Quality of life rarely found in one location: endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, arts, culture – a great place to raise kids and a profound sense of community.
The City of Homer was established as a first-class municipality in March 1964. Named for Homer Pennock, a con man who arrived in 1896 and lured others to the Homer area with promises of gold, today genuine treasures attract people to live and work in Homer.
The southernmost town on the state’s highway system, four hours south of Anchorage on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, Homer is variously described as “where the land ends and the sea begins,” “the cosmic hamlet by the sea,” an arts community, and a fishing community. Each description captures a part of Homer’s enduring character: creative, rich in maritime and homesteading traditions, committed to the environment, engaged, and independent.
Common to every description is an acknowledgment that Homer is situated in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with spectacular views of Kachemak Bay, the Kenai Mountains, and several volcanic peaks across Cook Inlet including Mt. Augustine, Mt. Iliamna, and Mt. Redoubt reaching to over 10,000 feet.
Homer is also famous for the Homer Spit, a 4.5-mile natural finger of land extending into Kachemak Bay. Accommodating Homer’s port facilities and a small boat harbor, it is a vital component of the local economy supporting both the marine trades industry and commercial fishing. Homer lands more halibut than any other port in the world, earning Homer yet another title, “Halibut Capital of the World.”
The Spit also supports Homer’s burgeoning tourism trade. Its numerous shops, restaurants, campgrounds, lodgings, charter fishing, water taxi, adventure, and eco-tourism businesses are a beehive of activity during the summer months.
Rounding out Homer’s economic drivers are healthcare services, the arts, and independent farm growers, all contributing to Homer’s economic diversity and extraordinary quality of life.
Homer is widely acknowledged to have the best arts scene and the best restaurants of any small town in Alaska. Many of these businesses are located on Pioneer Avenue in the heart of the City, where an abundance of peonies grace both gardens and public murals; or in historic “Old Town” on the shores of Bishop’s Beach.
Homer prides itself on being an ambitious, forward-thinking community that embraces responsible economic development. Major goals for the next decade include expanding Homer’s port facilities to support the region’s growing maritime industries and developing thirty acres in the heart of Homer as a new and vibrant Town Center.
Since 2000, the city has added residents at an average rate of 0.6 percent annually for a total population of about 5,300 in 2015. Births, and in-migration of new residents, primarily families, and senior citizens, account for the population growth.
While Homer is not a retirement community, it is popular for retiree living, both year-round and seasonally. Alaska’s senior population has been growing faster than in any other U.S. state, with the Kenai Peninsula’s growth rate leading the way at 11.33%.
New residents, who can live anywhere they want, choose Homer partly for its beauty; partly for outstanding arts, culture, education, and recreation opportunities. Mostly, they choose Homer because people here are friendly, outgoing, and welcoming.
Homer boasts an overall low cost of living (for Alaska living) and superior schools. Residents enjoy year-round outdoor recreation opportunities that include fishing, hiking, skiing, kayaking, hunting, snow-machining, birding, kite-surfing, and more.
A diversity of arts, cultural, and recreational activities throughout the year make Homer welcoming and makes time with family and friends extraordinarily enjoyable.
Homer is a caring community. Many residents are committed to making Homer a better place and give generously of their time and talents to contribute to the overall quality of life. Civic, non-profit and grassroots efforts bring neighbors together to help those less fortunate, create solutions for shared concerns, and complete civic projects.
A Great Place to Live and Play!
Homer’s 5,000 plus residents appreciate that Homer has plenty of amenities, options for entertainment, and world-class outdoor activities, all while maintaining a small-town feel.
Living in Alaska presents many opportunities and challenges, and finding a home is often one of them. Luckily, Homer has an active real estate market. Average home prices and rents on the Kenai Peninsula are among the lowest in the State. Housing, which is typically a family’s largest expenditure, is 21% less expensive in Homer than Anchorage.
The diversity and quality of health care services available in Homer are notable. South Peninsula Hospital is Homer’s full-service hospital offering a wide range of general and specialty services in a patient-focused and state-of-the-art facility. It, combined with Homer’s wide variety of highly skilled complementary medical practitioners, provides residents with the highest quality, comprehensive health, and wellness care.
A Great Place to Raise Kids!
Great schools, relatively low crime, and lots of parks, playgrounds, and outdoor pursuits are part of the package that makes Homer great for children.
Recreation – world-class opportunities in every season
Homer has 17 dedicated public parks with amenities ranging from playgrounds, ball fields, disc golf course, skate park, fishing lagoon, picnic areas, campsites and trails, and vast stretches of undeveloped beaches and intertidal zones.
Additionally, the City of Homer’s Parks & Recreation and other nonprofit community groups organize many youth clubs and programs, ranging from sports, nature education, visual and theatrical arts, music, wilderness leadership, engineering/design, and more.
Early Childhood Education – new families are supported in Homer
Homer has eleven licensed child care providers, Head Start, a Title 1 Preschool Program at Paul Banks Elementary School, an infant learning program, and a private pre-school education program.
Schools – your choice of high-quality public school options
Homer has three public elementary schools; one public charter school a middle school and a high school – all part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Two of the schools (McNeil Canyon and West Homer Elementary) earned the distinguished Alaska Blue Ribbon School designation for achieving superior standards of academic excellence.
Parents also have the choice of two optional programs. Flex is an alternative high school for students that want to move at their own pace or that are graduating in three years because they can work faster while at the same time achieving proficiency. Connections are the school district’s supported home school program, giving families direct access to tutors, counselors, academic support materials, and funds through the program’s Homer office.
Homer High School, with an enrollment of 410, consistently ranks as one of the highest-scoring schools in Alaska:
Wide variety of course offerings: seven Advanced Placement courses, foreign language, creative arts (including a ceramics studio) and applied arts courses such as culinary arts, welding, and mechanics with a focus on college and career readiness;
95-98% graduation rate;
70% student population involved in co-curricular activities ranging from sports, band, choir, drama/debate/forensics, and student government;
High average Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score of 1628;
Opportunity to take college classes and earn college credits while in high school through the local Kenai Peninsula College “Jump Start” Program;
Merit-based college scholarships awards average $12,000 to $20,000 per student annually.
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