MacDonald Spit, My Favorite Coastal Alaska Destination
MacDonald Spit, My Favorite Coastal Alaska Destination was originally published in February 2021
Last summer, my mother-in-law wanted to do a girls’ weekend away from the bustle of the Anchorage area that we all live near to. Naturally, her choice was to book us into a cabin at Between Beaches across Kachemak Bay from Homer on MacDonald Spit— owned and run by a childhood friend of hers.
To be completely honest, as a born and raised Alaskan I’d never even heard of MacDonald Spit, and surprisingly had never visited any destinations on the south side of Kachemak Bay, so undoubtedly I was in. This narrow strip of gravel jutting out into beautiful Kasitsna Bay, mohawked by evergreens, and permeated with the sound of eagle’s piping whistles and waves crashing ashore, easily has become one of my all-time favorite places along Alaska’s coast.
Starting to plan your Alaskan adventure? Check out my Alaska Travel Guide for ideas
How to get to MacDonald Spit
Despite its remoteness, getting to MacDonald Spit isn’t all too difficult. Most will catch a water taxi from across the bay in Homer, while others will jump on an air taxi to nearby Seldovia.
- By water taxi: This is the route I’ve taken on both visits this late summer and again in winter. Contact Mako’s Water Taxi to schedule a trip.
- By air: You can book flights between Anchorage and Seldovia with Alaska Air Taxi. A seat costs $180 one way, and $360 round trip.
Planning to spend some time in Homer? Learn the best things to do in Homer
Things to do in & around MacDonald Spit
Tidepooling is a favorite pastime in these coastal areas. At low tide, head out and see what sea life is out in the tide pools. You have the chance to see anemones, starfish, sea urchins, and maybe even octopuses.
Getting out on the water in both Kasitsna Bay and Kachemak Bay can be a great experience, paddling below soaring eagles and seabirds and right next to sea otters, seals, and maybe even some whales.
Kasitsna Bay is fairly protected so waters are very calm on the southeast side of MacDonald Spit. Kachemak Bay is a bit more turbulent but offers more chances to paddle among sea otters.
Exploring the Kenai Peninsula on your Alaska vacation? Check out my one week Kenai Peninsula Road Trip to start planning
MacDonald Spit is home to epic clam digging. Head out on a hunt for steamer clams, butter clams, Maccoma Clams, cockles, brown mussels, and blue mussels.
Kachemak Bay is world-renowned as one of the best halibut fisheries on earth. You can set up charters from Seldovia to take you out for a day on the bay. You can also catch rockfish, salmon, and more out here.
It would be impossible to visit MacDonald Spit and not see any wildlife. With an abundant number of eagles, and heaps of otters, whales, seals, and seabirds, MacDonald Spit is a perfect place for wildlife viewing.
From taking a breezy morning stroll to the end of MacDonald Spit to more strenuous trips such as Red Mountain, the MacDonald Spit area offers plenty of hiking and walking possibilities. Other hikes and walks to check out include the Otter Bahn over in Seldovia, Broken Knife, and Tutka Bay Lagoon.
Looking for other hikes in AK? Check out the 16 best day hikes in Southcentral Alaska for ideas
Visit Nearby Seldovia
Just seven miles down the road from MacDonald Spit, Seldovia is a gorgeous little seaside town worthy of a visit. Walk the historic Seldovia Boardwalk, go beachcombing and wildlife viewing at Outside Beach, check out the Seldovia Harbor, grab a drink at the Linwood Bar, among several other things on a visit to Seldovia.
Visiting other parts of coastal Alaska? Check out my Quick Guide to Seward
Staying at Between Beaches
On both of my visits to MacDonald Spit, I’ve stayed at Between Beaches, which is a perfect remote getaway with all the creature comforts you could ask for after a day playing around in Kachemak Bay. Each of the five luxury cabins and the beach house has a story and character behind it, and you’ll be welcomed by lifelong Alaskan and owner- Kristi McLean.
The original cabins were Pioneer, Fisherman, and Cannery Cabins. Pioneer is a cedar cabin that was built in 1959 here on MacDonald Spit, that faces out onto Kasitsna Bay. The Fisherman and Cannery Cabins were both built using reclaimed doors, windows, and wood from a 1914 cannery located in Kenai.
Two new additions have arrived on MacDonald Spit at Between Beaches- the Beachcomber Cabin and the Tidepool Cabin. Beachcomber Cabin offers views through evergreen tree branches into Kasitsna Bay, and the Tidepool Cabin faces out onto Kachemak Bay with epic views of Redoubt and Illiamna Volcanoes.
In the fall of 2020, Kristi acquired a new property on MacDonald Spit, adjacent to the cabin properties. After some minor remodeling, the new Beach House was ready to welcome guests. Sleeping 8, the Beach House is perfect for larger groups and is quite unique giving guests both views of Kasitsna Bay and Kachemak Bay.
There is complimentary use of the wood-fired hot tub and sauna that is centrally located on the Between Beaches property.
Kristi is a well-known ceramics artist in Alaska and has a gallery right here at Between Beaches, where you can purchase some of her works.
Check out another of my favorite coastal spots: Kayakers Cove, right outside of Seward
When To Visit MacDonald Spit
MacDonald Spit truly is a year-round destination. Of course, summer and fall are the best regarding temperatures, but in all honesty, I think the winter is the most beautiful, now that I’ve just returned from a winter visit to MacDonald Spit.
What to Pack
- Rubber boots
- Hiking boots (if you plan to hike)
- Rain jacket and rain pants (this a wet part of Alaska)
- Warm clothing that can be layered (it’s quite chilly out here, even in summer). If visiting in winter, make sure to pack a heavy winter jacket, snow pants, hat, and gloves too.
- Headlamp if you plan to visit in darker spring, winter, and fall months.
- Food and beverages.
Other Important Info
- Bad weather happens. Your water taxi will schedule a time for your departure and your pick up but know that there is a possibility of delays.
- Air taxis can be delayed and canceled to and from Seldovia due to weather.
- If you need to pick up any items, there is a small store in Seldovia.
- There is mobile reception on MacDonald Spit. You should have 3G or LTE.
Where to stay in Homer
- Budget: Camping (tent & RV) is your best bet in the summer for those traveling on a tighter budget. Visit the City of Homer for campground details.
- Midrange: Beluga Lake Lodge is sat right on the shores of Beluga Lake in Homer and is a great option. Shop for rooms on Booking.com and Hotels.com.
- Splurge: Lands End Resort is a perfect option, located right at the end of the Homer Spit. We stayed in January 2021 and it definitely is my go-to option now in Homer. Check rates on Booking.com and Hotels.com, (PS: they are offering great winter deals right now!).
Have Any Questions About Visiting MacDonald Spit?
Ask in the comments section below.