4 Best Sights in Homer, The Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska

Homer Spit

Fodor's choice

Protruding into Kachemak Bay, the Homer Spit provides a sandy focal point for visitors and locals. A 4½-mile paved road runs the length of the Spit, making it the world's longest road into the ocean. A commercial-fishing-boat harbor at the end of the path has restaurants, hotels, charter-fishing businesses, sea-kayaking outfitters, art galleries, and on-the-beach camping spots. Fly a kite, walk the beaches, drop a line in the Fishing Hole, or just wander through the shops looking for something interesting; this is one of Alaska's favorite summertime destinations.

Islands and Ocean Visitors Center

Fodor's choice

This center provides a wonderful introduction to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge covers some 3½ million acres spread across some 2,500 Alaskan islands, from Prince of Wales Island in the south to Barrow in the north. The 37,000-square-foot eco-friendly facility with towering windows facing Kachemak Bay is a must for anyone interested in the abundant aquatic, avian, and land mammal life of the region. A film takes visitors along on a voyage of the Fish and Wildlife Service's research ship, the MV Tiglax. Interactive exhibits detail the birds and marine mammals of the refuge (the largest seabird refuge in America), and one room even re-creates the noisy sounds and pungent smells of a bird rookery. In summer, guided bird-watching treks and beach walks are offered, and you can take a stroll on your own on the walkways in Beluga Slough, where Alaskan poet Wendy Erd's commissioned work lines the way.

Kachemak Bay

The bay abounds with wildlife, including a large population of puffins and eagles. Tour operators take visitors past bird rookeries or across the bay to gravel beaches for clam digging. Most fishing charters include an opportunity to view whales, seals, porpoises, and birds close-up. At the end of the day, walk along the docks on one of the largest coastal parks in America.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Pratt Museum

The Pratt is an art gallery and a cultural and natural-history museum rolled into one. In addition to monthly exhibits showcasing some of Alaska's finest artists, the museum has an exhibit on the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill; botanical gardens; nature trails; a gift shop; and pioneer, Russian, and Alaska Native displays. You can spy on wildlife with robotic video cameras set up on a seabird rookery and at the McNeil River Bear Sanctuary. A refurbished homestead cabin and outdoor summer exhibits are along the trail out back.