Things to Do in Palmer, AK
Explore all the best attractions in Palmer, Wasilla, and Anchorage
There is never a shortage of things to do in Palmer, AK, or the nearby town of Wasilla, AK, both located in the beautiful Mat-Su Valley. Have you ever wanted to meet a reindeer or walk on a glacier? Have you ever thought you could mush an Iditarod dog team? From guided fishing trips and riding with Iditarod dogs to ox and reindeer farms and everything in between, Palmer truly has some of the best activities to take in the full Alaskan experience. Our bed and breakfast is only minutes from all the best Palmer, AK attractions. If you want to venture further, there are many great opportunities for day trips, too!
For a complete guide to all the great things you can do in Palmer, Alaska, be sure to download our free Alaska Vacation Guide.
These are our prioritized recommendations with things to do in Palmer, AK and nearby areas, with “must-see” choices at the top of the list! Do a couple of these if you’re staying a night or two, or fill many days as you work your way down the activities list, while you stay longer with us!
Flightsee Denali from Talkeetna
If you can only “splurge” on one special activity, this is it! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and once-in-a-lifetime for most people.
Walk on a glacier! Visitors can either trek on their own in regular shoes, or to go further with more sure footing, hire guides and get crampons, poles and helmets to explore further back on the glacier, finding ice falls, waterfalls, moulins and other unique formations on the glacier.
Independence Mine State Park/Hatcher Pass
Remote, mountainous gold mine which is open to visitors to hike, read interpretive signs, and imagine life amongst the ghost town buildings. They list “open” days for the gift shop and ranger programs, but you can walk around on a self-tour anytime. Outstanding scenery.
Take a cart-ride pulled by Redington Iditarod dogs and tour the headquarters building with small museum area, video viewing area, and gift shop.
Stroll Palmer’s main street shops, and stop in at the Palmer Visitor Center log cabin to learn of Palmer’s Depression-era beginnings. Also, tour their heritage gardens. To learn more about Palmer’s history, visit the Colony House. If you’re visiting on a Friday, take part in Friday Fling for lunch, live music, and arts/crafts booths.
Musk Ox Farm
Learn about domesticating musk oxen, why the quiviut wool is so prized from these stone age animals, and how Alaska Natives knit with it for economic development in their villages.
Go inside the corral to meet the farm’s reindeer, elk, horses, bison, and moose. Great for kids!
Tsunami Warning Center
Though they only welcome visitors on Fridays, it’s a fascinating tour of how NOAA scientists in sleepy little Palmer, Alaska, keep watch on the entire Pacific Ocean from Russia to Japan to Hawaii, and then up the entire west coast of North America. There are stipulations to follow if you’d like a tour: Each Friday, the NTWC offers three tours at 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm. Please contact NTWC at 1-907-745-4212 if visitor groups will exceed 6 people. NOTE: Government-issued photo ID will be required to enter the facility.
Dream a Dream Dog Farm
Meet an Iditarod musher and his canine team at their home/training facility. Presentations at set times, followed by trail walk with the puppies and the option of a ride pulled by dogs.
ATV tour to Knik Glacier
Drive your own ATV on a guided tour to Knik Glacier and the wilds of the Chugach mountains. Great for those 8-80 years of age, for getting into the rugged outback, seeing wildlife and experiencing life in the wilderness.
Jet boat tour of Knik Glacier
Tom describes his tour as an adventure, and it always is! Whiz up the Knik River to the face of the glacier. Have a hot chocolate and snack at the enormous table rock overlooking the glacier. Great wildlife viewing, geology, and wildflowers
Jet boat tour from Talkeetna
Mahays’ Jet Boat Tours offer a grand experience north of Talkeetna, with educational stops at a trapper’s cabin, native settlement, and whitewater in Devil’s Canyon.
Guided salmon fishing
Go with the best, along the Susitna drainage rivers. Andy and his team share their experience and local expertise, providing an enjoyable day on the river.
Because we offer better lodging rates without the hubbub of a big city, it makes sense for a lot of our visitors to stay with us and take a day trip or two into Anchorage for the museums and shopping. We recommend the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. You can visit just one, or get a combo ticket for both for $29.95.
Talkeetna makes a great day-trip from Alaska Garden Gate B&B, with an easy 1 ¼ hour drive to get there. This fun, walkable town has oodles of Alaska charm and eccentric characters. Many good restaurants for lunch or dinner. Check out the National Parks headquarters where climbers get their permits, the Fairview Inn bar, The Roadhouse for awesome cinnamon rolls and meals, and shops featuring art and artisans that celebrate The Great One (Denali).
Denali National Park
It’s a 3 ½ hour drive from our B&B to the mouth of the national park, but for many visitors staying with us, it’s easier to make it a long day, getting up early and returning late, rather than packing up to move to new lodging and paying higher Denali lodging rates. Most visitors choose a Tour bus or Shuttle bus to the park to see the wildlife.
For even more great things to do in the area, download our free Alaska Vacation Guide!