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When Should You Travel in Alaska? It Depends

Resurrection Bay Cruise [1]

There’s something to be amazed by in Alaska at any time of the year, be it whales migrating in May or the northern lights glowing in December. But for most visitors, the best time to visit Alaska is from mid-May to mid-September, with the peak travel season from about June 15 to August 15. These months offer the most tour options, a good probability of clear weather, and the best wildlife viewing opportunities. Below is a breakdown of what is great (and not so great) about each month.

May

Come mid-May the weather is warming and the mountainsides grow greener by the day. The trees in Anchorage usually leaf out around May 10, but the further north you go the more likely to encounter ice and snow even through Memorial Day. Summer is slow to come in Interior Alaska.

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June

Many locals argue that June is the best month to see Alaska. With the long days and warmer air the land bursts with life. Moose cows birth their calves, huge flocks of migrating birds return, and the state’s major salmon runs [3] begin.

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July

[4]If Alaska can get crowded, July is when it happens. Trains, buses, boats, and hotels are full and advanced reservations are imperative. If you are planning to visit Alaska in July, we recommend booking your vacation no later than February for best availability.

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August

Starting in mid-August the crowds lessen as the flurry of summer travel winds down. Wildlife, on the other hand, become more active as they spend their days feeding in preparation for winter.

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September

By mid-September our brief summer tourism season is over. Temperatures are cooler and nighttime once again sees true darkness. Beautiful fall colors come to the trees and tundra.

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Winter Months

Winter is long in Alaska. All but the hardiest opt to visit in late February and March when there’s more daylight and the temperatures are less extreme. Anchorage offers a plethora of cross-country ski trails and the world class ski resort, Alyeska, is just 35 miles south. Two popular winter events also occur during this time. Fur Rendezvous, a winter festival in Anchorage, begins in late February. The Iditarod sled dog race starts the first week of March.

One More Thing…

Summer in Alaska is cooler and wetter than much of the lower 48, but Alaska weather is also highly unpredictable. Rarely is the forecast accurate. So, whatever the weather brings for your vacation, embrace it! The variability is part of the Alaskan experience. Come prepared [6] and enjoy yourself whether the sun is shining or not. We hope to see you soon!

 

At Alaska Tour & Travel, we specialize in building custom trips for every timeline, personality, and budget. If you’d like to have an Alaskan plan your Alaska vacation, give us a call at 800-208-0200.