My next stop on my Alaska adventure, I headed due south to the end of the Kenai Peninsula. Homer, Alaska is a small town, but big on activities. During the summer months Homer is a busy place, there is so much do to here you could easily spend a few days or a week.
There are plenty of gift shops, galleries, coffee shops, and a variety of restaurants to choose from. Looking for something sweet & delicious, check out Two Sisters Bakery. Since I was here early in the season, I was able to watch King salmon fishing. I also watched the halibut haul and I was stunned at the size of these fish . Believe me, there is nothing that tastes better than Alaskan seafood caught fresh!
Homer offers plenty of fishing charters, wildlife viewing tours by boat or air, including bear watching. I saw plenty of wildlife just walking and hiking around Homer from moose, masses of bald eagles, otters, and a variety of birds. There are several hiking trails to choose from with beautiful views at the end. You won’t get bored here that’s for sure. Sitting on the edge of the beach I watched a frenzy of bald eagles being fed by the locals.
Leaving Homer and heading north on the Sterling Highway take a short detour to Ninilchik. Once a vibrant Russian Village, Ninilchik is known for its beautiful views of the Ninichik River, a Greek Orthodox Church that was founded in 1901, and yearly salmon and clam festivals. Sit by the river and watch bald eagles dive for their lunches.
FISHING ALONG THE COOK INLET in KENAI
Exploring the town of Soldotna where I got a chance to watch wood artisans carving amazing pieces of art. Take a fishing charter boat tour and try catching your own lunch. Visit the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to do hiking or biking. More scenic views and lakes to see. If your into motorcycling like I am, stop by the Harley-Davidson Showroom.
As you continue on to Seward driving through the Chugach National Forest (Hwy 9), pull off the beaten path somewhat and see Exit Glacier up close and personal and to a little hiking on the Harding Ice Fields, an 8 mile round hike that will give you fabulous views at the end. This is the only part of Kenai Fjords National Park that is accessible by road.
Heading to Seward, Alaska, which was founded in 1903, is surrounded by beautiful mountains and is a designated port for many cruise ships. It’s easy just to park your car and walk around town. Seward is also home to the Alaska Sea Life Center, Alaska’s only permanent marine mammal rehabilitation facility. The Center is very informative with plenty of interactive displays for the kids to enjoy. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours here. Then spend some time walking and shopping around town. Don’t forget to try the fish & chips!
The next day I took an all-day boat cruise down through the Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords covers over 587,000 acres. There are several tour companies to choose from and cruises will vary in length. It is best to call ahead or make your reservations on cruise tour websites.
Cruising through Resurrection Bay we came to the first of three glaciers on this trip, Bear Glacier, the largest in the Kenai Fjords, then into Aialik Bay we saw Aialik Glacier and then a big finale, Holgate Glacier. The captain was able to get us oh so close as we watched chunks of ice break away, this is known as glacier calving. The pictures you see here are not on zoom!
CHISWELL ISLANDS AND RESURRECTION CAPE AREAS
Throughout the tour along the coast sections and the islands I saw a variety of wildlife such as eagles, puffins, otters, mountain goats, and even humpback whales. The ultimate highlight for me was sighting a pod of nine Orca whales, five adults and four calves.
Glaciers, wildlife, beautiful scenery, great seafood, and friendly people, Alaska has it all and more! Next stops, we head north and east of Anchorage, visiting Wrangell-St Elias National Park.
Just a few suggestions for dining:
- Two Sisters Bakery @ 233 E Bunnell Ave.
- The Homestead @ 55829 E End Rd
- The Chart Room @ 4786 Homer Spit Rd.
- Boardwalk Fish and Chips @ 4287 Homer Spit Rd
- Other choices like Mexican, Thai, and several coffee shops
- Rays Waterfront @ 1316 4th Ave.
- Chinooks Waterfront Restaurant @ 1404 4th Ave
- Resurrection Roadhouse @ 31772 Herman Leirer Rd.
- Terry’s Fish & Chips @ 1401 4th Ave
- Le Barn Appetit @ 11786 Old Exit glacier Rd.
- Harley-Davidson @ 41605 Sterling Hwy.