Vibrant arts scene lights up waterfront community
The phrase “There’s no place like Homer,” is dusty and well-used in Alaska and for good measure. Not only is it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, but it also is tops among Alaskans, who choose Homer for weekend getaways, camping trips, fishing adventures and more. This community of 5,300 friendly, sometimes funky, and always interesting people represents the best of Alaska. It’s got mountains, ocean, rivers, streams, glaciers and wildlife. The Homer Spit, a 4.5-mile long bar of gravel, extends from the Homer shoreline and gives visitors a breezy open-air shopping and dining experience that is unparalleled in the state.
Homer is 227 road miles south of Anchorage, at the southern-most point of the Sterling Highway, so it’s more than a day trip for travelers based in the big city. And it should be. There is so much to do in Homer, from kayaking to fishing to hiking, that it is hard to limit your stay to just a day. And that’s just Homer. Include outlying communities like Seldovia and Halibut Cove and you’ve burned another couple of days as well.
While commercial and sport fishing are the center of the economic activity, Homer has a large community of artists. The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby runs through Labor Day each year, and brings in halibut anglers from all over the country. The visitor industry also is growing as people discover Homer’s beauty.
Homer is accessible by only one highway – the Sterling Highway, which links to Anchorage and the rest of the Lower 48. It is often referred to as “The End of the Road,” because it literally is … at the end of the road.
More information is available at Homer Chamber of Commerce, www.homeralaska.org.
TOP FOUR EVENTS IN THE HOMER AREA
Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival
This event celebrates the return of spring and the migratory birds. More than 100,000 shorebirds of 25 different species migrate in early May, and Homer is one of the first stops in Alaska. Homer offers an accessible place for shorebird viewing in Alaska. (kachemakshorebird.org/)
Jackpot Halibut Derby
This derby is the longest-running halibut fishing competition with the largest total payout in Alaska. Grab a ticket, sold all over town, and go fishing in the waters of Kachemak Bay and its surroundings. (www.homeralaska.org/jackpot-halibut-derby.html)
Seldovia Fourth of July Parade
This small-town parade packs a punch with colorful floats, a rubber ducky race in the harbor and the annual Salmon Shuffle 5K race. Take a water taxi or ferry to Seldovia or jump in your own boat for an afternoon away from Homer’s hustle and bustle. Camping is available locally and there are various lodging options in town. (seldovia.com)
This annual event is widely recognized both nationally and within the state as one of the best homegrown music festivals in Alaska. Find Alaska’s top food, crafts, art and brews throughout the grounds and a family-friendly atmosphere, located at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik. (salmonfestalaska.org/)