Tutka Bay is a nine-mile fjord at the southern edge of Kachemak Bay State Park, near Homer, Alaska. If you are planning to kayak Tutka Bay then you’ll want to keep reading!
As a fjord carved by glaciers and transformed by some of the largest tidal fluctuations in the world (up to 25 feet), Tutka Bay offers unspoiled coastlines to be enjoyed while sea kayaking.
A self-guided paddle along Tutka Bay’s coastline will provide incredible viewing opportunities of dramatic mountains, unique rock formations, old-growth forests, and amazing wildlife.
Even though the shorelines of Tutka Bay are quite protected from the harsh and dynamic weather you’d experience in Kachemak Bay, intermediate kayaking experience is still recommended for a self-guided paddle here.
In this post, I’m going to share everything you need to know to plan a self-guided kayaking trip in Tutka Bay within Kachemak Bay State Park.
- Quick Tips
- How to Get to Tutka Bay
- Book Your Homer Water Taxi
- Homer Kayak Rental
- Kachemak Bay State Park Map
- What to Bring
Kayaking Tutka Bay in Alaska
- Start early!
- Use a sea kayak
- Launch your boat from Kayak Beach
- Best for intermediate paddlers
- Check the weather and wind forecasts
- Wear a life jacket
- Bring a dry bag
- Book your water taxi in advance
How to Get to Tutka Bay
Tutka Bay is located in Kachemak Bay State Park, near Homer. One of the best places for a pick-up and drop-off for a day trip is Kayak Beach.
In order to reach Kayak Beach, you will have to take a water taxi from the Homer Spit.
Traditional Land: Dena’ina, Alutiiq (Sugpiaq), Dënéndeh (Visit Native-Land.ca to identify whose land you live, work, and play on.)
Book Your Homer Water Taxi
Here are just a couple of water taxi companies in Homer that provide service to Tutka Bay. If you need to access inner Tutka Bay, it may cost an additional fee.
- Coldwater Alaska – (907) 299-2346, $85 roundtrip plus tax
- Mako’s Water Taxi – (907) 235-9055, $100 roundtrip plus tax
Homer Kayak Rental
Here are just a few options for kayak rentals in Homer. These companies can also provide you with current information about kayaking in Kachemak Bay.
- True North Kayak Adventures – (907) 235-0708, $40 for single kayak per day plus tax
- Kachemak Bay Adventures – (907) 235-5680, $40 for single kayak per day plus tax
- Mako’s Water Taxi – (907) 235-9055, $50 for single kayak per day plus tax
Kachemak Bay State Park Map
Kachemak Bay State Park is Alaska’s first state park and is only accessible via boat or plane. This wilderness park contains 400,000 acres of mountains, glaciers, forests, and ocean.
Get the Kachemak Bay State Park Map here.
What to Bring
- Dry bag
- Waterproof rubber boots
- Rain gear
- Warm clothes
- Satellite phone
Planning an overnight kayak trip? Check out my full kayaking gear list.
It’s helpful to have some sort of navigation on any adventure, for safety reasons. I use a few different outdoor apps like Gaia and Earthmate. If you don’t have any apps, download Google Maps offline.
Water Taxi to Kayak Beach: Drop Off
When you book your water taxi, you will be scheduled for a drop-off and pick-up time. You can choose any time available. I recommend an early start as the sea is always much calmer in the morning.
If you’re looking for a half-day adventure, plan to kayak for 3 hours. If you want to paddle for a full day then plan to kayak for 7 hours. You can also plan a multi-night kayak trip around Tutka Bay and other fjords within Kachemak Bay State Park.
After meeting your boat captain, you will take a 15-minute water taxi from the Homer Boat Harbor to Kayak Beach.
Make sure to wear warm layers during the boat ride. Even on the warmest summer day it still feels bitterly cold on the water.
During your quick ride, keep an eye out for marine life and seabirds in Kachemak Bay! You may see sea otters, seals, porpoises, sea lions, and whales.
Once you land at Kayak Beach, you will get off the water taxi and unload your kayak and gear.
Make sure to wear warm and protective layers while kayaking to avoid getting cold or sunburned. Wearing sunscreen and sunglasses will help protect you from the sunlight that reflects off the water.
Kayak Tutka Bay
Pack up your sea kayak and start paddling into Tutka Bay. You can follow the dramatic coastline as you head further south into Tutka Bay.
As you kayak through one of the world’s richest ecosystems, take in the stunning landscape and keep your eyes open for any wildlife.
Soon after we started paddling, we noticed something popping out of the water and realized it was a sea lion! We managed to get closer to it before it disappeared for good.
After paddling for a couple of miles, you’ll reach a small island. If you plan it right, a low tide will reveal a hidden natural arch in the island.
The tide was low enough that we were able to paddle underneath the arch and it was so much fun! Besides the wildlife we saw, this was my favorite part of our kayaking trip.
If you continue to paddle south, you will find a few more islands to paddle around.
Kayak Beach Pick-Up
Since we booked our water taxi last minute, we were limited by availability. We were only able to kayak a few miles into Tutka Bay before we needed to turn around and paddle back to the beach.
Once we reached Kayak Beach, we unpacked our kayaks and made a late lunch. The weather was amazing so we decided to lay in the sun while waiting for our water taxi to show up.
Once you get picked up, it’s another 15-minute boat ride back to the Homer Boat Harbor.
Other Things to Do in Tutka Bay
Hiking in Tutka Bay
Once you’re in Tutka Bay, it’s really easy to plan a combo hike and kayak trip. There are plenty of hiking trails that start in Tutka Bay, including Grace Ridge, Tutka Lake, Tutka Falls, Backdoor Trail, Centennial Ridge, and a connecting trail to Jakolof Trail.
Camping in Tutka Bay
If you want to plan an overnight kayaking trip in Tutka Bay, you have a couple of options for camping. You can find campsites at Kayak Beach, South Grace Ridge Trailhead, Upper Tutka, Tutka Lake, and Tutka-Jakolof.
A number of sites have been developed that may include fireplaces, picnic tables, tent platforms, information, outhouses, and food caches.
If you prefer a glamping expereince, you can choose to book a night in one of the nearby yurts or cabins, including Tutka 1 Yurt, Tutka 2 Yurt, and Sea Star Cove Public Use Cabin.
Or, you can be bougie and stay at one of the lodges in Tutka Bay or in one of the surrounding fjords within Kachemak Bay.
Multi-day Kayaking Trips in Kachemak Bay
Kachemak Bay is full of places to explore via kayak, including Mallard Bay, Sadie Cove, Eldred Passage, and Halibut Cove.
If you need help with trip planning, check out the suggested itineraries from Kachemak Bay Water Trail.
Additional information about Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park can be found online from the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.
Hike Grace Ridge Trail in Kachemak Bay
Overnight Kayak Trip Packing List: Everything I Packed
Kachemak Bay Right Beach Yurt Review
Pin For Later
Do you have any questions about how to Kayak Tutka Bay near Homer Alaska? Let me know in the comments.