When is the best time to visit Alaska? This question isn’t as easy to answer as you think it would be. As a local Alaskan, I’ll tell you why.
The reason is that Alaska is huge and there are a lot of activities you can enjoy year-round. There’s a lot to consider when choosing when to travel to Alaska, regardless if you want to visit in the summer or winter.
My favorite month of the year in Alaska is July, but this is only because of the warm weather and long hours of daylight, which is something I look forward to after such long winters.
But, depending on what you want to see and do on your trip, this might not be the best time to visit for you.
In this guide, I’m sharing everything you need to know so you can decide when is the best time to visit Alaska.
- Best Time To Visit Alaska For The Northern Lights
- When To Go To Alaska For Whale Watching
- Best Time To Visit Alaska For Fishing
- When To Visit Alaska On a Cruise
- Best Time To See Bears In Alaska
- When To Visit Alaska For Hiking
- Best Time To Visit Alaska For Skiing
- When To Go To Alaska For Tours
- Cheapest & Most Expensive Time to Visit Alaska
- Warmest & Coldest Month In Alaska
- Longest & Shortest Days In Alaska
Planning a trip to Alaska? Start with my Alaska Travel Guide
Best Time To Visit Alaska For The Northern Lights
If you want to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, you’ll want to visit between October and March. Darker skies make it easier to see the aurora borealis. February and March are the best times to visit Alaska for the Northern Lights because the lights are more active during these months and the temperatures are milder.
When To Go To Alaska For Whale Watching
You can see migrating whales in different areas of Alaska from March to November. Since this covers half of the year, you want to decide what type of whales you want to see. Maybe you want to see humpback whales, orcas, or beluga whales. Read my Alaska whale-watching guide to help you decide.
Best Time To Visit Alaska For Fishing
Fishing is amazing all summer long and ice fishing is popular during the winter. July is the best time to visit Alaska for fishing, especially if you want to fish on the river for salmon. One of the best salmon runs of the Kenai River happens towards the end of the month.
When To Visit Alaska On a Cruise
Cruise season in Alaska runs from May to September. Each month offers a different experience, but July and August are the best months to cruise Alaska. During these months the weather is warmer and there is more daylight. The snow has usually melted by this time. If you want off-season prices, book a cruise in May or September.
Best Time To See Bears In Alaska
It’s actually possible to see bears year-round as not all bears hibernate. But, if you’re interested in bear viewing, plan to visit Alaska from May to September. The best time to see bears in Alaska really depends on what area you are traveling to. If you want to visit Brooks Falls, July, August, and September are the best months to see Katmai bears.
When To Visit Alaska For Hiking
Hiking is one of my favorite activities to do in Alaska. June to October is the best time to visit Alaska for hiking. By June, mostly all of the snow has melted, the weather is warmer and the daylight hours are the longest. If you hike later in the summer, you will see fewer mosquitoes! Expect more rain in the fall season. Snow tends to arrive in the mountains by late October.
Best Time To Visit Alaska For Skiing
Personally, I love spring skiing! I love snowboarding in the warmer temps and under bluebird skies. You can actually ski or snowboard in Alaska all-year round if you can access the snowy mountains during summer. Most people ski in Alaska from late November to early April. Alaska has a few ski resorts, but a lot of people ski in the backcountry.
When To Go To Alaska For Tours
Many tour operators in Alaska operate seasonally. If you want to go on a summer tour, such as a Kenai Fjords whale watching tour, then the best time to visit is from mid-May to mid-September. Summer tour operators close after the peak tourism season. Winter tours are usually available from November to March.
Cheapest & Most Expensive Time to Visit Alaska
If you want to save money on your trip to Alaska, visit in the shoulder season. Travel to Alaska in November, December, or May to get the most value. The months of June, July, and August are the most expensive as this is peak season in Alaska.
Warmest & Coldest Month In Alaska
July is usually the warmest month in Alaska with temperatures averaging in the high 60s F. It’s possible to experience even warmer temps around 80°F. Keep in mind, Alaska will feel 10 degrees warmer on top of that due to its latitude. The coldest month in Alaska is January when the average temperature in Anchorage is around 9°F.
Longest & Shortest Days In Alaska
June 21 is the longest day of the year, with 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage! Temperatures are really pleasant during this time with daytime highs from 60°F to 80°F and nighttime lows from 40°F to 50°F. December 21 is the shortest day of the year, with about 5 and a half hours of daylight in Anchorage. During the coldest winter days, temperatures reach below 0ºF and some places in Alaska can even reach -60ºF.
YouTube Video: Alaska Whale Watching
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Do you have any questions about when is the best time to visit Alaska? Let me know in the comments.