When to go to Alaska? The answer to the question can vary depending on the reason you are wanting to visit this spectacular state. Almost every one goes to Alaska to experience the outdoors and the magnificent encounters with nature. The aurora lights, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, can be experienced in Alaska and serve as one of the reasons people travel to the state.
Some of the common reasons visitors travel to Alaska is salmon fishing, wildlife viewing, camping and hiking, whale watching or cruising. Because of the expense many people will take two weeks or more to experience a combination activities. No matter drives you, you will find the answers to the question When to go to Alaska?
The best time to go to Alaska for the majority of activities is over the summer months from June through August. Almost all of the desired activities are best during one of these months. The Alaska tourism season is actually considered from mid-May through mid-September.
The longest day (amount of daylight) will occur towards the end of the third week of June. June is the driest month and probably considered the target month because of the amount of daylight and the clear weather. However it can easily be too early for prime wildlife viewing because of lingering snow. This is also the worst time for mosquitos. July is the warmest month whereas August is the wettest. One of the most important facts that need to be highlighted is the unpredictable weather which can be extreme at any moment.
There are a few specific winter activities that will bring people to Alaska, but tourism in Alaska during the winter months is limited. The extreme weather noted above can be even more dramatic during the winter months between late September through the end of April.
The best time to go to Alaska for a cruise is during the summer months between June and August. The weather is best during these months and you have the greatest variety of activities to engage. The drawback is that the prices will be higher for both the cost of the cruises and the activities that you look to experience.
The last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of September usually provide travelers with a discount or lesser cost per cruise ship cabin. There is usually fewer people traveling making it easier to get around or have access to one of the activities you want to explore.
The best time to go to Alaska for whale watching is between the months of April through September. Although the whales are present on into November, these are the better months because of the anticipated weather. Visitors will have an opportunity to experience some of the 600 humpbacks and orcas the live in these waters.
When it comes to wildlife, there are no guarantees. However the probabilities are high that if you going whale watching during the months of June, July and August that you will see whales. Fishermen, boaters and other tours radio back and forth with whale sighting communications. This makes it easier for the captain of your vessel to navigate to where whales are. Just remember they are wild and not trained, so where they are is unpredictable.
Grizzly bears are considered one of the prize sightings of wildlife in Alaska. It is possible to see them in June, but the more exciting encounters comes from witnessing them hunt the salmon as the fish make their run upstream. Experiencing black bears, brown bears or grizzlies hunting salmon is most likely going to occur between July and September. The greatest concentration will be between mid-July through mid-August. The schedule for any of these bears is based on the schedule of the salmon, which varies annually.
Caribou will be most abundant during the summer months of mid-June through mid-August. As the colder temperatures start to set in, they will be migrating away. There is almost a few stragglers through mid-September giving you a chance to experience these fascinating creatures. Who knows, maybe they are migrating to the north pole so that they can interview for potential sleigh pulling duties.