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Homer, Alaska, is your grandfather’s fishing town — but it has been steadily growing in popularity all the same.
Here, in the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World,” commercial fishermen and tourists on fishing charters rake in bragworthy catches. A visitor staying at my hotel practically beamed out of his room to share that he had caught a 6-foot, 173-pound halibut on a charter-boat excursion.
But fishing is not Homer’s only lure. Rich with gorgeous mountain views, wildlife-filled outdoor adventures, charming watering holes and some surprisingly good food, Homer is worth the scenic four-hour drive from Anchorage. Here are a few things to do to when there.
Eat and Drink Along Homer SpitFour-and-a-half miles long and surrounded by Kachemak Bay and towering mountain peaks, the narrow piece of land called Homer Spit is worth exploring by foot. While this area is the starting point for many fishing and water-based activities thanks to its harbor, it’s fun to stay put here, too.
A great location for shopping, eating and drinking, Homer Spit features favorite restaurants such as La Baleine Cafe, a casual breakfast-and-lunch spot serving the organic, tasty food that owners Mandy and Kirsten Dixon — also owners of nearby Tutka Bay Lodge — are known for. After a fun day outdoors, grab a drink at local institution Salty Dawg Saloon; the funky cabin dates to 1897. Just outside, groups congregate to watch fishing charters unload, clean and package their catches of the day.
Sip on Craft BeersEven small towns in Alaska have their own craft brewery — and Homer has two. Try a beer flight at Homer Brewing Company, a no-frills establishment open since 1996 that is known for its malty Red Knot Scottish ale. Also check out the newer Grace Ridge Brewing, a festive location that regularly features gourmet versions of pizza or tacos, in addition to a friendly staff.
Explore Kachemak Bay State Park and Kachemak Bay State Wilderness ParkThe first state park in Alaska and the state’s only wilderness park, the Kachemak complex contains nearly 400,000 acres of glaciers, forests, mountains and ocean. Folks come here to geek out on the treasures left behind in intertidal zones — such as starfish and crabs — as well as to discover bigger wonders, such as beaches, bays, coves and glaciers. A few popular hiking trails include Diamond Creek Trail; China Poot Lake Trail; and Grewingk Glacier Lake Trail, an easy hike with the payoff of a lakefront glacier view. Water taxis — which take off from Homer Spit — must be arranged to access most portions of the park.
Luxuriate in Halibut CoveAlso only accessible by boat or floatplane, the picturesque former fishing village of Halibut Cove features a few novel businesses — such as a floating post office, a floating amphitheater and a handful of art studios — but most visitors come to this town of 80 or so residents to spend time outside.
With so much kayaking, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing within reach, suggest clients turn the visit into a luxurious multinight stay at Stillpoint Lodge, an all-inclusive adventure property that specializes in custom itineraries in surrounding Kachemak and beyond. Here, clients will find all their needs attended to. Meals are made from produce from the lodge’s organic garden, and social areas and guestrooms feature stunning mountain and cove views.
The DetailsStillpoint Lodgewww.stillpointlodge.com