Summer is winding down in Southcentral Alaska, but there are still plenty of activities and fun things to do. Don't let summer slip away without getting out and enjoying what the Mat-Su Valley has to offer. Here are seven things we'll be doing in late summer.
1. The Alaska State Fair. The fair starts next Thursday (Aug. 24) in Palmer, and runs for 12 days. You simply don't want to miss this signature event - from the fair food to the giant vegetables, there's something for everyone.
2. Hike the butte. The iconic Butte, located on the Old Glenn Highway outside of Palmer, is a great way to spend the afternoon. With stairs and benches on the way up, you don't have to be a super experienced hiker to conquer the Butte. The views from the top are outstanding!
3. Catch a fish. Right now, the silver salmon are running in the local streams, and trout fishing is just starting to pick up. It's also a great time to fish local lakes for landlocked salmon, trout, char and more.
4. Take a Talkeetna day. Head up the Parks Highway to Talkeetna for an afternoon. With amazing activities like jet boating, rafting, flightseeing and zip lining, you'll quench your thirst for adventure. Or, just spend a day downtown visiting the shops and eating at the cool cafes and restaurants.
5. Pick some berries. Hatcher Pass is a great place to pick fresh blueberries, and now is the time to head up and search them out. Even if you aren't looking for berries, a day spent in Hatcher Pass is always a good one!
6. Take a drive. The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway has breathtaking views that make the drive part of the charm. Stop in at a local roadhouse for lunch, and then head out onto Matanuska Glacier, or take a rafting trip down the Matanuska River.
7. Hit the water. Take the canoe or kayak out on one of the many lakes and start exploring. You can rent canoes and kayaks on Wasilla Lake, at Kepler Park near Palmer, in the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area and at Byers Lake in Denali State Park.
Alaskans don't like to see the summer slip away, so get out and enjoy the last few weeks of summer - it won't be long before we start our fall and winter adventures.