When is the best time to visit Alaska for an unforgettable experience? The biggest state in the United States has a lot to offer, including breathtaking animals, beautiful scenery, icy weather, and the spectacular Northern Lights, which are on almost everyone’s bucket list. Anybody with an adventurous spirit will love visiting Alaska, which has more than 650,000 square miles of marine, inland, alpine, and untamed scenery.
Each year, this state welcomes millions of tourists attracted by the state’s world-class fishing and the opportunity to see bears, moose, whales, and the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights). But if you go to Alaska in January vs June, you’ll have a very different experience. A visit to Alaska at its best time of the year is a memorable experience you will always want to share.
For whatever reason you choose, making arrangements for a wonderful vacation to Alaska at the best time of the year to visit is necessary. In this trip guide, we have provided just that for you!
When Is the Best Time to Visit Alaska?
The best time to visit Alaska is, for sure, in the summer. Even though our summer is brief, it is the warmest and driest time of year to travel. From May 10 and September 15, you will surely enjoy the best that Alaska has to offer, including the main Alaska Railroad lines, which are only open during this time. The peak season, which lasts from early to mid-June through mid-August, offers the most tour options, the finest weather, and the most possibilities to observe wildlife.
Alaska’s weather can fluctuate substantially at any time of year. Nonetheless, many excursions do end their operations in early September in order to get ready for the next winter. Avoid the winter months if you don’t want to participate in winter sports or if you want to view the northern lights in poor weather.
What Are the Best Months to Visit Alaska?
The best months for a memorable Alaskan journey include
The first few weeks of the summer season, which often begins around May 15th, are when hotels and the train tend to cut their rates, making May a fantastic time to travel to Alaska. Our days are lengthening; the grass and trees are in blossom; and after a protracted winter, wildlife is on the move.
In general, June gives the greatest daylight and is the driest month to go to Alaska. The longest day of the year, the season occurs on June 21. In addition to having more sunshine, June has a reputation for having more bugs than other months, and it might be mosquito season. When planning any trekking or camping, especially in Denali National Park, this needs to be taken into account.
The busiest time of year in Alaska, July is also the hottest month of the summer. It is important to make plans in advance for train transfers, hotels, and activities because July is a popular month for vacation.
The conclusion of the Alaskan Summer begins in August. August often marks the start of the rainy season even if it is still warm. Even though the days are becoming shorter in August, there will still be 14 to 17 hours of daylight. Later in August, there will be fewer people around.
Similar to May, accommodation prices and those for the Alaska Railroad are reduced in September. The shorter days and milder temperatures will also cause certain activities to come to a close. In Alaska, the leaves begin to change color as the weather becomes colder. The tundra and trees begin to change magnificent colors of yellow, red, and orange around mid-August, peaking in mid-September. This time of year, Denali National Park is extremely stunning.
What Is the Cheapest Time to Visit Alaska?
The cheapest months to visit Alaska are frequently May through September. These are what Alaskans refer to as the “shoulder seasons,” which occur before and after the humid summertime. The driest month in Alaska is typically May, with a 25% chance of rain on any one day, while September has twice as high a daily probability of rain.
Visit to Alaska in May
You can visit earlier than summer visitors if you schedule your trip for May. You’ll spend less on airfare, cruises, lodging, and car rentals at this time because there are fewer guests. You’ll also like that some activities are available for walk-up guests and have shorter lineups!
May temperatures, though, are still rising up and are not yet at their highest. May temperatures in Alaska range from 40 to 55 °F (coastal), 30 to 55 °F (interior), and 15 to 24 °F (Arctic coastal). You might need to pack clothing for chilly temperatures. Nonetheless, there is plenty of sunshine (up to 22 hours a day), and the flora and fauna are now starting to bloom.
There are gray whales migrating, orcas breaching, and enormous moose roaming the area. This time of year, when mother bears aggressively guard their young pups, it would be a good idea to carry some bear spray.
Visit to Alaska in September
By scheduling your trip for September, you can take advantage of the end-of-summer season. By the conclusion of the summer, fewer visitors are still around. As a result, you’ll save up to 25% on airline, cruises, lodging, and car rentals, as well as experience shorter waits and lineups everywhere you go. With fewer daylight hours than in the summer, the Northern Lights will be more noticeable in the night skies!
When things start to gently drop off after the hottest part of the summer, September has temperatures more akin to May. The temperature varies depending on where you are, but it is often between 40 and 55 °F (coastal), 35 to 55 °F (inside), and 28 to 33 °F (Arctic coastal). Between 14 to 17 hours of sunshine are available each day in September, which is fewer than in May.
What Month is Best to See the Northern Lights in Alaska?
All four seasons of the year experience the northern lights, however, the Midnight Sun makes it more difficult to observe them. In Alaska, the months of August through April are the greatest for viewing the northern lights since there is less sunshine and the skies are darker.
What’s the Rest of the Year Like in Alaska?
Take note of these
#1. Alaska in October
In Alaska, October is a transitional month. The winter fun has not even started, but the summer thrills are over. The days are getting shorter; it can be chilly, wet, or even snowing outside; the salmon runs are about to finish; and bears are getting ready for hibernation. The leaves will have gone by the middle of October; however, you can still see brilliant fall colors at the beginning of the month.
#2. Alaska in November
Alaska travel can be tough in November. It’s a period of waning light (in Anchorage, the month begins with around 8.5 hours of light each day and finishes with just 6), as well as the beginning of bear and human hibernation. Yet despite the freezing temperatures, it won’t likely be until the second part of the month that there will be enough snow for winter sports. Also, a lot of the well-known tourist attractions are closed for the season, and animals might be difficult to see.
#3. Alaska in December
Do you like the state’s long, dismal winters that are punctuated by the glamor of the Christmas season? December in Alaska is an exciting time to go. The days and nights are long, and most of the time, a solid white blanket has radically altered the landscape. While the well-known sites are closed for the season, local museums are open, and winter sports like skiing and dogsledding are getting back to their normal schedules. open,
#4. Alaska in January and February
If you want to completely experience the winter, Alaska in January and February can be amazing. With its snow-capped mountains and clear sky, it is a photographer’s dream, and adjacent towns are regularly rocked by festivals and sporting events.
Is it cold? Yes. Despite the fact that January starts off very dreary, the days gradually become longer. From the beginning of January until the end of February, there are around eight hours of daylight per day. You can engage in thrilling winter sports like skiing and dogsledding during that season, and at night, you can view the famous northern lights. Of course, cheaper prices during off-peak hours could make this time enjoyable as well!
#5. Alaska in March
Due to increased daylight hours and a wide variety of entertaining activities, March is arguably the ideal month to explore Alaska in winter. Alaskans begin to really enjoy winter in March. Winter sports are enjoying the spring weather. The renowned Iditarod sled dog race begins, and northern lights gazing is in full gear. Also, despite frosty mornings, the days lengthen, clocking in at 12 to 15 hours of light daily, and the weather begins to break into bright, blue-sky conditions. It’s time for Alaskans to start waking up now that they’ve endured the long, gloomy winter.
#6. Alaska in April
In April, winter in Alaska is coming to an end. The northern lights can still be seen in the sky, and there is still enough snow for skiing and other winter activities. However, the snowfall had melted by the second part of the month. There wasn’t enough darkness to observe the aurora. Local Alaskans like April very much. It is the driest and clearest month of the year. In fact, the period of the day when darkness is relegated to the middle of the night. The initial green-up is brought on by the disappearing snowfall, which also reveals dry trekking trails close to sea level.
The best winter sports conditions of the year can be found at higher altitudes and when night freezes have produced a morning crust. Restaurants, cabins, tour operators, and other components of Alaska’s enormous summer and winter visitor networks have mostly shut down. Ski resorts have begun to reduce or stop operations. Camping in the front or backcountry can be challenging, if not downright slippery. The shrinking snowpack exposes a lot of dirt and can cause significant puddles. The sparse crowds in April can make the snow melt, but the bright countryside seems incredibly large and deserted.
It is usually advised to reserve your Alaskan trip in advance. The start of our busiest travel period is January. Be aware that the majority of Alaskan regions have limited hotel options, capacity on the Alaska Railroad, and recreational opportunities. It is strongly advised to make reservations in advance to ensure that the accommodations, transportation, and activities of your choice are available.