Bear Viewing Homer

Homer is one of Alaska’s crown jewels. There are countless things to do in Homer and no trip would be complete without visiting one of the greatest bear viewing locations in the world. At Bear Viewing Alaska, we offer brown bear viewing tours that take place in world-famous Chinitna Bay, located in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. This is where large brown bears gather to feed throughout the season.

Our single-day bear viewing excursions are perfect for anyone visiting by road, air, or cruise ship. You will travel by boat out of Kachemak Bay and across the Cook Inlet where all sorts of marine wildlife are routinely spotted, including humpback whales and orcas. Your destination is Chinitna Bay where coastal brown bears spend their lives feeding among marshes and tidal flats abundant with food. The backdrop is a pristine wilderness where no roads and few people can be found.

Bear viewing has never been easier. Would you like to experience a once in a lifetime adventure? We guarantee that it’s an experience you will never forget. Contact us today to book your Alaskan brown bear viewing tour.

An overview

Homer, Alaska is the gateway to some of the most incredible bear viewing opportunities in the world. Arguably, the most incredible Homer bear viewing tour takes you and your group to Chinitna Bay in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Massive coastal brown bears call this place home throughout the season because of its rich abundance of foods rich in protein. Some of these include the high-protein sedge grass that grows in the marsh, sockeye salmon, and clams in the tidal flats.

The brown bear population of Chinitna Bay is one of the densest in the world, and it’s not uncommon to see 20+ bears at once while on the tour. Lake Clark’s coastal brown bears grow to great sizes of over 1,000 pounds because they feed on vegetation, clams, and other high-protein food sources. Bear Viewing Alaska’s tours to Chinitna Bay are unique because so many massive bears can be found in one location. Along with the fact that because we are on a full day tour, we get more opportunity to see the bears up close!

Visitors who take our tour often say it was the highlight of their visit to Alaska. There is something magical about seeing wild bears in their natural habitat free from worry about their close proximity. While you view the bears, you may see them feeding, playing, or even sleeping without a care in the world. You may see bear cubs frolicking or a massive boar chasing after a sow. Some lucky visitors get to see it all. Maybe next time, it will be you.

Homer Bear Viewing

Traveling to and from your Homer Alaska bear viewing tour can be just as thrilling. You will be riding in comfort from the Homer Spit through Kachemak Bay en route to Chinitna Bay in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Along the way, there are countless opportunities to see wild marine animals and birds in their natural habitat.

Marine mammals commonly spotted include humpback whales, orcas, otters, sea lions, and just about anything else you can see in the marine environment of Alaska. There are countless birds that call Kachemak Bay home, so be sure to bring your identification book and a pair of binoculars.

While on your tour, the stunning backdrop will be like something out of a movie. Just some of the incredible sights you will likely see include:

  • St. Augustine
  • Mt. Redoubt
  • Mt. Iliamna
  • Mt. Douglas
  • 4 Peaks Glacier
  • Charter Fishing Boats
  • Commercial Fishing Boats (Including some featured on Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch”)
  • Cook Inlet (Named after famed explorer Captain Cook)
  • Kachemak Bay
  • Alaskan Peninsula

Tips for photographers

Obviously, you’re going to want to get some amazing photos from your once-in-a-lifetime Homer bear viewing tour. While you can certainly get some quality photos from a cell phone or point-and-shoot camera, we recommend investing in a camera with a quality zoom lens and familiarizing yourself with some photography basics.

Digital SLR cameras are ideal for photographing just about anything you’ll encounter on a bear viewing tour. A quality zoom or telephoto lens is also suggested. Lenses up to 200mm can be handheld under normal lighting conditions. Higher powered lenses may need image stabilization features and/or support from a tripod. Obviously, large brown bears are often moving so it’s important to use the highest possible shutter speeds.

The viewing platforms from which the Homer Alaska bear viewing tours take place offer plenty of space and support for extra gear but only you can determine when gear is getting in the way of your experience. Sometimes it’s better to keep things simple and enjoy your bear viewing experience rather than miss something amazing because you were trying to find the perfect F-stop setting.

A wide-angle to an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens is also recommended. Many photographers prefer to use a 17mm to 40mm zoom for its versatility. Wide Angle lenses allow you to compose amazing landscape and panoramic shots while traveling through Kachemak Bay and once you reach the bear viewing platforms.

Again, lenses capable of shooting in low light are best so consider using F2.8 lenses if they’re within your budget. Lastly, we recommend a waterproof backpack to carry your gear so that it’s protected from the elements at all times.

What to bring

What follows is a list of other items you may consider bringing on your Homer Alaska bear viewing tour.

Binoculars - If you don’t have binoculars, you’re going to wish you did. You don’t want to be the one missing out on something incredible or asking to borrow someone else’s pair. Binoculars come in handy while viewing bears from the viewing areas, as well as on the boat ride to and from Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. If you’re a bird watcher, binoculars are essential.

Rain gear - You never know what the weather is going to be like, so it’s important to bring a jacket that will protect you from the elements. Modern rain gear isn’t heavy or bulky and can be stored safely in a backpack.

Layered clothing - In Homer and the surrounding region, the weather can change at any moment. A sunny 75-degree day can quickly turn into cold and wind. Your tour lasts all day and half of it is spent on the water so you need to be prepared for any scenario to get the most from your Homer bear viewing tour. We recommend one or two base layers of Merino wool or synthetic material, a fleece layer, and a wind and water-resistant outer layer. If you get cold easily, a puffy or down jacket may also be a good option.

Bug Spray - Depending on the weather, there can be a lot of bugs (mosquitoes, nats) at the viewing areas of the park. They can get annoying while relaxing and watching the bears, or while trying to get the perfect photo. This is why we recommend bringing some bug spray.

Food and drink - Please bring along your own lunch and beverages. Please remember no food is allowed to be brought off of the boat, so make sure you eat your lunch/snacks before we arrive in Chinitna Bay. Medications - If you take medication, you must bring it with you. Your bear viewing tour is deep in the Alaskan wilderness so it’s vital that you carry everything you need for the tour.

Seasick medicine - Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet can have some pretty rough seas depending on the tides and weather. Large swells and chop can make almost anyone seasick, so if you’re prone to motion sickness we urge you to take the proper medicine and follow the directions on the box. Most motion sickness medicine tells you to take some the night before and the morning of your trip. Remember that once you get sick, motion sickness medication will not work as long as you remain on the water.

What else is there to do in Homer, Alaska?

Homer is located on the south end of the Kenai Peninsula. It’s been called “The End of the Road,” “The Halibut Capital of the World” and “the Cosmic Hamlet of the Sea.” Homer is known as one of the most picturesque places in Alaska. It is also the jumping-off point for some of the best bear viewing on the planet.