Web posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Camping: The Spit and other fine spots to rest your head

Camping out, whether in a tent or in the comfort of a recreational vehicle, is a great way to spend time in Homer. Camping is allowed on much of the Spit, where there is a great deal of wide open space, not to mention driftwood and coal that wash up within easy reach to fuel campfires.

Beware, however, that the tides in Cook Inlet are much more drastic than most people expect. Set your tent high on the beach or you could wake up with saltwater lapping at your feet.

Check with the Homer Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Information Center for up-to-date information, but in general, camping is allowed on any area designated "Fee Camping." Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost is $3-5 per day, or $7-10 for recreational vehicles. Fee collectors circulate in the camping areas or you can pay at the Fee Collection Office across from the Fishing Hole.

Camping is forbidden in several areas, including between the Spit Road and the harbor, within 50 feet of the road anywhere, and anywhere on private property, which generally is on the east side of the road. Don't camp between the ferry dock and Land's End Resort, or on the beach near the Fishing Hole.

On city land, tents must be of standard manufacture -- that is, not driftwood and plastic sheeting or tarps. Recreational vehicles are allowed in any signed areas where they have access.

The city maintains numerous toilets on the Spit. They are located at the top of each harbor ramp and near the camping areas. You can get fresh water at the permanent city restrooms on the Spit. Several local businesses --including Eagle Quality Center -- provide water for residents and visitors at outside taps.

The city has a sewage-dumping facility on the frontage road along the Homer Bypass, across from the post office. Access it from Heath Street.

There are also 33 campsites in town at Karen Hornaday Memorial Park, above the ballfields off Bartlett and Fairview Avenues. The campground is perched above the city and provides good views of Kachemak Bay. One water spigot and restrooms are located in the campground, and there are additional facilities and water at the ball fields nearby.

It is illegal to camp anywhere but designated camping areas on the Spit and at the public campground at Hornaday Park.

There are also numerous private RV parks in Homer, with a variety of services and locations.

State campgrounds

Several Alaska State Park campgrounds are located between Ninilchik and Anchor Point. For information, call the Alaska Division of Parks in Soldotna at (907) 262-5581.

Stariski Campground at Mile 152 has only 16 sites but affords splendid views of Cook Inlet, fishing boats, migrating birds and marine mammals. The cost is $10 per campsite.

Anchor River State Recreation Area along the Anchor River Beach Road has five campgrounds. Cost is $10 for the Slidehole and Halibut Campgrounds, and $8 for the Coho (beach), Steelhead and Silverking areas. They offer easy river and beach access, 150 camping spots as well as day-use parking areas. A tractor launch service is also available for boaters.

For more on camping opportunities in Kachemak Bay State Park, see Pages 76-77.