Settled by pioneer farm families from the U.S. Midwest in the mid-1930s under a New Deal relief program, Palmer is best seen as a day trip from Anchorage (it's 42 mi/68 km to the northeast).

The town is set in the Matanuska Valley, famous for its huge vegetables, especially cabbages and zucchini. In summer, you can see this megaproduce at the Matanuska Agricultural Experiment Station. North of town, there's a different type of farm: the Musk Ox Farm. Tours explain how the shaggy beasts are combed to yield qiviut wool, which is woven into hats, scarves and other products. This wool is eight times warmer than sheep's wool—and is priced accordingly.

The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry is also in town, and the popular Alaska State Fair takes place in late August. Also nearby, don't miss the interactive Reindeer Farm, where the fun starts when you enter the penned enclosure to meet Rudolph and his gang.

The magnificent Matanuska Glacier is 60 mi/97 km east of Palmer.

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