When is the best time to visit Alaska?

Weather in Alaska in June, July and August

The best time to visit Alaska is the summer season. It runs from May 10 to September 15, with 16–24 hours of daylight, in-season leaves and flowers, rushing rivers, and the best wildlife viewing. With temperatures in the cool-but-comfortable range (15-19°C or 60-67°F), the warmer weather and long days make this a particularly pleasant time of year.

You may come across the following dates while researching your trip:

The peak season is from June to August but this is it the best time to visit Alaska also. By mid-June, the temperature has reached its maximum. All summer activities, including The Denali Park Road, are available (opens second week in June).
May through September is also cruise season. Cruises on small ships begin as early as mid-April.

Shoulder Season is May (early season) and September (late season), with discounts ranging from 10 to 25 percent on hotels, tours, and cruises.
From May to September, there is a large window. So, when do we invite our friends to come? From June 15 to July 15, It’s the height of summer: hot, dry, and brimming with energy.

The peak season is from June to August. By mid-June, the temperature has reached its maximum. All summer activities, including The Denali Park Road, are available (opens second week in June).
credit photo: http://www.alaska.org

Other Important Facts to Consider When Traveling to Alaska in the Summer

Temperatures range from 60°F to 80°F (15-25°C) during the day. Lows in the 40’s and 50’s at night are wonderfully cool. Expect temperatures to be 5° to 10° lower between May and September. With a 25% chance of rain on any given day, May is our driest month. As the summer passes, the chances of rain increase, reaching a 50% likelihood in September.

Daylight: The longest day of the year is June 21st, with 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage, 18 in Southeast, and 22 in Fairbanks. From late May to late July, it’s light outside virtually all night—and for another month on each side of that, it’s light past 10 p.m. Long days allow you to squeeze in a lot of activities and take advantage of the Midnight Sun.

Animals Viewing: The greatest period to watch wildlife in general is from May through September. Fly-in bear viewing begins in mid-June, but the finest months are July and August. Moose can be seen all year. Gray whales arrive in March/April, humpback whales from May to September, and orcas all year.

The fishing is excellent throughout the summer.

Hiking: Trails in Anchorage are clear of snow at lower elevations by May, and in the mountains by early June. Until mid-October, the weather is favorable. Wait till the end of June if you’re closer to the Arctic.

Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes don’t emerge until early June and then die off by early August.

summer in alaska
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Summer and the Northern Lights: The Aurora isn’t visible for the majority of the summer because the nights aren’t dark enough. Visit between August 15 and September 15 if you wish to combine summer activities with seeing the northern lights.

Autumn foliage is at its peak from mid-August until mid-September. It’s particularly noticeable in the tundra above the tree line.

Best time to see the northern lights

The northern lights can be seen from August 20 to April 20. The months of February and March are ideal for a winter aurora trip.
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The northern lights can be seen from August 20 to April 20. The months of February and March are ideal for a winter aurora trip. The nights are still dark, but the days are becoming longer, and the snow conditions are ideal for dog sledding, snowmobiling, skiing, and other winter sports. Near Fairbanks is the greatest place to see it.

What’s It Like in Alaska During the Rest of the Year?

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September in Alaska is the shoulder season, with some hotel and excursion savings, fewer crowds, no bugs, fall colors, and northern lights viewing around mid-September. The days are getting shorter, and it’s getting rainier and cooler. However, this is not always the case. We have gorgeous Indian Summers on occasion. “September is a gamble,” the locals say.

October in Alaska: The first half of the year brings a final taste of summer, with moderately high temperatures (in the 50s) and longer days. The days become colder and shorter, with the possibility of snow in the highlands. If you’re planning a trip to Alaska for summer activities, avoid visiting in October. It might be for you if you’re seeking for a unique Alaska experience without the crowds.

November in Alaska: November can be a difficult month. It’s a period of growing darkness (in Anchorage 8.5 hrs to 6). It’s cold (in the 20s and 30s), but until the end of the month, there’s usually not enough snow for winter activities. November is a fantastic time to visit if you want to see the northern lights and don’t mind limited winter excursions.

December in Alaska: The days are becoming shorter. Sunrise occurs in the mid-morning (about 9 a.m. in Anchorage, later as you travel north), and sunset occurs in the mid-afternoon (about 3:30 p.m. in Anchorage). However, there is generally plenty of snow for winter sports, and the cities are decked out for the holidays with glittering lights. Aurora viewing is best on cold, gloomy evenings.

Alaska in January and February: The days begin to grow longer in January, with 8 hours of light in early January increasing to more than 12 hours by the end of February. Winter is a fantastic time to visit. Winter “cabin fever reliever” festivals can be found in many towns. There’s plenty of snow for winter activities, as well as enough darkness to see the aurora borealis.

alaska summer
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March is our suggestion for the best month to visit Alaska during the winter. The days get longer (12-15 hours), the weather warms up (into the 20s and 30s), and there is plenty of snow. The Iditarod sled dog race gets underway on March 1st.

April is perhaps the most difficult month to visit Alaska. Although the majority of the snow has melted, most summer activities are still too early. There are, however, a few highlights. Crust skiing is available at higher elevations for those seeking adventure. Spring Gray whale migrations are visible on day excursions departing from Seward. Until the 20th, you can see the Northern Lights.

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