Alaska is a vast frontier whose climate is as diverse as the landscape. Each season offers visitors a different experience, and depending on the region and activity goal, some months are better than others to take in all that Alaska has to offer. Read on to determine when is the best time to visit Alaska.
The sheer size of Alaska means that the seasons and climate change at different rates throughout the state. The weather can be extreme and unpredictable, ranging from a high of 100 degrees Fahrenheit to a low of -80 degrees Fahrenheit. At anytime throughout the year there can be weeks of pure sunshine or torrential rains. The best way to understand Alaskan climate is to look at averages and keep fingers crossed.
Cruises begin in mid-March and regular departures start in mid-April. Nights are still long enough to hopefully see the northern lights, and longer days means that bears are awakening from hibernation, herring are migrating, and mountain goats moving to shorelines.
The average amount of daylight is 11 hours, with temperatures ranging from 30-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Prices are low, which means better travel deals and no crowds.
May is one of the driest months in Alaska, and a perfect time to see wildlife waking up from winter. Many shops and attractions re-open towards the middle of the month. The days see 16 hours of light, temperatures rise slightly to 40 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, prices are still low, and crowds remain non-existent.
Tourism season takes off in the month of June. Cruises are in full swing, and land excursions begin. The Denali National Park road opens and the Kenai Peninsula becomes lush and green. The Arctic region experiences temperatures 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit and 24 hours of daylight, the Coastal region sees temperatures of 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit and 18 hours of daylight, and finally the Denali region is the warmest, with temperatures of 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit and 20 hours of daylight.
In July, wildlife is fully active, all trails have opened, the days are longer, and the temperatures are the warmest on average. Fishing is ideal in July as salmon begin to spawn. To determine the best locations for catching salmon and other species, look for Alaska fishing trips all inclusive. Fishlodges.com hosts the largest collection of all-inclusive fishing lodges and resorts throughout the northwest. Save time and effort on the search for an ideal fishing vacation – simple search on fishlodges.com for location, species, price and rating.
August is a popular time for visitors as extra moisture adds to already lush landscape, and wildlife is rampant. Towards the end of the month, tourism begins to calm down slightly and temperatures begin to cool. Between the Coastal, Arctic, and Denali regions, temperatures range from 31-65 degrees Fahrenheit and daylight lasts from 18 to 23 hours.
September in Alaska means a decrease in visitors, lower prices, and better travel deals. As the nights grow longer again, there are more chances to glimpse the northern lights and stunning autumn colors take over. Mountain peaks begin to see snow, and wildlife will begin to migrate and prepare for winter, which still means plenty of opportunities to observe them. Temperatures drop and range from 30-55 degrees Fahrenheit and daylight lasts from 15 to 19 hours. Snow and ice begin to fall in October, along with cold rains.
November marks the start of winter and brings darkness as the shortest day of the year arrives. From December to March, winter sports and activities like dog-sledding, skiing, and snowmobiling thrive. The winter months are also the most ideal time to fully experience the northern lights.