OMER, Alaska — It’s only a four hour drive on Seward Highway, one of the most beautiful drives in the world, from Anchorage to the bottom of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, where the small fishing village of Homer sits. Here, on the Homer Spit, a 4.5-mile land spit extending into Kachemak Bay, restaurants like the Mexican Cosmic Kitchen and Finn’s Woodfired Pizza, along with tour companies advertising fishing and kayaking trips, relentlessly beckon tourists. Some locals will tell you that Homer has been ruined by overdevelopment and tourism, but Homer still manages to feel small, even if most of the people milling around are only visiting for the day.
The fishing charter companies here insist that Homer is the “Halibut capital of the world.” I have no idea what this means (is this the home of the Halibut Congress?) or whether it is even true, but visitors to Alaska looking for Halibut fishing charters have no trouble finding outfits to take them fishing for a day or more here.
But, last year, when my friend Mitch and I drive to Homer, we’re looking for kayaks and an escape from work instead of strange-looking flat fish. We take some time to explore the sand spit and then pick an outfitter to take us for a half-day kayak trip to nearby Yukon Island, about seven miles from the end of the spit. We spend the afternoon on the water, admiring the huge, snow-capped mountains of Kachemak Bay State Park and spotting bald eagles in nests upon towering spruce trees on Yukon Island. After having spent the summer visiting so many amazing Alaskan destinations, I marvel that the state’s wilderness seems nearly limitless. I look around and realize that we could spend weeks exploring just Homer and Kachemak Bay, if only our time in Alaska were limitless too.
For more Alaska adventures, read about a hike to Exit Glacier in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park, a bicycle trip on the Coastal Trail and down the Turnagain Arm, an ATV ride 200 miles above the Arctic Circle near the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, a train trip to Spencer Glacier, and my packrafting trip to Denali’s Sanctuary River. If that’s not enough, you can also check out an Independence Day kayaking trip near California’s Catalina Island.
How to Kayak to Yukon Island in Homer, Alaska
- OVERVIEW: To get to Homer, fly to Anchorage, Alaska and then rent a car for the four hour drive south on on Seward Highway to Homer. You won’t need directions, because the road literally ends on the Homer Spit.
- LOGISTICS: We asked True North Kayak Adventures to handle the logistics of our kayaking trip; for $105/person, they provided a water taxi to Yukon Island, kayaks, a guide, and safety equipment for a 4-mile, half-day trip. True North will also rent kayaks without a guide ($45/day for a single; $65/day for a double) and their water taxi service will take you anywhere within 45 minutes of the Homer Spit for $70/person. Mako’s Water Taxi is another water transportation option in the area. Across the water, Kachemak Bay State Park has lots of day and overnight hiking opportunities, which make for a perfect hiking-kayaking combination trip.
- ROUTE: View our route and download the Without Bagagge Yukon Island kayaking GPS track in GPX or KML format.