Homer, "the end of the road," is located about 200 miles from Anchorage on the gorgeous Kenai Peninsula. The town's modern roots date to the 1890s, when con man Homer Pennock attempted to lure others with promises of gold. Homer saw brief success as a coal mining town but was eventually abandoned, due to lack of demand. By 1920, 46 people lived in an area designated as Homer Spit and Vicinity, but it wasn't until the 1940s that it took on the makings of a bona fide town with an airport and general store. These days, more than 5,000 people call the "cosmic hamlet" home, and it is often considered one of Alaska's jewels.
On a clear day, Homer is straight out of a postcard, and from several vantage points, visitors might be able to see all five active volcanoes known as the "ring of fire." The Spit, a geological landform that stretches five miles into Kachemak Bay, has always been a place for travelers and drifters and is now home to campsites, tourism shops, bars and restaurants. Two theories exist for how the Spit was formed: tidal swells or receding glaciers. Either way, it is one of Homer's claims to fame -- that and halibut fishing.
The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby began in the summer of 1986, and since then, the city has been declared the "halibut capital of the world." The annual derby takes place in the summer, and on any given day, fishermen can be seen cleaning and preparing the fresh catch at the Spit. The mild-tasting fish can also be found gracing the menus of seafood restaurants.
Homer has developed into an unpretentious foodie destination, and you'll find outstanding dining options with a wide range of cuisine -- many with local and organic products. The sustainability movement is established in the dining scene in Homer, but it has also found a place in tourism attractions and eco-adventures. Visitors can easily experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the area by kayaking, hiking and on boat trips to Alaska's first state park.