The Best Time To Visit Alaska - Various Seasons Of The North

The majority of us, when we think of Alaska, probably picture a big area covered in ice, frozen land, and maybe even caribou running free across the tundra. However, for those of you who are thinking about taking a vacation to Alaska, you already know that there is a great deal more to the 49th state in the United States than just that.

Even during the winter, travelers may find much to do and see in Alaska’s enormously beautiful state, which is about the size of a medium-sized country and has something to offer visitors throughout the year. Even though Alaska’s winter is truly remarkable and a sight to behold, the vast majority of tourists visit the state in the summer. The specific goals that a visitor has for their trip will determine the time of year that is ideal for them to visit Alaska.

Alaska Railroad

Are you interested in attending the Iditarod dog sled race? Going kayaking in Alaska’s rivers in mid-June? See the whales that are migrating? There would be multiple occasions throughout the year dedicated to each of these activities. When is the best time to visit Alaska, and what attractions and activities does the state have in store for tourists? Continue reading to find out more.

The Changing Of The Seasons In Alaska

Being a part of the Arctic, Alaska experiences winters that are, without a shadow of a doubt, exceedingly frigid. Because of this, some tourists may be dissuaded from visiting the state during this time. However, some people who go on vacation to Alaska might be shocked to realize that the summer months can actually be quite pleasant and pleasurable in many places.

When making plans for your trip, you should take into account the different seasons, especially if you want to see the northern lights. The best time to visit Alaska for your trip depends on what you want to see.

See The Northern Lights In Alaska

Summer Activities

The summertime in Alaska is the busiest time of year for tourism due to the fact that travel is considerably simpler and less risky during this period, less of the landscape is frozen solid, and more opportunities for outdoor activities are accessible.

Those who are vacationing in Alaska during the summer from warmer places will not be confronted with the stark reality of the state’s winters. Many vacationers believe that summer is the ideal time to visit Alaska since it has the most pleasant weather, the hours of daylight are longer, and the most options available for fun things to do. The Alaskan summer typically begins in the middle of May and lasts until the middle of September.

Travel To Alaska During The Summer Months From May To September - The Peak Season

The beginning of June and the end of July have the most pleasant temperatures and the greatest variety of available activities through early August. The months of May through early September are when travelers will find the most expensive hotel prices. However, the end of August through September is the best time to visit if you want to view the northern lights and experience the beginning of fall.

Even if there is still snow in certain regions at higher elevations in the month of May, the length of daylight hours in Alaska can often reach more than 17 hours. This is the time of year when whales migrate to the coastal waters of Alaska’s bays around mid-June, so not only is Alaska teeming with wildlife and vegetation in bloom during this season, but this is also the time of year when wildlife enthusiasts should visit Alaska.

Visitors get the opportunity to view humpback whales that have recently given birth as well as huge gray whales to the north. There are typically cheaper rates available for day tours into the national parks throughout the month of May, as well as decreased costs for public transportation and hotel stays.

Wildlife Viewing Opportunities During The Summer Season - Humpback Whale

By June and July, summer is well underway, and this is the time of year when most people in the state engage in activities that take place outside, like hiking and fishing. During this time of year, certain parts of the state see perpetual daylight, giving rise to the term “the land of the midnight sun.” During this time, there are day trips departing at all hours, opportunities to fish for salmon as they return to their spawning grounds, as well as opportunities for hiking, glacier treks, and kayaking.

The average temperature for the day is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the peak time for warmer weather. However, due to all the activity, hotels are typically booked up and rates are high, as it is also the main tourist season, so if you plan to go during this time for summer activities, you should make your reservations as far in advance as possible. Some deals are available all the way through late August.

Hiking Trails - Natural Attractions In Alaska

Mid-August is the best month to visit Alaska in order to view the aurora borealis. Visitors to the state around this period should be informed that August is often the wettest month of the year in Alaska and that rain is likely to fall on a regular basis. However, this is also the time of year when Alaska’s notorious mosquitoes begin to leave the state and the days begin to get shorter. As a result, this is an excellent time for those thinking of visiting Alaska and hoping to see the northern lights to book a trip, particularly in the Fairbanks region. Those who ask “when is the best time to visit Alaska” usually discover that it is typically the summer.

Night Sky In The Fairbanks Region - Northern Lights

Autumn In Alaska

Think about going to visit Alaska in mid-September if you want to see the fall foliage but aren’t quite ready to brave the state’s notoriously low temperatures. Around this time of year, summer is coming to an end, which means that temperatures are beginning to fall and days are getting shorter. Ticket and hotel prices also begin to decrease during this time of year.

Fall Colors In Alaska In September

In addition, there is a lot of activity among the wild animals during this season since they are starting to get ready for winter by gathering food and constructing their homes. When visiting national parks during the fall, visitors frequently have the opportunity to witness a large variety of Alaska’s native flora and fauna, particularly in the vicinity of Denali National Park.

Wildlife Spotting - Sea Otters

There may not be as much going on in the great outdoors during this season, but that does not mean it is completely shut down. When it comes to hiking and fishing, there is still a lot to see, especially now that the leaves are starting to turn autumn colors and the wilderness is beginning to slow down.

Fishing Boat Trips In Alaska

When traveling to Alaska in the fall, there is still a lot to see and do because the majority of tour operators stay open until October. During the fall months, there are trips that allow visitors to observe the changing foliage, such as treks that take them through national parks, seaside tours, and northern lights viewing tours.

Seaside Tours On Cruise Ships In Alaska

Winter Activities

The majority of individuals who do not reside in Alaska probably cannot conceive of taking a trip to an arctic area during the wintertime. Nonetheless, Alaska has a lot to offer even during the coldest months, especially winter sports and winter activities, which are traditionally held during the state’s harshest season.

Dog Sledding In Alaska In Winter

In addition to the activity of dog sledding, which was previously mentioned, there are other things that tourists may do in Alaska during the winter season. Some businesses even provide tours and rides on dog sleds. Because the days will be significantly shorter with fewer crowds and, in some regions of the year, there will be no daylight at all, this may put a damper on some outdoor activities. However, there are a lot of alternatives for enjoyment throughout the winter. There are a variety of winter sports available, including snowshoeing, ice skating, downhill skiing, and cross-country skiing.

Activities In Alaska In Winter - Snowshoeing

In Fairbanks, visitors can go ice fishing, take a guided snowmobile tour, or relax in the steamy thermal pools of Chena Hot Springs. During the winter, you can still see the northern lights in all their glory, and there are a number of winter festivals to keep you entertained. Some examples of these festivals include the World Ice Art Championships, the Festival of Native Arts, and the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous.

Ice Fishing In Alaska During The Winter Months


The springtime in Alaska is frequently referred to as the “shoulder season,” which describes the transitional period between the busier summer tourist season and the less active winter season. The spring season in Alaska is relatively brief, and much of the land is still covered in snow and ice, so many of the outdoor activities have not yet resumed operations. Despite this, tourists should not rule out spring as a time for visiting Alaska because it is still a beautiful time of year to explore the state and accommodations will be more affordable than they are typically during the summer season.

Alaska Weather In Spring - Snow Melts Slowly

The whales are still in the area offshore, and springtime is an excellent time to observe marine life in general. Additionally, spring is the time of year when the newborn offspring of Alaska’s wildlife, such as moose calves and reindeer calves, make their first public appearance. This is a good time to go on wildlife viewing trips because hibernating animals are beginning to emerge from their slumber, such as the brown bear.

Even though it may still be chilly outside, the days are gradually getting longer, and there is a decreased chance of precipitation. The mountain peaks are crowned with snow, and the spring fog that is widespread on the tundra diffuses the sunlight.

Watching Brown Bears In Alaska From Small Ship Cruises

The scenery is breathtaking all the way through early June. There are chartered airlines that provide sightseeing flights that send tourists out into the wilderness to see moose and bears, and some of these flights even extend out over the bays so that travelers may see whales. In terms of culture, at this period, the Anchorage Museum is open seven days a week and presents a wide variety of exhibits in addition to providing insights into the native culture that is prevalent during this time.

Wilderness Tour In Alaska

The spring season is also the time of year when festivals and the NYO Games take place. These games are a throwback to the indigenous people of Alaska, and they feature student competitions in games that have been played for centuries. In most cases, there is no charge for admission.

Start Packing!

People who live in the lower 48 states of the United States and in other parts of the world tend to think of Alaska as a place that is mysterious, otherworldly, and even exotic. There aren’t that many people that think to visit Alaska when they’re looking for a vacation spot, but the state definitely deserves more attention as it has so many activities and discounts to offer.

Alaska is home to an abundance of stunning natural scenery and diverse animal life, as well as a long and illustrious history of indigenous peoples’ culture and a wide variety of outdoor activities suitable for people of all fitness levels.

Many believe that summer is the best time to visit Alaska, as it is the peak season, but the other seasons have much to offer as well. The northern lights are best viewed in early autumn. Alaskan wildlife is best seen in mid-September. So when is the best time to visit Alaska? Whenever you want to go!

Learn more by scheduling your tour with Icy Strait Point Excursions right away!

Kayaking Near Icy Strait Point, Alaska


3 hours
Group Size
Up to 10

Wilderness Tour and Brown Bear Search - LEO, Military, Teacher Discount!

This Alaskan wilderness and bear search tour is offered on Chichagof Island, a one-of-a-kind location with the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth. Depending on the season, catch the bears coming out of hibernation and looking for food; or later on in the season when the bears are mating and eating grasses on the tidal flats. Older males fight each other for dominance and mating rights with the females, who at times are not receptive and force the male to give chase. This is truly an experience for the books, and cameras.

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 30

Guaranteed Whale Watching Tours in Icy Straits - LEO, Military, Teacher Discount!

Join us for the best show in town, a 3-hour whale watching excursion (includes transportation time and approx 2.5 hours on the water) which begins when you board the bus that departs from the Icy Strait Point Excursion Hub, just a short 5-minute walk from your cruise ship. Travel just 1.5 miles through the picturesque landscape of Hoonah, Alaska. On arrival at the Hoonah Harbor, it's “All aboard!” and you’re off for the waters of Icy Straits and the ultimate whale watching experience. The area near Icy Strait Point, with its proximity to Point Adolphus and Glacier Bay, is home to one of the largest summer populations of humpback whales found in Alaska and the whale watching is second to none.

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Saltwater Fishing Adventure

Join local maritime hero Captain Billy, a locally raised Tlingit of Hoonah, Alaska on this unforgettable fishing adventure. His knowledge of area waters is unsurpassed and his desire to share it with you is second to none! Southeast Alaska and Icy Strait in particular, is home to some of the best halibut and salmon fishing around. The biggest halibut on record was caught inside Icy Strait! Hoonah is just a stones throw from Icy Strait so no time is wasted getting to the fishing grounds and the hooks down!

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 12

Kayak Adventure

Your Kayak experience will take you into the peaceful waters of Port Frederick. Enjoy the serenity that can only be had while quietly gliding across the waters near Icy Strait Point enjoying the beautiful Alaskan scenery. Wildlife such as; eagles, seals, sea lions, Sitka black tail deer, whales, and even a bear on the beach are possible sightings. Take a journey into this serene kayak adventure on Icy Strait for an unforgettable experience!

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 14

Whales, Wildlife & Drones

This whale watching tour is personalized, as it takes out a maximum of 14 guests at a time. This allows for a great crew to guest ratio, ensuring your experience is personal. The areas we search near in Hoonah near Icy Strait Point and Point Adolphus are known Humpback whale feeding grounds. Josh has captained in this area for many years and knows the area well! He know how to find the whales! Add in the communication he has with other captains on the other boats, and it's a perfect whale finding system!

What really makes this tour unique is the Drone imagery. Drones are able to see below the water surface and broadcast live video back to the boat.
View pods of orcas effortlessly gliding under the waves, on rare occasions, see humpback calfs playing with their mothers, on rare occasions, the amazing phenomenon of "bubble-net" feeding by groups of humpbacks is seen. Your personal view of the whales is not repaced with drones; just supplemented! You will experience seeing and hearing these amazing animals with your own eyes and ears, and then we take you to the next level with our displays onboard.

4 to 5 hours
Group Size
1 to 6

Freshwater Stream Fishing

Professionally guided stream fishing excursions on the hidden edge waters of Chichagof, Island.

3 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
2 to 10

Icy Strait Birding & Nature Experience

Come experience the birds and nature of Chichagof Island, near Icy Strait Point! Every trip is an adventure in this lush rainforest where Brown Bears outnumber humans. While we love delivering stunning target birds like Varied Thrushes, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Bald Eagles, and Steller’s Jays, we aren’t just about birds on this tour. You will be led by an expert birder and naturalist who will set the stage by sharing the human and geological history of the area. You will then get to see how the birds, fish, mammals, plants, forests, rivers, and climate all weave together to create this lush, vibrant ecosystem!