Among the most common queries we receive are “What is the best time to visit Alaska?”. The answer sounds to be complex and depends on many contributes. Alaska is huge and the weather is much different in the north v/s south or interior v/s coast. . Alaska is the largest and least compact populated state in the US. Glacier-capped mountains bisected by deep valleys and vast meadows. The travel season is short and can vary so between spring, summer, and fall. Combine all this with Alaska’s fabled unpredictable weather. It can be a challenge to figure out the best time to visit Alaska.
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What Is The Best Time To Visit Alaska?
Alaska is open for travel year-round. Travellers visit Alaska in quest of adventure, astonishing scenery, and solitude. The winter months bring some of the best skiing and riding in North America. Moreover, it allows you to see the northern lights and try dog-sledding. While summer is the peak season. The summers often promise warm and clear days. The best time to go leans on what your priorities are. When is the best time to visit Alaska? According to my point of view, you can’t go wrong visiting Alaska anytime between May 10 and September 15. The days are long, nature is in full swing, and the air is alive with energy. But, the primary tourist season for the absolute best time to visit Alaska, begins in June and ends in August.
“Our most liked time of year is July, which is the best time of year to visit. The days are long with plenty of daylight and can be warm and clear. The Alaskan wildlife has emerged from winter hibernation. And national parks are open and accessible, with walking trails offering eye-catching views. Communities across the state celebrate the summer. And there are many cultural events and local festivals to enjoy.” “Jon Canada Specialist “
The guide below will help you to find out the best month to visit Alaska. It will highlight Alaska weather by month and answer questions such as “When is summer in Alaska?” and “What month is the best time to go Alaska?” or “What is the best time to visit to Alaska?”
Coastal, Interior, and Arctic regions:
The coastal region contains Southeast Alaska and the Inside Passage. And the South central Alaska containing Prince William Sound, Anchorage, Kodiak Island. It also contains coastal Katmai National Park and the Aleutian Islands. Interior Alaska is the zone north of Anchorage up to the Brooks Range. It is in north of Fairbanks and includes Denali National Park. Arctic Alaska contains the Brooks Range north to the Arctic Ocean.
When to Find the Best Weather in Alaska?
Winter in Alaska can be icy cold, which means most visitors head north in the summer. Temperatures are extreme June through August, with highs often in the 60s. Overall, as the summer forges ahead the chance of rainfall increases. In August — the rainiest month of the year — the state meets an average of almost three inches. April and May are very much drier, and only a bit cooler.
April & Spring in Alaska:
By April, spring arrives in earnest to Alaska. This also indicates the start of the unofficial season of spring, – “Breakup”. It means when all the snow and ice starts to melt and turns into a downright mess. The good thing is that off-setting the sludgy puddles and mud. April is quite clear and it usually doesn’t rain or snow much this month.
Small ship jaunts begin plying Alaskan waters as early as mid-March. While, most early spring departures running as usual starting in mid-April. Nights are still long enough to catch the northern lights. While days are getting longer and animals are starting to stir.
Alaska Weather in April & Spring:
Coastal temperature in Alaska: 30-45 degrees & 11 hours of daylight.
Interior temperature in Alaska: 15-40 degrees & 14 hours of daylight.
Arctic temperature in Alaska: -10-5 degrees & 16 hours of daylight.
Benefits of Alaska Travel in April & Spring:
- Travellers in April and spring will find lower prices & Alaska travel deals.
- April & spring have Alaska to themselves with non-existent crowds.
- Increased offerings for themed cruises & on-board special guests.
- Longer northbound positioning jaunts from Seattle to Alaska.
- Dark nights may show northern lights.
Emerging Alaska Wildlife in April & Early Spring:
Water: Steller sea lions, orca, humpback whales.
Birds: Thrushes, ducks, loons, swans, geese, owls, bald eagles, chickadees, wrens, jays, grouse.
Land: Mountain goats, brown & black bears.
May in Alaska
May considers as Alaska’s spring and early shoulder season. Many small ship jaunts begin operating, but with kids in school, you can still feel like Alaska is all yours. By May, our days are already long, stretching to more than 17 hours of daylight in the middle of the month. Some areas, especially shady sites and higher elevations, may still have snow. The temperature is quite cool. But with the sunlight, plants and wildlife start to blossom and recover from the long winter. May is one of the driest months. It is the perfect one to view wildlife, spring migrations, snow melting and the landscape. Land tours are beginning but National Parks in Alaska’s interior are still sealed. Mid-month, the shops and attractions also return to life after a winter nap.
Alaska Weather in May:
Coastal temperature in Alaska: 40-55 degrees & 16 hours of daylight.
Interior temperature in Alaska: 30-55 degrees & 18 hours of daylight.
Arctic temperature in Alaska: 15-24 degrees & 22 hours of daylight.
Benefits of Alaska Travel in May:
- On average, May has the least amount of rain.
- Travellers in May will find lower prices and Alaska travel deals.
- May has rarer tourist crowds than the prime summer months.
- May provides longer northbound positioning jaunts from Seattle to Alaska.
Emerging Alaska Wildlife in May:
Water: Grey whales, harbour seals.
Birds: Migratory songbirds & pelagic seabirds reaching on coast.
Land: Dall sheep, moose, wolves, lynx.
June in Alaska:
June is when the Alaska travel season blows in full swing. Especially in the latter part of the month, and signals the beginning of the best time to visit Alaska. Glacier Bay National Park jaunts and tours are in full swing. Russia’s Siberian coastline—you might even find a polar bear on Wrangel Island. June is the month to start taking land tours in Alaska. The height of summer is on June 21, giving us about 20 beautiful hours of daylight. The weather in June is also amazing for active outdoor adventures. For instance: hiking, kayaking, and glacier walks. It averages a comfortable 60 degrees. The Denali National Park road unseals, bear viewing in Katmai is ideal runs underway. And the Kenai Fjords National Park is lush with greenery. The weather is more constant for flightseeing, floatplane rides, pretty Alaska railroad trips. And other special ways of transit for reaching remote wilderness lodges.
Alaska Weather in June:
Coastal temperature in Alaska: 40-60 degrees & 18 hours of daylight.
Interior temperature in Alaska: 50-70 degrees & 20 hours of daylight.
Arctic temperature in Alaska: 29-38 degrees & almost 24 hours of daylight.
Benefits of Alaska Travel in June:
- Longest daylight hours make active wildlife & enough time for exploration.
- Denali National Park & other interior parks unseal.
- Famous towns such as Juneau, Sitka, Anchorage & Fairbanks are in full swing.
- Possibilities for jaunt & land tour combinations start.
- Wildlife is active with possibilities to view young animals.
- Melted snow enables higher altitude hikes.
Emerging Alaska Wildlife in June:
Water: Harbour seal pups, ducks hatching, beluga whales.
Birds: Optimal seabird & alpine bird rookery viewing.
Land: Black bear cubs, moose calves, caribou, mountain goat kids.
Visiting Alaska in July:
For many people, the answer to this query “What is the best time to visit to Alaska?” is July. July is the perfect month for travelling, although it is also the busiest. Warm days and short nights make this a nice time of year to visit and much of the state’s iconic wildlife is very active. With wildlife flat active, all trails accessible. Long days and Alaska’s warmest medial temperatures, July can be the perfect month to visit Alaska. This translates into a busy time for The Great Land, with a swell of Land tours. Averaging 5-8 days, set you up to enjoy some of Alaska’s best national parks during this ideal month visitors.
Alaska Weather in July:
Coastal temperature in Alaska: 50-65 degrees & 18 hours of daylight.
Denali temperature in Alaska: 50-70 degrees & 19 hours of daylight.
Arctic temperature in Alaska: 33-45 degrees & almost 24 hours of daylight.
Benefits of Alaska Travel in July:
- Opportunities for cruise & land tour combinations continue.
- Long daylight hours make active wildlife & enough time for exploration.
- Alaska’s warmest temperatures of the year arise in July.
- Spawning salmon means ideal fishing.
Must-See Alaska Wildlife in July:
Water: Fine month for humpback whales, salmon runs, sea otters.
Birds: Puffins, shorebirds start moving (millions of birds possible in a flock).
Land: Black & brown bears (containing grizzlies); mountain goats.
August in Alaska:
Beginning in July and extending through to the end of August, the summer is the best time of year to travel. August is a like-able time to go Alaska and signals the end of the high travel season. Midway through August, colder temperatures boost brilliant fall foliage. Especially fall foliage boost in the interior and Denali National Park. Wildlife remains enough and all jaunts and land tours are operating on a regular basis. As the month winds down, so do the number of travellers to Alaska. It means with a shift in weather-signals fall has arrived. Although rain comes and goes throughout the summer, August swings to be the wettest. In exchange for late-summer drizzles, Alaska’s mosquitoes disappear and berries begin to ripen. Night-time returns, which makes August a better bet if your goal is to see the northern lights. Aurora inspecting trips in Fairbanks start directing at the last of the month.
Alaska Weather in August:
Coastal temperature in Alaska: 50-60 degrees & 18 hours of daylight.
Denali temperature in Alaska: 45-65 degrees & 18 hours of daylight.
Arctic temperature in Alaska: 33-41 degrees & 20 hours of daylight.
Benefits of Alaska Travel in August:
- Cruise & land tour combinations.
- Long daylight hours make active wildlife & enough time for exploration.
- Ideal fishing terms (halibut, rainbow trout, northern pike, salmon).
Must-See Alaska Wildlife in August:
Water: Beavers, humpback whales & orca.
Birds: Peak songbird migration, bald eagles, loons.
Land: Caribou, black & brown bears (including grizzlies).
September in Alaska:
September brings Alaska’s fall shoulder season, with limited visitors. Longer nights again bring possible possibilities to view the aurora borealis. The cooler weather turns trees and tundra into explosive fall colours of red, gold and purple. Snow begins to dust mountain peaks. Animals are busy preparing for the oncoming winter. Autumn is very short in Alaska with the fast diminishing daylight hours. It means that temperatures soon begin to fall. Much of the wildlife returns to slumber and smaller properties begin to close. Many expedition stop operating and September marks the end of the travel season. It is the best time to travel to Alaska for low prices and Alaska travel deals.
Alaska Weather in September:
Coastal temperature in Alaska: 40-55 degrees & 15 hours of daylight.
Denali temperature in Alaska: 35-55 degrees & 17 hours of daylight.
Arctic temperature in Alaska: 28-33 degrees & 14 hours of daylight.
Benefits of Alaska Travel in September:
- Travellers in September will find lower prices & Alaska travel deals
- September has limited tourist crowds than the prime summer months
- September offers longer southbound positioning jaunts from Alaska to Seattle
Alaska Must-See Wildlife in September:
Water: Grey whales, harbour seals, sea lions.
Birds: Gulls & raptors start moving, bald eagles, black oystercatchers.
Land: Elk, moose, caribou, deer.
Winter in Alaska-October Through March:
If someone ponders “What is the best time to go Alaska? in winters then answer is “It is not the best time to visit” because winters in Alaska can be harsh. Weather is very cold and storms are severe. Alaskan wildlife and residents are preparing for the cold dark winter to come. Winter activities such as dog sledding, snow shoeing and skiing are predictable. A common captivation during Alaska’s winter is viewing the northern lights. Lodges offer comfortable apartments for hearty travellers to witness this spectacle of nature.
Alaskan Hearty Food & Drink
Alaskan food, like the food of most northern climates, is great for weather with a little chill. All across the state the craft beer scene blooming. Some of the breweries include Alaskan Brewing Company, 49th State Brewing etc.
There’s also a good dining scene, which on the whole focused on American and local foods. You can find great burgers with ease on the same menu as fresh salmon. Furthermore, you’ll see other fun Alaskan local ingredients cropping up on the menu. Like reindeer sausage, halibut chowder, and local blueberries on a salad.
When to Visit Alaska for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)?
The Northern Lights are most operative between September and April. And it also occurs in March with the highest activity. While the lights are uncertain, it’s best to stay up late to increase your odds of seeing them. Peak times are between 11:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. during winter. During September and March, peak time starts and ends within an hour.
June 21 is the lengthiest day of the year. Expect 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage, 18 hours in Southeast Alaska, and a whopping 22 hours in Fairbanks. No matter where you are in Alaska, the summer days are lengthier than in the Lower 48. In fact, it’s bright enough to be out and about all night long from late May to late July. And it’s light past 10 p.m. for another month on either side of that.
On average, Alaska’s summers are quite rainier than rest of the U.S. But May is dry, with only a 25% chance of rain on any given day. The weather often gets rainier as summer progresses: By August, the chance of rain is only over 50%.
Aligning your tour with a festival is a great way to encounter local culture. One alternative is the Alaska State Fair in late August/early September. You’ll find out rides, food, and excessive vegetables grown under the midnight sun.
Boat trips (June):
The start of warmer weather provides opportunities for coastal boat trips. And also for cruises that are ideal for spotting some of the region’s incredible marine life. See whales, otters, seals, walrus and dolphins.
Fourth of July:
The population of Seward swells from around 2,500 to almost 40,000 for the July Fourth celebrations. The Main Street blocks off to traffic. And the streets fill with colourful parade, entertainers and very bright decorated floats.
Alaskan State Fair (August):
Taking place in Palmer, this is the largest milestone of the state. This state has a fairground, carnival and concert to mark the last few days of summer.
The celebrations slow down during the colder months, they indeed don’t stop. One of the most beloved festivals of the year is the Fur Rendezvous (also called Fur Rondy). It turns Anchorage into a big snowy party every February.
Best Time to Visit Alaska For Hiking:
If you plan to hike in the high country or Arctic regions, know that the tundra doesn’t melt for sure until late June. In May, near Anchorage, trails at lower elevations are hike-able, and in the mountains by early June.
The Best Time to Go Alaska for Snow Sports:
Most people link Alaska with cold, and well, it often is. In the mountains, it is not unrealistic for the temperatures to drop well below zero at night. Yet, the average daytime high in January — the coldest month of the year — is in the low twenties. For some, these cold temperatures aim one thing: dry snow, and a lot of it. The heart of winter in Alaska happens between December and March. The skiing and ice-carving competitions are at its prime. Winter carnivals occur throughout the state. And people take part in dog sled races with keen.
Timing & Latitude in Alaska:
Life in Alaska affects by latitude variances to a great extent. As slight latitude switches can result in big seasonal and light variations. The nature of small ship jaunting is to be flexible and nimble. And this ethos should apply to any trip in Alaska, by land or sea. After-all, the surprise in what you encounter while in Alaska is a big part of the fun.
Alaska Mosquito Season:
Mosquitoes, sometimes in fun referred to as the Alaskan state bird. These are a fact of life during the summer Alaska’s travel season. But they are more irritating than deterrent so don’t let bugs affect your travel plans. Mosquitoes in Alaska may not be as big a problem as you might ponder. But if you’re looking to dodge them, come the last week in July or first week in August. Evenings will be chillier, but the night frost will have killed off many of the bugs by then.
At the end, there are lot of adventurous and amazing things to do in Alaska year-round. Moreover, I think everyone have its own taste and it’s upto you that which is the best time to visit Alaska for you.
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