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Best Time to Visit Alaska

Learn about a spectacular wilderness destination

|May 26, 2022
Erika loves long walks in nature with great company and long, cozy evenings with good food and a marvel movie playing in the background.

The best time of year to visit Alaska is largely decided either by the type of outdoor activities you wish to have or by the landmarks you want to see. There's something for everyone in every season.


Alaska is vast, and the weather varies significantly between the north and south. The tourism season in Alaska is limited and changes considerably between the seasons. Knowing Alaska's notably unpredictable weather conditions, it may be challenging to decide when is the right time.

To decide the best time to go to Alaska, we have put together a guide covering all seasons.

Alaska During the Summer Season

The peak season in Alaska is the summer season during July and August. The start of June is ideal for beginning Alaska land trips. During that time, you get the most of daylight. It's a perfect time for active wildlife watching, glacier hiking, national park exploring, cruising, and hiking.

Crow Pass Trail Landscape in Alaska

Top of Crow pass in Alaska

You get even more wildlife in July! You are sure to see humpback whales, sea otters, puffins, and bears, counting in grizzlies! If you are a fan of wildlife, summer is a perfect time to spot some seal pups, the beluga whales, orcas, and seabirds. The peak travel season ends in August. However, wildlife watching and small ship cruises are still active.

Alaska During Winter

Alaskan winters can be both rough and stunning. The weather is bitterly cold, and storms are violent. Winter sports such as skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding are available. Hunting the northern lights is the most trendy winter activity in Alaska, and it's a viral activity in the Nordic countries. Iceland is also a perfect place for watching the dancing northern lights in the night sky!

Mountain Range and Blue Water in Alaska

Breathtaking mountain range in Alaska

Alaska During the Spring Season

In Alaska, spring is a travel period between a peak and off-peak seasons. It's the right time to enjoy winter activities in the ideal climate in March. Early spring will bring snow while late spring will bring the sun. This season is considered less crowded than usual, so you may be able to enjoy fewer tourists.

Kenai Peninsula and Mountain Landscape in Alaska

Alaskan mountains and bay in Spring

If you are planning a hike in Alaska in the springtime, keep in mind that you will have to stick to the lower elevations. You will have to wait until the end of spring if you want to hike. Many mountain paths are only accessible during the summer.

Alaska During Autumn

Autumn is considered a "shoulder season" in Alaska because of the low number of visitors. There's a significant part in this; those visiting this time are greeted with gorgeous autumn views - orangey trees and frosty mountains.

Glenn Highway and Lion's Head In Alaska

Lion's Head along the Glenn Highway in Alaska

However, it's an ideal time to travel for low prices. It's the time when there are fewer tourist crowds, which means more space for you! There's an increase in the possibility of seeing some wildlife since the animals are preparing for the upcoming wintertime. They are marking the territory, migrating, and hunting. Long autumn nights offer the possibility of seeing the magical aurora borealis.

Keep in mind that if you are planning to cruise Alaska during this time, you might succeed during the beginning of autumn; you might fail to do that in the middle or at the end of the autumn. September is the last month of cruising and one of the coldest months in Alaska.

Best Time to Visit Alaska for Northern Lights

The best time to visit Alaska to see the northern lights is between September and April when the night sky is clear to see the bright green lights dancing in the sky. During those months, the days are short enough for the northern lights to occur in dark places of Alaska. The best site for seeing the lights of the north in Alaska in Fairbanks. 

Bight Colorful Northern Lights in Alaska

Colorful Northern Lights in Alaska

Fairbanks is the coldest and the largest city in the interior region of Alaska. It's famous for watching the northern lights and the midnight sun, sunsets, and sunrises!

Best Time to See Wildlife in Alaska

Alaska is known for its incredible wildlife. People come from different parts of the world to look at some of the most impressive and diverse animals.

Whales

The amazing humpback whales can be spotted from May to September in Alaskan waters. Most humpback whales migrate to Hawaii in the wintertime, so the best time to see them is between June and August.

Whale Jumped out of Water in Alaska

Whale jumping out of water in Alaska

Black bears, brown bears, and polar bears

Black bears are a minor kind of bear species in Alaska. Brown bears are much bigger than black bears, and it's straightforward to tell the difference between them. You may think it's the color variation, but black bears are not always black. Brown bears have smaller ears and more prominent humps on their backs.

Bear and Cub Eating Flowers in Alaska

Black bear sow and her cub munching wildflowers in the summer

Here comes one of the largest bear species in the world. Polar bears! Adult males can weigh about 1,400 pounds. Females typically weigh about 700 pounds - roughly half the size of males. They are carnivorous and spend their lives on sea ice. You can see polar bears usually in spring and fall on a guided tour.

Polar Bear in Kaktovik of Alaska

Polar Bear Cub, Kaktovik, Alaska

Moose

It's shocking how large they are, but that explains it - Alaskan moose is the largest subspecies of moose. There are around 200,000 in the state. They can be seen all year long, mainly in the wilderness areas.

Wild Moose in Forest of Alaska

Wild moose in National Park Denali in Alaska

Puffins

These distinctive birds were once called "sea parrots" because of their colors. The tufted and the horned puffins are both found in Alaska. These colorful birds can be spotted from May through September along the coast.

Couple of Puffins on a Rock in Alaska

Pair of Puffins in Alaska

So, When Is the Best Time to Visit Alaska?

Deciding when is the best time of the year to visit Alaska is a bit difficult. The temperature varies quite often across the state, depending on the region.

The easiest way is to think of what you want to do and then look up and choose a season that suits you the best. Remember, summer is the best time to visit Alaska if you're going to hike, and it is ideal for wildlife watching. If you enjoy winter sports like snowmobiling or skiing, visiting Alaska in the winter is the right time for that.

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