Best time to visit Alaska

“When should I visit Alaska?”, “When is the best time to fly to Alaska?” or “What is the best time to spend in Alaska?” are some of the most popular questions which arise while you are planning a trip to this serene place. 

The response to these questions is complex and based on a variety of aspects.

Alaska, a constituent state of the United States of America, is extensive, making the weather conditions in the interior vs. the coast, or the north vs. the south, dramatically different. 

alaska glacier ice mountains
Alaska glacier ice mountains

These weather differences create shorter travel seasons, varying significantly from spring to summer to fall. When you combine all of this with Alaska’s famously inconstant weather, pin-pointing the best time for touring Alaska becomes pretty tricky.

Best time to visit Alaska by land

Since Alaska’s interior has lower temperatures compared to the coast, the season for traveling by land tends to become shorter than the cruising season. 

If you want to visit Alaska during the summertime, do keep in mind that interior Alaska has a short summer season that only lasts from mid-June to late-August. 

However, winter tours in Alaska see far fewer visitors, making it the best months to see aurora borealis or the northern lights. This season starts in December and extends till March. 

And if you are on a budget constraint, you can visit Alaska during the spring and fall seasons. Throughout these seasons, you will be getting unique opportunities and more economical rates.

What is the best time to cruise Alaska?

The cruising season in Alaska runs from April to September. 

Summer is the perfect time to visit because the weather and wildlife are incredible. Specifically, the rainfall decreases in May and escalates as the summer advances; thus, we advise all the tourists to cruise between May 15 and September 1. And if we talk about picking the best month for an Alaska cruise, it would be July. 

Further, if you only have an open widow for taking your vacation between October to February, you must remember that there are usually no scheduled cruises during these months. However, you can book in advance the special Alaska charter cruises.

We will suggest you plan your Alaska tour during June, July, and August. Amid these months, Alaska offers the best mix of wildlife and weather. 

This was just an overview. To gather more information to have a lovely experience in the Alaskan expedition, see the detailed weather analysis by month below.

Alaska by Month

Explore Alaska in April and early springtime

In mid-March, small ship cruises resume sailing Alaskan waters, with most early spring sails beginning in mid-April.

Here we would like to suggest that you might also consider taking an extended cruise during this period, sailing from Seattle, Washington to Alaska. 

During this time, you might also get a chance to see the northern lights, even though the daytime is turning longer and the wildlife is starting to stir. 

–      Main Alaskan Wildlife in April & Early Spring

  • Land: brown & black bears and mountain goats. 
  • Birds: bald eagles, owls, swans, loons, ducks, thrushes, grouse, jays, wrens, chickadees, and geese. 
  • Water: humpback whales, orca, and steller sea lions.

–      Traveling Benefits in April & Early Spring 

  • The northern lights.
  • Availability of extended cruise available from Seattle to Alaska.
  • Less crowd.
  • Cheaper travel deals and low accommodation prices.

Alaska in May

During this time, small ship cruises are beginning to run, but you can feel like Alaska is all yours with children attending schools. 

As more cruise set to sail, the opportunities for stretch sailings from Seattle to Alaska, crossing through British Columbia, increases with the Inside Passage remaining as the trip’s priority. 

The month of May is the driest of all months, making it ideal for viewing wildlife coming out of their hibernation, with the landscape blossoming, snow melting, spring migrations ramping up, and many babies being born. It is a beautiful scenario. 

While traveling through land has begun, National Parks in the interiors of Alaska remain closed. 

–      Main Alaskan Wildlife in May

  • Land: lynx, wolves, moose, and Dall sheep. 
  • Birds: pelagic seabirds and migratory songbirds turning up on the coast.
  • Water: harbor seals and gray whales. 

–      Traveling Benefits in May

  • Fewer people compared to the prime summer months.
  • Lower travel prices and cheaper accommodation deals.
  • Lesser chances of drenching in the rain.

Alaska in June

June marks the start of the best time for visiting Alaska. The cruises and tours of Glacier Bay National Park are in great demand. The sailing starts in the state’s southwest and southcentral regions, journeying through the Aleutian Islands, Katmai National Park, Kodiak Island, and Prince William Sound. 

Some cruises concentrate on the Bering Sea’s Arctic waters, taking passengers aground at different locations around Russia’s Siberian coast, where you may even see a polar bear on Wrangel Island.

–      Main Alaskan Wildlife in June

  • Land: moose calves, caribou, and mountain goat. 
  • Birds: alpine bird rookery viewing nad optimal seabirds. 
  • Water: beluga whales, hatching ducks, and harbor seal pups.

–      Traveling Benefits in June

  • Higher altitudinal hikes.
  • A combination of land and cruise tour is available.
  • Active wildlife and their new ones.
  • Opening of known towns like Fairbanks, Anchorage, Sitka, and Juneau.    
  • Re-opening of Denali National Park.
  • Extended daylight hours for sightseeing and exploration.

Alaska in July

If you can not decide when to travel to Alaska, then the safer side is to visit in July. From the wildlife point of view, this is the best month as the wildlife is active, the weather is pleasant, the days are longer, and all the trails are now open. And all of this leads to an influx of tourists. 

The best thing about cruising during July is that the cruise ships will take you to places that are inaccessible to large cruise ships. You can travel to Wrangell Narrows and Kake. Moreover, you do not have to worry about the weather while visiting cities like Sitka. 

–      Main Alaskan Wildlife in July

  • Land: mountain goats and black & brown bears. 
  • Birds: shorebirds and puffins.
  • Water: sea otters, salmon runs, and humpback whales. 

–      Traveling Benefits in July

  • Ideal for fishing
  • Extended daylight hours.
  • Warmest weather in Alaska.
  • Combinations of land tours and cruises.

Alaska in August

August is a season with high travels and the best time to visit Alaska. 

During this season, the air’s moisture increases, enhancing the appeal of an already lush green setting. 

In the interior and Denali National Park, the lower temperatures encourage stunning fall foliage around the middle of August. 

Wildlife is abundant at this time of the month, and both land tours and cruises are running normally. And as the autumn approaches, so does the increased number of tourists.

–      Main Alaskan Wildlife in August

  • Land: black and brown bears (even grizzlies) and caribou. 
  • Birds: loons, bald eagles, and peak songbird migration. 
  • Water: orca, humpback whales, and beavers.

–      Traveling Benefits in August

  • Perfect weather conditions for fishing salmon, northern pike, rainbow trout, and halibut.
  • Extended daylight hours for exploration. 
  • Combinations of land tours and cruises.

The month of September in Alaska

There are fewer tourists around during the September season, but there are plenty of frequent travel special offers. 

Increased nighttime brings with it the possibility of seeing the aurora borealis. The lowering temperatures transform the Alaskan trees and tundra into purple fall, gold, and red colors. 

Snows start to cover the mountain peaks, and once again, wildlife gets busy foraging for food, marking territories, mating, and migrating while preparing for the upcoming winter. 

September month marks the end of the Alaska travel season, with affordable prices and generous Alaska travel offers.

–      Main Alaskan Wildlife in September

  • Land: deer, caribou, moose, and elk. 
  • Birds: black oystercatchers, bald eagles, migration of raptors and gulls. 
  • Water: sea lions, harbor seals, and gray whales.

–      Traveling Benefits in September

  • Fewer tourists.
  • Lower prices.

To conclude

According to the detailed overview, you can pick a perfect time for your traveling to Alaska

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