Best Bets

According to a press release from WalletHub that popped up in the Betster’s email, the top-10 beach towns include Lahaina and Kihei, Hawaii, a whole mess of Florida beaches, and Westport, Connecticutt — but not one Alaska town. Holy sociology, Betsteroids!

Including islands, inlets and bays, Alaska has 47,300 miles of coastline, more than all the other states combined. You’d think that with beaches from Sitka (great surfing!) to Utqiagvik (24-hour summer sunshine!), those smarty pants experts would have found one Alaska beach town worthy of note.

You know, like ours.

Nope. Yet again, we’ve been snubbed. The experts looked at factors like housing affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. Sure, our climate can be a bit challenging, but that’s the point. The Betster has been to Sarasota, Florida (no. 3) and Westport (no. 9). On a sunny day in Sarasota, you’d be lucky to find a spot to spread your beach towel. Try finding a parking space at the Westport beach — you need a town sticker to get in. And safety? One word: sharks.

Yours truly would fire off a flaming letter, but here’s the thing. We’ve already been discovered as a quaint little arts town. Tourists from all over visit here, like the nice Israelis we met looking at sandhill cranes the other day. See? There’s another cool thing about Homer. Can you see bald eagles perched on top of houses in Santa Monica? If Homer had been in the top 10, people would come here expecting all the amenities like lifeguards, snack shacks and paved paid parking. That way lies madness.

We know we have awesome beaches. Whether the atmosphere of Coney Island Lite on the Spit or the rugged wilderness of Diamond Creek or Glacier Spit, you can find shoreline to soothe the soul. Who needs seashells when you can find fossils? Who needs high-rise condos when you can pitch a tent yards from the surf?

We have it all right here in Homer. And in the quality-of-life category, oh my — you know it doesn’t get any better than this. Homer has nice dogs, weird people and great restaurants, and best of all, there’s always something amazing to do, like these Best Bets:

BEST MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU: Get out the Uncle Sam hats, decorate your bikes and bring your candy bags, kids. That’s right: It’s the small-town classic, a Fourth of July Parade down Main Street. Except, here in Homer, the parade runs on Pioneer Avenue at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Cheer on the floats, wave at the politicians and enjoy all the fun. It’s the perfect end of a great day that includes …

BEST GOLDEN DAYS BET: What? Fifty years? Has the American Legion and Auxiliary Carnival really been going on the long? Heck yeah! Head on out to Mile 2.5 East End Road for the booths and barbecue. The carnival runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4, of course. Check that out and you’ll still have time for …

BEST BY THE BAY BET: See? This is what we’re talking about — a harbor with a beach. Out on the Spit you have the Homer Harbor and all the cool boats, with boardwalks and shops all around it. Need to walk off that gelato? You can take a stroll on the beach. Celebrate the Spit with the first Harbor Fest, held noon to 10 p.m. July 4 at the Homer Shores Boardwalk. It features vendors, food trucks and live music. On the way between East End Road and the Spit, don’t forget …

BEST BIG BUCKS BET: You could pay for a nice used camper van if you win the Homer Elks 38th Annual Lodge Scholarship Fundraiser, starting at noon at the lodge in Old Town. The barbecue starts at 1 p.m. with the prize drawing at 2 p.m. July 4. Cash prizes total $15,000, with a $10,000 grand prize.

BEST BIG BACKYARD BET: If you’re visiting Homer, don’t miss the big event on Saturday for the Big Backyard BBQ concert. Doors open at 5 p.m. at Don Jose’s on Pioneer Avenue. Country stars Jerrod Niemann and Trick Pony perform, with Alaska’s own Ken Peltier. Tickets are $38 at brownpapertickets.com. See story, page 12.

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