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Alaska’s Summer Weather

The most common question we get regarding travel to Alaska is what will the weather be like?  If only we could tell you for sure, but weather is difficult to predict.  This spring has started out dry, real dry!  But in Alaska that doesn’t necessarily reflect what the weather will be even tomorrow! Alaskan summers are cooler than many visitors are used to but it is still summer – a winter parka is not necessary!  Many travelers revel in the cooler temperatures.  Alaska is a big state so the weather does vary from region to region. Alaska is a great place to visit anytime of the year although most visitors come from mid-May to mid-September.  Mid to late May is a great value time to visit Alaska – the weather is warming up, the trees are blooming and the grass gets greener every day.  June is the driest time to visit Alaska and offers the most hours of daylight – June 21st is the longest day of the year.  July is peak season in Alaska and is the warmest month of the year.  August may be a little rainier but it is generally warmer than June and the bugs have decreased.  September offers cooler temperatures but beautiful fall colors.

Cruise travelers can expect high temperatures that range from the 50s to the middle 60s throughout Southeast Alaska from June through August.  Evening temperatures cool down, particularly in August and September when darkness returns.  The extra hours of daylight in June and July lead to less variation between daytime and nighttime temperatures.

The temperatures in Southcentral Alaska (Anchorage [1], Seward [2] and Homer [3]) are similar to Southeast Alaska as both regions are coastal areas and are kept cooler by the ocean waters.  Highs in Anchorage average 54 F (12 C) in May, 61 F (16 C) in June, 65 F (18 C) in July, 63 F (17 C) in August and 55 F (13 C) in September.   The clearest weather generally occurs in late May and June.    Although rain can come at anytime, July and August are considered the “rainier” months but it really does vary each year.

lnterior Alaska areas such as Denali National Park [4] and Fairbanks [5] are actually warmer during the summer months because you are far from the coastal areas where the chilly waters hold temperatures down. Sunny days can see the temperature rise into the 70s and even the 80s.  Add a good layer of clouds and temperatures can cool down to the upper 50s, so you need to be prepared with layered clothing.

The best thing about packing for Alaska is that Alaskans are very casual and we like to dress comfortably.  Jeans, t-shirts and sweatshirts are common attire even in downtown Anchorage restaurants.  We recommend that clothing is layered so that you are prepared for anything.  Wear a sweatshirt layer over a t-shirt then add a rain/wind jacket for your best coverage.  If you are going out on the water or to a glacier you may want to add a fleece jacket to your layers!

The weather and summer temperatures can vary greatly from summer to summer.  We recommend that you start checking Weather.com [6] for the forecasts for your Alaskan destinations about a week before you travel to see what weather is predicted.  Average temperatures [7] by region are available on the Alaska Weather page on our website and a clothing guide [8] is available on the Travel Alaska site.   If you have other questions regarding Alaska’s weather, we’d be happy to answer it, but you’ll first want to check out our answers [9] to previously asked questions about weather.

Keep in mind that variable weather is part of the Alaskan experience so come prepared and enjoy the experience whether the sun is shining or not!