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Homer, Alaska, US

Homer is literally the end of the road, sitting on Kachemak Bay in the Kenai Peninsula, at the end of the Sterling Highway, with ocean and wilderness all around. The town never participated in the Gold Rush, instead settling for coal, which was mined here from the 1890s through World War II. The Homer Spit, a miles-long gravel bar extending into the bay, is lined with shops, art galleries, restaurants and bars serving locals, seasonal fishermen and tourists. The town claims to be the Halibut Fishing Capital of the World, and of course salmon are also a popular species in season. The Pratt Museum shows local art and artifacts, and the Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitors Center has natural history displays. Excursions here focus on the wilderness and wildlife surrounding the town.