Much of Alaska can turn quite frigid in the winter; summers there can best be described as generally comfortably warm, or on the cool side, but not cold. The largest number of visitors reach Alaska on cruise ships, often beginning and ending in Vancouver, BC., that travel the Inside Passage most of the way to Alaska. This route takes you through the chain of islands that stretch up the Pacific Coast of Canada and southern Alaska.
One of the best times to visit Alaska is in the shoulder seasons, May and September. Alaska has a short visitor season and during the peak summer months, availability is limited, particularly in the popular destinations such as Denali Park. Generally, the earlier you reserve space, the better. Alaska does not handle the volume of tourists that many other National Park destinations
experience, so availability can be limited.
The advantages of early season travel are numerous. The weather is consistently good in May and drier throughout much of the state. Warm spring days aided by long hours of daylight bring Alaska's wildflowers out in full bloom. The wildlife viewing is also excellent in May since the larger animals are migrating and in lower elevations where the snow has disappeared. Alaska is not as crowded and you are able to take advantage of early season specials and
lower rates statewide.
September is also a good time to visit Alaska. Fall comes early to Alaska and many of the trees are blazing yellow and red by early September. Combine the bright yellow colors of the aspen and willow trees with the blazing red tundra plants and you have the best fall colors experience Alaska has to offer. In Denali National Park, Polychrome Pass earns it name. As a backdrop, the tallest mountains, will have fresh snow on their peaks while the lower elevations are still dry. Wildlife search opportunities also improve in late season, as the larger mammals begin feeding in the lower elevations in an attempt to pack on as much winter weight as possible.
During the summer months Alaska averages 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage, 22 in Fairbanks, and 18 in Southeast. But from early May through September, days are considerably longer than at lower latitudes. Alaska's sky is light nearly all night long from late May to late July. Alaska's summers are slightly rainier than the rest of the U.S. Alaska's summer temperatures are surprisingly pleasant. Daytime highs range from 60°F – 80°F. Nighttime lows are cool, dipping into the 40's – 50's. May and September are 5° – 10° cooler.
So When's the Best Season to Visit Alaska?
June 15 – July 15 as the best time to visit Alaska. But not everyone can visit during that month window, and that's no problem. Alaska weather is not predictable. You can come in August and bask in sunshine or in June and face driving rain plus strong winds.
Alaskans have learned not to let weather interfere with their plans or mood. If the weather were better, it wouldn't stay Alaska for long; it would start to look more like Los Angeles. If you're worried about Alaska mosquitoes come the last week in July or first week in August. Night frost will have killed off a lot of the mosquitoes, but you will have to put up with chillier evenings.
Many visitors to Alaska see the state from large cruise ships. While these ships allow people to “visit” Alaska, they don’t offer opportunities for any more then passive viewing from a distance. Land tours allows you enjoy Alaska in the way that you desire. With a land tour, instead of being forced to do what the cruise ship is doing, you can do what you want to do. Visiting Alaska can and should be a trip of a lifetime. The majestic waterways, mountains, glaciers and wildlife provide an ideal environment for sightseeing. Touring the Alaskan wilderness by land is one of the most rewarding and most unique experiences available.
Large cruise ships and the cruises they embark on are not geared toward optimizing your experience, they are geared toward optimizing profits. The large cruise ships don’t have any regard for what you want to do on a particular day, or where you would like to go. They may attempt to ensure that you have a good time while on your cruise, but the large number of passengers hampers their ability to cater to those aboard.
Many of the large cruise liners that cruise Alaska's waters carry over 3,000 passengers. Their immense size and huge number of passengers greatly reduces the Alaskan experience for visitors. Alaska's amazing wilderness should be experienced rather then merely passed through.
Planet Earth Adventures keeps its groups small to keep that unique individuality and personal touch. We combine land tours with day cruises. We use smaller cruise boats that allows for travel into the most remote and inaccessible places in Alaska. So come to Alaska this summer . . . and Discover the Real Alaska with Us!