Should I travel to Alaska in the summer or winter? This is perhaps the most common question among people who wish to visit Alaska. The answer, however, is not as straightforward as one or the other. It depends on a number of factors, including what you want to experience and where in this vast state you want to go.
Alaska is the northernmost state in the United States with diverse regions that experience a range of seasons and different weather patterns. Each season showcases natural phenomena that keeps Alaska in the list of must visit destinations. If you are for outdoor fun and outdoor activities, Alaska guarantees you an unforgettable experience in both summer and winter.
Yes, Alaska is open for travel year-round. However, a trip to Alaska can still be a daunting undertaking, especially if you are unfamiliar with the terrain and sometimes unpredictable weather patterns. To make the most of your time in this magical wonderland, consider booking a specialized guided tour.
Summer in Alaska
Summer is primarily the top tourist season in Alaska. It starts in the inland regions and moves toward the north, roughly from mid-May through mid-September. June is the busiest month with nearly 24 hours of sunlight.
Warm weather and long days offer you an opportunity to experience outdoor adventures in a way that you cannot experience elsewhere. Summer festivals are in full swing, businesses come back to life after a winter slumber and there are seemingly unlimited travel options.
Summertime in Alaska is full of life. Temperatures rise, black and brown bears emerge from hibernation, and wildflowers bloom. It is particularly the best time to watch Alaskan wildlife including bears, whales, moose, bald eagles, and ravens–and although wildlife is never guaranteed, this is the best time to see wildlife.
Summer Activities in Alaska
Hiking in Alaska is exciting and truly unique. With mountains and glacier vistas, wildlife encounters and wildflowers galore, hiking in Alaska is guaranteed to be a singular experience. Here you have an opportunity to hike through the Tongass National Forest – the largest temperate rainforest in the world, as well as walking on top of ancient ice glaciers.
A kayaking trip is the best way to get an up-close view of marine wildlife and the majestic land and seascape of Alaska. A guided kayaking trip offers you an opportunity to learn the natural history from the local guides as they seek the best wildlife viewing points.
Kayaking on the Channel Islands State Marine Park is the best opportunity to see humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, porpoises, an array of bird species, and seals. Also, you can add a kayaking trip on Admiralty Island for an unforgettable brown bear viewing experience at the Fortress of the Bears.
Glacier paddle and trek
This is arguably the most popular adventure trip in Alaska. If you want an out-of-this-world experience, be sure to book yourself a trip to the world-renowned Mendenhall Glacier.
Winter in Alaska
Winter is very cold and runs roughly from October through March. Temperatures and daylight vary from region to region with some regions in the north being in darkness from mid-November to mid-January. The landscapes are blanketed in bright white snow—something just as breathtaking to see as the wildflowers of summer.
Winter is the best time to enjoy your favorite outdoor sports and activities in Alaska. As the winter gets more dramatic, new opportunities arise. Dog sledding, snowboarding, ice fishing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, skiing and of course, aurora borealis (the northern lights) viewing provide visitors with an unforgettable winter experience.
Although there is plenty to see and do, the most popular visitors’ experiences in Alaskan winter are Northern lights viewing and dog mushing. The best time for Northern lights viewing is late August through April when the nights are darkest.
Book a Guided Tour with Above & Beyond Alaska
Regardless of the season, Alaska offers plenty of activities, natural phenomena and scenic views that you cannot afford to miss. To enjoy all the magnificence of these vast lands and seas, you should book a trip with specialized guides to take full advantage of Alaska’s vacation.
Above & Beyond Alaska (ABAK) Wilderness Adventures specializes in small group tours in and around Juneau. A locally-owned small business since 2002, we have found the best of glaciers, bears, and whales in the Juneau Alaska area to share with you!
We strive to go above and beyond in safety, service, and quality. As professional outfitters, we value safety above all else. From our high training standards to top-of-the-line gear, you’ll be set for your once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
We want to explore, educate, and promote environmental conservation here in beautiful Alaska. There’s a world of adventure here in Alaska, and it’s our goal to help you learn to love it as much as we do. Call or email today to learn more about how to book your Alaskan adventure with us!