Popular Things to Do in Homer
Food and Drink in Homer
It's no surprise that halibut is the star of the restaurant menus in town, and you can get it fried, baked, on a sandwich, served in tacos or chargrilled -- to name a few preparations. Homer's culinary scene doesn't stop there, and visitors can find outstanding bakeries, Thai restaurants and new American fare. In short: You're likely to find an impressive meal in Homer.
The Little Mermaid: Although it's a newer addition to the Spit, The Little Mermaid has quickly become a local favorite because of its outstanding seafood and brick-oven pizza. The atmosphere is that of a cozy cafe, but the restaurant is usually packed at lunchtime. Menu items range from salmon burgers and fish and chips to rice bowls and hearty fish chowder. (4246 Homer Spit Road; 907-399-9900; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday)
Fritz Creek General Store: This old-fashioned institution features wood floors and serves as a post office, liquor store and deli -- with freshly baked bread, sandwiches and smoked barbecue ribs. (55770 East End Road; 907-235-6753; open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, deli usually closes about two hours before the store)
Captain Pattie's Fish House: This popular seafood joint has become a landmark for perfectly prepared fresh catches. For lunch, expect salmon sandwiches, Alaskan king crab, deep fried halibut and crab melts. (4241 Homer Spit Road; 907-235-5135; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.).
Maura's Cafe: For a twist on traditional salads and sandwiches, Maura's steps it up with items like Thai shrimp salad with pickled red cabbage cashews or "The Vermonter," a ham sandwich with caramelized onions, organic apples and white cheddar. There's an emphasis on local and sustainable products, and Bishop's Beach is just a few blocks away. (106 W. Bunnell Avenue; 907-235-1555; open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday)
The Chart Room: The main reason to visit this restaurant is the view. Located at the Land's End Resort at the very end of the Spit, it is easy to let time pass while relaxing outside on the patio or in the window-lined dining room. The lunch menu includes items like Alaskan bouillabaisse, Buffalo chicken sandwiches, steamer clams and barbecue ribs. (4786 Homer Spit Road; 907-235-0400; open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
Two Sisters Bakery: This world-famous bakery serves sweet and savory treats like cinnamon rolls, scones, vegan muffins, brownies, quiche and focaccia sandwiches. The freshly baked bread selection changes daily, and everything is made from scratch. (233 East Bunnell Avenue; 907-235-2280; open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday)
Best Cocktail in Homer
Alaska is home to incredible breweries, so save the pina colada orders for the Caribbean and grab a quality pint. The Alaskan Brewing Company is one of the larger breweries, or if you really want to go local, the Homer Brewing Company has everything from pale ales to porters.
Don't Miss in Homer
The Spit: It's hard to miss, but Homer's defining icon is a fun place to watch fishermen bring in and prepare the massive halibut before you sample it at one of the many seafood restaurants. Heading closer to town, check out Seafarers Memorial as well as a curious home constructed from a ship and a hodgepodge of discarded items (it is privately owned but makes a great photo).
Old Town: About five miles from the Spit is Old Town, a collection of businesses, including a bookstore, spa, consignment shop, Two Sisters Bakery and a number of restaurants and other stores that can easily be explored on foot.
The Salty Dawg Saloon: This beloved watering hole opened shortly after Homer became a town and has served as everything from a post office and general store to coal mining office and school. Today, its lighthouse serves as one of Homer's landmarks, and patrons continue to fill the small bar for a pint and a chance to add a signed dollar to the walls and ceilings. (4380 Homer Spit Road; 907-235-6718; open 10 a.m. to midnight)
Bishop's Beach: Located two blocks from Old Town at the end of Bunnell Street, Bishop's Beach is a perfect place for a picnic, beachcombing or exploring the Beluga Slough Trail (which leads to the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center). Within walking distance to many restaurants art galleries, this is an excellent budget alternative compared with other shore excursions.
Kachemak Bay State Park: Alaska's first state park is spread across 400,000 acres that include glaciers, surreal mountain and ocean views and an abundance of wildlife and marine animals. No roads lead there, so visitors arrive by air or boat and can do so with a number of flightseeing tour operators (Steller Air Service; 907-299-0284) or by water taxi (Ashore Water Taxi; 907-235-2341).
Halibut Fishing: Naturally, fishing is one of the main draws in Homer, and several companies will take passengers out on the water to reel in the big one. Rainbow Tours (Homer Spit Road; 907-235-7272) offers half-day halibut charters on a 50-foot vessel that is equipped with restrooms, for example. Dress warmly and bring a lunch or snacks. North Country Halibut Charters (Homer Spit Road; 907-235-7620) is another option that has halibut, salmon and rockfish combination trips.
Seldovia: Homer's neighbor across the bay is an off-the-beaten path destination that makes a peaceful day trip. The town has several cultural attractions both from the native Seldovia Village Tribe and Russian immigrants, in addition to active adventures, hiking trails and a charming little boardwalk. The easiest way to reach Seldovia is by hopping on the M/V Kachemak Voyager ferry, which offers regularly scheduled trips and departs Homer from Ramp 7. (Seldovia Bay Ferry; 907-435-3299; $76 roundtrip)
Wineries and Breweries: A winery in Alaska might sound out of place, but Bear Creek Winery and Lodging (60203 Bear Creek Drive; 907-235-8484; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m) uses the area's fresh berries and fruit to produce blueberry, rhubarb, raspberry and wild berry wines. Sample the wines in the tasting room, wander the gardens at the lodge and soak in the views of the bay. Beer lovers can head to the taproom at the Homer Brewing Company (1411 Lake Shore Drive; 907-235-3626; open noon to 6 p.m) to try the brewery's unfiltered, unpasteurized and cask-conditioned beer. The store offers shirts, hats, mugs and other souvenirs.
Wynn Nature Center: The 140-acre former homestead located along the scenic bluffs is a nature preserve with five miles of trails, as well as viewing platforms and rest areas. Guided hikes are offered daily through this birding hot spot that is also known for its gorgeous wildflowers. (Mile 1.5 E. Skyline Drive; 907-235-1974; open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; $7 entry fee)
ATV Tours: Guides lead visitors through the backcountry or along the shoreline on thrilling ATV adventures. These trips are best for small to medium groups and can get muddy and messy. (Alaska Wilderness Tours; 907-235-8567; prices vary)