Fish Lake is one of the larger lakes in the Talkeetna area (among so many that are unnamed). Fishing and flightseeing are typical for this kind of locale, but travelers to Denali and townies looking for peace and solitude can find picnic areas around the lake (accessible by plane or the Talkeetna Spur Road).
The X-Y Lakes are a little harder to find than Fish Lake. Taking a little offshoot from the Talkeetna Spur Road, you'll have to keep a sharp eye for the actual lake, which sits behind a screen of spruce trees on your right. There are limited landings, and mosquitoes are a horrific problem in the summer, but the lake is a peaceful and beautiful setting. The water is calm and surrounded by spruce. Fishermen and rowing enthusiasts will find X-Y Lakes a wonderful option in the area.
The Susitna is one of the major waterways in Alaska. Unlike the wild and scenic rivers throughout the state or the channeled braids of the interior, the Susitna is enormous and very wide bank to bank. Rafting is possible on the river, and camping is a local custom on its banks, but by and large the Susitna is easier to contemplate than negotiate (as a waterway).
You have to....look for this perfect gem of a divebar.. it isn't far.. but it isn't asking for your business either.. Tee Pee Bar.. it's down on B street... expect to meet some amazing people..tip hard and don't ask for fancy drinks..
I didn't take this picture. It is public domain, and was taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They have a cool website with Alaskan pictures.
I only went this far upriver from Talkeetna once. I was fairly young. We went up fishing. You can see that there are narrow gravel beaches at the base of the cliff. The water is traveling incredibly fast, and is very deep through this canyon. It was so difficult to push the boat off that my mother nearly feel in... which made that one of the most memorible days of my life. Very scary. No such thing as digital photography back then.
Make sure that you go down to the end of Main Street and wander around on the sand bars. It's really pretty and on a nice evening you'll see a beautiful sunset changing the face of Denali. People also like to have picnics out there. The sand bar isn't a small place, you can wander all over the place.
The town of Nenana is north of Talkeetna along the highway to Denali National Park and Fairbanks. There is an interest display of the famous tripod in this town which is used for betting the time for the ice to break at the Nenana River when winter is over.
You can do some simple trekking near Talkeetna to experience the mighty river basins and views of snow capped mountains, not forgetting the wildlife.