Planning Your Alaskan Adventure

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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

Denali Adventure in Alaska Vacation
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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!

North America Aurora Borealis

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 consider before you plan your trip. For example, the weather, wildlife sightings, and activities available during each season can greatly influence your Alaskan adventure. Keep these factors in mind when planning your trip, so that you can make the most of your experience in the Last Frontier.

A few other questions to ask yourself during the planning process include: 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. During this time, visitors flock to the state to experience its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. By mid-June, Alaska is truly as warm as it will get. Hotels, restaurants, and other tourist activities have opened for the summer and the National Parks are fully staffed and ready for visitors. As a bonus, you’ll 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 ’40s 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. The 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! Many anglers travel from all over the world to experience the abundance of salmon and halibut in Alaska's pristine waters.
  • 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!
  • Don't forget your bug spray – once June arrives, the bugs will be out in full force until early August.

      If you want to know the best time of year to visit Alaska, most people will tell you to plan your trip between June 15 and July 15. During this time, Alaska experiences the famous midnight sun phenomenon, allowing visitors to enjoy as many activities and adventures as they can every day! 

      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 cruise operators offer. Cruise season runs from 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 May and wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy the annual migration of whales. Even the bears will be easy to spot from a ship – they have emerged from their winter hibernation and are actively seeking food along Alaska's coastline 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 can add on a day trip to 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 that are held 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! Just keep in mind that the weather in Alaska can be quite unpredictable during the early fall, so be sure to pack layers and rain gear for your trip.

      Visiting Alaska During The Shoulder Season

      If your budget is a consideration, the best time of year to visit Alaska is 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,  the tundra’s flora turns bright red for miles and miles! That is one 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 as they splash and play in Alaska's cool waters.
      • Both May and September offer visitors the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. And with fewer crowds, you can watch the Aurora 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 without distractions!

      The Best Time Of Year To Vist Alaska For You

      So, when is the best time to visit Alaska? While it seems like the answer should be easy, there is so much to consider to make your trip a once-in-a-lifetime experience - for you! 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. Whether you're exploring the stunning glaciers, encountering wildlife in their natural habitats, or immersing yourself in the unique culture of the indigenous communities, Alaska offers a variety of experiences that will leave a lasting impression on you.

      Download all three Alaska tour brochures for tour dates and pricing.