The Homer Spit.

© Nathaniel/Lonely Planet

Homer Spit


Generally known as ‘the Spit,’ this long needle of land – a 4.5-mile sandbar stretching into Kachemak Bay – is viewed by some folks as the most fun place in Alaska. Others wish another earthquake would come along and sink the thing. Regardless, the Spit throbs all summer with tourists.

They mass here in unimaginable density, gobbling fish and chips, purchasing alpaca sweaters, arranging bear-watching trips, watching theatrical performances and – oh yeah – going fishing in search of 300lb halibut. The hub of all this activity is the small-boat harbor, one of the best facilities in Southcentral Alaska and home to more than 700 boats. Close by is the Seafarer’s Memorial, which, amid all the Spit’s hubbub, is a solemn monument to residents lost at sea.

Beachcombing, bonfiring, bald-eagle watching (they seem as common here as pigeons in New York City) and observing recently docked fishers angling for cute tourists at the Salty Dawg Saloon are all favorite activities. You can also go clamming at Mud Bay, on the east side of the Spit. Blue mussels, an excellent shellfish overlooked by many people, are the most abundant.

If you’d rather catch your dinner than buy it, try your luck at the Fishing Hole, just before the Pier One Theater. The small lagoon is the site of a ‘terminal fishery,’ in which salmon are planted by the state and return three or four years later to a place where they can’t spawn. Sportsman’s Supply & Rental, close by, rents out rods ($10 to $20) as well as rakes and shovels (each $5) for clamming.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Homer attractions

2. Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

4.74 MILES

This nonprofit organization devoted to promoting appreciation of Kachemak Bay’s ecosystem, runs the Carl E Wynn Nature Center and the Peterson Bay Field…

3. Peterson Bay Field Station

4.76 MILES

Though technically it’s outside the park, this field station operated by the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies provides an excellent introduction to the…

4. Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center

4.98 MILES

More a research facility and museum than a visitor center, this impressive place has numerous cool interactive exhibits. The best is a room that’s a…

5. Ptarmigan Arts

5.01 MILES

Local cooperative gallery with stained class, wood carvings and pottery.

6. Fireweed Gallery

5.01 MILES

This gallery can get good local wares, and has more than just art to hang on your walls: sculptures, carvings, baskets and more are all on offer.

7. Bunnell Street Gallery

5.03 MILES

The town's best gallery, with monthly shows of fine art. You can also buy stunning jewelry and pottery.

8. Art Shop Gallery

5.29 MILES

Alaska art, on every wall. You'll find plenty of watercolors and other mediums here.