Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In June
- Warming coastal temperatures between 40-60 degrees and even warmer interior temperatures of 50-70 degrees.
- Between 18-20 hours of daylight, giving you lots of time to enjoy the Alaskan wilderness and wildlife.
- Wildlife is everywhere in June, with caribou, black bear cubs, mountain goats, moose calves, and even polar bears, out in force. On the water, pods of beluga whales can be spotted, along with plentiful seabirds and seal pups.
- Cruises offering land tours are available, as all the major national parks open in June.
- The warmer weather and longer daylight hours mean that tourist attractions in towns like Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks are fully open.
Girdwood Forest Fair. Photo by Brook Binkowski/Flicker
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.
For more information on when to visit Alaska, view our How to Choose Your Alaska Cruise guide. If you are still looking for advice on the best time of year to visit Alaska, just give us a call, our experts are ready to help.
This guide on the best time to visit Alaska is amongAdventureSmithExplorations extensive collection of travel guides the content is regularly updated by our team for accuracy. Visit our Alaska Travel Guidesfor even more resources and inspiration in planning your Alaska trip.
Have a question about the best time to visit Alaska? Use the comments below and well answer ASAP.
When Is The Best Time To See Alaskas Glaciers
Alaskas glaciers are magnificent, and Celebritys Alaska cruise itineraries take in two of the most accessible glaciers in Southeast Alaska: Hubbard Glacier and Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier.
The height of the Alaska cruise season is the best time to cruise Alaska on these itineraries to ensure youll be able to see and enjoy the glaciers on each of the routes.
Cruising during peak season increases the probability that warmer temperatures have allowed more of the winter ice to melt, allowing for smooth sailing through the Inner Passage and the fjords, and the captains ability to get as close as possible to the glacier to give you the most spectacular experience possible.
When sailing the Hubbard Glacier itinerary, your ships captain will slowly turn the ship so that passengers on all sides will be able to enjoy the view and witness any calving that might occur while the ship is in the glaciers vicinity.
Sailing the Endicott Arm fjord toward Dawes Glacier is just as spectacular an itinerary, and this Alaskan glacier is just as magnificent.
For these peak season Alaska cruise routes, its advisable to book early so you get the best stateroom. Booking a veranda stateroom ensures that youll have your own private space to see glaciers during your cruise.
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Alaska Cruise Weather: June
If youre planning an Alaska cruise in June, temperatures average a low of 45 and a high of 62. June is tied with July as the least rainy month, with Ketchikan receiving an average rainfall of less than 7.5 inches. Alaska cruise weather in late June is some of the best, with 18 hours of daylight and plenty of sun. If youre lucky, it might even get hot!
With drier ground in June than May, Alaska cruisers can start to hike in earnest. Whether youre hiking on your own or with a guide, be sure to pack appropriate gear, such as backpacks with bear bells, water bottles, snacks, and most important bug spray. The mosquitos start being a nuisance in June.
For other shore excursions, layering is your best bet. You might need a fleece jacket in the morning, but find yourself stripping down to a T-shirt by early afternoon. A packable rain jacket is always good to have on hand, since you never know when youll get caught in a summer squall.
The warmer Alaska weather makes June the best times to see calving glaciers during scenic cruise days. June is also one of the best months for whale-watching late June and early July are the best times for bear-spotting excursions.
Because of the fine Alaska weather in late June, its an excellent time to plan a cruise tour to Denali. The full road will be open, days will be long and dry, and you have an increased chance of seeing active wildlife.
Cruise fares in June will be higher than May, but better than the prime summer months.
Best Time Of Year To Take An Alaskan Cruise: Wildlife
Besides the majestic snow-capped mountains, fjords, and glaciers, you are probably traveling to Alaska to see the wildlife. Many will tell you that anytime during the months of May through September is the best time of year to go on an Alaskan cruise to see wildlife. While compared to the winter months that might be true, but some months are better than others for viewing some wildlife.
In terms of whales, you have the opportunity to see a variety of different species on an Alaskan cruise. The most common whales in the region are the massive Humpback Whales. While they are found in the Gulf of Alaska during the entire cruise season, you have the best chance of spotting pods during the months of June and July.
Most whale watching tours will guarantee a whale sighting, but they wont tell you what types of whales you will see or how many.
If bears are what you are looking to discover on an Alaskan cruise, then traveling from late June through early August will increase your likelihood of seeing these creatures, especially if you take tours that depart from Juneau or Ketchikan.
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Alaska Cruise Weather In August
Like July, nights and early mornings can be very cold, so late nighters and early risers should be prepared to bundle up for icy temperatures. Plenty of layers are also essential in August, and travelers should be sure to pack waterproof jackets, shoes, and bags as August and September are among the rainiest months of the year.
Timing & Latitude In Alaska
While this Alaska by Month guide is a valuable resource for planning when to go, wildlife and weather can never be fully predicted, especially in a land as powerful as Alaska. Life in Alaska is greatly affected by latitude variances, as slight latitude shifts can result in big seasonal and light changes. The nature of small ship cruising is to be flexible and nimble, and this ethos should be applied to any trip in Alaska, by land or sea. After all, the surprise in what you experience while in Alaska is a big part of the fun.
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When Is The Best Time To Cruise To Alaska To See Whales
Watching a humpback or an orca arc gracefully out of Alaskas blue-green water is a sight youll never forget.
On an Alaska whale-watching cruise, youll have the chance to see some of the states eight magnificent species of whales that frequent its icy waters. As luck would have it, the entire Alaska cruise season is also prime whale-watching season.
Depending on which itinerary you sail and when you choose to cruise, you can increase your chances of seeing certain species, including humpbacks, orcas, and Minke whales. Dont forget to throw in a good pair of binoculars when planning your Alaska cruise packing list.
You can spot whales on Alaska shore excursions like a safari vessel whale-sighting tour in Stephens Passage, Juneau, to evening whale-quest cocktail cruises where sighting a whale is guaranteed.
You may even catch a glimpse of a whale swimming alongside your cruise ship as you sip morning coffee on your stateroom veranda its just one of the joys of cruising to Alaska.
Humpback whales start making their journey from the warm waters of Mexico and Hawaii in March and April, and by June and July theyre happily feeding in the waters of Alaskas Inside Passage.
Seeing a single whale, as they prefer to travel, or in small pods, as they like to feed, is highly likely. If humpbacks are your favorite, book an Inside Passage cruise during late June, July, or August.
Visiting Alaska In January
Alaskas long winter stretches from October through to April, during which temperatures plunge to well below freezing, the nights are long and much of the state goes into a hibernation-like shutdown. Although winter sports are available and a few lodges offer northern lights viewing, this is not the best time of year to visit Alaska.
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What Is The Best Month To Cruise Alaska
The best month to visit Alaska depends on what you hope to experience during your trip.
- Do you want as much sun and daylight as possible? Then book a June or July cruise.
- Would you like to see lots of wildlife? Then purchase a May, August, or September cruise as these months feature young animal families and migrations.
- Do you want to get into the interior and see Denali National Park or the Yukon? Then select July or August.
- Are you chasing bright tree foliage? Then book a cruise at the end of August or in September.
- Would you like to avoid mosquitoes? Then May and September are the best months for your cruise.
- Are northern lights on the itinerary? Then your trip will be in September or October. Would you like to fish for salmon? Then select any summer or shoulder month.
The good news is that no matter which month you choose, your Alaskan cruise will reward you with incredible experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
Whens The Best Time To See The Northern Lights On An Alaska Cruise
Seeing the northern lights from the cruise ship is a rare occurrence, but if youd like to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis from the balcony on your stateroom, then you need to book a trip in late September or early October.
To maximize your chance of witnessing the northern lights, get off the boat and join a land excursion to Fairbanks. The aurora season in Fairbanks lasts from the end of August to April and the lights can be seen 4 out of 5 nights .
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The Best Time For A Cruise To Alaska If You Want To The Northern Lights
Unfortunately, if your goal is to see the Northern Lights, you will have to compromise in terms of ideal weather conditions. You will have slim-to-none chance of seeing the lights during the summer months, but if you come during September, you might just have a shot!
Whats interesting is that the conditions that create the aurora borealis are present all year long, but in order to be seen, youll need dark, clear skies and a bit of luck. Because Alaskas summer days are so long, it does not create dark enough conditions to view the lights.
The ideal time to view the Northern Lights is actually outside of the cruise season window, between late September and April. However, there is some opportunity in September for you to spot the aurora during a particularly fortunate night.
While going on an Alaska cruise this late in the season also gives you the opportunity to catch a last-minute deal, youll give yourself the best chance of spotting the Northern Lights. There is certainly no guarantee that youll see them, but the later you can go, the better, as there will be long nights late in the season.
You can also improve your chances by taking a land or sea tour that includes one or more nights in Fairbanks, which lies just under 200 miles below the Arctic Circle. This area is considered one of the best in the state, and the world, to see the aurora, especially if you are able to venture away from the city lights.
When Is The Best Time To Find Special Offers On An Alaska Cruise
If you have a flexible travel schedule and dont have a specific stateroom in mind, consider visiting Alaska during shoulder season.
Shoulder season for the Alaska cruise season includes the months of May and September. The weather is still cool or cooling down , and with school still in session or just beginning, special offers can be found during these months.
During May cruises to Alaska, its still on the cold side , so you may find the states wildlife just emerging. The weather may also play a role in your cruise ships route, as some areas may still be unpassable with ice. However, May is the states driest month, with little to no rainfall.
Look for reduced fares when booking a cruise to Alaska in late shoulder season with the same travel benefits of still fine but changing weather.
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Best Time Of Year To Take An Alaskan Cruise: Crowds
There are also certain times of the Alaska cruise season that are preferred if you would like to avoid crowds. The busiest time of year for cruises to Alaska usually coincides with warmer weather and summer break. To avoid the crowds, you should skip cruising in the middle of the season, especially July. If you cruise during this time, be prepared to share Alaska with thousands of other cruisers.
If you take an Alaskan cruise during the shoulder seasons, you will not only save money but you will avoid the crowds, especially families. In April/May kids are usually still in school, and they are usually back to school by September. The number of families and kids will of course vary based on the cruise line and cruise ship you choose. Popular mega-ships from brands like Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean will inevitably have more families onboard.
The Best Months For An Alaska Cruise For Low Prices
Alaska is not a cheap cruise, but if you want to save money on your cruise fare, then your best bet is May or September.
For the same reasons May and September feature lower crowds, these months see most often the lowest prices for a cruise because of the combination of colder temperatures and the school calendar.
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Which Month To Choose
To pick the right time of year to cruise for you, you will have to weigh cruise costs, weather, and what you are most interested in seeing. Alaska cruise prices are lowest in May or September. The least amount of rain is typically in May or early June. June, July and August offer the warmest temperatures and some of the most active wildlife spotting opportunities.
- Best value: May or September
- Best time for whale watching: June or July
- Best time for bears, moose and other animals: August
The bottom line is a cruise to Alaska is rarely disappointing. Regardless of which month you choose, Alaska is a fantastic place to explore and each month provides some intriguing benefits.
Whens The Best Time To Cruise To Alaska For Salmon Fishing
Luckily, any cruise season month is a good time to fish for salmon in Alaska. Heres a quick guide to help you time your trip to match when your favorite salmon is running:
- King salmon: May-June
- Silver salmon: Mid July-late August
- Chum salmon: July-August
Cruise ship in Alaska. Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.
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Visiting Alaska In July
Beginning in July and stretching through to the end of August the summer is the nicest time of year to travel. July is the best month to visit, although it is also the busiest. Warm days and short nights make this a really nice time of year to visit and much of the states iconic wildlife is very active.
Events & Festivals
- Fourth of July: The population of Seward swells from around 2,500 to nearly 40,000 for the July Fourth celebrations. The Main Street is blocked off to traffic as the streets fill with a parade, entertainers and a series of brightly decorated floats.
- Alaskan State Fair : Taking place in Palmer, this is the largest event of the state with a fairground, carnival and concert to mark the last few days of summer.
When To Cruise Juneau
Last but not least, dont miss Juneau the capital of Alaska. Surrounded by mountains and lush green landscapes, Juneau has plenty to keep you entertained. You can explore the town, shopping and eating to your hearts content, or learn more about Juneau at the state capital building.
The Alaska State Museum is perfect for history buffs. Active travelers can hike up Mount Roberts, or you can take a tram ride to the top of the mountain. Either way, youll enjoy jaw-dropping panoramic views across the city.
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Alaska Cruise Weather: May
Alaska cruise temperatures in May average lows around 40 and highs around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. May tends to be slightly rainier than June and July, with a slight chance of snow earlier in the month.
Ketchikan averages 16 hours of daylight in May youll get even longer days as you travel north to Anchorage, and still more if you take a cruise tour up to Fairbanks. However, daylight hours in May are a few hours shorter than what youll experience if you travel around the spring equinox in late June.
Expect to see plenty of snow-capped peaks in May. If you travel up into the hills or mountains on a shore excursion, its common to find snow still on the ground. Youll want to pack waterproof hiking boots and warm, waterproof layers to handle any wet or chilly spring weather.
Mosquitos are not the problem in May that they are in the summer, so you dont have to worry about pesky insects. On the other hand, if youre planning a cruise tour, Denali National Park bus service doesnt begin until late May, and the road through the park is only partially open until early June.
May is the beginning of the salmon-fishing, whale-watching, and wildlife-viewing seasons, though you can spot whales and go fishing any time during the Alaska cruise season. Late May and early June are considered the best for seeing mammals, as moms and babies are out searching for food.