5 Days Itinerary for Palmer, Alaska [Coffee, Hiking, Dining, Glacier Views, & Lodging]

When planning our wedding and honeymoon in Alaska, Teddy and I planned to spend 5 days in the Palmer area. The main reason for this is that it was close to where we’d depart from for our wedding on a glacier, but also because of it’s central location to so many things to do.

During our time in Palmer, we spent 3 nights at this Airbnb cabin with mountain views which we adored in Palmer and then spent two nights down the road at a cabin with the Alaska Glacier Lodge. When I booked both stays, I didn’t realize they were within minutes of each other. We just knew that for our wedding day, it was suggested to book the night before and night after at the Alaska Glacier Lodge, and then since we wanted to be in the area and not too far out of Anchorage, we found an Airbnb in the area for the other nights. Both had quite a few moose in the area, and we saw a momma and her babies right outside our second cabin.

During our time in Palmer, we were able to do a good bit of exploring. Based on what we did and what we wish we would have had time for, I put together a 5 day itinerary for your time in the area.

Day 1:

  • Breakfast at Perk Up Espresso – There’s coffee huts all over so pick whatever is close. We loved trying all the different ones in the area.
  • Scenic drive to Matanuska Glacier – Enjoy the various scenic pull outs and lakes along the way.
  • Hike the Matanuska River Loop Trail for free or book a tour to get you out on the glacier. Since we were going onto a glacier in a few days we didn’t book a tour but would be interested in the future.
  • Dinner at Palmer Alehouse -We had a lovely waitress here and really enjoyed our food.

Day 2:

  • Drive to Anchorage and board the Alaska Railroad – We took it to the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop and did a short hike before returning the same way. You could also get off and do the rafting in the area or do an excursion in Whittier. This is a full day commitment so bring snacks and buy lunch on the train. Enjoy the views along the way though, especially with so much daylight if you go in the summer.
  • Dinner in Anchorage at Moose’s Tooth for pizza – You can’t go wrong with any of the pizza options here. They were so stinking good.

Day 3

  • Visit Independence Mine – There was still a lot of snow when we were there so we didn’t get dto do as much exploring we wanted.
  • Hike Short Gold Mint Trail – This connects to a larger trail which would have been awesome to do had we more time. It was pretty though and great before lunch at the lodge.
  • Lunch at Hatcher Pass Lodge – The chicken noodle soup and berry cobbler were must trys.
  • Drive part of Hatcher Pass – Ideally not in the rain or wind like we atttempted.
  • Dinner at Palmer Brewery – We didn’t get here but had it on our list of options to go out to eat.

Day 4

  • Breakfast at Palmer Coffee Co – The waffles here are delish
  • Hike at Eagle River Nature Center – We did the shorter trail here in the rain but it was still beautiful
  • Hike or Kayak at Eklutna Lake – We really wanted to do this because the lake looks beautiful but we didn’t have enough time the day we were in the area.
  • Dinner at the Noisy Goose Cafe – We didn’t get to this one but it came highly recommended

Day 5

  • Breakfast at Purple Moose Espresso – Get the chai and reindeer sausage burrito
  • Visit the Musk Ox or Reindeer Farm – Great for families with kids
  • Lunch at the Butte Burger Place – We didn’t get here but our Airbnb hosts said it’s a favorite of theirs
  • Alaska Helicopter Tour – This is the most incredible experience I’ve ever had and you can book different excursion add ons. Don’t skip this!
  • Dinner at Raven’s Roost – Check out the cowboy steak or the caribou medallions.

Other Things To Do

  • Alaska Stair Fair (in August!)
  • Check out a brewery
  • Explore other hiking trails in the area like Thunderbird Falls, Reed Lakes, Bodenburg Butte
  • Go fishing on the Knik River

If you’ve visited the area or have other suggestions of things to do, please share!

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