Traveling to Alaska during July and August enlightens all the senses by offering vibrant colors, sounds, smells, and tastes of an amazingly wondrous state. It is the only time that all that the state has to offer is open and full of energy.
Compared to winter, more animals are on the move, roads and trails are free of snow so easier to traverse, and excursions of every kind are beckoning to all tourists. The summer months are also the busiest so taking the time to research areas less traveled will help to not get caught up in heavy crowds.
If you plan to visit the Last Frontier in July and August be ready to be immersed in the ultimate Alaska experience with our guide below. We cover everything in detail: Weather, what to wear, crowds, how to get around, driving, mosquito tips, things to do, wildlife, and more. Written by an Alaska local!
The climate in July and August varies across the three main regions of the state: Arctic, Interior, and Coastal. The amount of daylight differs along with the average daily temperatures by the northern region having the longest days and coolest climate.
July has the warmest temperatures of the year in Alaska. The average highs range from 61°F (16°C) to 73°F (23°C) in the interior and coastal regions. The days are long with over 19 hours of daylight in many regions. July is also one of the driest months with a 27% chance of rain on average. All trails and roads are accessible and snow-free.
Alaska is mostly mild and warm in August with average high temperatures from 60°F (15°C) to 67°F (20°C) in the most-visited areas. Temperatures are dropping 5-10°F towards the end of the month. The average rainfall is between 1.8 and 3.1 inches in Anchorage and 6.8 to 10.9 inches in Juneau. It doesn’t snow in August.
Temperatures by Region
In the Arctic region, July renders nearly 24 hours of daylight and high/low temperatures of 45°F(13°C)/33°F(6°C). By August, the daylight has subsided to 20 hours but the temperature highs have only lowered by 4ºF(-16ºC) and lows stay in sync with July.
The Interior region’s daylight lasts about 19 and 18 hours respectively for July and August allowing for high/low temperatures in July of 70ºF(21ºC)/50ºF(10ºC). Then dropping only by 5ºF(-15ºC) for both temperatures in August.
The Coastal region can boast about the warmest temperatures with 18 hours of daylight in both months resulting in July high/lows of 65°F(18°C)/50°F(10°C) and August highs less by 5ºF(-15ºC) and lows equal to July. Cloud cover and wind conditions can affect daily temperatures in all regions.
Temperature increases in July & August:
- Arctic: 2°F(-17°C) increase – highs from 45°F(7°C) to 47°F(9°C)
- Interior: 10°F(-12°C) increase – highs from 70°F(21°C) to 80°F (27°C)
- Southern Coastal: 5°F(-15°C) increase – highs from 65°F(18°C) to 70°F(21°C)
Average high temperatures in July & August:
- Anchorage: 67°F(19°C) – South Central
- Denali National Park: 65°F(18°C) – Interior
- Fairbanks: 71°F(22°C) – Interior
- Katmai National Park: 64°F(18°F) – Southern Peninsula
- Homer: 61°F(16°C) – Southern Kenai Peninsula
- Juneau: 80°F (27°C) – Southeast
- Seward/Kenai Fjords National Park: 61°F (16°C) – Southern Coastal
- Arctic region – 35°F(2°C)/42°F(6°C)
- Interior region – 53°F(12°C)/65°F(18°C)
- Southern Coastal region – 53°F(12°C)/60°F(16°C)
The wind in Alaska depends upon the topography of a location as well as the weather conditions. Across the state, wind conditions vary greatly. Average wind speeds below:
- Aleutians Islands – 26 mph
- Denali – 20 mph
- Fairbanks – 18 mph
- Haines – 16 mph
- Nome – 16 mph
- Juneau – 13 mph
- Anchorage – 7 mph
Find the windiest locations at the end of this article.
July and August are the warmest and some of the driest months in Alaska. Find the average amount of rainy days below:
- Arctic Fairbanks area (July/August) – 9/11 days
- Southcentral Anchorage area (July/August) – 12/14 days
- Inside Passage Juneau area (July/August) – 17/18 days
- Southwest Kodiak/Aleutian Islands area (July/August) – 15/14 days
When it rains in the summer, it can be quick showers or all-day downpours. Always check the weather forecast and be prepared for anything.
Snow is rare in July and August in Alaska but always remember anything is possible in this climate. Being the summer season, the snow seen in the state will mainly be in the upper mountainous elevations at the summit and glacial areas. At all other elevations, the snow has melted and summer is in full force.
July and August average snowfall amounts:
- Far North Barrow area (July/August)- 0.0“/0.0cm
- Interior Alaska – Fairbanks area (July/August) – 0.0”/0.0cm
- Southcentral Anchorage area (July/August) – 0.0”/0.0cm
- Southeast Juneau area (July/August) – 0.0”/0.0cm
- Southwest Kodiak area (July/August) – 0.0”/0.0cm
During July and August, the daylight hours are at their maximum, giving tourists the longest amount of time for sightseeing. Civil Twilight is about one hour of time before sunrise and after sunset when the sun drops just below the horizon but there’s still enough light for activities.
Daylight hours in July/August around the state are listed below:
- Fairbanks: July/August – 21/18 hours (July No Civil Twilight)
- Anchorage: July/August- 19/17 hours (July No Civil Twilight)
- Juneau: (July/August) – 18/17 hours
- Seward: (July/August) – 18/17 hours
- Nome: (July/August) – 21/18 hours (No Civil Twilight)
What to Wear | What to Pack
Layering is essential, even in the summer months. The weather can change fast at any time and the conditions vary across Alaska. At higher elevations and during morning and evening hours, it will be chillier. Also, keep in mind that extreme windy locations (see our list at the end of the article) have an effect on the perceived temperature. All of these areas and the different times of the day require layering.
During Alaska’s summer in July and August, you should wear moisture-wicking fabrics such as nylon and spandex. They are great for this climate and are easy to layer. For cooler summer days or mornings, wool/fleece sweaters and socks keep you warm and work well in layering. For sunny days pack shorts and short-sleeved shirts.
Waterproof clothing as the top layer is an important factor when being exposed to Alaska’s unpredictable weather.
Our pants tips:
Shoes: Insulated, durable waterproof/resistant shoes/boots with good sole traction will provide travelers with a cozy and dry experience during any excursion. Some boot suggestions are Baffin or BOGS brands (check prices on Amazon.com). They have numerous designs and are perfect for Alaska’s environment.
Jacket: A fleece or nylon blend jacket with a hood or any waterproof/resistant jacket should be your outer (shell) layer. Even if your jacket has a hood, bringing a toboggan, scarf and waterproof/resistant gloves are essential. Our jacket tips on Amazon:
How many jackets? Depending on the length of your trip, we recommend bringing two (or even three) light jackets for your Alaska summer adventure.
Shorts/Sandals: For July and August, you can add shorts and summer shirts made of moisture-wicking materials as well as closed-toed sandals with durable, good traction soles. If it does get hot, wearing lighter-colored clothing absorbs less heat. That allows you to stay cooler and also helps to repel mosquitoes.
- Nylon/Spandex shirts, shorts, pants/leggings – skin layer or top layer
- Wool/Fleece Sweaters – mid-layer
- Waterproof/Resistant pants – outer layer
- Waterproof/Resistant coat with hood
- Waterproof ball cap
- Waterproof/resistant gloves
- Merino wool socks or any warm moisture-wicking socks
- Waterproof/Resistant shoes closed-toed sandals, and or boots
*Cotton clothing is not preferable due to its ability to absorb moisture
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Paracord Bracelet – If going to remote areas
- Bug Spray
- Mosquito netting for your head
- Windproof umbrella
- Eye mask
- Portable charger
- Chapstick – Alaska’s climate is dry
- Lotion, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner
- Reusable Water Bottle – Tap water is ok to drink
- Binoculars (some tours may provide them as well)
- Cash – In some areas, vendors may not take credit/debit cards or digital payments
- Hand and Toe warmers for colder days
Crowds | How Busy Is It?
July/August are the busiest months for traveling in Alaska. The weather is at its best and all activities are in play. Many popular tours and excursions will be busy and crowded. Cruise ships are docking daily at the ports and tours of every kind are running at their maximum.
Crowded places: Some of the busiest areas such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, Denali, Juneau, Talkeetna, Girdwood, and Seward-Kenai Peninsula will be booming with tourists.
Most traveled roads: The majority of visitors travel south from Anchorage on the Seward and Sterling highways to places on the Kenai Peninsula destination, or north up the Parks Highway to Denali National Park and Fairbanks.
Our 5 top tips to avoid the crowds
- If you are visiting cruise towns you can avoid the crowds by traveling further inland to see the area. Most cruise passengers stay in close vicinity to the dock (2-3 blocks radius).
- To miss the crowds in typical tourist areas, you can take the ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway System. This ferry takes you to less frequented parts of Alaska’s inside passage, for example, Wrangell (The downside: It can take between 3-6 hours to go from port to port).
- Visit Alaska areas that are less known such as Kodiak Island (must take a flight there) or Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Book a remote outback hunting or fishing expedition or even a guided hike and stay in a secluded B&B or wilderness lodge. Finally, take a road trip on the Glenn Highway into the Copper River Basin or Richardson Highway between Valdez and Fairbanks.
- You can avoid crowds via charter flight to Whittier, Seward, and Haines. They offer drop-offs to remote beaches and islands. You can spend a day beachcombing or even a full week camping and fishing.
- To avoid fishing crowds, contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, adfg.alaska.gov/sf/Fishing, to find out during your trip where the fishing won’t be so heavily populated. Areas that draw a lot of fishing crowds are Russian River, Ship Creek, Seward Beaches, and Homer Lagoon.
With the amount of daylight in July and August, it is not a good time to view the Northern Lights in Alaska. This beautiful phenomenon is most easily seen from September – to April.
For more fall tips visit our guide to Alaska in September.
Booking in Advance
It’s peak season! July and August are both the busiest month in Alaska. Book well in advance. Some tours can be booked on short notice, but we always recommend making reservations in advance for hotels and tour activities.
- Anchorage (via booking.com): Sort by star rating & price
- Talkeetna – Hotel Deals: We recommend staying one night in Talkeetna when driving from Anchorage to Denali
- Denali National Park (we recommend Healy instead of the touristy Glitter Gulch)
- Fairbanks (via booking.com): Sort by star rating & price
- Seward (via booking.com): Sort by star rating & price
Tip: Bookmark the links if you want to browse for the best prices later.
- Peak season: Late June, July, and early August
- Time of day: At dawn or dusk (peak time)
Summer is mosquito season, in particular throughout July and in early August.
Worse areas: If traveling north of the Arctic Circle, there will be a heavy mosquito presence. You will encounter a larger mosquito presence in heavily wooded areas, near streams or lakes. Denali National Park is known for its larger mosquito populations.
Better areas: These little critters aren’t as bad in the urban areas, especially in major cities like Anchorage and Juneau. Also, you won’t encounter many of them along the coast due to the constant breeze.
Tips to avoid getting bitten: Carry bug spray. Most experts recommend DEET. Additionally, wearing light-colored clothing will help to repel the mosquitoes. You can keep the mosquitoes from your head with a waterproof ball cap along with a mosquito head net over it. Additionally, avoid anything that is scented, like scented lotions or shampoo.
Warmer weather and longer days make July and August prime time for Alaskan excursions. Being able to book activities as late as 10 pm, provides tourists with an enormous amount of time to enjoy this beautiful state. Listed below are activities that travelers can book in July and August across the state.
- 4 Wheeling/ATV Tours
- Glacier & Wildlife Cruises
- Gold Panning & Mining
- Glacier Hiking
- White Water Rafting
- Kayaking, Canoeing & SUP
- Railroad Tours
- Drive the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to Whittier
- Summer Dog Sledding
- Wildlife Viewing
- Photography Tours
- Rafting & River Trips
- Fishing: Ocean and River
Flightseeing | Day Cruise | Arctic Circle
Alaska is a wonderful and magical place to experience in July and August. The state is so large one could travel the whole summer and not see the entire state. We recommend at least one of these three intriguing experiences below. You will be touched by the magical spirit only Alaska can offer in July and August:
- Talkeetna (between Anchorage and Denali): On a jaw-dropping plane flight you will experience glaciers, massive mountains, and the majesty of Denali itself. Visit Talkeetna when driving from Anchorage to Denali. Reservations: Talkeetna: Mountain Voyager with Optional Glacier Landing
- Seward: On an incredible day-cruise through the Kenai Fjords National Park, you’ll see whales, wildlife, mountains, and glaciers. Enjoy the incredible beauty of Alaska’s pristine waters. Reservations here: Seward: Kenai Fjords National Park 6-Hour Cruise
- Fairbanks: On this unique tour with excellent and super-friendly guides, you visit the spectacular Arctic Circle and walk through the breathtaking landscapes around Yukon River. Reservations here: Arctic Circle Adventure – Full-Day Tour
The Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise (see above) is amazing for whale watching and the summer months are the peak time for many species.
If you are in Juneau as well, we highly recommend this Whale Watching Adventure. You will be able to spot humpbacks, killer whales, and other fascinating species in July and August.
Tip: Always make whale watching reservations in advance as these tours are likely to sell out!
- Car: Throughout July and August
- Motorcoach (Bus): Every day in July and August
- Train: Every day in July and August
Once you arrive in Anchorage or in Seward, the best ways to travel in Alaska during the summer months are by car, train, or motorcoach/bus. A great idea is to combine train and motorcoach if you are using a rental car. By taking the train on at least one route, you are able to view mesmerizing landscapes that can only be seen on the railroad.
Tip: Most locals say, that the most scenic landscape via train is the train route from Anchorage to Seward. The views are truly unique on this 4-hour ride.
In July and August you have access to all three modes of transportation:
- Car: Renting a car is the best way if you want maximum flexibility. Since all roads are clear of snow and accessible in the summer, you can drive to most places easily. Make your reservation for a rental car in Anchorage well in advance.
- Motorcoach: The Alaskan Park Connection Motorcoach is a very convenient way to get to and from Anchorage, Denali Park, Seward, Talkeetna, and Whittier. There are two daily departures from Anchorage to both Seward and Denali National Park. Make sure to check the current schedule: Official Alaska Coach Park Connection Schedule
- Train: Experience Alaska by train is more expensive than the motorcoach, but a truly unique adventure. Trains are available to all major destinations: Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali Park, Fairbanks, Whittier, and Seward. Check the official schedule here: Official Alaska Railroad Schedule
Tip: If you visit Alaska via cruise ship and arrive in Seward or Whittier, you can make use of the many transfer options offered by Alaska Train & Motorcoach.
Estimated Travel Times
Anchorage to Seward:
- Car: 2.5 hours
- Motorcoach: 3 hours
- Train: 4 hours
Anchorage to Denali:
- Car: 4.5 hours
- Motorcoach: 5 hours
- Train: 8 hours
Denali to Fairbanks:
- Car: 2.5 hours
- Motorcoach: 3 hours
- Train: 4 hours
Driving and Roads
Driving around the state of Alaska can be mind-blowing. The absolute beauty it offers can render someone into a state of awe but planning ahead is key in being able to experience a wonderful as well as safe trip.
July and August have the best and safest road conditions but driving on your own through Alaska should be done with caution. Even with snowmelt happening a few months earlier, travelers need to always be aware of constantly changing weather and road conditions.
Unmaintained highways over the winter:
- Denali Park Road: Open year-round but only maintained to park headquarters at mile 3.4 and the road is open to the public from late April until the shuttle buses start running in mid-May. Check the park website for road conditions: nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/conditions.htm – Only the first 15 miles paved
- Denali Highway: Typically reopens by May 15 – Partially paved
- Taylor Highway: Runs from the Alaska Highway to Eagle, Alaska – Only open during the summer and partially paved
- McCarthy Road: – Wrangell-St. Elias National Park – Open year-round – Unpaved
Highways open and maintained over the winter:
- Dalton Highway: Fairbanks to Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean – Partially paved
- Seward Highway: Anchorage to Seward – Completely paved
- Alaska Highway: Southeast Alaska to British Columbia, Canada – Completely paved
- Glenn Highway: Connects Anchorage and the Alaska Highway – Completely paved
When renting vehicles, rental car companies may require renters to sign compliance forms agreeing not to drive off paved roads. The choice of the rental depends on where you want to travel to. If renting a car, inquire at the rental agency as to which vehicle is best for the area you are driving. Off-road and higher elevations need vehicles like a Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Tacoma or 4 Runner. Having the proper items with you during a road trip in Alaska is essential. Important items needed are shown below:
- All-weather or Studded tires for snow-covered roads
- Test car battery
- Change the oil
- Clean battery terminals
- Lubricate door locks, door hinges, and window weather stripping
- Check tire tread and air pressure
Essential Items to store in your vehicle:
- Emergency Kit: Jumper cables, car tools, water, non-perishable foods, flashlight, first aid kit, and warming blankets
- Tow rope and snow shovel
- Tire changing tools
Alaska is in full swing during July and August. All facilities from campgrounds to hotels, and restaurants will be open and running at full speed. Any questions travelers have about campground details can be obtained from the Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation website: dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/open.htm#se.
All the national parks across the state will be welcoming visitors and offering stellar views and experiences. If travelers need assistance with their vacation plans at any of the park facilities, they can contact the US National Park Service website to plan their trip: nps.gov/kefj/planyourvisit/hours.htm#.
Popular facilities to visit:
- Bird Creek Campground – Chugach State Park, Anchorage
- Red Squirrel Campground – Fairbanks
- Deep Creek Beach Campground – Kenai Peninsula
- Pike’s Waterfront Lodge – Fairbanks
- Hotel Captain Cook – Anchorage
- Pearson’s Pond Luxury Suites – Juneau
- The Porthole – Seward
- Simon & Seafort’s Saloon & Grill – Anchorage
- 229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern – Denali National Park
During the pandemic and post-pandemic, we still recommend checking with any facilities to make sure they will be open due to the constant change in restrictions and staffing shortages.
The summer months give tourists the most ways to view wildlife. Whether one drives throughout the state or books a tour, July and August provide the best weather Alaska can offer which increases how many places can be traversed to view all the amazing creatures that call the 49th state their home.
- Humpback whales: Between Homer and Kodiak
- Orcas: Seward, Juneau, and Ketchikan
- Beluga whales: Beluga Point Lookout (Turnagain Arm, Seward Highway, south of Anchorage)
- Salmon runs: Ship Creek (Port of Anchorage), William Jack Hernandez Fish Hatchery (Anchorage), Indian Creek (Chugach State Park), Williwaw Creek Fish Viewing Platform (Turnagain Arm), Eagle River Nature Center Salmon Viewing (Eagle River), Russian and Kenai Rivers (Kenai Peninsula)
- Sea Otters: Aleutian Islands, across the Kenai Peninsula, and the Gulf of Alaska
- Beavers: Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge (Potter Marsh, Anchorage) and all across Alaska except the northern tundra
Special Tip | Salmon Run at Brooks Falls:
The salmon run Katmai National Park peaks in July as thousands of salmon pass through. The perfect hunting opportunity for the bears. Check our complete Brooks Falls Bears Salmon Run Guide /travel-listing/brooks-falls-bears-katmai-national-park In August everything is almost over and you won’t see many bears fishing during this month
- Puffins: Seward, Valdez, and Kodiak
- Bald eagles: Along Alaska’s coast, offshore islands, and interior lakes and rivers
- Song and shorebirds begin migrating (possibility of millions of birds in a flock)
- Black bears: Anan Creek (Juneau), Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site (Hyder, AK), Steep Creek (Juneau), Denali National Park (Interior)
- Brown bears: Pack Creek (Juneau), Katmai National Park (Southwest AK), Lake Clark National Park (Southwest, AK), Kodiak Island (Southwest, AK), Denali National Park (Interior), Fish Creek Observation Site (Hyder, AK)
- Moose: Westchester Lagoon, Kincaid Park, Potter Marsh, Earthquake Park, and Point Woronzof Park (Anchorage), Powerline Pass (Chugach State Park), Palmer Hay Flats (Knik Arm Wetland), Denali National Park (Interior), Fairbanks, Talkeetna, and Palmer
- Caribou: Denali National Park (Interior), Kenai Peninsula (Southern AK), Glenn Highway near Eureka Summit (Matanuska-Susitna County), Denali Highway (from Paxson to Cantwell), Steese Highway (North of Fairbanks), Dalton Highway (North of Fairbanks), Nome, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Utqiagvik, AK), and Onion Portage (Kobuk Valley National Park)
- Dall Sheep: Windy Corner (Chugach State Park), Bird Point Wayside (Anchorage), Twin Peaks Trail (near Anchorage), and Powerline Trail (Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK),
Tip: Many of these animals can be viewed at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (Portage) and the Alaska Zoo (Anchorage). Guaranteed caribou viewing: Star the Reindeer (Anchorage), Reindeer Farm (Palmer), and Running Reindeer Ranch (Fairbanks)
July and August will provide the best weather for summer hiking. The trails should be in the best condition they will be all year along with mild temperatures. Because it is the summer season, trails like other excursions will be busier, so hiking during the week can help to avoid some crowds. List of popular hiking trails below: (Last three trails are less traveled so shouldn’t be as crowded)
- West Glacier Trail – Juneau
Moderate, 4 miles, 567 ft elevation
- Winner Creek Trail – Girdwood
All skill levels, 4.9 miles, 866 ft elevation
- Caines Head Trail – Seward (Check tide table since part of trail goes along the beach and can’t be hiked during high tide)
Difficult, 14 miles, 4796 ft elevation
- Grewingk Glacier – Kachemak Bay State Park: In May this trail might have a small amount of snow and you have to take a water taxi to get there and back
- Kesugi Ridge Trail – Denali State Park: During May will most likely still have snow and be very muddy in areas from the winter snow melt. Take microspikes for snow traction and gaiters to deal with slippery conditions
Difficult, 36.7 miles, 2000 ft elevation
- Byers Lake Trail – Denali State Park: Primitive trail and may be muddy during May’
Easy, 5 miles, No significant elevation change
- Tony Knowles Coastal Trail – Anchorage
Easy, 11 miles, No significant elevation change (entire trail paved)
- Williwaw Lakes Loop Trail: Anchorage
Moderate, 7 miles, 1500 ft elevation
- Little O’Malley Trail: – 30 minutes southeast of Anchorage
Moderate, 5 miles, 3293 elevation
- South Fork Eagle River Trail: – 30 minutes north of Anchorage
Moderate, 9 miles, 850 elevation
- Highest point on Seward Highway between Anchorage and Seward near mile marker 68
- Its elevation exposes this area to high winds
- Average temperatures range in July/August from 53°F(12°C)/66°F(19°C) and travelers should be prepared with warm, windproof layered clothing along with windproof umbrellas
- Kite Flying, Kitesurfing, and Windsurfing are popular in this area during the Summer season
- Located in southern Alaska separating the Bering Sea from the Pacific Ocean
- Islands are devoid of trees making them vulnerable to wind.
- As seen above, this area has the highest wind speeds in Alaska – 26 mph
- Average winds speed during July/August – 11-13mph
- Average temperatures during July/August range from 46°F(8°C)/54°F(12°C)
- Warm, windproof layered clothing and windproof umbrellas are essential in this area
- Located in the interior of Alaska
- Second highest wind speed location at higher elevations- 20 mph
- Average wind speed during July/August – 6-8mph
- Average park temperatures in July/August range from 52°F(11°C)/70°F(21°C), (will be cooler at higher elevations
- Be prepared with warm, windproof layered clothing and windproof umbrellas
Summer in Alaska is a special season. If you like mild temperatures and a drier climate, this is the time to visit. A wide variety of activities are available. However, with so many travelers choosing summer to experience the state, booking well in advance is key to creating an amazing vacation.