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Alaska bull moose, Denali National Park

When is the best time to visit Alaska?

The best time to visit Alaska is between mid-June and mid-September. The warmer weather and long days make this a particularly pleasant time of year, with temperatures around the mid-to-late teens.

Alaska’s wildlife, including bears, sea otters, seals and whales, is visible throughout this period, with June and July the best months for sightings.

The weather in Alaska changes very quickly at any time of year. However, many excursions stop operating in early September, in anticipation of the winter weather. The winter months are best avoided, unless you’re looking for winter sports or to see the northern lights in extreme conditions.

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Alaska Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Anchorage -7°C 23mm -3°C 21mm 1°C 17mm 7°C 14mm 13°C 18mm 17°C 29mm 19°C 50mm 17°C 66mm 13°C 68mm 5°C 46mm -2°C 28mm -6°C 30mm
Barrow -22°C 4mm -24°C 4mm -22°C 4mm -14°C 5mm -4°C 4mm 4°C 7mm 8°C 24mm 6°C 25mm 1°C 16mm -7°C 11mm -15°C 6mm -21°C 4mm
Denali National Park -15°C 27mm -13°C 28mm -9°C 29mm -2°C 21mm 7°C 21mm 14°C 59mm 16°C 86mm 13°C 91mm 7°C 64mm -3°C 39mm -11°C 31mm -14°C 31mm
Fairbanks -19°C 24mm -15°C 18mm -5°C 13mm 5°C 8mm 15°C 18mm 21°C 37mm 22°C 50mm 19°C 49mm 12°C 35mm 0°C 25mm -11°C 24mm -19°C 24mm
Glacier Bay National Park 0°C 123mm 2°C 116mm 5°C 91mm 9°C 70mm 13°C 74mm 16°C 63mm 18°C 84mm 18°C 115mm 14°C 182mm 9°C 248mm 3°C 182mm 0°C 170mm
Juneau -2°C 125mm 1°C 108mm 4°C 98mm 8°C 84mm 13°C 100mm 16°C 91mm 18°C 122mm 17°C 157mm 13°C 207mm 8°C 234mm 2°C 149mm 0°C 140mm
Katmai National Park -4°C 50mm -3°C 41mm 0°C 43mm 4°C 43mm 10°C 49mm 15°C 51mm 17°C 63mm 16°C 96mm 13°C 98mm 5°C 82mm 0°C 60mm -4°C 57mm
Ketchikan 3°C 319mm 5°C 285mm 6°C 252mm 9°C 251mm 12°C 199mm 15°C 167mm 17°C 150mm 18°C 221mm 15°C 303mm 10°C 515mm 6°C 389mm 4°C 358mm
Seward -2°C 132mm 0°C 116mm 2°C 83mm 6°C 84mm 11°C 84mm 14°C 52mm 17°C 57mm 16°C 109mm 12°C 201mm 6°C 225mm 2°C 151mm -1°C 158mm
Skagway -7°C 80mm -4°C 75mm 1°C 58mm 7°C 39mm 12°C 36mm 17°C 35mm 18°C 44mm 17°C 59mm 13°C 93mm 6°C 131mm -1°C 96mm -5°C 96mm
Valdez -5°C 112mm -3°C 110mm 1°C 89mm 6°C 72mm 11°C 66mm 15°C 71mm 17°C 90mm 16°C 124mm 12°C 174mm 5°C 166mm -1°C 128mm -4°C 142mm

Month-by-month guide to travelling in Alaska

The Alaska Range, Denali National Park

Visiting Alaska in January - April

Alaska’s long winter stretches from October through to April, during which temperatures plunge to well below freezing, the nights are long and much of the state goes into a hibernation-like shutdown. Although winter sports are available and a few lodges offer northern lights viewing, this is not the best time of year to visit Alaska.

Humpback Whale, Alaska

Visiting Alaska in May - June

Spring in Alaska can be relatively short as increasing daylight hours mean temperatures begin to rise quickly. A warm spring can make the second half of May a nice time of year, with wildlife coming out of hibernation and hungry for the first meal of the year. Prices are lower and places are quieter, although the weather is unpredictable.

Events & Festivals

  • Boat trips (June): The start of warmer weather brings opportunities for coastal boat trips and cruises that are ideal for spotting some of the region's incredible marine life. See whales, otters, seals, walrus and dolphins.
Small Boat Harbour, Seward

Visiting Alaska in July - August

Beginning in July and stretching through to the end of August the summer is the nicest time of year to travel. July is the best month for travelling, although it is also the busiest. Warm days and short nights make this a really nice time of year to visit and much of the state’s iconic wildlife is very active.

Events & Festivals

  • Fourth of July: The population of Seward swells from around 2,500 to nearly 40,000 for the July Fourth celebrations. The Main Street is blocked off to traffic as the streets fill with a colourful parade, entertainers and a series of brightly decorated floats.
  • Alaskan State Fair (August): Taking place in Palmer, this is the largest event of the state with a fairground, carnival and concert to mark the last few days of summer.
A glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park

Visiting Alaska in September - October

Autumn is very short in Alaska with the rapidly diminishing daylight hours meaning temperatures soon begin to fall. Autumn begins in mid-September and is more or less over just a few weeks later. Much of the wildlife returns to hibernation, smaller properties begin to close and many excursions stop operating.

Seal resting on the ice, Meares Glacier

Visiting Alaska in November - December

The days are darker, snow may have started falling and the temperatures drop with the onset of winter. Despite this, November and December are still lively months with holiday season festivals and the re-opening of ice skating rinks. Great for family entertainment.

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Travel advice

Practical tips for travelling to Alaska, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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