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Mary
Phoenix

Homer, Anchorage, Cooper Landing, Kenai Fjords

What is a good itinerary/time needed for the above stops.

We will have 12 days of which two will be in Anchorage arriving/getting to the airport. Don't want any additional time in Anchorage. We would leave Anchorage on the Seward Highway and have 10 days to get back to Anchorage doing at least these stops: Cooper Landing Salmon Run, Kenai Fjords 6-hr boat, Homer. What is the time frame for each and driving times and other suggested stops. What to do in Homer?


2 Answers

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answered by
Moira
Hey Mary! If you plan on sticking to the Kenai Peninsula, that's plenty of time to check out Seward (where you will need to be to catch the Kenai Fjords trip), Kenai, Soldotna and Homer. There are a lot of little fun things to do along the way and the views from Anchorage to the Peninsula and back are just breathtaking.
The drive from Anchorage to Seward is just over 2 hours. Seward is a cool town with a lot of history and great food. The Sea Life Center is worth the trip and takes about 2 hours to go thru. You could easily spend the rest of the day checking out down town shops and restaurants ( check out the coffee shop in the old church), and the harbor. My advice is to at least do an overnight, the fjords one day, and the city another, and maybe Exit glacier if there is time. 
Seward to Soldotna is an hour and a half. Stop in Cooper Landing at Wildmans like the locals do for snacks and ice cream, or maybe lunch or dinner and a walk at the Princess Lodge :)
Soldotna is very busy in summer. All the modern amenities but ALL the Motorhomes. Kenai is another 15 miles, quaint little town, huge Wal-Mart for ( if that's your sort of thing) and a really neat Old Towne district. There is a walking tour of old town that begins a the Visitor's Center and takes you to the Russian Orthodox church (and past Veronica's, great coffee house), along the bluff overlooking the mouth of the Kenai River, and to the Historic Cabin Park. Next door is the Kenai Fine Art Center, housed in the original city jail. If you like beaches or camping, head to Nikiski for the best ones, about 15 miles North of Kenai. Captain Cook State Park is literally at the end of the Spur Highway! 2 days is a decent amount of time to see the Kenai area, though 2 nights might be allow a more relaxed pace. Lunch at Flats Bistro offers a great view of the Kenai bridge and wetlands.
The drive from Kenai to Homer is 80 miles and takes roughly 2 hours and is full of small towns and more beautiful sights of the Cook Inlet. It's wise to plan extra time for show  traffic, stopping for wildlife, and checking out historical sights (Ninilchik). If there is one stop that you shouldn't miss, it is the Norman Lowell gallery just south of Anchor Point. Plan to spend 2 hours lost in the wonderland of incredible paintings, some over 20' long! He is truly a master of landscapes and you will not be disappointed in this museum of fine arts and historical artifacts. 
As a local, Homer is where we go to play. The town is laid back and artsy, in the best way. Delicious restaurants, coffee houses and curious stores are tucked into every corner. Plan for at least 2 nights, especially if you decide to take a marine tour or participate in a local berry, wildflower or tidepool walk. The Homer Visitors Center website is a wealth of information for trip planning. Some of my favorite stops are on the Homer Spit, where shops and restaurants are on piers - there are beaches and a harbor and otters are usually playing not far from shore. Favorite eateries include Finn's and Mermaid Cafe (reservations needed). Land's End, at the end of the Spit, is both a good place to stay and eat. 
Further in land, we regularly go to the Pratt Museum, the Island and Oceans center, galleries and gift shops with unique local art and items, and more fantastic eateries. Don't skip Three Sister's bakery or Wasabi's (hands down best view for dining). Definitely stop off to sample some beer, wine and coffee at local vintners, breweries and coffee roasters. You will notice as you drive the Peninsula that coffee booths are everywhere and Alaskans take their coffee seriously! You really can't go wrong. 
One of my favorite spots for the best view is Karen Hornaday Park, up by the hospital. The playground looks out over Resurrection Bay and you will not be disappointed that you took the detour. 
I could go on and on (apparently lol) but that's a pretty full itinerary. I would do this trip this way: Leave Anchorage in the morning, stop at Portage glacier center for a pit stop. Continue to Seward where I would get lunch and wander around down town or the waterfront for the afternoon, going to the Sea Life Center at 4pm, just enough time before closing. I'd do dinner and plan to stay overnight, do my fjord tour the next day. I might leave that evening, planning dinner along the way somewhere like Copper Landing, but there is plenty to do for one more evening and taking off the next morning. I would stay 2 or 3 nights in the Kenai area and then 2 nights in Homer. With that last day, I would take it to explore Hope and the Turnagain Arm area on my way back to Anchorage. There is a Wildlife park near Portage, and then I would stop in Girdwood for coffee, lunch or dinner at the Alyeska Prince Hotel, and definitely take the tram to the top of the mountain to look out over Turnagain Arm ( or maybe eat up there at Seven Glaciers!!)
Alaska has so much to offer! You could easily head North from Anchorage and find other spectacular adventures that way. Whatever you do, have fun!

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answered first by
RosalieAnn
I was in Alaska on a cruise so I cannot speak to driving, but we did stop in Homer. There is a former water tower got up as a lighthouse at the Salty Dog Saloon on Homer Spit. But we spent almost no time in Homer - we took an excursion where we saw otters and puffins and other birds to Seldovia. We had lunch there. This is a nice small town which can be reached by ferry in the spring/summer and they have a some chain-saw sculptures.
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