There are several small towns around Alaska that make visitors of years past smile. Talkeetna sits pretty high atop that list. A good stopping point between Anchorage and Denali National Park, the town is at once a history stop, arty spot, beer fill-up, hearty food destination, and mountain climbing mecca. Talkeetna is the first step for everybody setting out to climb Denali. But it’s also the go-to for visitors who enjoy quirky little towns with huge personalities. Thanks to cruise-ship bus tours, the town does get a bit overrun during the summer months—but it’s still worth swinging in. And if you happen to be in Alaska during the winter and want to attend a very Alaskan event, don’t miss the Bachelor Auction. The entire town gets revved up and pretty darn drunk. It’s damn fun.