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The nonprofit Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (tel. 907/235-6667; www.akcoastalstudies.org) is dedicated to educating the public about the shore, with harbor walks and day guided tours across Kachemak Bay. The Creatures of the Dock walking tour takes an hour to check out the life living underneath; it costs $5 per person and runs June through August daily at 1pm and 4pm from the center's yurt on the spit. But I strongly recommend their all-day trip. Visitors ride a boat across Kachemak Bay to join daily explorations from a field station in the Peterson Bay and China Poot Bay area, across the water from Homer. At low tide, guides lead guests on a fascinating tide-pool walk. The field station also has access to lovely woodlands where nature walks cover forest ecology and geology and visit an archaeological site. Saltwater tanks at the station contain creatures from the intertidal zone and microscopes to inspect your finds. You can add on guided sea kayaking or a reasonably priced overnight stay in a yurt so you're there ready for an early morning low tide. Reserve by calling the center at the number above. The all-day tour is $120 adults, $80 ages 11 and under, and operates daily Memorial Day to Labor Day. Pack your own lunch, and bring both footwear suitable for hiking and potentially wet beach walks and warm clothing for the boat ride.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.