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Alaska bull moose, Denali National Park

When is the best time to visit Alaska?

Alaska bull moose, Denali National Park

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 in the cool-but-comfortable range of 15 to 19°C.

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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Month-by-month guide for traveling 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 to visit, 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 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.

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
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
Homer -2°C 56mm -1°C 48mm 2°C 40mm 6°C 32mm 10°C 31mm 14°C 30mm 16°C 44mm 16°C 70mm 13°C 90mm 6°C 84mm 1°C 71mm -1°C 72mm
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
Kodiak Island 2°C 167mm 2°C 130mm 3°C 114mm 6°C 101mm 9°C 129mm 13°C 126mm 16°C 91mm 16°C 121mm 13°C 169mm 8°C 174mm 4°C 154mm 2°C 165mm
Nome -10°C 23mm -11°C 17mm -8°C 16mm -3°C 17mm 6°C 18mm 12°C 27mm 14°C 55mm 13°C 86mm 9°C 65mm 1°C 37mm -5°C 28mm -10°C 21mm
Prince William Sound -4°C 101mm -2°C 84mm 1°C 73mm 6°C 65mm 11°C 60mm 15°C 62mm 17°C 77mm 16°C 104mm 12°C 147mm 5°C 147mm -1°C 108mm -4°C 114mm
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

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Travel advice

Practical tips for traveling to Alaska, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest Government of Canada travel advice.

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