When is the best time to visit Alaska?
I’m often asked the question “when is the best time to visit Alaska?” Like many travel-related questions, the answer is “it depends.” But, here are some things to consider as you think about visiting Alaska.
Alaska’s main tourist season runs from mid-May through early October. Peak visit times are mid-June though mid-August, as this coincides with the best weather and the longest amount of sunlight in a day. In fact, though, the sun barely sets at all in most of Alaska between early May and early August. One unique advantage to visiting later in the summer – the perennial gardens and vegetables in Alaska are stunning. Nearly 24 hours of sunlight during a three month growing season can do some amazing things!
Parts of Alaska – especially the Inside Passage – have temperate climates where rainfall (or “Liquid Sunshine”) is common all year. Fortunately, most showers pass fairly quickly. Fog can linger, though, especially early and late in the season. Bring a raincoat and umbrella and be prepared for intermittent showers whenever you travel. Even if it’s overcast, you’ll get close enough to the glaciers to see and hear them.
April can offer a unique perspective on Alaska, as it is when spring comes and the landscape comes awake. Some smaller cruise ships offer cruises during this season, and although it is cooler, the beauty of spring more than makes up for it. Winter brings something completely different, but for the adventurous traveler or the winter-lover, it’s an incredible time.
Wildlife is plentiful in Alaska regardless of the season. Whales are visible in coastal waters from mid-May through mid-September, and salmon season runs through November. When the salmon are spawning, bears aren’t usually far away. Inland, in the Denali National Park area, moose, dall sheep, and caribou are common all year. Bears and wolves are fewer and further between, but can be seen all year. Mount Denali itself can sometimes be hidden in the clouds, but opportunities to visit by plane and actually land on a glacier are available nearly every day, offering an unbelievable perspective.
Do you have more time to discover Alaska? Consider joining one of the repositioning cruises offered at the beginning and end of the Alaskan cruise season. These cruises often visit off-the-beaten-path ports of call, such as Kodiak in the Aleutian Islands. Some even make their way through the Northwest Passage, sailing over the top of Canada along the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Are you considering a trip to Alaska? Do you have questions about the best time to go, the best places to see, or the best way to go? As a veteran Alaskan traveler and certified destination expert, I can help you sift through the clutter and choose the right option for you - not for someone else.
Contact me to schedule a complimentary planning consultation, and before you know it, you'll wake up to a spectacular glacier view out your window!