Bear Viewing Homer
Homer, Alaska is one of Alaska’s crown jewels. There are countless things to do in Homer but no trip would be complete without visiting one of the best bear viewing locations in the world. At Alaska Ocean Pros, we offer Homer bear viewing tours to world-famous Chinitna Bay. Located in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Chinitna Bay is where big brown bears gather to feed throughout the season.
Our single-day Homer bear viewing excursions are perfect for anyone visiting by road, air, or cruise ship. You will travel by boat through Kachemak Bay 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 estuaries abundant with food. The backdrop is an unspoiled wilderness where no roads and few people can be found.
Bear viewing Homer has never been easier. Would you like to experience a Homer bear viewing adventure? We guarantee that it’s an experience you will never forget. Contact us today to book your Homer Alaska bear viewing tour.
Bear viewing Homer Alaska - 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.
Bear populations in Chinitna Bay are some of the densest in the world, and it’s not uncommon to see 20 bears at one time when you’re 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 Homer Alaska tours to Chinitna Bay is unique because so many massive bears can be found in one location.
Visitors who take our tour often say it was the highlight of their trip. 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 bruin dig deep into the sandy beach to find a tasty clam. 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 state of Alaska. There are countless birds that call Kachemak Bay home, so be sure to bring your identification book and a pair of binoculars.
When on your Homer Alaska bear watching tour, the stunning backdrop is like something out of a movie. Just some of the incredible sights you will likely see include:
- 4 Peaks Glacier
- Offshore Gas Rigs
- Charter Fishing Boats
- Commercial Fishing Boats
- Cook Inlet (Named after famed explorer Captain Cook)
- Kachemak Bay
- Mt Katmai
- Novarupta volcanoes eruption
- Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes
- Aleutian/Alaskan Peninsula
Tips for photographers - Bear viewing Homer
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 Homer Alaska bear viewing tour, especially the mighty brown bruins. 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.
Bear Viewing Homer Alaska
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 that guy missing out on something incredible or asking to borrow someone else’s pair. Binoculars come in handy while viewing bears from the platform and 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 puff or down jacket may also be a good option.
Food and drink - Please bring along your own lunch and beverages. There are places to refill a water bottle but you should plan on ensuring you have enough calories for a busy day.
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 can get rough. Large swells and chop can make anyone seasick, so if you’re prone to motion sickness we urge you to take the proper medicine and follow the directions to the letter. 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.
The World Famous Homer Spit is 4 and a half miles long and extends into Kachemak Bay. This geographical feature is a gravel bar where Homer Harbor is located. This is the Harbor from which you will depart on your bear viewing Homer tour.
There are some other famous landmarks you may want to visit while you’re on the Homer Spit. The most famous landmark is quite possibly the Salty Dawg Saloon, which has a storied history in Homer. The Salty Dawg is partially built from one of Homer’s first cabins, constructed in 1897. It was also Homer’s first grocery store, first Post Office, and served a schoolhouse. The Salty Dawg Saloon opened in 1957 and was moved into its Spit location after the infamous 1967 Good Friday earthquake. It’s also a good place to grab a beer after a day of bear viewing.
Homer’s population is estimated to be about 5,800 and you will find that the town has a welcoming atmosphere not unlike other welcoming Alaska locations. Commercial and sport fishing are still very popular in Homer. Tourism is another major regional industry. You can learn more about Homer if you have time to visit the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve Visitor Center and The Pratt Museum.
For more information about Homer, Alaska, be sure to visit the Chamber of Commerce website and the City of Homer Official Website.
Homer Alaska Bear Viewing
Your bear viewing Homer tour takes you across Kachemak Bay, which is an arm of Cook Inlet. Other arms of Cook Inlet include Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm, which surround Anchorage to the north. The Cook Inlet watershed is huge and one of the most important in the world for fishing and tourism.
While the inlet is named after famed explorer Captain James Cook, it was first explored and settled by Dena’ina people. The first European settlers arrived from Russia in the 18th Century. They came to the region because of its rich fur trade. Captain Cook first explored the area on his 1778 expedition while searching for the Northwest Passage.
More information about Kachemak Bay
Crossing Kachemak Bay on your way to the bear viewing platforms is like stepping into amazing stories of days gone by. You are surrounded by mountains that were covered with ice only 12,000 years ago. Indigenous people and explorers inhabited these fertile lands for millennia and today people from all over the world come to see it with their own eyes.
Kachemak means “smokey bay.” This Aleut word allegedly describes smoldering coal seams that used to fill Kachemak Bay with smoke. Ample food and nutrients in the bay allow wild marine animals to thrive in the area throughout the year, even whales. In fact, Kachemak Bay provides a winter home for 90% of Lower Cook Inlet waterfowl and seabird populations. Even land mammals like moose and bears are frequently spotted around Kachemak Bay during the winter months.
What happens if the weather turns bad?
As mentioned above, sometimes weather happens and prevents us from reaching Chinitna Bay. When this happens, we take guests to other bear viewing locations closer to Homer. These spots also offer quality bear viewing of both black and brown bears and you will still see a wide array of marine wildlife. If you would like more information on this subject, don’t hesitate to ask.
Your Homer bear viewing adventure starts with Alaska Ocean Pros
Are you ready to enjoy Alaska’s premiere tour? Bear viewing Homer Alaska is easier than ever. Board our comfortable vessel and be part of the magic and mystery that stirs the soul. Your bear viewing tour in Homer is fully guided from start to finish so you won’t miss out on anything.
Contact us today to learn more about the tour and book your group in advance.