Anchorage: Business As Usual
Alaskas biggest cityrich with museums, shops and restaurantssees the least amount of change as August turns into September. For one thing, since this is more of a business hub than a tourist spot, hotels stay open year round, though they can offer better rates in September than you would find during the peak summer months.
September in the Anchorage area has another unique draw: The Alaska State Fair, located just 40 minutes north of the city in Palmer. That brings concerts, plenty of local goods, and the world-famous, massive vegetables that have grown all summer long under the midnight sun. It may not be a huge fair, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in character.
It’s also a popular time for multi-day photography tours. Between fall colors, bears gathering at salmon streams, and the possibility of seeing the northern lights, there’s plenty to fill your lens.
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The Timeline For Cruising Alaska
While the state is beautiful during any season, the best time to cruise Alaska is between May and September. Between these months, there is an average of zero inches of snowfall in Juneau and Anchorage. The days are longer than they are in the winter, and theres usually much more to do. The Anchorage Market, for instance, runs from mid-May to mid-September on the weekends, so no matter which month you choose, a visit may be a part of your cruise itinerary.
May to September also has the safest and calmest water to cruise on, but which of those months is the best time to take an Alaskan cruise? Well break down the pros and cons to help you decide when to experience the great Alaskan wilderness and culture. Some factors to consider include:
- Hours of daylight
- Wildlife sightings
- Potential for crowds
Check out our breakdown of the months between May and September to decide when is the best time to visit Alaska based on what you want to see and do.
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Denali: Prime For Fall Colors And Possible Snow
First the bad news: Most tours and hotels around here close between the 15th and 20th of the month, and many summer activities draw to a close by the middle of the month. Meanwhile, the national park starts offering abbreviated versions of their summer bus toursbasically, the tours only drive as far into the park as you can go without seeing signs of winter along the road . So, if you want to experience the entire park roadall the way to Kantishna and Wonder LakeSeptember is likely a no-go.
But that doesnt mean things are totally shut downand there are some nice upsides to September here. There are several B& Bs in the town of Healy that stay open year round. And the color is gorgeous: youll see a nice mix of the bright yellow deciduous trees in the lower elevations near the park entrance, and as you get into the park and the tundra emerges, youll see a vibrant, deep red. The views get even more spectacular if you take a flightseeing tour and see the parks colors from above.
Northern lights adventures with Northern Alaska Tour Company
Various Seasons For Various Cruises
As you may have guessed, are the most popular months because they are the warmest, with highs ranging from the 60s to 70s, if youre lucky. However, July and August also typically bring quite a lot of rain. But this isnt necessarily the worst news, as they are also the best months for spotting wildlife and are the peak fishing months.
The shoulder season months of May and September will offer cheaper rates and fewer crowds but also come with more unpredictable weather. Shore excursions will have a better chance of getting canceled, and snow may even be on the ground.
September, however, is the best chance cruise-takers will get for a glimpse of the Northern Lights, in addition to end-of-season shopping deals. But since the weather can be rougher, you can expect choppy water. So, if you get seasick, forget it!
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So Whens The Best Time To Cruise Alaska
May to September marks the best of Alaska cruise season, with the fall and winter being a bit too unpredictable. But of those months, which is the best time for an Alaska cruise? Thats difficult to say because every traveler is unique. If we had to pick just one month, wed lean toward June for its low rainfall and abundance of daylight hours, but you cant go wrong any time during cruise season. When you decide on what month to take your Alaskan cruise, be sure to think about factors such as the following.
Consider what you and any travel partners want to experience and any other needs you have before you book. Are you prone to seasickness? Do you need optimal conditions to get some sleep and prepare for the next day? If you cant decide on one month or dont have any particular concerns, you can always make multiple trips to experience all that Alaska has to offer!
Plan Your Alaskan Cruise With Windstar
Now that you know the best time to take an Alaskan cruise, its time to make it happen! Why not turn your dreams into reality with us at Windstar Cruises? Connect with fellow travelers and the crew as you sail the Alaskan waters on our intimate cruises. Our smaller ships give us access to ports the other ships cant reach, meaning you get a unique experience and opportunities you couldnt anywhere else.
Take a look at the Alaskan cruises we offer to see what will take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Well take you on guided fishing trips, through scenic forests and close to legendary fjords and glaciers for the Alaskan trip of a lifetime. Plan your voyage today by calling us at 800-258-7245 or requesting a call. We cant wait to have you aboard a Windstar Cruise!
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When To Go To Alaska If You Want To Avoid The Crowds
Considering that Alaska is the most remote and wild state in the US, it isnt difficult to escape the crowds even during the busiest times.
Alaska is busiest from mid-June through mid-August, which is also when you will likely experience the best weather. If youre worried about crowds, your best bet is to visit in April through May and September. During these months, the days are still long and good weather windows are still probable.
When To Cruise To Alaska
When it comes to the time of year to take a cruise in Alaska, you’re at the whim of Mother Nature. Due to the cold winters, cruises to Alaska are only available from the end of April through beginning of October. Not only is this the safest time for the cruise ships to sail to avoid any ice that may form on the water passageways, it also is the time cruisers can most enjoy being on deck of the ship and exploring each port as the weather is much warmer than in the frigid winter months.
Even in summer, though, you’ll want to pack warm layers, such as sweaters and windbreakers. The nights in Alaska can get cold plus being on the water can result in chilly breezes. Also pack clothes you’re not afraid to get dirty. Many of the most popular shore excursions and activities to do while in port involve hiking, fishing and canoeing.
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What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise In September
By the time September rolls in, its shoulder season in Alaska, meaning theres less tourists but chillier weather. Temperatures will continue to drop, with highs only reaching the mid 50s and lows going down to the mid 30s. Therefore, if you booked a to Alaska, make sure to bring heavier layers of clothes, such as thick wool sweaters, socks, hats, a warmer jacket, and a sturdy pair of gloves.
Eastern Alaska: The Quietest Place In September
When we say Eastern Alaska, we mean towns like Glenallen, Chitina, Copper Center, McCarthy, and Valdez. This area is similar to Denali in the sense that many hotels and tours shut down by mid-Septemberafter which things are really shut down. So, if you want to experience this area, you just have to come in the early part of the month.
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What To Pack For An Alaskan Cruise On Months
What to pack for an Alaskan cruise in late May Alaska cruise starts from May. Its still cold, and thats why Alaska packing list can be heaviest. You can add extra thermal tops and leggings. And yet, its still fewer tourists around. The atmosphere gets less touristy.
What to pack for Alaska cruise in June the best time for an Alaskan cruise can be June. Its the driest month. June 21 is the summer solstice. Its the longest day of the year. The weather is stable and is getting much warmer. Its just before the summer holiday season and hence before the cruise prices get higher. Bring insect repellent if you plan hiking.
What to pack for Alaska cruise in July its the best time of a year to cruise Alaska. Its summer. July is the peak holiday season. Its typically the warmest month of the summer. You do not need to add extra tops and leggings. Insect repellent and a hat are mus-items to take.
What to wear in Alaska in August its summer, and the daylight is still long. Its a beautiful month and is the hottest month. Waterproof jacket and shoes are the must item to bring with you. August tends to be the start of the rainy season.
Weather in Alaska in September for a cruise its the end of summer and is getting colder as same as May. It is still a nice season because things are much less touristy. Add extra thermal tops and leggins.
Short And Long Sleeved T
Since the weather can change drastically in the same day, especially during the Alaska cruise seasons summer months, bringing a mix of short and long-sleeved T-shirts will allow you to adapt to the days forecast easily. Those traveling during the shoulder seasons will want to bring a few more long-sleeved tees than short.
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Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In May
- May is part of the spring shoulder season and sees fewer visitors than later in the year, so you should be able to find better travel deals and lower cruise prices.
- For wildlife spotters, May offers migratory songbirds, pods of gray whales, and herds of moose. Bring a pair of binoculars and you may even catch the occasional wolf or lynx on the prowl.
Where Alaska Cruises Sail
Alaska cruise itineraries typically include the Inside Passage, a beautiful part of Alaska’s landscape that stretches along the southeast coast of Alaska. Along the way, the famous Hubbard Glacier is visible along with other glaciers and fjords. There’s also the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife.
If you’re interested in seeing more of the wilderness, many cruise lines offer cruise tours, which either start or end your cruise vacation with a land portion that takes you through the inland area of Alaska.
There are also many options for where to start your Alaska cruise. Leaving from Seattle to Vancouver means you’ll get to see parts of the Canada coast as you sail north however, if it’s a seven-night cruise your itinerary may then include more days at sea and less time in port. Leaving out of Seward, Alaska, for a week long cruise usually includes ports of call most days. Multiple week cruises in Alaska offer a variety of options for where to sail out of and what ports to see, allowing you to see many components of the cruising world of Alaska.
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Taking An Alaska Cruise In August
Youre still in peak season here, but at the back end, so you might see some deals emerge toward the end of the month. However, you should likely expect to pay full price for an August Alaska cruise.
Your chance of rain for the month is at more than 50 percent, so you should surely expect to see some rain during your cruise.
Waterproof shoes and wool socks are your best friend during July, as well as any other breathable rain gear you own. Count on getting wet, so its best to be prepared.
The famous Alaska blueberries will be in season in August so snatch up your favorite berries. You know the bears sure will be, as July still offers great chances to view them feeding on branches or salmon. Youll even have a solid chance of spotting bald eagles near salmon-spawning streams.
What To Pack For A 7 Day Cruise
A typical Alaska Cruise is a 7 day cruise. 7 day cruise packing list for Alaska can be something the underwear and day and night clothing items for 8 days. That can be enough.
Why for 8 days? You can add a pre-cruise day. It is not recommended to arrange the embarkation day and your flight arrival day on the same day. I have seen cruisers who arrived at the airport in the morning and then joining the ship. It looked very stressful. Actually they told me so. Get away from stress. Its a cruise vacation!
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Alaska Cruise Weather In September
September is the last month of the cruise season in Alaska and it is also one of the coldest, with temperatures staying in the low to high forties on average. As the month advances, the temperatures drop lower and lower, and the nights and early mornings can be bitterly cold.
The abundant cloud cover and frequent rain make the landscape all the more beautiful, but visitors should dress properly for a better overall experience. Travelers still get at least twelve hours of sunlight for excursions and deck activities, but they should pack thick pants, knit sweaters, and insulated shoes to combat the cold along with waterproof rain gear.
While Alaska might be colder than other summer vacation spots, it offers unique experiences that cant be found anywhere else. These include sightings of wild orcas, sea lions, and humpback whales and riding one of the worlds longest ziplines.
Youll also have a chance to visit the incredible Butchart Gardens, witness glaciers, pan for gold, hike through temperate rainforests, and much more. If youre prepared for the weather and pack the right attire for your destination, nothing can get in the way of having a good time.
Alaska Cruise Weather In June
Most of the month of June in Alaska is either cold or pleasantly cool with very cold temperatures being less frequent than in May. The lows can be as low as forty-three degrees Fahrenheit, and the highs can get up to the sixties on average.
Cloud cover and precipitation conditions from May persist throughout June and July, and wind speeds remain low as well. Layers are essential for this type of fluctuating weather, and travelers should be sure to pack waterproof jackets and shoes for rainy moments, cardigans or light sweaters, and other warm clothes like jeans, long skirts, and tights.
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Alaska Cruises In August
Whales and bears alike are feeding before the long winter takes hold once again. A dense population of humpbacks feeds in the waters of Southeast Alaska preparing for their journey back to Hawaiian waters. Bears are fattening up for their long, winter hibernation, and migratory birds prepare to head South.
Alaska is alive with activity in August, and the warm, summer days of Southeast Alaska cause the landscape to move and change.
Experience the powerful and incredible force of calving glaciers and moving icebergs. And there is still plenty of daylight in August to experience all you can take in aboard the Sikumi.
It can rain more in August than in other months, but it can be beautiful as well.
Alaska is a fickle state, and the weather can be unpredictable – clouds and rain one day and warm, clear skies the next.
No matter the date, we can guarantee that once you step aboard the Sikumi, your trip will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, out and away from it all in the Alaskan wilderness.
So When Is The Best Time To Visit Alaska
Considering everything stated above, we advise travelers that June 15 through August 15 is the best time to go to Alaska. But not everyone can schedule their trip during this time and as weve noted, each season has its benefits. If you plan your trip during the peak season, then plan ahead and book early as these are the dates that sell out first.
If you like this guide to the best time to visit Alaska, youll love our comprehensive travel planning services. Our experts have more information on when to visit Alaska, planning your Alaska trip or the best time of year to visit Alaska. When you are ready to book the trip of a lifetime, just give us a call, our experts are ready to help.
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