Alaska – Summer Travel Guide

Visiting Alaska this summer? We’re here to help! We answer everything you should know about

  • The Weather
  • Outfits and Packing Tips
  • Things to Do
  • Flightseeing | Wildlife Cruise | Arctic Circle
  • Driving Conditions
  • Getting Around (Train, Car)
  • Avoiding Crowds
  • Hiking
  • What is Open?

Written by a local!

Ready to transform your journey from good to unforgettable? Let’s make sure you’re fully equipped to conquer the Alaskan wilderness this summer!

IMPORTANT: To ensure you get the most detailed and useful information, we’ve split our extensive guide into two parts: one for June and another for July/August:

Missing out on our tips could mean the difference between a good vacation and an unforgettable one. From understanding the summer weather to knowing how to dress, where to go, and how to avoid the crowds, this guide has got you covered.

Want to enjoy the best hotels and tours in summer without spending a fortune? You’re in luck! Below, you’ll find our hand-picked links to unbeatable deals on top-notch stays and exciting adventures — all within your budget:

🎟️ Best Alaska Tours | GetYourGuide

🛥️ Kenai Fjords Cruise | GetYourGuide

🛖 Book Cheap Hotels in Alaska | HOTELS.COM

More essential resources:

🛣️ Alaska  Travel Guides (Amazon)

 

Alaska Travel Guide | Essential for the Summer

That’s me, reading the Milepost Alaska Travel Planner. Over 600 informative pages with essential tips and information.

Even if you only drive a few miles in Alaska, there is one guide that you must get before your trip: The MILEPOST Alaska Travel Planner (via Amazon)

‘Essential for your trip! We lived in Alaska for over 7 years, and we had the Milepost Planner in our car 100% of the time. No matter where you are or what you are looking for in Alaska, the Milepost will immediately orient you. If you don’t purchase it before going, you’ll find yourself buying one once you arrive in Alaska!’

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JUNE GUIDE

Everything you need to know when visiting Alaska in June:

June Weather

With the drier climate, June offers some extra benefits that are lessened in July and August. Anyone who travels during this time can enjoy a wide variety of adventures due to mostly pleasant weather conditions.

In June, high temperatures in Alaska’s interior and coastal regions average between 60°and 70°F (16-21°C) during the day. It’s a dry month with a 20-23% chance of rain and between 19 and 22 hours of daylight. Snow has usually melted.

Very long daylight hours can sometimes result in 80-90°F (27-32°C) in certain areas. Simply be ready for a surprise 80-degree day. Tip: We added insights about the daylight hours and the civil twilight for most regions in Alaska at the end of this article.

Cloud cover along with wind conditions are also factors to take into consideration as it influences temperatures as well.

Misty Fjords, Alaska

Average high temperatures in June:

  • Anchorage: 63°F (17°C)
  • Denali National Park: 65°F (18°C)
  • Fairbanks: 72°F (22°C)
  • Katmai National Park: 60°F (15°F)
  • Homer: 58°F (14°C)
  • Juneau: 62°F (17°C)
  • Seward/Kenai Fjords National Park: 58°F (15°C)

It may be a little cooler at the beginning of the month due to a little less daylight than towards the end of the month when hitting June 21, Summer Solstice (longest day of the year) but not by too much.

Good to know: Temperatures can vary drastically in adjacent areas. Within 20 minutes the weather can be very different than it was earlier. It can get colder or warmer at any time in June. Make sure to check the current weather forecasts for the locations you are planning to travel to and be prepared for almost anything.

Regional differences: Fairbanks, East-Central Alaska, and the areas around and above the Arctic Circle can get very hot during June due to long days (22-24 hours/day) compared to Anchorage in southern Alaska which has about 19 hours of daylight in June.

Always keep in mind, that weather can vary greatly in Alaska. If you plan to visit later in the summer, read our complete guide to Alaska in July or August.

Rain

June is one of the warmest, driest months in Alaska, so it makes it a peak time for travelers together with July and August. The chance of rain during this month is about 25% and can be short showers or continue throughout the day. The percentage increases after June, as the summer progress.

Snow

During this month, the snow has melted from most areas of Alaska other than high elevations. The majority of roads and trails will be clear of any snow.

Wind Conditions
The shore of Kenai Fjords in the summer

There is more wind in Alaska near the coast and islands like the Aleutians but it always depends on the weather for that given day. June is one of the calmer times of the year, as the windiest months are usually from September to April.

Wind chill: Wind is making you feel colder than the actual air temperature. It’s not that bad in June, but you should be aware of the windiest locations we listed below.

One area to look out for regarding wind is called the Turnagain Pass, which is a highly traveled area. You will encounter this area if driving between Anchorage and Seward on the Seward Highway. In June the wind isn’t as harsh as in the winter here. But still, prepare for some breezy moments.

Visiting Tip | Turnagain Pass: The pass is an excellent location to check out in June and observe the huge effect of glaciers on the landscape. On the west side of the road, at the pullout, you can observe evidence of past ice ages’ millennial processes. At the time, the ice was over 2,000 feet thick. Around 10,000 years ago, the youngest major glaciation did end. Google Maps Location – Turnagain Pass | Seward Hwy

Windy Locations

Turnagain Pass:

  • The highest point on Seward Highway between Anchorage and Seward near mile marker 68
  • Its elevation exposes this location to high winds, even in June
  • You should be prepared with warm, windproof layered clothes along with windproof umbrellas
  • Kite Flying, Kitesurfing, and Windsurfing are popular here during the shoulder and summer seasons

Aleutian Islands:

  • Located in southern Alaska separating the Bering Sea from the Pacific Ocean
  • Islands are devoid of trees making them vulnerable to wind.
  • This location has the highest wind speeds in Alaska
  • Windproof layered clothes and windproof umbrellas are crucial in this area

Denali:

June Outfits and Packing

Chugach National Forest, Seward

When it comes to choosing your apparel for June in Alaska, layers are key. Because of the variety of weather, layering your clothing is essential for comfort and safety.

Clothing Quick Tip:

When visiting Alaska in June, you should wear a light waterproof jacket and waterproof pants most of the time. Additionally, layers for colder regions and chillier days are essential. On warm days, remove layers. 💡 Make sure to read our June weather tips!

Quote from an experienced visitor:

A hoodie, long sleeve shirt, t-shirts, and a rain jacket are all I usually bring from June to August for the warmer days. An additional inner layer for colder days.’

Warmer Temps: When it is warm or hot in June, one layer on top and bottom that consists of fabric that wicks away moisture such as nylon-spandex blends is the best fit for the area. Close-toed durable sandals can be worn during warmer weather as well as waterproof/resistant walking/hiking shoes with good traction soles.

A lightweight fleece jacket is a great addition during June for its ability to repel water and provide warmth.

Colder Temps: When it is cooler, having a base layer next to the skin that includes a moisture-wicking shirt, a bottom layer such as nylon-spandex leggings, then adding a top layer of a wool sweater, waterproof/resistant pants, merino wool socks (also moisture-wicking and provides a lot of warmth), and finally insulated waterproof/resistant shoes/boots will provide travelers with a cozy and dry experience during any excursion.

Our pants tips:

Great boot suggestions are Baffin or BOGS brands (check prices on Amazon.com). They offer many designs and are especially well suited for Alaska’s conditions.

Jacket: A fleece jacket with a hood or any waterproof/resistant jacket can be your outer (shell) layer. We recommend bringing two light jackets in June, depending on the regions you visit and the length of your trip.

Tip: Even if your jacket has a hood, bringing a toboggan, scarf and waterproof/resistant gloves are essential if the temperatures really cool down.

Our jacket tips on Amazon:

Is a winter coat necessary? In June, you don’t need a thick winter jacket, as inner layers combined with a light jacket are sufficient for colder days. However, there are two exceptions, where destination experts recommend bringing a warmer coat:

  1. On a glacier day cruise (from Seward for example), as they enter colder regions. Even though they have a heated interior the deck is open, windy and cold near glaciers.
  2. A winter coat is also useful when going camping in June.

For clothing recommendations on a cruise, read our complete guide to Alaska Cruise Outfits and for a complete guide, our tips for an Alaska Cruise in June.

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Clothing to pack:
  • Nylon/Spandex shirts and pants/leggings – skin layer or top layer
  • Wool/Fleece Sweaters – mid-layer
  • Long sleeve t-shirt – mid-layer
  • Waterproof/Resistant pants – outer layer
  • Waterproof/Resistant coat with hood
  • Toboggan
  • Scarf
  • Waterproof/resistant gloves
  • Merino wool socks or any warm moisture-wicking socks
  • Waterproof/Resistant shoes and or boots
Items to pack:
  • Travel First Aid Kit
  • Sunglasses
  • 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
  • Bug Spray – Mosquito netting if traveling above the Arctic Circle
  • 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 if going into the higher elevations

June Hotels

With June being the start of the prime travel season, it is highly recommended to book in advance. This will reserve your spot and still give you time to cancel. Many tours and excursions can be booked a year in advance

💡 Anchorage ‘Budget’ Hotel Tip: If you are having trouble finding a great hotel for a reasonable price in Anchorage, we highly recommend the Aspen Suites Hotel Anchorage (via booking.com – save the hotel link if you like). The location is very convenient and it always meets all our expectations: Super clean bathroom, comfortable bed, a very quiet hotel, and everything for a reasonable price!

Travel agents suggest not to book any later than four months out from the travel date. Some tours can be booked on short notice, but we always recommend making reservations in advance

Reservation links (save money):

Tip: Bookmark the links if you want to browse for the best prices later.

Flightseeing | Wildlife Cruise | Arctic Circle

Alaska is a wonderful and magical place to experience. The state is so large one could travel around it for years and not see the whole territory. In June we recommend at least one of these three intriguing experiences below. You will be touched by the magical spirit only Alaska can offer:

  • 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 the north. 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 Tip: This tour is especially great if you want to experience whale watching in June. You can spot killer whales, gray whales, and humpbacks!
  • 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
Whale Watching

The Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise (see above) is amazing for whale watching. However, if you plan to visit Juneau, we highly recommend this Whale Watching Adventure. You will be able to spot humpbacks, killer whales, and other fascinating species in June.

Tip: We always make whale watching reservations in advance as these tours are likely to sell out!!

June Driving Conditions

Portage Creek, Anchorage

Roads are typically clear of snow by June and in good condition for driving in Alaska. If renting a car, the rental facility will require tourists to sign and comply to not drive on any dirt roads. In order to sightsee around dirt road areas, jeep excursions or tour bus trips can be reserved.

Good to know: A landslide on the Denali park road closed the road at mile marker 43 until 2023 or longer.

June – Getting Around

Train route from Seward to Anchorage
  • Car: Throughout June (roads are accessible)
  • Motorcoach (Bus): Every day in June
  • Train: Each day in June

After you arrive in Anchorage via plane or in Seward via cruise ship, the best modes to travel in Alaska during June are by car, train, or motorcoach/bus. Each way has its own unique benefits. Many travelers combine train and motorcoach for example.

Tip: Most locals say that the most scenic landscape that can be seen via train is on the route from Anchorage to Seward. The views are truly unique on this 4-hour ride.

Throughout June you have access to all three modes of transportation:

  • Car: Renting a car is the best way if you want maximum flexibility. Since roads are clear of snow and accessible in June, you can easily drive to most places during this month. 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. They are operating throughout June. 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 the major destinations: Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali Park, Fairbanks, Whittier, and Seward. All trains are operating in June. Check the 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

Mosquitoes in June

  • When: After June 21
  • Time of day: Dawn and dusk (peak time)

If traveling north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska, especially after June 21 (summer solstice), there will be a heavy mosquito presence.

Worst places: Mosquitoes are more prevalent in densely forested locations, as well as near streams or lakes.  The increased mosquito populations in Denali National Park are well-known.

Safest places: These small insects aren’t as problematic in cities, especially major ones like Anchorage and Juneau. Because of the continual breeze, you won’t see many of them along the coast.

Tips: When visiting in late June, carry insect spray to avoid being bitten. The majority of professionals recommend DEET. Wearing light-colored clothing will also serve to repel mosquitoes. A waterproof ball cap with a mosquito head net over it will keep mosquitos away from your head. Also, avoid anything perfumed, such as scented lotions or shampoo.

June Wildlife Viewing

June is one of the best months to view wildlife. If travelers book at the beginning of June they have a better chance to view wildlife during feeding times because the foliage isn’t too thick yet and daylight hours are a little shorter.

Good to know: Very little wildlife can be viewed on the tours from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle

Wildlife viewing tips and availability:

  • One of the best ways to see bears is by bush plane. These flights don’t start until mid-June, but the best viewing happens in July. We still recommend late June.
  • Brown bears can be seen near the coast and black bears in the interior part of the state
  • Moose can be seen all year round from the ground or air throughout most of the state
  • Gray whales migrate up to Alaska waters in March and April
  • Humpback whales can be seen from May – to September.
  • Orcas are in Alaska all year round

Special Tip | Salmon Run at Brooks Falls:

The salmon run Katmai National Park begins in June. However,  it usually doesn’t start until later in the month. In early and mid-June, a few early bears congregate around Brooks Falls, and only some can be seen fishing.

June Crowds

Eklutna Lake, Anchorage

With June being the start of the peak traveling season, crowds can easily be part of the experience. By mid-June temperatures are usually as warm as they are going to get and all facilities, roads, and trails are open.

July may be a little busier than June just because the weather is at its best and all areas are open the entire month. Locations that may have a lot of crowds and ways to avoid them are listed below:

Crowded Areas and Events:

  • Seward Halibut Tournament – June 15 – 30
  • Anchorage Market – May 15 – September 12
  • Palmer Colony Days – 2nd weekend in June
  • Anchorage 1st Fridays – Held along 4th St.
  • Fairbanks Midnight Sun Festival – Saturday, June 19, noon-midnight

Cruise ship ports on docking days – Ketchikan (salmon capital of the world), Skagway, Juneau, Whittier, Sitka, Icy Strait Point (entryway to Glacier Bay National Park), and Haines

7 Ways to Avoid the Crowds
  1. Don’t visit cruise ports on docking days. Travelers can research on the internet, talk to their travel agent, check the port’s website, call the tourism bureau or the chamber of commerce in that area to find out what days the cruise ships will be docked.
  2. If travelers do want to visit the port on docking days, they 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).
  3. If you are a cruise traveler and want to avoid the crowds at the port, venture further inland for sightseeing. Rent a car, use the train, or the motorcoach (read our section above for more details).
  4. To miss the crowds in typical tourist areas, travelers can take the ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway System. This ferry takes tourists to smaller communities of Alaska’s inside passage, for example, Wrangell (Caveat: It can take between 3-6 hours to go from port to port).
  5. Visit Alaska regions that are less known such as Kodiak Island (must take a flight there), Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, book a remote outback hunting or fishing expedition as well as a guided hike and stay in a secluded B&B or wilderness lodge, and finally take a road trip on the Glenn Highway into the Copper River Basin or Richardson Highway between Valdez and Fairbanks.
  6. You can avoid crowds via charter flights. These can be reserved to Whittier, Seward, and Haines where they offer drop-offs to remote beaches and islands. You can spend a day beachcombing or a week camping and fishing.
  7. To avoid fishing crowds, contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, to find out during your trip where the fishing won’t be so heavily populated. Areas that draw a lot of fishing crowds are the Russian River, Ship Creek, Seward Beaches, and Homer Lagoon. Our article about the best time to fish in Alaska offers more detailed information.

Other seasons/months: Visit during the Shoulder Season which is May or September – weather is more unpredictable, but the days will be shorter making it easier to observe wildlife during their feeding times. Also, September’s fall foliage is beautiful.

June Hiking

Trails at lower elevations are already clear of snow by May. In the mountains, the trails should be clear by June. If hiking closer to the Arctic Circle, wait until the end of June if you want to avoid any snow coverage. Conditions for hiking around the state are usually good until mid-October. A list of some popular hiking trails we recommend in June:

Wickersham Dome Trail – 1 hour from Fairbanks on the Elliott Highway

  • Seasons: June – October
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 7 miles
  • Elevation: 1007 ft
  • Activity: Hiking and Cross Country Skiing
  • Views: White Mountains and Brooks Range on clear days
  • Wildlife: Moose, snowshoe hare, owls, hawks, and bald eagles

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail – Anchorage – On the west coast of the city from Kincaid Park to where 2nd Avenue ends in Cook Inlet

  • Seasons: All year
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 11.0 miles – The trail can be accessed from the northeast end of West 2nd Ave, near the railroad depot, at the southwest end of Kincaid Chalet, and many other points in between
  • Elevation: 102 ft
  • Activities: Hiking, Biking, Skiing, Running, and Rollerblading
  • Views: Chugach Mountains, Mt. Susitna, Fire Island, Mt. Mckinley, and downtown Anchorage
  • Wildlife: Moose, Beluga whales

Reed Lakes – Talkeetna Mountains within Hatcher Pass

  • Seasons: Best between late June – September
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,247 feet
  • Activities: Hiking
  • Views: Upper and Lower Reed Glacial Lakes
  • Wildlife: Bears, moose

*Note – has a boulder field that may be difficult for children and pets to traverse

What is Open in June | Facility Schedules

During June, all facilities should be open since it’s early peak season in Alaska. With this being said, it’s still better to check with all booked services if there are any (post-) pandemic restrictions and staffing issues.

List of some great facilities around the state is below:

Hotel Tips
  • Hotel Alyeska: Luxe Ski Resort in Girdwood – Open year-round – Features in the area – all-year mountain cable car and skiing and hiking trails.
  • Contact information: Email – alyeskaresort.com, Phone – 800-880-3880
  • Homer Inn and Spa: Kachemak Bay, Homer – Open year-round – Features a spa and Bear viewing day tours from mid-May – mid-September. An outstanding hotel!
  • Contact information: Email – homerinnandspa.com, Phone – 907-268-5465
  • Denali Overlook Inn: Talkeetna – Open year-round – Features world-class fishing, flightseeing, rafting, jet boat rides, sled dog rides, and a 14-mile paved bike trail.
  • Contact information: Email – denalioverlookinn.com, Phone – 907-733-3555
  • *This facility doesn’t have a front desk. If travelers are planning to arrive after 6 pm, they need to contact the property in advance and will receive an email 24 hours before arrival with check-in instructions.
  • Pearson’s Pond Luxury Inn & Adventure Spa – Juneau – Open year-round – Features biking, hiking, kayaking, dog sledding, and flightseeing.
  • Contact information: Email – pearsonspond.com, Phone – 907-789-3772

 

Restaurant Tips
  • Snow City Cafe: Anchorage – Open year-round, 7 days a week. Breakfast/Lunch cafe
    *Check to see if the dining room is open or just to go orders are available
  • Seven Glaciers Restaurant: Girdwood on Mt. Alyeska – Open year-round, Thursday – Saturday 5pm – 9pm. Named one of America’s 100 best Wine Restaurants
  • The Chart Room: Homer – Open year-round – Breakfast, Evening meal, and Sunday Brunch
  • Music of Denali Dinner Theater: Located at Mt. McKinley Chalet in the Denali area – Open mid-May – mid-September
Campgrounds
Camping in Denali National Park

Travelers can check opening details at dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/open.htm#top, 907-269-8700

Chugach Bird Creek Campground: Anchorage

  • Camping Limit – 7 nights
  • 24 Campsites
  • 35’ RV size limit
  • ADA facility
  • Toilets available
  • Water and Picnic area available
  • Activities: Fishing, hiking, and biking

Captain Cook State Recreation Area Discovery Campground: Kenai Region

  • Camping Limit – 14 days
  • 53 Campsites
  • No RV size limit
  • ADA facility
  • Toilets available
  • Water and Picnic area available (2 Picnic shelters)
  • Activities: Beachcombing, fishing, and hiking trails

Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Area Campground: Palmer – Mat-Su Valley

  • Camping Limit – 14 days
  • 6 Campsites
  • ADA facility
  • Toilets available
  • Water and 8 Picnic sites
  • Cabins
  • Activities: Hiking, glacier trekking, river rafting, skiing, snowshoeing, and snow machine trails

Settlers Cove State Recreation Area Campground: Ketchikan – Southeast Alaska

  • Camping Limit – 7 nights
  • 13 Campsites
  • 35” RV size limit
  • ADA facility
  • Toilets available
  • Water and Picnic sites and shelters are available
  • Activities: Fishing from shore and hiking trails

June Daylight Hours

Seward Harbor

Before sunrise and after sunset there is a time called Civil Twilight – This is when the sun drops just below the horizon, but it is still light enough that you can do outdoor activities. Some areas don’t have Civil Twilight during June.

To find out how many hours of daylight there will be in the area you are traveling is to check the Alaska Daylight Hours Calculator at alaska.org/weather/daylight-hours.

Daylight hours at the beginning, middle, and end of June at some of the popular travel spots in Alaska are listed below:

Fairbanks: No Civil Twilight

  • June 1 – Sunrise – 3:36 am
    Sunset – 11:59 pm
  • June 15 – Sunrise – 3:09 am
    Sunset – 12:31 am
  • June 30 – Sunrise – 3:18 am
    Sunset – 12:28 am

Anchorage:

  • June 1 – Civil Twilight Begins – 2:50 am
    Sunrise – 4:34 am
    Sunset – 11:17 pm
    Civil Twilight Ends – 1:01 am
  • June 15 – No Civil Twilight
    Sunrise – 4:20 am Sunset – 11:37 pm
    No Civil Twilight
  • June 30 – No Civil Twilight
    Sunrise – 4:26 am
    Sunset – 11:37 pm
    No Civil Twilight

Seward:

  • June 1 – Civil Twilight Begins – 3:19 am
    Sunrise – 4:44 am
    Sunset – 11:05 pm
    Civil Twilight Ends – 12:30 am
  • June 15 – Civil Twilight Begins – 2:46 am
    Sunrise – 4:32 am
    Sunset – 11:23 pm
    Civil Twilight Ends – 1:08 am
  • June 30 – Civil Twilight Begins – 2:57 am
    Sunrise – 4:37 am
    Sunset – 11:23 am
    Civil Twilight Ends – 1:04 am

JULY AND AUGUST

Everything you must know when visiting in July or August:

Our Tour Tips for July and August

July/August Weather

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, with the northern region having the longest days and coolest climate.

July

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.

August

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.

We always wear waterproof, breathable rain gear during the summer months in Alaska, as you may hit rain anytime. Read more details about rain and what to wear below.

Temperatures by Region
Best weather for a cruise. This is Juneau: Mount Roberts Tramway. Google Maps Location

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

Mornings/Evenings:

  • 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)
Wind

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.

Rain/Snow

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.

In one year, we experienced a whole week of rain in Alaska and in another year, we had three weeks of sunny weather with no rain at all.

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
Daylight
Anchorage: Flattop Mountain in the summer

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)

July/August Outfits and Packing

Exit Glacier near Seward. Google Maps Location Trailhead Exit Glacier

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 extremely 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.

💡 Even in August (we went during the last two weeks) we kept several layers of clothing in the back seat of the car and used them all! We visited Anchorage, Denali, Girdwood, Seward, and Homer.

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

Waterproof clothing as the top layer is an important factor when being exposed to Alaska’s unpredictable weather.

Our pants tips on Amazon:

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).

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We also highly recommend the above ones. 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. However, lightweight gloves are fine in the summer.

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.

Short/Shirts

For July and August, we always add shorts and summer shirts made of moisture-wicking materials as well as closed-toed sandals with durable, good traction soles.

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When 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
  • Toboggan
  • Scarf
  • Waterproof/resistant lightweight 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

Item List
  • Travel First Aid Kit
  • Paracord Bracelet – If going to remote areas
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunblock
  • 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 in July/August | 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
  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Hotels in July/August

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.

Reservation tips:

Tip: Bookmark the links if you want to browse for the best prices later.

Mosquitoes in July/August

  • 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.

Activities in July/August

Kayaking near Holgate Glacier

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
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snorkeling
  • Ziplining
  • 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
  • Flightseeing
  • 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
Whale Watching

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!

Getting Around in July/August

Train route from Seward to Anchorage
  • 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 in July/August

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:

Vehicle Preparation:

  • AWD/4WD
  • 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

Facilities/Openings/Closures in July/August

Anchorage: Lake Hood

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 you need assistance with your vacation plans at any of the park facilities, contact the US National Park Service website to plan your trip.

Popular facilities to visit:

Campgrounds:

  • Bird Creek Campground – Chugach State Park, Anchorage
  • Red Squirrel Campground – Fairbanks
  • Deep Creek Beach Campground – Kenai Peninsula

Hotels:

  • Pike’s Waterfront Lodge – Fairbanks
  • Hotel Captain Cook – Anchorage
  • Pearson’s Pond Luxury Suites – Juneau

Restaurants:

  • The Porthole – Seward
  • Simon & Seafort’s Saloon & Grill – Anchorage
  • 229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern – Denali National Park

We recommend checking with any facilities to make sure they will be open due to the constant change in restrictions and staffing shortages.

 

Wildlife Viewing in July/August

We love the summer as this season gives us the most ways to view wildlife. Whether we drove throughout the state or book 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 our state their home.

Water Wildlife:

  • 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. In August everything is almost over and you won’t see many bears fishing during this month

Birds:

  • 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)

Land:

  • 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)

Hiking in July/August

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 the 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

 

Windy Locations

Turnagain Pass:

  • 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

Aleutian Islands:

  • 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

Denali:

  • 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

Summary

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.

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