:
If it’s a clear day on your drive there is a pullout located at the junction of the Seward and Sterling Highways. there are a couple of spots along the highway you might consider for some pretty views and photo ops.
The area is shared by common loons, bald eagles and arctic terns along with a variety of songbirds. You might spot beavers, river otters and muskrats as well as Moose, Dall sheep and Mountain Goats on the surrounding mountains.
Tern Lake is located at the junction of the Seward and Sterling Highways. The Sterling Highway heads west toward Soldotna before turning south toward Homer. There are pullouts available on both highways at the southbound junction. Google Map
- Skilak Road Scenic Drive:
This 18-mile-long loop gravel road is the premier wildlife-viewing area on the Kenai Peninsula, and you’ll get spectacular views of lakes and glaciers. The drive meanders through thick spruce and birch forests.
- The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge visitor Center:
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Soldotna features displays on the lifecycles of salmon, daily films and presentations at its theater, and other natural history exhibits. Outside are two short loop trails that wind into the nearby woods and to a viewing platform on Headquarters Lake. Here you can find information on recreation opportunities including hiking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, and camping in the 2 million acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
- The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord Church:
The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord Church is a historic Russian Orthodox church located in Ninilchik, Alaska. It was built in 1901 by Russian settlers and is one of the oldest standing Russian Orthodox churches on the Kenai Peninsula. The church is surrounded by a traditional Russian Orthodox cemetery. It sits atop a high bluff overlooking the village of Nililchik.
An excellent guide available from Alaska.org outlines a number of stops along the Sterling Highway from Anchorage to Homer.