Here are a few of our favorite family activities in and around Homer, Alaska. Remember to pack a raincoat and go out in any weather!
Visit Bishop's Beach. At low tide, walk to the right from the parking area for the best tide pooling. At high tide, climb among the driftwood and build a fort, make a campfire, play ball with your dog...
Get a snack at Two Sisters Bakery. Eat outside so the kids can play in the gravel yard. Toys are plentiful, and the kids always make a new friend or two.
Hike Diamond Creek Trail. Take the Sterling Highway north, past the overlook on Baycrest hill and the transfer station. Look to your left just before reaching Diamond Ridge Rd. and turn into the gravel drive. Follow the bumpy but passable road until you reach the end. Take the trail on the left down to the beach. It follows along a steep ravine, so hand holding will be necessary for younger hikers. Make sure to check the tides if you plan to walk the beach before heading back up to the parking area. There is a creek at the end of the trail that is difficult to cross at high tide.
Check out the playground with the world's best view. The playground at Karen Hornaday Park was completely rebuilt by an army of community volunteers in May 2012, and kids can spend hours exploring all its details. From sand pits to marimba, fishing boat to lobster trap, the playground embodies the Homer lifestyle.
Venture through the forest on the Calvin and Coyle nature trail. Usable year-round, this is a nice easy walk through the spruce forest and wetlands, with raised boardwalks leading to an overlook on Beluga Lake. Watch float planes in the summer, and snowshoe in the winter. Beware that the boardwalk can be icy in the fall and spring.
Take in a show with Hobo Jim at AJ's OldTown Steakhouse. Hobo Jim is the official Alaska State Balladeer, and Homer is lucky enough to get him for most Tuesday and Wednesday evenings all summer long. There is a dinnertime family show that is so fun for the kids. Learn a little more about Alaskan history and lifestyles, and get a better feel for why the locals love this great state. Hobo Jim also performs at the Alaska State Fair, and in Soldotna and Seward.
Visit the Yurt on the Spit. Pay a nominal fee for a guided "under the docks" tour of the harbor. Laying on pads on their bellies, kids will learn to identify the creatures that inhabit the harbor's pickings and floating docks. Frequent residents include anemones and sea stars. After taking the tour once, you will be able to go back anytime and visit with your new sea friends.