This itinerary showcases two of Alaska’s most popular cities, Anchorage and Homer. But the wildest attraction is a visit to Katmai National Park and Preserve, where an estimated 2,200 brown bears are intent on catching enough salmon to fatten themselves up for the cold winter ahead.
Day 1 Anchorage
Start your Alaska-sized adventure in Anchorage with a flightseeing tour out of Lake Hood, the busiest seaplane base in the world. Possible destinations include a nearby glacier, a private fly-in fishing spot, or even close-up views of 20,310’ Denali, North America’s highest peak. Finish your day with a trip to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, located 50 miles south of Anchorage along the scenic Seward Highway. If you time it right, you can watch staff feeding the black bears and brown bears before you head back to Anchorage for your own dinner and a good night’s sleep in your hotel or B&B.
Day 2 Homer
Drive along the scenic Seward and Sterling highways to Homer, stopping at scenic points along the way. Homer boasts a stunning location on Kachemak Bay and offers recreation opportunities in the nearby state park of the same name. Homer is also famous for the Homer Spit, a 4.5-mile strip of land extending into the water that is lined with restaurants, gift shops, outfitters and fishing charter operators. Visitors can camp right on the spit or reserve at room at one of Homer’s many hotels, lodges or B&Bs. Check out the Spit’s many sights before you turn in for the night.
Day 3 Kodiak
Hop a morning charter flight from Homer to Kodiak and on to Katmai National Park, which is inhabited by an estimated 2,200 brown bears. The world-renowned Brooks Camp offers some of the best views of the world’s largest land predator. Access is strictly regulated, so make reservations early for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch giant brown bears scooping salmon out of rushing rivers while cubs frolic nearby. Back in Kodiak, history buffs will enjoy Fort Abercrombie State Park, a naval fort built during World War II. Kodiak is also a renowned fishing destination and offers a multitude of charter-fishing options for travelers intent on reeling in a prize Alaska catch. At the end of the day, hop a flight back to Homer or take a jet straight from Kodiak to Anchorage.
You’ll see the most bears when the salmon are running. Usually that’s July to September, although the timing can vary a bit each year. Give bears a healthy amount of respect and distance—remember, they are wild, unpredictable animals—and make sure you’re familiar with bear safety precautions before traveling in Alaska’s bear country.