2020 Vanquest "lil' Red"
2020 Vanquest "lil' Red"
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The first thing visitors arriving in their Palmer rental RV see is the magnificent vista of mountain ranges to the north, east and south of Palmer. These mountains are part of the Chugach Range and surround the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, which envelopes both Palmer and nearby Wasilla. Palmer sits alongside the Matanuska River to its east, and is accessed via Alaska Highway 1.
Palmer is a relatively young town, having been incorporated in 1951, although the area had been frequented by Russian traders as early as 1741. It has a racial mix of African-American, European, Asian, Hispanic and aboriginal cultures. It is also home to Corey Cogdell, who won bronze medals for trap shooting in the 2008 and 2016 Olympics.
Forty-three miles to the south, Anchorage is the nearest large city to Palmer. Palmer is also ground zero for the Alaska State Fair, whose grounds are located about two miles to the south. The Alaska State Fair runs annually in late August, but the Alaska State Fairgrounds are open all year round and home to many local events.
A favorite hiking destination is Hatcher Pass, 22 miles north of Palmer in the Talkeetna Mountains. Hatcher Pass is also a popular tourist destination in the summer, where the National Outdoor Leadership School offers courses in wilderness education. Later in the year, the pass is a great venue for skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Renting a motorhome in Palmer means you can park your accommodation at Hatcher Pass while enjoying both the wild outdoors and the creature comforts of home.
Chugach State Park is a massive expanse of Alaska wilderness, spanning 495,000 acres of land. This park features rugged terrain, waterfalls, dramatic ocean views, and lots of trails to traverse. Explore the Iditarod National Historic Trail, or relax along the shores of Eklutna Lake. The Chugach region is home to all of the usual Alaskan wildlife, like moose, mountain goats, wolves, and plenty of bears.
The Alaska State Fair has rides for the children and adults, as well as exhibitions of art, which include pottery, woodworking, sewing and needlework, photography and more. Palmer is well known for its agriculture and has on display baking and canned goods, poultry, rabbits and livestock, and beekeeping and honey. Some of the prepared foods can be purchased as well as viewed at their individual stands; past visitors have especially recommended the donut burger. The fair hosts contests for local vendors, such as the Great Pumpkin and Giant Cabbage Weigh Offs, and holds some national and world records for largest produce in different categories. In 2008, it awarded first place and a $2,000 prize for a cabbage that weighed 79.1 lbs.
When you book an RV in Palmer, stop by the Visitor Information Center, which has maps of local historical places and stocks guidebooks that provide more in-depth information. The center is also home to the Palmer Museum of History and Art, and hires a full-time gardener in the summer to manage the city's public gardens. Palmer isn't a big city but it does have two acres of these gardens, which host 600 varieties of locally raised plants. A few blocks from the center, visitors will want to see the Church of a Thousand Trees, which was built in 1936-37 and is one of 17 structures that are a part of the National Register's Matanuska Colony Historic District.
Parking your Palmer RV rental at the Alaska State Fairgrounds will make moving about the city child's play. Almost everything you need will be within walking distance. The Paradise Alaska RV Park is another potential spot to park the camper rental near Palmer, while the Mountain View RV Park is a short trip across the Matanuska River. To the south, the Fox Run Lodge and RV Campground is another destination for your Palmer luxury RV rental, and just west of the intersection of Highway 1 and 3, Big Bear Campground and RV Park is a nice place to consider, too.
Palmer is home to the Mat-Su Miners, a collegiate level baseball team that has won two National Baseball Congress championships (in 1987 and 1997), as well as the Valley Steelers, a semi-pro football team. Games are played at Hermon Brothers Field on the State Fairgrounds (the Miners) and at Palmer High School (the Steelers). Palmer also hosts the Alaska Raceway Park, where viewers can watch car racing and other auto events.
The city and its surrounding area is host to numerous farms; a trip here would not be complete without taking time out to see reindeer and musk ox farms, where the creatures can be viewed in their natural habitat. There are numerous nature and wildlife tours that can be taken, and visitors can also take in fishing charters and helicopter tours. Canoe and kayak tours can also be arranged with local guides.
Those with a hankering for photography won't want to miss Independence Mine State Historical Park, Bodenburg Butte, Lazy Mountain or Pioneer Falls. The Government Peak Recreation Area offers mountain biking trails as well as hiking.
When it becomes time to re-energize after (or during) the day's activities, Palmer does not disappoint on the culinary front, either. Visitors here can choose from cheap eateries to more moderately priced venues, and Palmer even offers its own local alehouse where diners can choose from salads to nachos and more, and wash it down with a cold one. Wine aficionados can treat themselves to the local wine bar.
Palmer is a strong advocate for eating friendly, eating locally, and obtains much of its supplies from the local farms (which also supply the local food stores). Angus steaks can be had here, as well as soups and pies, all prepared on site, and there are options for Asian cuisine and deli delights. Eat out or dine in in your Palmer motorhome rental, the choices are plentiful.