PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour
Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights
Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure
When Is The Best Time To Visit Alaska?
For many adventure seekers, Alaska is a bucket list vacation destination. The state encompasses 663,267 square miles of coastal plains, rain forests, mountains, tundra, and arctic ice and has captured the imagination of thrill seekers and travelers alike. But when is the best time to visit Alaska? Well, the answer to that question really depends on what you want to see and do on your trip to the Last Frontier. Curious to learn more? Then read on – we have the information you need to plan your Alaska tour dates!
Spring, Summer, or Fall? When To Visit Alaska
When is the best time of year to visit Alaska? Everyone has an opinion about the best time to experience Alaska, but there are a few things to think about before you plan your trip. Does the temperature matter to you? Do you want to avoid the rainy season? Would you prefer to visit when there are fewer tourists? Do you want to see the Northern Lights? Is your budget smaller than you’d like for this once-in-a-lifetime trip? If you need one – or more- of these questions answered, we have the scoop.
Visiting Alaska During The Peak Season
Alaska’s peak tourist season runs from June to August. By mid-June, Alaska is truly as warm as it’s going to get. Hotels, restaurants, and other tourist activities have opened for the summer and the National Parks are fully staffed and ready for visitors. As an added bonus, you’ll get to see the midnight sun if you visit Alaska during the summer months.
Here are some fun facts about visiting Alaska during the summer months to help you pick your Alaska tour dates:
- Daytime temperatures during an Alaskan summer range from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But the nighttime lows are cool, dipping into the 40’s and ’50s. As the summer wears on, the chance of rain increases.
- June 21 is the longest day of the year in Alaska, with 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage, 18 hours in the Southeast region of the state, and 22 hours in Fairbanks. These long days mean you can plan many activities for your trip and experience the Midnight Sun at its height.
- In the summer, Alaskan wildlife is something to see! The bears are active; moose are out and about; and gray whales, humpbacks, and orcas begin their annual migration.
- The fishing in Alaska is great all summer long!
- If hiking is your thing, the trails at lower elevations will be clear of snow by May. By early June, the trails in the mountains will be clear. Conditions are good until mid-October for this activity, too!
- Just remember your bug spray – once June arrives, the bugs will be out in full force until early August.
If you really want to know the best time of year to visit Alaska, most people will tell you between June 15 and July 15. All of the activities listed above are at their peak during this short time span and the state is alive with energy!
Visiting Alaska During The Cruise Season
Cruise Season is a real thing in Alaska! Many people plan their Alaska tour dates around the variety of cruise packages Alaska’s many cruise operators offer. Cruise season runs May through September, with small ship cruises starting as early as mid-April. Here is a month-by-month breakdown of the cruise season, to help you decide the best time of year to visit Alaska for you!
- May cruises – if you take an Alaskan cruise in May, book one that visits Kodiak Island. The Island hosts the Kodiak Crab Festival on Memorial Day weekend and is a sight to see! Birders can enjoy spotting shorebirds during the month of May and wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy the annual migration of whales. Even the bears will be easy to spot from a ship – they are waking up from their winter hibernation in May.
- June cruises – cruising gets more expensive in June. However, if you’re an avid angler, consider a June itinerary that visits Seward to watch the Seward Halibut Tournament. You can also participate in the Sitka Music Festival while in Seward! Wildlife lovers will enjoy the opportunity to view moose, caribou, and shorebirds during the month. And if you book a cruise that puts you in range of Denali National Park, you might spot a caribou!
- July cruises – July is the most expensive for cruising, but it is also the best time of year to visit Alaska if you want to see wildlife. Salmon runs and bears are active, birding is at its height, and you can see pup seals and sea lions in the state’s many waterways during the month.
- August cruises – the cost of cruising in August goes down. It’s a great month to visit Seward for the Silver Salmon Derby – or any one of the many salmon derbies help across the state. The Alaska State Fair takes place in late August, and many wildlife-centered events are held throughout the month.
Labor Day is not the end of cruise season or tourist crowds in Alaska! If this is when you are thinking of scheduling your Alaska tour dates, don’t forget that cruise ships run through the third week of September!
Visiting Alaska During The Shoulder Season
If your budget is a consideration, the best time of year to visit Alaska may just be the shoulder season. The shoulder season takes place in May and September. This is the time between peak tourist season, and travelers can find 10-25 percent discounts on certain hotels, tours, and cruises. Although the season is beautiful, it can also be rainy and cooler, so plan accordingly!
Why is shoulder season so popular with tourists, aside from the discounts?
- Fall colors in Alaska are beautiful! Unlike the lower 48 states, very few trees in Alaska turn red. Instead, they turn yellow and orange. However, in the fall the tundra’s flora turns bright red for miles and miles! For that reason, photographers love to plan Alaska tour dates in September.
- With fewer crowds visiting during the shoulder season, you’ll have the opportunity to view wildlife without fighting off other tourists. And whale watching is spectacular in the fall! Take advantage of less expensive cruise options to get a look at these magnificent creatures.
- Both May and September provide visitors with the chance to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. And with fewer crowds, you can do so in peace.
- Fishing season in Alaska runs through mid-October. If you are an avid fisherman but hate the crowds, September is probably the best time of year to visit Alaska for some time on the water.
- Most of the National Parks open back up in May. Visit early in the season to beat the crowds and enjoy the parks in peace.
So, when is the best time to visit Alaska? It seems like the answer should be easy, but there is so much to consider! Just remember, the best time to visit Alaska depends entirely on what you want to do and what you want to see while you are visiting this great state! If you plan your Alaska tour dates around your scheduled activities, you’ll be sure to have an adventure you’ll never forget.