Most people associate Alaska with frigid temperatures, snow-scapes, Eskimos and the Northern Lights. Despite this stigma, Alaska boasts comfortable weather and beautiful greenery in most of the state in the summertime. Inland areas, like Fairbanks and Denali, have the warmest temperatures with highs reaching into the 90s. The Southcentral climate in Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and the surrounding area are usually mild with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
Nestled in the middle of the Chugach Mountains and the Alaska Range, Anchorage often feels warmer due to lack of wind and low humidity. In Southeast Alaska, where the state capital, Juneau, is located, summers are typically long, cool and often wet. Coastal areas of Alaska receive more rainfall compared to places further inland. Coastal temperatures are also more moderate. The climate of the Inside Passage is usually damp, with highs in the 60s and 70s during the day.
Unlike their harsh winters, summers in Alaska can be very pleasant. The best time to visit is between mid-May and mid-September, as the air is fresh, and nature is alive and in full bloom. Early summer months usually have less rainfall, although Alaskan weather can be unpredictable across the board. Layers are highly recommended when traveling anywhere in the state, as temperatures can change at the drop of a dime.
Regardless of where you visit, Alaska’s summer sky is bright nearly all night long as the sun sets only for a couple of hours. From early May through September, days are significantly longer than at lower altitudes the further north you are. In late June, the sky is lit well enough to read a book outdoors around midnight in Anchorage. On the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, Fairbanks receives a whole 22 hours of daylight. In extreme northern Alaska, places like Barrow are bright ’round the clock for several months.
As you start to think about potential summer vacations for next year keep in mind that The Last Frontier is a magical wonderland many people have not thought to explore. Alaska is unlike any other state, offering a unique assortment of activities and sites to see with plenty of daylight to work with. From whale watching to rafting class III-V rapids on Nenana River to backpacking Mt. McKinley, you are guaranteed some breathtaking views and lasting memories of your getaway. One of the best ways to visit Alaska is by taking a train vacation. Companies like America by Rail offer Alaska tours that enable you to sit back and marvel at the exotic wildlife, glacier-sculpted valleys, and picturesque coastline while you roll past. To make the most of your trip, be sure to look up summer festivals and events on the Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information site. Happy traveling!