Now that we have our tiny camper, Andrew and I are excited to take longer trips around Alaska with Elliott. It’s been hard to find campsites and cabins since COVID, so having a little home on wheels that we can take anywhere has made trip planning easier! For Memorial Day we knew we wanted to take a longer trip somewhere, and we knew we’d probably want to book campsites because it’s such a busy weekend for camping. After looking into a few fun destinations, I discovered that there was one beachfront campsite left at the end of the Homer Spit for Memorial Day weekend and I snagged it for a few days! Homer is a 5 hour drive from Anchorage and I’ve only been there twice, so I was excited to take a long weekend to explore the area more. Since the drive was so long, we decided to spend the first and last night of our trip in the Cooper Landing area so that we only had to drive with our toddler for about 2.5 hours each day. Here’s a breakdown of our trip!
Night one: Quartz Creek Campground
We actually started our trip on Thursday night to get some of the driving out of the way. We left Anchorage at 6:00 PM and arrived at our campsite a little after 8:00 PM, which is technically Elliott’s bedtime. However, instead of being stressed and rushing to set up the tent, all we had to do was back the trailer into the site and then hop out of the car! This was fabulous news because our site ended up having views of the lake, and a little trail from the back of the campsite was a ten second walk from Kenai Lake. It was GORGEOUS! We immediately grabbed some snacks, construction vehicles, and camp chairs and set up on the shore of the lake to hang out for an hour. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice this campground was. The sites weren’t super close together and the bathrooms had real toilets and running water! I could have easily stayed there for an entire week but we had to keep driving to Homer!
Day Two: Arriving in Homer
After a lazy morning at Quartz Creek and another walk along Kenai Lake, we headed down to Homer. We stopped at Brew@602 at Whistle Hill in Soldotna for some coffee and yummy waffles for brunch, and then hit up the Fred Meyer for a few last minute supplies. Unfortunately one of the supplies was medicine and extra tissues because I was starting to feel sick! By the time we reached Homer I had gone through an entire small box of tissues and I was not feeling great. So once again, it was awesome to not have to set up camp. Our campsite for the next few nights was the Homer Spit Campground. It’s located at the very end of the Homer Spit, which is close to all of the fun shops, restaurants, and coffee spots as well as the harbor. We could walk anywhere! The not great news is that it’s basically a big parking lot with over a hundred RV spots and the spots were really tiny. But we had a killer view and easy beach access so we didn’t mind!
Day Three: Exploring the Homer Spit
On day 3 I woke up still feeling sick after not sleeping well the night before. I was struggling for sure! But I was able to get it together enough to get up and ready for a breakfast at a nearby restaurant. It was raining so we decided to drive, which ended up being a good thing because we discovered that our car was acting funny. Andrew spent the rest of the morning trying to figure that out at a mechanic while Elliott and I played and read inside the camper. Getting Elliott to take his afternoon nap was a nightmare and Andrew was stressed about the car so the afternoon was a bit rough. But luckily I’d made a reservation for dinner at Finn’s Pizza and that totally changed the day around! Finn’s currently does only a few reservations at a time for their upstairs seating area, which was like sitting inside a greenhouse with gorgeous ocean views. The pizza was so good too! I could have eaten there every night. After pizza we took a walk around the rest of the spit, did some window shopping, and got some delicious gelato. We headed to bed early because we had a big day tomorrow!
Day Four: Hiking to Grewingk Glacier
This was the most exciting part of our camping trip! We had set up a water taxi to take us across Kachemak Bay to Kachemak Bay State Park (a 30 minute boat ride) and drop us off on the beach so that we could hike to Grewingk Glacier. We had originally planned on doing this on Saturday, but we didn’t want to spend 5 hours hiking in the rain with our toddler and the ocean was too choppy. Sunday ended up being the perfect day to do it because it didn’t rain at all! We used Homer Ocean Charters to taxi and we had a great time. They waived the fee for Elliott to ride with us because he’s so young, and we also brought our dog free of charge! The ride was quick and easy and Elliott loved being on the boat.
The hike to Grewingk Glacier is usually a point to point trail. You get dropped off at at the glacier spit, hike to the glacier lake on a flat trail, and then hike out on the hillier Saddle Trail down to a different cove. On our way across the bay the captain told us that it was a bit too choppy to get off the boat at the usual dropoff spot. He suggested getting dropped off and picked up on the Saddle Trail. Even though I’d have to hike up the saddle to get up to the lake, it’s a shorter trail and would give us more time at the glacier. I’m glad we ended up doing it that way! The views were gorgeous and I avoided having to hike a couple miles on rocks (which is no fun with a bouncing toddler on your back). There was lots of bear scat on the trail so we made lots of noise because we were hiking alone. We eventually came up on a large family with kids who had been dropped off at the beach shortly before us, and after that I felt much more confident about not seeing a bear! After a few miles of hiking, we reached the lake and the gorgeous views of Grewingk Glacier!
We spent a few hours here eating lunch and taking in the views. We walked as far along the lake as we could and found a nice secluded spot to sit for a while. Elliott played with some of the tiny bergy bits that were washing up on shore, and my dog went swimming in the freezing water. It was windy and cold by the lake, but we didn’t want to leave! Eventually we decided to head back so that we’d be at the beach early and wouldn’t have to rush to make our boat back to Homer. We ended up getting back there at the perfect time and had a relaxing ride back over to Homer in the sunshine.
After grabbing burgers and fries and more gelato, we left homer and headed to our next campsite halfway back to Anchorage. We stayed at the Russian River Campground that night and I was pleasantly surprised by how nice our campground loop was! Almost every site had great mountain views and it was pretty quiet and chill. I’d definitely come back there again, especially to explore some nearby trails.
Overall, this camping trip was amazing! I loved trying out new campsites and hiking a new trail. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Homer but I think camping right in the center of the action on the spit made it more fun. And now that I know how easy it is to access trails across Kachemak Bay I want to come back down and hike more trails in the park! The best part about the trip was staying in our new little camper. Since making some improvements and adding storage it’s become the perfect place to camp. Elliott did great living in there for a few days and other than the first night and one nap time he slept pretty well. I think breaking up the trip into shorter drives was a good call and I’ll definitely do that again the next time we have a long drive to our final destination.
What did you do for Memorial Day? Would you ever take a boat ride to a hiking trail?