Best Time To Visit Alaska | Seasons & Complete 12 Months Guide
Best time to visit Alaska: What is the ideal time to visit Alaska? is among the most often queries we get and is indeed a crucial factor to take into account when making travel plans to Alaska. alternatively, “When is the ideal time to cruise Alaska?”
The solution is nuanced and relies on several variables. The weather in Alaska’s vast interior and on its coast differs greatly from that in its north.
The travel season in Alaska is brief and varies significantly between spring, summer, and autumn.
Finding the ideal time to visit Alaska may be difficult given all of this plus the state’s typically erratic weather.
To help you decide when might be the ideal time to visit Alaska, we’ve included some expert advice and a month-by-month guide with information on the weather, animals, daylight hours, and the advantages of each month.
When And Why To Travel To Alaska By Month?
Although Alaska is accessible year-round, the peak travel period lasts from June through August.
April and the beginning of spring are included in the Alaska travel season calendar below since that is when the year’s travel season begins.
You may use the information in the table below to decide when to go to Alaska. It will provide a weather forecast for each month in Alaska and provide answers to queries like “When is summer in Alaska?” and “What month is the ideal time to visit Alaska?”
Based on your individual travel plans and interests, we try to provide you with the knowledge you need to respond to these inquiries.
With this information, we hope you can get the most out of your summer trip to Alaska. Visit our Alaska climate page for further details and comprehensive climatic tables.
The Coastal, Interior, and Arctic areas are described in the monthly guide below:
- The Region’s Coastline
covers the Aleutian Islands, coastal Katmai National Park, Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, Glacier Bay, and Southcentral Alaska’s Prince William Sound, Anchorage, and Kodiak Island.
- Inside Of Alaska
contains Denali National Park and is located north of Anchorage up to the Brooks Range just north of Fairbanks.
- Northern Alaska
up to the Arctic Ocean in the north, including the Brooks Range.
Recommended: Best Time To Visit Hawaii | Cheap, Good & Worst Times Info
Weather & Wildlife In Alaska Month By Month
Here are in-depth analyses of Alaska’s weather and fauna for each month. Make use of this information to choose the ideal season to visit Alaska.
Alaska In April
The majority of early spring cruises start operating regularly in mid-April, however, small Alaska cruise ships start sailing the state’s seas as early as mid-March.
The majority of the early spring cruise itineraries cover the weeklong Alaska Inside Passage.
You may also think about taking a longer trip during this period, sailing on tiny ships from Seattle, Washington, up to Alaska.
Even though the days are becoming longer and the animals are starting to wake, the nights are still long enough to maybe see the northern lights.
The yearly migration of Pacific herring in the early spring offers the best chances to witness wildlife since humpback whales and orcas are drawn to the plentiful fish. Bears who are starving emerge from their slumber and search for food.
Mountain goats and other animals are drawn to the coastline by snow-capped peaks to browse. Additionally, there are several waterfalls that cascade down fjord cliffs.
April Weather In Alaska
- Alaska’s coast has 30-45 degree temperatures and 11 hours of daylight in April.
- Alaska’s interior temperature in April is 15 to 40 degrees, and there are 14 hours of daylight.
- Alaska’s April Arctic temperature is -10°F and there are 16 hours of sunshine.
Benefits Of Traveling To Alaska In April
- Travelers might get cheaper rates and Alaska travel bargains in April and the early spring.
- Alaska is deserted in April during the first few weeks of spring, with no people.
- More options for themed cruises and unique visitors on board
- longer positioning voyages heading north from Seattle to Alaska
- Northern lights may be seen at night.
Emerging wildlife In Alaska In April
Water: humpback whales, herring, orcas, Steller sea lions, and
Birds: owls, bald eagles, chickadees, wrens, jays, grouse, thrushes, ducks, loons, swans, and geese.
Land: brown and black bears, mountain goats
May In Alaska
Alaska’s spring and early shoulder season begin in May. Despite the fact that many small ship cruises start up, Alaska may still seem like yours alone when the kids are in school.
The Inside Passage continues to be a major attraction as additional cruise departures get underway.
There are also chances for longer sailings from Seattle to Alaska that travel via British Columbia en route.
May is one of the driest months of the year, making it the best time to see wildlife waking as it gives birth to many young, spring migrations pick up speed, snow melts, and the landscape begins to bloom.
Although land excursions have started, the interior national parks of Alaska remain closed. Midway through the month, after a winter hibernation, the stores and attractions also come to life.
Alaska’s May weather
- In May, there are 16 hours of daylight and a 40-55 degree coastal temperature in Alaska.
- There are 18 hours of daylight and a 30-55 degree interior temperature in May in Alaska.
- Alaska’s May arctic temperatures range from 15 to 24 degrees, with 22 hours of sunshine.
Benefits Of Traveling To Alaska In May
- May typically has the least quantity of rain.
- Travelers might get Alaska travel bargains at reduced pricing in May.
- Compared to the busiest summer months, May sees fewer tourists.
- Longer northward positioning cruises are available from Seattle to Alaska in May.
Emerging wildlife in Alaska in May:
- Grey: whales, harbor seals, and water
- Birds: Pelagic seabirds and migratory songbirds arriving at the coast
- Land: wolves, lynx, moose, and dall sheep
In June, Alaska
The greatest time to go to Alaska is in June, particularly in the latter half of the month, when the travel season is in full force. Cruises to Glacier Bay are currently underway.
Beginning in the Southcentral and Southwest regions of the state, cruises provide excursions to the Aleutian Islands, Katmai National Park, Kodiak Island, and Prince William Sound.
A polar bear may be seen on Wrangel Island. Some departures even concentrate on the Bering Sea’s arctic seas, bringing passengers ashore at different locations along Russia’s Siberian coastline.
In Alaska, June is the best month to start doing road excursions. Learn more about visiting Denali National Park.
The weather is more consistent for flightseeing, floatplane rides, scenic Alaska railroad trips, and other unique modes of transportation for reaching remote wilderness lodges.
The Denali National Park road opens (find out more about visiting Denali National Park).
June weather In Alaska
- Alaska’s coast experiences 40 to 60 degrees of heat in June, with 18 hours of sunshine.
- Alaska’s interior temperature in June ranges from 50 to 70 degrees, with 20 hours of sunshine.
- Alaska’s June Arctic temperature ranges from 29 to 38 degrees, with over 24 hours of sunshine.
Benefits Of June Travel To Alaska
- During the longest daylight hours, there is plenty of opportunity for exploration and active animals.
- Open are additional inner parks and Denali National Park
- Well-known towns including Juneau, Sitka, Anchorage, & Fairbanks are in full swing.
- Opportunities for combining a cruise with a land trip start here
- With the possibility to see juvenile animals, wildlife is busy.
- Snowmelt makes higher altitude treks possible.
Emerging wildlife in Alaska in June
Beluga whales, ducklings, harbor seal pups
Best views of alpine and seabird rookeries
Moose calves, baby mountain goats, black bear cubs, and caribou
Recommended: Best Time To Visit Iceland | Seasons, Whale Watching & Discount Guide
In Alaska, July
Many people believe that July is the best month to visit Alaska. In July, when wildlife is most active, all trails are open, the days are long, and temperatures are often at their highest, Alaska may be the best place to go.
As a consequence, The Great Land has a busy time with an increase in travelers.
You may explore locations like Kake and Wrangell Narrows that are inaccessible to bigger cruise ships when you take a small ship trip during this popular month, and the weather won’t keep you from visiting significant Alaskan cities like Sitka.
During this fantastic month, you may properly experience a number of Alaska’s greatest national parks by going on a land tour that lasts, on average, 5-8 days.
If you want to go to Alaska in July, make plans in advance and book your accommodations as soon as you can.
Alaska’s July weather
- Alaska’s coast has 50–65 degree temperatures and 18 hours of daylight in July.
- Alaska’s interior has a July temperature range of 50 to 70 degrees and 19 hours of daylight.
- Arctic conditions in July in Alaska range from 33 to 45 degrees, with over 24 hours of daylight.
Benefits Of July Travel To Alaska
- Combining a cruise with a land visit is still possible.
- Long days encourage animal activity and provide plenty of opportunities for exploration.
- In July, Alaska has its hottest temperatures of the year.
- Ideal fishing results from salmon spawning.
Must-See Wildlife In Alaska In July
Water: The best month to see sea otters, salmon runs, and humpback whales
Puffins: Shorebirds start their migration (millions of birds possible in a flock)
Land: mountain goats, black and brown bears (including grizzlies), and
Alaska is a popular destination in August, which also marks the conclusion of the peak tourism period.
A landscape that is already lush is made more vibrant by increased wetness. In particular in the interior and Denali National Park, cooler temperatures in the middle of August foster magnificent autumn foliage.
All Alaska small ship cruises and excursions continue to run on a regular basis, and there is still an abundance of wildlife.
The number of visitors to Alaska declines as the month draws to a close, and the weather changes to indicate the beginning of autumn.
Alaska’s August weather
- 50 to 60 degrees with 18 hours of sunshine are the coastal temperatures in Alaska in August.
- Alaska’s interior has a temperature range of 45 to 65 degrees with 18 hours of daylight in August.
- Arctic conditions in August in Alaska range from 33 to 41 degrees, with 20 hours of daylight.
Benefits Of August Travel To Alaska
- Combined cruise and land tours
- With so much sunshine, there is plenty of time for exploration and active animals.
- ideal circumstances for fishing (halibut, rainbow trout, northern pike, salmon)
- Wildlife in Alaska You Must See in August
- Water: Beavers, Humpback Whales, and Orcas
- the height of the songbird migration, bald eagles, and loons.
- Land: brown and black bears, caribou (including grizzlies)
In Alaska, September
Fall shoulder season in Alaska begins in September when there are fewer tourists and often good deals available.
The possibility of seeing the aurora borealis increases with the lengthening of the nights. The autumnal hues of crimson, gold and purple explode on trees and tundra as a result of the colder temperatures.
The high tops start to be dusted with snow. Your chances of seeing a variety of wildlife are increased since animals are busy migrating, mating, establishing territories, hunting, and searching for food in preparation for the upcoming winter.
The greatest time to visit Alaska for cheap rates and great travel offers is in September, which also happens to be the conclusion of the vacation season there.
September weather In Alaska
- 40 to 55 degrees with 15 hours of sunshine are the coastal temperatures in Alaska in September.
- In September, Alaska’s interior has a temperature between 35 and 55 degrees and 17 hours of daylight.
- September in Alaska has an arctic temperature of 28 to 33 degrees and 14 hours of sunshine.
Benefits Of Visiting Alaska In September
- Lower costs and Alaska travel offers will be available to tourists in September.
- Compared to the busiest months of the summer, September sees fewer tourists.
- Longer southern positioning cruises from Alaska to Seattle are available in September.
Wildlife In Alaska You Must See In September
- Water: Sea lions, harbor seals, and grey whales
- Birds: Bald eagles, black oystercatchers, gulls, and raptors start their migration.
- Land: Moose, caribou, deer, elk
Alaska In October And November
Cruises and ground trips are uncommon in late October in Alaska. Both the temperature and the weather are becoming colder.
Wildlife in Alaska and Alaskans themselves are getting ready for the next, icy winter. Hearty tourists may be drawn to fishing and specialty trips, and specialized tours may be planned.
December Though March Is Winter In Alaska
Both severe and lovely winters may occur in Alaska. Storms are powerful and the weather is very chilly.
It is possible to engage in winter sports including skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding. Viewing the northern lights is a well-liked activity in Alaska during the winter (aurora borealis).
For adventurous guests prepared to risk the chilly evenings to see this natural display, specialty lodges provide cozy lodgings.
Wish to sail to Alaska during the winter? You may engage in sports like downhill and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, and more with Alaska’s Winter Sports & Northern Lights.
Also available at times when other boats are not present are cruises via Glacier Bay National Park and the Alaska Inside Passage.
PerfectT Moment ToCruise Laksan
The Alaskan cruise season runs from March through October. The summer months are when the wildlife is most active and the weather is at its finest.
The greatest time for tourists to visit is when the days are long, the weather is pleasant, and there is an abundance of wildlife, including more whales that cluster in predictable feeding pods and put on a spectacular display.
But another popular season to travel Alaska is in the spring when the state wakes following a lengthy winter. Mountains covered in snow tempt hungry bears to the ocean in search of food.
These encounters in the spring are advantageous for small ships since they may navigate close to the coast.
There are fewer people in town and on the sea in April and May since those are the driest months along Alaska’s coast.
During this season, you may also discover the best deals of the year on Alaskan small-boat cruises.
The optimum time to cruise Alaska is from May 15 to September 1, according to us, Alaska small ship cruise specialists. If we had to choose just one, July is the ideal month to take an Alaskan cruise.
From mid-October to February, there are often no scheduled cruises; however, with early notice, unique Alaska charter trips may be organized during this period.
Typically, families go from mid-June through mid-August. View the top family-friendly Alaskan cruises.
See our monthly travel and weather guidelines for Alaska above to choose the ideal time to go on an Alaskan cruise.
Alaska’s Best Time For Land Travel
Because the interior of Alaska is colder than the coast, the season for land travel may be shorter than the season for the cruise.
If you’re considering combining an Alaska small ship cruise with an Alaska land trip, keep this in mind.
Mid-June to late August makes up the brief summer season in inland Alaska. In the winter, there are far fewer visitors to Alaska, and the best months to watch the aurora borealis are from December through March.
Alaska offers special chances and discounted pricing throughout the spring and autumn seasons.
June, July, and August are, in our view, the ideal months to visit Alaska. The ideal time to visit Alaska is in July since it offers the finest wildlife and weather conditions.
See our overview of the Alaskan weather by month above to learn more about the temperatures, daylight hours, and animals, and to choose the ideal time for your trip.
Season For Whales In Alaska
Throughout the small ship cruise season, which runs from May to September, passengers on Alaskan small ships may encounter whales.
Since orcas and minke whales are year-round inhabitants, you can see them anytime. However, the majority of tourists prefer to view humpback whales, so if you fall into this group, you must make vacation plans as such.
When can you visit Alaska to watch humpback whales? Around the end of April or the beginning of May, the first humpbacks start to arrive in Alaska.
Adult men that can complete the long journey the quickest are usually those. Younger males and females come next, and then moms with calves that arrive in late May or early June.
May small ship tours will probably see whales, although they will likely be alone or in tiny groups of two or three, dispersed about searching and waiting for food.
The greatest time to watch whales in Alaska is when? Mid-June to mid-August is the greatest period to whale watching in Alaska.
Most humpback whales arrive by mid-June and begin to congregate in regular feeding groups.
In Alaska, now is the greatest time to go whale watching, and until mid-August, when the first whales start to migrate to warmer seas, sightings will be steady.
Sightings are almost certain at this period in Alaska when humpback whales are most active.
Why is mid-June through mid-August the greatest months to watch whales on an Alaskan cruise? The basis of Alaska’s abundant marine food chain is formed by phytoplankton, which blooms in response to the sunlight from long Alaskan summer days.
Strong currents combine oxygen-rich surface water with deep-water nutrients, resulting in massive blooms of zooplankton (tiny organisms), krill, and small fish like capelin, candlefish, and herring.
Read our overview of whale viewing in Alaska for additional information on how to observe whales on your small ship trip, including advice on where to look for whales, what to pack, and the benefits small ships provide.
Big Season In Alaska
The summer travel season is plagued by mosquitoes, which are often humorously referred to as the state bird of Alaska.
However, they are more of a nuisance than a deterrent, so avoid letting bugs interfere with your vacation plans.
In the middle of summer, areas of the Arctic tundra and the moist interior are where you’ll find the most mosquitoes and other insects.
Late June sees a peak in population, while early August sees a decline. Because they can’t fly and are less active in the rain, they preserve coastal and mountainous areas mostly bug-free.
On small ship trips, bugs are almost never an issue unless you go ashore on a quiet day. Even then, they are seldom a bother.
Long sleeves and bug-repelling products should be on your packing list in order to keep insects at bay when they are encountered.
Your time in Alaska will be more pleasurable if you are prepared for the weather and surroundings.
Alaska Travel Weather And Packing
No matter what month they visit, tourists should be ready for a variety of situations since the weather in different parts of Alaska is erratic.
With years of experience living, working, guiding, and traveling in Alaska ourselves, we have created thorough Alaska planning instructions for our booked customers.
A pleasant trip to Alaska requires layers made of wicking fabrics that dry quickly. Additionally necessary are a warm hat, gloves, a raincoat, and rain leggings. Rubber boots are available from a lot of boats and several resorts.
A well-prepared bag will allow you to take advantage of the chances presented by changing weather, which in turn provides the plethora of landscapes and fauna that attracts visitors to the Last Frontier.
Before Your Trip Consult The Weather
As their vacation approaches, many visitors to Alaska constantly check the weather. You should avoid giving in to this desire since it will make you insane.
The weather varies drastically hour by hour in Alaska, and local predictions are shockingly incorrect. You can’t really get ready by looking at the daily predictions.
As previously said, abide by the general recommendations above and pay attention to the suggestions on your packing lists.
Checking the weather before your journey to Alaska will simply delay your planning and provide little insight into the weather conditions you may expect there.
In Alaska, Timing And Latitude
Wildlife and weather can never be completely anticipated, particularly in a place as strong as Alaska. Nevertheless, our Alaska by Month chart is a useful tool for scheduling your trip.
Latitude variations have a huge impact on life in Alaska since even little changes in latitude may have a large impact on the seasons and the amount of light.
Small ship cruising’s inherent flexibility and agility is something that should be included into every journey to Alaska, whether it be on land or at sea.
After all, a significant component of the excitement in Alaska is being surprised by what you encounter.
Alaska Temperature Tables
Use the data below to calculate the average temperature, rainfall, and daylight in Alaska. Discover more about Alaska’s weather and the ideal time of year to visit.
Now, What Period is Best To Visit Alaska?
Given everything said above, we suggest that June 15 through August 15 is the ideal time to visit Alaska.
However, not everyone is able to plan their vacation around this period, and as we’ve already said, every season offers advantages.
If you’re planning a vacation during the busy season, make early reservations since these are the days that sell out the fastest.
If you enjoyed reading this article about the ideal season to visit Alaska, you’ll like our all-inclusive vacation planning services.
More information about when to visit Alaska, how to plan your vacation there, and what is the ideal time of year to go there is available from our experts.
Just give us a call when you’re ready to start planning the vacation of a lifetime; our specialists are here to assist.