Just 15 miles across Kachemak Bay from Homer but in a world of its own is Seldovia, a small coastal community oozing with old-Alaska charm.
About Seldovia (Sugpiaq and Dena'ina Athabascan: Angagkitaqnuuq)
Locals call their town the “City of Secluded Charm,” and it’s hard to argue with them. Set among a maze of peninsulas, straits, and lakes, the isolated community of about 300 residents has managed to retain much of its character. It is an enjoyable escape, whether you stay a week or just a day.
Things to do
Seldovia is amazingly compact – even the airport is only a half-mile walk from town. You can see most of it on foot in a relatively short period of time. Within a few blocks of the small boat harbor are shops, galleries, restaurants, and a short stretch of the original boardwalk. Hike a block uphill and you arrive at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church perched idyllically on a knoll. The church is a National Historic Site and was built in 1891.
The Otterbahn Trail is one of the area’s most popular hikes, heading 1.2 miles from town to Outside Beach, a beautiful spot with beachcombing and a spectacular view of Kachemak Bay. Keep an eye out for blueberries along the way in late summer and fall. Outside Beach Park features a picnic area and stunning views of Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna. There is also a good chance of spotting eagles, seabirds, and otters from the beach, with great tide pooling during low tide. Other hikes in the area include Rocky Ridge, Reservoir Trail, Tutka Bay Lagoon, Red Mountain, and Graduation Peak. A local tour operator offers guided hiking trips on some of these trails.
Seldovia is renown for its berry picking. Blueberries grow so thick you can often rake your fingers through the bushes and fill a two-quart bucket in minutes. Low-bush cranberries and salmonberries are also abundant. If you don’t have time to pick them yourself, keep an eye out for locally made products such as jams, jellies, and marmalades to enjoy the area’s berry bounty.
A charter fishing fleet in Seldovia is available to take visitors out onto the rich waters of Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet to fish for halibut, king salmon, or silver salmon. Some of the area’s lodges, cabin rentals, and B&Bs offer exclusive charter fishing trips along with accommodations and meals.
The kayaking is excellent in the waters around Seldovia. Protected inlets and bays, such as Eldred Passage, Sadie Cove, Tutka Bay, and Jakolof Bay, offer calm waters and the possibility of encountering marine wildlife including sea otters, seals, and sea lions. Seldovia outfitters rent kayaks and offer drop-off transportation outside of town.
Seldovia's nearly carless streets and outlying gravel roads make for ideal mountain biking, and bikes can be brought over from Homer or rented in town. The most popular ride is a leisurely pedal along the Jakolof Bay Road, which winds 10 miles along the coast towards the head of Jakolof Bay. Along the way are panoramic views of Kachemak Bay, Kasitsna Bay, and Jakolof Bay, while McDonald Spit is a favorite spot for seabirds and marine life. Eagles are also a common sight and occasionally sea otters. Watch for whales in the bay during spring and fall migrations. At low tide you can explore the sea life among the rocks and take in views Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna across the bay.
Staying in Seldovia
A wide variety of accommodations are available in Seldovia, many of which feature waterfront views of Seldovia Bay. Visitors can choose from several inns, fishing lodges, B&Bs, cabins, guest houses, vacation rentals, and even a treehouse. There is also a campground and RV park north of town.
Getting to Seldovia
Seldovia is located across Kachemak Bay from Homer, and most visitors arrive to town on a 45 minute ferry ride from Homer that departs several times a day. Water taxis are also available from Homer and air taxis are available from Homer and Anchorage. The Alaska Marine Highway ferry provides regular ferry service between Homer and Seldovia, connecting to other destinations on the ferry route.
Originally inhabited by Russians seeking sea otter pelts and timber to repair ships, Seldovia became an important shipping and supply center for the region. Salmon and herring runs supported several canneries by the 1920s. After the Sterling Highway was completed to Homer in the 1950s, Seldovia’s population and importance as a supply center began to dwindle, but it was the 1964 Good Friday earthquake that caused the most rapid change in the community. The earthquake caused the land beneath Seldovia to settle four feet, forcing residents to rebuild much of their community on higher ground.