Homer is absolutely magical in the summer. From the first moment you come over the hill off Sterling Highway and approach the town, the views will literally take your breath away. Look forward to towering snow-capped mountains, gorgeous beaches, and a wealth of wildlife. The weather will be the warmest of the year while the long hours of daylight (nearly 18 ½ hours on July 4) provide lots of time to enjoy it all.
The beach that runs along Homer Spit is often described as “epic” and all of the tours will be running, with a myriad of things to do throughout the season, especially on and around 4th of July. Celebrating the holiday here in Alaska is sure to make it an extra-special one, with a parade, fireworks, and endless idyllic spots for a picnic.
If you need ideas for things to do in Homer for the 4th of July, we’ve got plenty.
The highlight of the Independence Day celebration is the parade. The local community is happy to welcome visitors to the annual event that’s hosted in Old Town Homer. There’s a different theme every year, like “Whatever Floats Your Boat,” the theme for 2021.
Dozens of groups from local business owners to non-profit and civic organizations come up with all sorts of creative floats that are judged with the winners receiving “Homer Bucks” to use at small local businesses throughout town. They give back to the community as residents here so often do while helping to make it an unforgettable event for all.
The parade kicks off the festivities, typically starting at 10 a.m., with the procession ending at the Village Hall. Afterward, enjoy a wide range of family-friendly activities and entertainment.
Another reason to spend the 4th of July in Homer is that you can enjoy one of the summer’s most popular activities: whale watching. This is one of the best places to be for the chance to spot humpback, gray, and orca whales, with behaviors like tail slaps, breaches, and some of the more common among humpbacks, lunge-feeding and the occasional bubble-net feeding, an especially extraordinary spectacle to witness. Occasionally beluga, finback, and beluga whales, or even the rare blue whale can be seen as well.
July is peak time for whale watching here and it’s also one of the warmest months, making for a more comfortable ride out on the water if you join a boat tour. It’s possible to see them from the shores of Kachemak Bay but you’ll have the best chances for a close encounter by heading out on a boat as part of an excursion, or renting your own if you’re an experienced skipper.
Speaking of whale watching from shore, Bishop’s Beach which lies just outside the Old Town is a great place to do it with whales traveling in and out of the bay searching for food. Bald eagles often soar overhead searching for a meal below, and all sorts of other wildlife like harbor and Dall porpoises, sea lions, seals, and otters frequently make an appearance too.
Search through tide pools to look for colorful starfish, sea anemones, and sea cucumbers, or hike the Beluga Slough Trail for even more awe-inspiring views. Of course, you could simply relax and enjoy the surrounding scenery.
Perhaps pick up some of the incredible food available from the Chart Room Restaurant at Land’s End Resort. Located at the end of Homer Spit, it’s perfect for a picnic, with the menu featuring lots of wild-caught seafood like Alaskan salmon.
Go Kayaking and Canoeing
Summer in Homer is also ideal for paddling with opportunities for kayaking and canoeing tours via outfitters like St. Augustine’s Kayak & Tours with half- to full-day options. True North Kayak Adventures offers a wide range of excursions from half-day tours to overnight trips, and Three Moose Glacier Kayaking has a trip that includes a scenic boat cruise, guided hike, and kayaking among icebergs in a glacier lake.
Explore Downtown Homer
After enjoying the Homer 4th of July parade, before taking part in other festivities, you might want to explore downtown, with lots to see and do there too. Highlights include:
- Art Shop Gallery– A must for art enthusiasts representing nearly 50 Alaskan artists from throughout the state, with impressive works in prices for nearly every budget.
- Ptarmigan Arts– Featuring new and established arts working in many different mediums.
- Old Inlet Bookshop– Selling used, rare, and out-of-print books, specializing in everything Alaska, natural history, polar exploration, modern firsts, children’s books, and more
- Wild Honey Bistro– A local favorite with to-die-for crepes with house-made caramelized honey.
- Two Sister’s Bakery– A Homer institution with fresh-baked bread and light bites.
- Fat Olives Restaurant– Open for lunch and dinner serving everything from wood-fired pizzas to fresh seafood straight from Kachemak Bay.
Stay on Homer Spit
There’s no better place to base yourself than the Homer Spit if you want to be surrounded by beauty while being close to all the 4th of July festivities, opportunities for boat tours, recreational activities, and more.
Land’s End Resort is the only hotel right on The Spit, located at the tip. That means you’ll be surrounded by water on three sides while enjoying an enchanting mountain backdrop. You might even be able to watch for whales and other wildlife right from your room, with beachfront options available.
There are cabins that come with kitchens, washers, and dryers, along with luxury homes with as many as four bedrooms, allowing families and large groups to enjoy plenty of space and all of the essential amenities.
In addition to the views and top-notch accommodation, what we love the most about Land’s End is the exceptionally friendly service. With a staff that will treat you like family, it’s likely to make for a trip of a lifetime. And, that mouthwatering seafood at The Chart Room, right on-site, doesn’t hurt either!