The Best Time to Travel to Alaska for Fun Activities All Year Long

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Advisor - Michele Buring
Curated By

Michele Buring

  • Cruises

  • Alaska

  • USA

  • Sightseeing

A couple standing in front of a "Welcome to Alaska" sign in front of a mountain landscape, during the best time to travel to Alaska.
Curator’s statement

Alaska is the frozen tundra state that attracts only people living off the grid, right? That is what the reality shows suggest, watching from the safety of our living rooms! But to dig deeper, Alaska boasts so much more that opens a world of beauty that is never mundane — even when it is a frozen land. Depending on what you want to do, here is the best time to travel to Alaska.

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Where to stay in Alaska

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Seasonal things to do in Alaska



Let us begin with the most obvious. Who has been on or plans to go on an Alaskan cruise in their lifetime? My husband and I went on a cruise from Vancouver to Seward in mid-July. Typically, the cruise season is May to August, and you never know what the weather will bring, so you plan accordingly and expect to wear a raincoat at some point. However, the week that we cruised, the captain told us every day about how lucky we were not encountering any wet weather!


Dog sledding fun! Early March is the "Last Great Race on Earth." Starting from Anchorage and ending eight to 15 days later in Nome, the Iditarod is one of the great endurance tests in sport, with competitors mushing dog sleds across 1,150 miles of snow and ice in temperatures as low as 60 degrees below zero. You can enjoy the fun, too! Along with the race, fans come to see the northern lights and to participate in the Bering Sea Ice Golf Classic, hitting orange golf balls on Astroturf laid across frozen water. There is summer dog sledding for those who are not into freezing! Plan on summer dog sledding to be in the higher elevations of Alaska.


When is the best time to travel to see the bears? Definitely not November through April, as the bears are still hibernating. Plan on summertime for bear activity. You can catch them playing by the rivers, swimming and fishing. There are many guides available to take you to see the fun, while being safely out of their way.

Northern Lights

The best time to see the phenomenal light show is to head to Anchorage between August and April.

This and that

June is best for spotting birds and beautiful wildflowers. August to September for fall foliage. March and late September for the Northern Lights. May to June is the driest season, July to August is the warmest season. May and September see the smallest crowds and lower rates. Early November is the Sitkaa Whale Festival.


Late summer is one of the best times to fish for halibut, lingcod, rockfish and salmon biting vigorously along the coast. Anglers fishing the rivers can enjoy solid trout action. June is prime time to fish for king salmon, chum and sockeye. Bottom fishing is excellent, with halibut and rockfish at their peak. July is when Alaska's summer fishing is in full swing, with an abundance of king, silver, sockeye and chum salmon swimming in local waters. Look for pink salmon in years that end in even numbers!

Freshwater fishing is excellent in the fall, while the biggest stars are massive rainbow trout with northern pike, grayling and lake trout at their peak. The season starts slowing down, but, in late November, local lakes start freezing over and it is time for ice fishing season to begin! Carve a hole and drop a line for northern pike, grayling and char. Dress warm!

Places to eat & drink in Alaska


Food for the hungry, wherever you are in Alaska.


  • The Chart Room Restaurant


  • Chilkoot Dining Room


  • Zach's Restaurant


  • Karstens Public House


  • The Timberline Restaurant


  • Boardwalk Pub & Grill


  • Mount Alyeska, Seven Glacier's Restaurant

  • Raven's Perch Restaurant

  • Crush Wine Bistro

Need to Know

Alaska is a great place to visit, just about any time of the year! It is so much more than the stereotypical scenes that we see on television. Plan your trip in advance, do some research, talk to a travel advisor (hello, that's ME!) for more detailed suggestions. Have a budget, time frame and comfort in mind. Sit back, and let an advisor help you plan your dream journey to Alaska, any time of the year. Trust me, you will go and start thinking about your next trip before you leave!

Advisor - Michele Buring

Travel Advisor

Michele Buring

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Alaska. For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Susan Anderson's guide, 4-Day Itinerary in Seward: Alaska's Gateway to the Kenai Fjords. For a different kind of seasonal travel, check out Fora Advisor Jen Fuller's guide, Exploring Sedona in December.