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Homer, Alaska facts for kids

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Downtown Homer seen from Beluga Slough
Downtown Homer seen from Beluga Slough
Flag of Homer
Where the land ends and the sea begins
Location of Homer, Alaska
Location of Homer, Alaska
Country United States
State Alaska
Borough Kenai Peninsula
Incorporated March 31, 1964
 • Total 25.25 sq mi (65.41 km2)
 • Land 13.79 sq mi (35.71 km2)
 • Water 11.47 sq mi (29.70 km2)
95 ft (29 m)
 • Total 5,522
 • Density 400.52/sq mi (154.64/km2)
Time zone UTC−9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 907
FIPS code 02-33140
GNIS feature ID 1413141

Homer (Dena'ina: Tuggeght) is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is 218 mi (351 km) southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2020 Census, the population is 5,522, up from 5,003 in 2010. Long known as the "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World", Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road", and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea".


Homer is located at 59°38'35" North, 151°31'33" West (59.643059, −151.525900). The only road into Homer is the Sterling Highway.

Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi (7.2 km)) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.

Much of the coastline as well as the Homer Spit sank dramatically during the Good Friday earthquake in March 1964. After the earthquake, very little vegetation was able to survive on the Homer Spit.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.


As with much of South Central Alaska, Homer has a moderate subarctic coastal climate (Köppen Dsc) which causes its weather to be moderate compared to interior Alaska. Winters are snowy and long but not particularly cold, considering the latitude, with the average January high only slightly below freezing. Snow averages 50 inches (127 cm) per season, falling primarily from November through March, with some accumulation in October and April, and rarely in May. Homer receives only about 25 inches of rainfall annually due to the influence of the Chugach Mountains to the southeast which shelter it from the Gulf of Alaska. There are 7 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually, and the area straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5B and 6A, indicating an average annual minimum of around −10 °F (−23 °C). Summers are cool due to the marine influence, with 75 °F (24 °C) highs or 55 °F (13 °C) lows being extremely rare. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −24 °F (−31 °C) on January 28–29, 1989 up to 84 °F (29 °C) on July 22, 2011.

Climate data for Homer, Alaska (Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 51
Average high °F (°C) 30.8
Daily mean °F (°C) 24.8
Average low °F (°C) 18.9
Record low °F (°C) −24
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.61
Snowfall inches (cm) 9.3
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 14.8 11.5 10.7 9.6 9.3 9.4 11.9 13.8 15.9 14.3 13.8 15.8 150.8
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 8.1 6.5 5.3 1.9 0.1 0 0 0 0 2.2 5.4 7.6 37.0
Source: NOAA (extremes 1933–present)


Homer City Hall August 17 2010
Homer City Hall, located on Pioneer Avenue
Homer Alaska Salty Dawg Saloon 1850px
Landmark: the Salty Dawg Saloon.
Homer has a winery and a brewery
Kachemak bay
Fog bank over Kachemak Bay
Old Town Homer. Islands and Oceans visitor center is at far right.
Kachemak Bay Campus seen from Heath street.

Tiller digs indicate that early Alutiiq people probably camped in the Homer area although their villages were on the far side of Kachemak Bay.

Coal was discovered in the area in the 1890s. The Cook Inlet Coal Fields Company built a town, dock, coal mine, and a railroad at Homer. Coal mining in the area continued until World War II. There are an estimated 400 million tons of coal deposits still in the area.

Homer was named for Homer Pennock, a gold-mining company promoter, who arrived in 1896 on the Homer Spit and built living quarters for his crew of 50 men. However, gold mining was never profitable in the area.

Another earlier settlement was Miller's Landing. Miller's Landing is named after a Charles Miller who homesteaded in the neighborhood around 1915. According to local historian Janet Klein, he was an employee of the Alaska Railroad and had wintered company horses on the beach grasses on the Homer Spit. He built a landing site in a small bight in Kachemak Bay where supply barges from Seldovia could land and offload their cargos. Miller's landing was legally considered a census-designated place separate from Homer until it was annexed in 2002, but has always been locally considered part of Homer.

Halibut and salmon sport fishing, along with tourism and commercial fishing are the dominant industries. Homer co-hosted the 2006 Arctic Winter Games. The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve co-host a visitor center with interpretive displays known as the "Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center", and there is a cultural and historical museum called "The Pratt Museum".


Historical population
Census Pop.
1940 325
1950 307 −5.5%
1960 1,247 306.2%
1970 1,083 −13.2%
1980 2,209 104.0%
1990 3,660 65.7%
2000 3,946 7.8%
2010 5,003 26.8%
2020 5,522 10.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

Homer first appeared on the 1940 U.S. Census as an unincorporated village. It formally incorporated in 1964.

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 5,003 people, 2,235 households, and 1,296 families residing in the city. The population density was 361.7 people per square mile (139.8/km2). There were 2,692 housing units at an average density of 194.6 per square mile (75.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.3% White, 4.1% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.0% Asian, 0.4% African American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 2.1% of the population.

There were 2,235 households, of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.0% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21, and the average family size was 2.83.

The median age in the city was 44.0 years. 21.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.2% were from 25 to 44; 34.5% were from 45 to 64; and 14.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.

The median income for a household was $52,057, and the median income for a family was $68,455. Males had a median income of $41,581 versus $37,679 for females. The per capita income for the city was $32,035. About 3.8% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.2% of those under age 18 and 1.4% of those age 65 or over.


Main airport terminal.

Homer is the southernmost town on the contiguous Alaska highway system. It is also part of the Alaska Marine Highway (the Alaskan ferry system). The regional airport lies near the coast as well, with local air taxis and regular scheduled commercial flights to Anchorage. Homer erected its first traffic light in 2005.

The United States Coast Guard currently stations six Island Class cutters in Alaska, including one in Homer. From February 7, 1992, to June 4, 2015, the USCGC Roanoke Island was assigned to Homer. She was retired early, and was replaced by the Sapelo. The Sapelo is scheduled to be replaced by a more modern Sentinel-class cutter.

The Coast Guard leases an anchorage on the Homer Spit. The Coast Guard renewed its lease for 20 years in 2015.


Kachemak Bay Campus seen from Heath street.

Formal Education

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District provides primary and secondary education to the community of Homer. These schools are:

  • Homer High School (9-12)
  • Homer Flex High School (9-12)
  • Homer Middle School (7-8)
  • West Homer Elementary (3-6)
  • Paul Banks Elementary (K-2)
  • McNeil Canyon Elementary (K-6)
  • Fireweed Academy (K-6)
  • Connections Homeschool Program (K-12)

The Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College provides post-secondary education, as well as ESL and GED training to the community of Homer.

The Homer Public Library has enthusiastic support from the Friends of the Homer Library, established in 1948, which raised funds and support for a new library building, opened on September 16, 2006.

Science Education

Because of the city of Homer's location on the Kenai Peninsula and its abundance of natural resources and marine habitats, there are many public education programs focused on the environment. Some of these educational endeavors include the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (also known as the Alaska Island and Ocean Center) and the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. Both organizations encourage science education and sponsor many events aimed to teach people of all ages about the ecosystem and conservation. Some of these events include the Kachemak Crane Watch and the Kachemak Bay Science Conference, both sponsored by the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

Sandhill Cranes with Colts
A mated pair of sandhill cranes and their colts on the Kachemak Bay Water Trail as seen through a pair of binoculars.

One of the biggest educational events in Homer is the Kachemak Bay Shorebird festival. The Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival was first established in 1993 by a group of Homer residents who wished to educate the public about shorebirds and the wetlands the birds inhabit. Today, the festival is sponsored by Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. The festival is held annually in early May when more than 13,000 shorebirds (also called waders) from 25 different species visit the Kachemak Bay area during spring migration. Tourists and Alaskans alike attend the festival and are encouraged to watch the shorebird migration through a variety of land and boat tours in collaboration with the festival.

The Homer and Kachemak Bay areas consist of a variety of different habitats and are rich in food and resources that attract migrating birds. The abundance of diverse habitats such as mud flats, rocky isles, and marshlands enable many different species to thrive in the area.

Some of the birds that can be seen during the spring migration and the festival include horned puffins, sandhill cranes, and arctic terns. Arctic Terns are famous for flying the longest distance of any migrating bird.

Many of the birds seen during the festival can be identified with the help of published guides that categorize distinguishable features such as, topography, silhouette, size, and color.

One of the special events held at the festival is the Shorebirds Sing: Bird Call Contest. The contest takes place at the Homer Brewing Company. The contest is a lighthearted competition to see who can best mimic the calls of various bird species.

In 2020, the festival was held entirely virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all presentations, speeches, and events were conducted online. The 2021 festival was held both in person and virtually, with events taking place online and face-to-face. The year 2022 will mark the 30th anniversary of the festival.

Notable people

Ealges on the spit in Homer
Eagles on the spit in Homer
  • Tom Bodett (born 1955), spokesperson, known for the Motel 6 "We'll leave the light on for you" advertisements; and writer, known for the whimsical book about Homer, As Far as You Can go Without a Passport
  • Lincoln Brewster (born 1971), Christian worship musician
  • Kristen Faulkner (born 1992), professional cyclist
  • Hazel P. Heath (1909–1998), businesswoman; mayor of Homer, 1968–1976
  • Jewel (Jewel Kilcher) (born 1974), singer/songwriter
  • Jean Keene (1923–2009), the "Eagle Lady" of Homer, known for her decades-long history of feeding bald eagles on Homer Spit
  • Andre Marrou (born 1938), was a resident of Homer when he was elected as a Libertarian member to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1984
  • Shannyn Moore (born 1970), political writer based in Alaska
  • Tela O'Donnell (born 1982), Olympic wrestler
  • Ambrose Olsen (1985–2010), male fashion model

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