• Wramgell St. Elias, Alaska

The best time to go to Alaska

The best time to visit Alaska is between May and September. 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.

Wherever in The Great Land you are hoping to visit, how you plan and what to bring will be important considerations due to the diversity of climates.


• Browse our Alaska holidays
• Download our free grizzly bear guide
• Contact our Destination Specialist for advice

Alaska Wildlife Safari Holiday

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! 

Ultima Thule Lodge, Alaska

When to go to Alaska if you want to see...

Birds - Alaska's birdlife is prolific, the famous bald eagle is best seen in the summer months.

Grizzly Bears - These impressive mammals are often the focus of an Alaska safari and are best seen in the summer months when they forage for food and fish from rivers.

Whales - Humpbacks and orcas can be seen in the stunning Kenai Fjords, among other locations. The best time is the summer months, June to September.

Alaska Wildlife Safari Holiday

Alaska Monthly Overviews

Read more about each month on the following pages:


When to go to Alaska if you want to experience…

Fishing grizzlies – The salmon spawns between June and September, and grizzlies hang around the rivers, swiping them with their powerful jaws.

Heli-hiking and kayaking - The summer is best for this, when the sun is bright and the air clear.

Walking with grizzly bears - From June to September you can actually walk among the giant grizzlies on our specialist departures.

Experience remote wilderness - Parks such as Wrangell St. Elias can be visited year-round; in winter it is covered in snow, in summer it is possible to track bears, wolves and other wildlife.

Grizzly bear, Alaska

Your Next Steps

View our Alaska safaris, or talk to one of our specialists for more details on Alaska. Please note we recommend a budget of from £7,000 / $10,000 USD per person for our style of trip to this destination.