• Wramgell St. Elias, Alaska

The best time to go to Alaska

The best time to go to Alaska

As the largest of the US states, the climate in Alaska varies dramatically according to where you are, but as a general rule it is a summer destination, with long hot days and verdant landscape, whilst the winters are dark and cold.  Average temperatures hit a pleasant 12-18ºC or 54-64ºF and the further inland you head the higher this reaches, to a maximum of 26ºC or 79ºF around the Fairbanks area. As the summer progresses the chance of rain increases too, with over 50% chance of rain in August. 

The rainfall, snowfall and temperatures that average out in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Denali vary quite widely in any particular month This goes to show the huge differences you get within the same country at one time and what you can expect from the weather when you are there.


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North America 1

When to go

This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters and overall weather. Please remember that where in the country will vary depending on month of travel.

When to go to Alaska by location

South East & South West

These areas are typically wet and cool, with temperatures averaging 10 - 15ºC or 50 – 59ºF. The South Eastern Panhandle is where Ketchikan, just south of Juneau and Sitka, holds the record of 17ft of rain in one year, whereas other areas receive as little as 20 inches. As the area is temperate rainforest, you could experience rainfall at any time of year, but the summer months between May and September offer the mildest, driest weather, when temperatures can reach up to 18°C or 65°F. Southeast Alaska is home to brown and black bears and humpback whales, with the optimum months between July and August.

South Central

This part of Alaska tends to stay temperate year-round thanks to the moderating effects of the sea, and it is more accessible than some other parts of the state. This region receives a significant amount of snow in the winter. The average summer temperature here is 12 - 18 ºC, being between 3 - 6 ºC warmer in cities such as Anchorage as they are a little further inland. Even further inland, the summer average is even higher, sometimes reaching 26 ºC in places such as Fairbanks. It is here you can see the Kodiak bears of Katmai, and the best time to see them is July and August.

Far North

The natural wonders and rich Eskimo heritage of the Far North are most popularly visited during the summer season between mid-June and August. The number of daylight hours ranges from 0 in December to 24 in June/July. Eskimo whaling culture can be witnessed each spring time when the annual bowhead whale hunt and commences.


This region is known to experience extremes of weather, with temperatures as low as -54°C or -65°F in Fairbanks during the winter months, whilst averaging 17°C or 62°F in summer. Wildlife in the Taiga forests is less obvious than in other areas due to the harsh climate here. Wolves, lynx, moose and caribou grow thicker coats in order to keep the cold at bay! 

Alaska Monthly Overviews

Read more about each month on the following pages:

Grizzly bear, Alaska

Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on travelling to Alaska.