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Homer Travel Guide, Alaska

Homer, a little seaside town in Alaska is the southernmost road-accessible town in the Kenai Peninsula’s lying on the north side of Kachemak Bay. You can say that you have reached the end of the road at Homer Spit that is the end of the paved highway system that stretches about 5 miles out in the middle of Kachemak Bay.

The town has a unique setting with the Kachemak Bay next to a four-mile finger of land, the crystal-blue glaciers flow into the waters of the bay and a dense forest at close reach. The outdoors especially on the water and across the bay offers several days' worth of outdoor activities, close access to sea kayaking, places for casual hiking and bicycle outings and excellent opportunities for halibut fishing, which is exceptional.

It is said that people make the place and indeed even if the far side of the bay has no roads and other modern facilities it has people that make the place richer and enchanting. The town’s population is made up of a mix of nationalities and believers all drawn by different things. The Russians were the first to come seeking for coal, and then the Americans came some seeking for gold. One of them was Homer Pennock who decided to set up the community in 1896 and the town bears his name. Later younger people came to work on the halibut boats or in the cannery and some of them were artists that came only to enjoy the beauty of the place. Thus the city is full of current migrants, creative people, artists and retired people, outspoken and unusual individualists, wealthy oil workers and land-poor settlers, former hippies and of eccentric believers. They are all very different but what unites them is the love for the place.

With such a diverse population you can expect to see poor community planning especially due to lack of agreement (they all have different views and opinions) so unfortunately the town does not match the beautiful setting and can’t be said about it that it is charming. Tourism has not brought much development as in other town as it is pretty chaotic and not much was invested in it as it should have and all you see in summer is the jammed roads.

But the roads have brought some advantages too for Homer. Had Sterling Highway not been built in the 1950s Homer would have remained isolated from the rest of the world.

Even if the city lacks major attraction points you can have an excellent starting point for one of the world's great marine recreation areas and there are plenty of outdoor activities to make up for the loss. For the best activities head to the beaches, in the hilltop meadows, on and across Kachemak Bay while along the south side of the Kachemak Bay there is an array of glaciers, fjords, and little wooded islands. You will love the variety of activities that include sea kayaking, mountain biking and hiking. But you don’t have to see them as the only options to have fun you can also relax walking the streets of a forgotten fishing village, studying at a nature center, having a delicious meal in a top-flight restaurant or enjoying the view from a remote lodge. You can choose to be in the middle of the action or stay low key.

If you choose to stay in town you can check out the thriving arts community that has become an attraction of its own. The artists exhibit their work mostly inspired by the local environment at the many exceptional galleries and studios in town and the Pratt Museum is one of the most appreciated having a national reputation. You can see all types of art from the most expensive to the cheaper one made by local craftsmen. The best time to visit is on the first Friday of the month when new shows open all over town, and people come out for an evening of gallery hopping.

With the great outdoors at the edge of town, excellent galleries,one of the state's finest museums and beautiful landscape, Homer makes an ideal base for exploring this part of Alaska.

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