Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge

This is the first installment of several posts about the Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge. It is such an extraordinary destination that there is a lot to share–look for upcoming posts about tidepooling, kayaking, and more.

Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge, 2007
Our first visit in 2007, just us and William (1)
Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge, 2012
This time around, 2012, with big kids William (6) and Sara (4)

Just a short boat ride from Homer, tucked along the shore of China Poot Bay, the Katchemak Bay Wilderness Lodge caters to guests from around the world and (thankfully for us) guests of all ages. It was an incredible experience when we visited five years ago and our stay was even better this time around. We felt welcomed back like old friends.

The welcoming family atmosphere comes naturally since the establishment was created and is still operated by the resilient and remarkable McBride family. Michael and Diane McBride built this place 40-some years ago, raised their family there, and are now easing into retirement while their “kids,” Shannon and Morgan, take over. Considering they both grew up here, you’ll quickly realize that you’re in capable hands. The entire staff is equally friendly and accomplished.

Sara with Michael McBride
Sara with Michael McBride
William and Michael McBride
William and Michael McBride


China Poot Peak
China Poot Peak behind Kachemak Bay

Two, three or five-night packages are available (beginning on a Thursday if staying 2 nights or Monday for a 3 or 5 night stay) and the price might keep a family from even considering Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge. However, when you hear about everything that is included, you may think again or at least start budgeting for this experience of a lifetime.

You’ll be picked up from the Homer dock around 11am on your first day and take a scenic boat ride to the lodge. Lunch awaits where you’ll meet the staff and other guests and have a chance to hear your activity choices for the rest of the day. Not a moment is wasted. Depending on weather, tides, and your preferences, you may kayak, fish, hike, tidepool, beach-comb, pick mussels or dig clams, take a boat ride to an artist community or go boating in search of wildlife, take a sauna or hot tub, relax in the hammock, pet the well behaved resident dog, sit or strum a guitar in the solarium and enjoy the scenery or simply wander the grounds to take in the beauty of this place.

Hammock at Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge
A quiet moment with William in the hammock, 2007
Hammock Time
A little more playful hammock experience this time around

In addition to the plentiful options available to us, we loved that the staff was willing to go with the flow depending on our kids’ energy levels. Plus, we often had a guide to ourselves so we never had to worry if our family pace was interfering with other guests’ experiences.

We stayed in the Boathouse, the only cabin with two bedrooms, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. One bedroom has bunkbeds and a double bed, just right for reading books before the kids hopped into the bunks that they’re still raving about. The other room has a king-sized bed and there is also a spacious living room, cozy wood stove, and (essential in this climate) hooks to hang your clothes on plus everything you need to make a warm cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa when desired. With are only six rooms available (5 cabins and one room in the main lodge) there are only 12 to 14 guests at a time, adding to the intimate feel.

Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge Boathouse Cabin
The kids on the front porch of our cabin

We were a little nervous about meal time considering that it is served family style (but plated individually) at a long table but it turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of our time there. Watching our children politely interact with other guests and use their manners was delightful (and a huge relief–phew!) and it was great for them to meet people from other countries (International travelers frequent this world-renowned property). Two couples from Australia were in the middle of a trip around the world and others were from the East coast, opening the door to many great discussions about geography, travel times, and differences in cultures. William even tried some vegemite that was kindly offered by one of the Aussies. He didn’t love it but I was proud of him for giving it a try.

Chef Todd’s cuisine is truly a foodie’s delight with hearty breakfasts, thoughtfully packed lunches, elegant appetizers and wine, and gourmet dinners focusing on Alaska’s bountiful seafood. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated and more kid-friendly options are also available if your children aren’t interested in whatever else is being served. We were happy to see our kids eagerly consume every meal, with only one grilled cheese thrown into the mix. William was so excited about the food that he suggested I get some recipes from Todd.

Seafood Paella
Seafood Paella
Girl and Dog
Sara fell in love with sweet Chenik
William driving the boat with Morgan
William fell in love with boating; here he is steering with his kind teacher, Morgan McBride
Boat Driver Sara
Sara loved boating too, especially when Michael let her steer and control the gas (gulp!)
Sara with Chennic the dog
At the end of the day, Chenic was still #1

I’ll post more about our time at Kachemak Bay Wilderness lodge in the coming days along with information on enjoying this area even if you aren’t staying at the lodge. Please stay tuned.