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Jan 26, 2021| Plan Your Trip

Why Summer is the Best Time to Visit Alaska

Alaska Summer Lake Landscape.jpg

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Helicopter Air Alaska
Ketchikan, AK

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Juneau Tours
Juneau, AK

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Top Reasons to Visit Alaska in the Summer 

Anytime is a good time to visit Alaska when you think about it, but there should be no doubt that summer is the best time to explore The Last Frontier.

Why is summer in Alaska so great? 

For one thing, it’s warmer during Alaska’s summer. There’s also more to do as just about everything opens up in the summer. Plus, with days lasting as long as 22 hours, there’s plenty of light for daytime activities.

Weather In Alaska During Summer (And Spring And Fall, Too) 

Weather in Alaska during summertime depends on which region you visit, but average daytime high temperatures can range between 60 and 80 (15-27 C), dropping to a cool and comfortable 40 to 50 (4-10C) degrees at night. Bring your fleece!

July is usually the warmest month, with temperatures rarely dropping below 55 (F) but rising to about 67 (F) in July. Between July and September, the Alaska climate can have drops about five to ten degrees. In addition, July winds are generally calm, with speeds generally about 4.2 mph depending, of course, on where you visit. 

May is the driest month, and September is the rainiest. Skagway is the driest city in Alaska, and in 1908 it received only 1.78 inches of rain all summer. Ketchikan tends to be the wettest spot on the map but it’s still gorgeous. In 2019 Alaska experienced its hottest summer ever. Anchorage had an unbelievable high of 90 and Juneau averaged at least 70 degrees for 17 consecutive days.

Although the chance of rain in summer is ever-present, the weather in Alaska is usually lovely in summer. Just the same, bring rain gear as it may get wet at times.

Fall in Alaska is still wonderful, of course, but temperatures begin to dip dramatically and you may see snow. Many shops and businesses also start closing for the year.

Spring usually arrives in April, but only to the extent that high temperatures rise to highs of about 44 degrees (F) after the bitter cold of winter.

Most people recognize the Alaska summer season as being from mid-May until mid-September.

What To Wear For Summer In Alaska?

Given Alaska’s climate, we can’t discuss summer in Alaska without telling you what you should wear. It’s not as easy as you may think to bring appropriate attire to Alaska in summer. You’re going to be outdoors a lot during your trip and the weather can change, so think ahead about what you’ll need.

Although temperatures can reach 80 degrees (F), it does get cool, even chilly in Alaska depending on your location. 

Think layers. 

Long johns, warm hiking socks, hiking shoes, light-weight synthetic hiking pants, a wool hat, baseball cap or sun hat, waterproof hooded rain pants and jackets, a sweater or two, light-weight gloves, and the aforementioned fleece should be among the items you stuff into your suitcase.

Blue jeans are comfortable and durable but remember they’re hard to dry if they’re exposed to rain, so synthetic materials are best because they dry more easily. 

When it comes to visiting rain forests in Alaska, all bets are off because, well, it rains there sometimes. While hiking or just visiting beautiful southeast Alaska, rains can reach torrential levels and regular old rain-gear may not keep you dry. In that case, coated waterproof raingear is recommended as well as rubberized boots.

But let’s not dwell on the rain. 

Alaska in summer is a great place to visit, pure and simple, and the following will explain just part of the fun of Alaskan summer vacation.

What To Do In Summer In Alaska

We know summer weather in Alaska is compatible with fun, adventure, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, so we’ve selected five top summer activities that will help further explain what you can see and do there that makes summer the best time to visit Alaska.

Wildlife Viewing

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up to the greatest display of exotic wildlife in the world. Moose. Grizzly bears. Bald Eagles. Seals and walruses. Dall sheep. Whales, hoo boy, the majestic whales. That’s just a shortlist of animal life you can see during summer in Alaska.  

Kayaking, Rafting, and hiking

There are about 420 million acres to explore in Alaska. Do you think there might be somebody of water that calls you to a quiet kayak trip? Whitewater rafting? There are also more than 700 hiking trails of varying difficulty. Want to hike a glacier? A mountain trail? Alaska has it all, and summer is the best time to explore.

Fishing

Alaska has some of the best freshwater and saltwater fishing in the world. While some brave souls traverse Alaska’s open waters during the winter, summer is absolutely the best time for fishing. Alaska’s waters have halibut. Salmon. Arctic char. And so much more (even shellfish!).

National Parks

Alaska has 54 million acres of national parkland, and just about any one of the parks is worth a trip. From the spectacular (Denali National Park) to the other-worldly (Kenai Fiords National Park), Alaska’s national parks are open in summer, making it the best time to explore and experience Alaska’s wilderness.

Shopping

Most of Alaska’s shops and stores are open during the summer, which adds to the allure of a summer visit for those who don’t get their excitement streaming down a mountain on a zip line. 

You can not only find uniquely Alaska items from quilts and indigenous art to fine jewelry and totem poles. There’s the clothing of all kinds, too, and if you’re looking for just a little something you should treat yourself and buy an Alaska-themed sweatshirt or a t-shirt.

There is a lot more to an Alaskan summer, but suffice to say the 49th State island for wonder and exploration. Summer in Alaska is unlike anywhere else in the world.

It’s time to start planning your Alaska summer trip.

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