What Is Alaska Like In The Summer?

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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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Planning The Ultimate Alaskan Summer Vacation

Summer in Alaska is one of the best times for exploration and adventure! The flowers are in full bloom across the state’s stunning landscapes and wildlife can be spotted in every direction. Alaska’s towns come alive in the summer, welcoming visitors from all corners of the world who come to see the land of the midnight sun. And with 20-plus hours of daylight, you’ll have plenty of time to do all of the things you want to do in Alaska during the summer!

How Hot Does It Get In Alaska In The Summer?

Brown bear with seaguls in Alaska's summerAlaska’s winters are long and famously cold. But they are also very dark, with the state seeing a lot less sun than the rest of the Lower 48 states. However, summer in Alaska is bright! The phenomenon known as “the midnight sun” means it only gets dark for a couple of hours per day (depending on your location.) In general, Alaska’s weather in the summer depends on where you are visiting. Coastal areas and higher elevations tend to stay cooler, but the regions in the interior tend to be warmer and more summer-like.

Alaska is such a vast state that it is broken down into five distinct regions, with five distinct weather patterns. Keep reading to learn more about summer temperatures in each region, as well as the best things to do in Alaska in the summer by region!

Exploring Alaska’s Unique Regions

Alaska weather is unpredictable and can change quickly. Since Alaska covers such a large area, the weather varies by season throughout its five different regions: Far North or Arctic, Interior, Southwest, Southcentral, and Southeast or Inside Passage.

  • The Far North Region – Home of Barrow and Nome, this remote region is Arctic in climate and is considered a desert! Winters are cold, with temperatures well below zero, and even the summer months are cooler than the rest of the state. For most of the year, the Northern Coast of Alaska is covered in ice. However, if you plan to visit during the summer months, you will have plenty of daylight to explore Gates of the Arctic National Park because Alaska’s Arctic Region receives 24 hours of daylight for two months! Not sure you want to spend your summer vacation in winter gear? You can always take a day trip to the Far North via helicopter or bush plane – no need to stay too long and get frost nip!
  • The Interior – Alaska’s interior has a subarctic climate with short, cool summers. But, it also has some of the best things to do in Alaska in the summer! The Interior is also home to Fairbanks, the second-largest city in the state. This popular town is a jumping-off point for a whole host of Alaskan adventures, including visits to Creamer’s Field, a beautiful wildlife refuge; gold-digging expeditions at Gold Dredge No. 8; and a trip to the North Pole (yes, it’s a real town!) to see Santa and his reindeer (or caribou).
  • The Southwest Region – Alaska is so big, that even its Southwest region has two different climates! The coastal sub-region has a subarctic oceanic climate and the more interior sub-region has a continental subarctic climate. This region sees a lot of precipitation, but temperatures are more moderate with average summer temperatures hovering around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This region is truly unique and features some interesting things to do in Alaska in the summer. For starters, plan a trip to Katmai National Park and Preserve to see the Brooks Falls bears during the summer salmon run; visit Walrus Island State Game Sanctuary on Bristol Bay to see the island’s more than 14,000 walrus inhabitants; or plan a trip to the Aleutian World War II Historic area to explore the region’s unique Russian history and excellent fishing, hiking, and birding opportunities.
  • The Southcentral Region – This region is home to Anchorage, which has the best Alaska weather in the summer, hands down! This region has a more moderate climate, with summer temperatures reaching close to 80 degrees. This makes it a popular destination for summer tourists. Visitors can spend time at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, where they can learn about the traditions and culture of the Dena’ina Athabascan tribe; hike up Flattop Mountain in Chugach State Park just outside the city limits; or book a fishing charter on the Russian River to catch king salmon, silver salmon, halibut, or rainbow trout.
  • The Inside Passage (Southeast) Region –This iconic region also boasts two differing climates – a mid-latitude oceanic climate and a marine subpolar climate. If you want to visit during the summer, the Tongass National Forest is a great place to find some of the best things to do in Alaska in the summer while enjoying the great outdoors. This temperate rainforest features mild summer temperatures in the high 60s and sees 17.5 hours of daylight during the summer months. The Inside Passage is a popular destination for cruise ships, with tourists disembarking at Juneau and Sitka daily to enjoy Alaskan city life. Summer weather here is perfect for kayaking, whale watching and bear viewing adventures or enjoying the serene beauty of Glacier Bay National Park before you head home.

Alaska's Weather in the Morning vs. at Night During the Summer

During the summer in Alaska, the weather in the morning and at night can vary significantly due to the region's unique geographic location and climate patterns. In the morning, Alaskan weather tends to be cooler and more refreshing, with temperatures often ranging from 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. As the day progresses, temperatures can rise to around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, creating mild and pleasant conditions. However, as night falls, the temperature in Alaska can drop considerably, with nighttime lows averaging between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, in some parts of Alaska, especially closer to the Arctic Circle, nighttime during the summer months can be characterized by the phenomenon of the midnight sun, where the sun remains visible even at midnight, contributing to the overall unique weather experience in the region.

How the Midnight Sun Affects Alaska's Weather

The phenomenon of the Midnight Sun significantly impacts Alaska's weather patterns due to the prolonged daylight hours experienced during the summer months. As the Earth's axis tilts towards the sun, regions like Alaska receive continuous daylight for an extended period, leading to warmer temperatures and altered atmospheric conditions. The absence of complete darkness affects the energy balance of the region, resulting in longer growing seasons, thawing of ice and permafrost, and unique wildlife behaviors. The Midnight Sun not only influences the climate but also plays a crucial role in the ecosystems and livelihoods of Alaskans, showcasing the profound interplay between nature and weather in this northern state.

A Final Word About Alaska Weather In The Summer

Alaska weather in the summer depends on the region of the state you are visiting, but there are some general guidelines to remember. For example, temperatures in June hover between 60 and 70 degrees during the day. The state is dry during the month of June, making it a popular time for travelers to visit. And, if you’re in Alaska on June 21, you can celebrate the Summer Solstice with the locals and enjoy almost 22 hours of daylight depending on your location!

July is typically the hottest month of the year, but visitors will find a long list of things to do in Alaska during this summer month. Temperatures in July stay around 70 in heavily visited areas of the state, but have been known to reach record highs of more than 90 degrees. This month is the peak of tourist season and the height of most salmon runs! Not only is Alaska hot during the month of July, but it is busy and humming with activity.

August brings the beginning of fall to this great state. All five of the regions begin to see a cool down, with coastal areas falling into the 50s by the end of the month. Daylight hours begin decreasing, too, signaling the start of the long winter that is to come. But no matter when you visit, the best things to do in Alaska in the summer are waiting for you – so start planning your trip today!

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