If you’ve seen our Go North project, you know how amazing visiting Alaska is. (If you haven’t seen it and you’re planning a trip there, you’ll definitely want to check it out!) Alaska is a place that should be on every RVers bucket list. But the million-dollar question is, when is the best time of year to visit Alaska? Keep reading to find out when to visit and all the cool things you can do, even in the off-season!
When Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Alaska?
If you can visit anytime, the absolute best time of year to visit Alaska is between June and September. Luckily, this coincides with “summer vacation”, so you may have an easier time booking a trip during these months. But even if you can’t make it to Alaska in the summer, there is plenty to see at any time of year.
Best Time of Year to Visit Alaska National Parks
If you want to hit up one of Alaska’s many national parks, the best time of year to visit is the summer. There are a few reasons why.
First, the weather in Alaska is wonderful in the summer. Daytime temperatures are usually between 60 and 80 degrees, with overnight lows dropping down to the 40s and 50s. You’ll also enjoy mostly sunny days during this time of year.
Not only are the days sunny, but so are the nights! Visiting Alaska in the summer means you get many hours of daylight. In fact, there are some places you’ll get almost 22 hours of sunlight. This gives you even more time to explore!
Another reason summer is the best time of year to visit Alaska’s National Parks is because of accessibility. Some roads may become impassable in the winter. The National Park Service also reduces some services in the winter months.
Planning to drive to Alaska? Read our advice here: Can You Drive All The Way to Alaska?
Benefits of Visiting Alaska in the Spring
If you can’t visit Alaska in the summer, spring is another great choice. The weather is still a bit cold in the spring, with average temperatures between 20 and 45 degrees. You’ll need to layer up, but you’ll be happy you did.
You’ll see the Alaskan wilderness transform if you visit in the spring. Another enormous benefit is fewer crowds! Everyone wants to visit Alaska in the summer. This means that a serene mountain hike will be packed with people. Visiting in the spring means you’ll have the entire state to yourself (almost).
Since tourism season is in full swing in summer, spring is also a great time of year to save money. Prices are lower for many RV parks and activities in the spring.
There are lots of great things to do in Alaska at this time of year. For example, you can whale watch during the spring migration. Animals will also be more active in general after the long winter, and you’ll probably be able to spot some babies!
Flightseeing is another great year-round activity. It is an excellent way to see Alaska’s rugged landscape and get to places unreachable by car.
If you need a chance to warm up from the cold, you can take in some cultural events. The Anchorage Museum and the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward are great examples of places to spend a cool, rainy day.
Benefits of Visiting Alaska in the Summer
As we mentioned earlier, the best time of year to visit Alaska is in the summer. The temperatures are comfortable, ranging from the 60s to the 80s, and you’ll have SO much fun in the midnight sun.
There is plenty to do in Alaska in the summer. In fact, there is so much to do you might need the entire summer just to scratch the surface. But there are some things you absolutely won’t want to miss.
Here are some of the best things to do in Alaska in the summer:
- Explore a glacier
- Go flightseeing
- Take a boat tour to see the Kenai Fjords
- Explore the Homer Spit
- Visit Denali National Park
- Go hiking, including a hike under the midnight sun
- Check out the water by kayak, whitewater raft, or jet ski!
Another awesome thing to do in the summer in Alaska is fishing (and then eating your catch for dinner). You’ll also want to keep your eyes peeled for animals. But if you want to make sure you see bears, check out Katmai National Park.
Benefits of Visiting Alaska in the Fall
If you visit Alaska in the fall, there is still plenty to do. The temperatures can vary more during this time of year. You’ll want to pack plenty of layers so you’re prepared for anything. Temperatures will typically be cooler with highs below 50 and lows dropping below freezing at times. This weather is glorious for hiking (just keep a lookout for wildlife).
The best thing about visiting Alaska in the fall is the fall colors. The aspen trees glow bright yellow and the tundra turns bright red!
Not only can you see fall colors on the trees, but in the sky as well. Fall is a good time to see the Northern Lights!
As the midnight sun begins retreating, the Northern Lights can become quite visible. This can happen as early as the end of August or early September.
If you visit Alaska in the fall, you’ll also want to do some whale watching. You’ll see more whales than you might during the summer. But you’ll see a lot fewer people in the fall since the tourism season will be slowing down. Just be warned, tourism businesses will start closing up shop, with final cruise ship visits in mid-September.
Visiting Alaska in the Winter
You may think winter is definitely not the best time of year to visit Alaska. But, there are actually lots of awesome things you can experience only in an Alaskan winter. If you are brave enough to visit Alaska this time of year, there is plenty to do!
Winter in Alaska can be freezing and dark. Winter lasts from October to March, and the weather varies depending on where in Alaska you are. The coastal towns are warmer with lows in the 20s, while the interior portions of the state can see subzero temperatures for days at a time.
Even though it is cold, it is worth seeing Alaska in the winter. You’ll definitely want to keep your eyes out for the amazing Northern Lights reflecting on the snow. There are also events you won’t want to miss, like the famous Iditarod.
The Iditarod is a renowned long-distance, annual trail dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome. The race runs each March over 938 miles of the rugged Alaskan wilderness. The start line and finish line offer the most excitement, and you can even experience your own dog sled tour.
Other great things to do at this time of year in Alaska are skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and winter sightseeing. Be sure to check out Chena Hot Springs for a luxurious soak as you watch for the Northern Lights.
Alaska Is Amazing All Year Round
The best time of year to visit Alaska is definitely the summer. But if you can’t make a summer vacation work for you, don’t give up on Alaska. There are plenty of amazing things to see and do in Alaska all year round. So, whether you visit in the summer, fall, winter, or spring, you’ll find plenty of adventures. In fact, any time of year can be the best time of year to visit Alaska if you make a solid plan.
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