A vacation to Alaska is unlike a visit to any other state in the union. Here you can see a palette of brilliant colors that paint the night sky, unspoiled regions populated by grizzly bears and other wildlife and ice mountains that stoically stand watch over the Arctic Ocean. Because of all the sights there are to see here, many would-be visitors often inquire as to what is the best time to visit Alaska. We say it depends on what you desire to see and experience while you are here. Below is a breakdown of what is great (and not so great) about each season.
Late Spring/Early Summer
Spring in Alaska is considered to be the “shoulder season.” During this time of year, crowds are generally smaller than at other times of the year. Moreover, some tours and most hotels offer discounted “shoulder season” prices during the spring. Also, spring is a time of transition in Alaska. You can witness the landscape transitioning from black, grays and browns to yellows and greens. However, one of the drawbacks to visiting Alaska in the summer – July to mid-August – is that hotels and places like Denali National Park are packed with people. Nevertheless, at this time much of the wildlife that is unique to Alaska and for which people are drawn can be viewed at this time. So, if you are willing to brave the crowds then you can see elk, bears, mountain goats, reindeer, etc. all emerging. Of course, these animals can be viewed from our outward bound Alaska cruises as well.
Winter is the longest season in Alaska. Therefore, all but the hardiest travelers should know that between February and March temperatures can be quite harsh. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing as many people enjoy viewing the icy mountains and cliffs of the state. A Tracy Arm glacier map is also helpful in finding and enjoying other wintery sites. Also, many people enjoy activities such as cross-country skiing and a stay at a ski resort. Finally, visitors can stop at the Fur Rendezvous winter festival in Anchorage and witness the Iditarod sled dog race which starts the first week of March.
So you see, one can visit Alaska any time of year and find things to do and places to see. Which season is best all depends on your perspective, how sturdy a traveler you are and what you wish to witness about the beauty that is Alaska.