Anchorage is a nice town, beautiful area. Also Denali Natl Park is great, especially for outdoorsy types.
I went in late May-early June and the weather was great – prepare for changes, take t-shirts, a sweater, and a light raincoat.
Summer is a great time to go! I would recommend a trip into glacier bay. I have never seen anything like it in my life! Also try and make a trip out to see the whales on a little boat (close to the water). Just a few ideas that were the highlights of my trip. Although if you are trying to see the arctic lights I hear that you won’t see them in the summer because the higher you go the longer the sun is out. It was strange to going to bed at 4 in the morning when the the sun was finally going down. haha
make sure to get up in the air! take a helicoptor or floatplane ride. ti is expensive but worth it! i went in late may, great time as the beginning fo the season, not too many people. my favorite thing was taking a helicoptior to a glacier and then going dog sledding.
It really depends on what kind of time you have. There is really only a very small portion of Alaska that is even really travel enabled, the highway running basically between three cities (Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Delta). If you have the time I recommend driving the entire highway. You will hit lots of off-road hiking and sight-seeing opportunities (glaciers, animals, Mt. McKinley, etc.) as well as hit many of the more touristy areas. There are really wonderful biking tours available which would be excellent. Obviously this is the summer. The warmest months are June and July, skimming the end of May and the beginning of August. Renting your own car and driving the Alaska Highway really is the way to go. If you are really in for adventure, bring your bike and camping supplies :)
I should say “small” in comparison to the state as a whole. Also, I use the word “cities” loosely.
The summer is definitely the nicest time of year in Alaska if you don’t mind a lot of tourists. June to August are the best times. Make sure if you go during this time that you make reservations, especially if you are going to stay in hotels. Otherwise, it will be near impossible to find one that is not outrageously priced. Homer and Seward are worth seeing. The seafood is great and there are some really nice wildlife tours/cruises that you can take. I hope this helps!
I agree with what seems to be the general consensus about going in the summer – but be warned, no matter what you do, especially if you’re doing stuff outdoors, you will need bug spray. Strong bug spray. And lots of it.
Though, a few bug bites are a small price to pay to see the state.
June or July is great. There are so many things to do — but I’d definitely suggest a trip down toward Kenai and Hope from Anchorage. Get out of Anchorage quickly so you enjoy the outdoors.
I would try to stay away from anything mainstream/touristy if you want a truly genuine experience.
There are so many good places to go, you really couldn’t list them all. I have found the smaller towns/villages/bush much more interesting than say Anchorage. There are some great places just outside of Anchorage though. I been to quite a few places, and I have not yet said, “man, this is an awful place, ill never come back here again” — with the exception of downtown anchorage. My wife was out partying last night there and liked it… so maybe thats just my own personal opinion.
Talkeetna is a great out of the way place near denali with summer fishing trips for tourists. Lots of salmon and rainbow trout … coupled with small alaska town charm.
There are a lot of cute little towns in southeast alaska. If just outside of town is not outdoorsy enough for you, there is always the option of chartering a bush pilot to take you out to some neat places and pick you up later in the day.
Also, dont be afraid to explore the far north of alaska. There are a couple (very inexpensive!) packages in the $200-500 range which include round trip airfare from Anchorage to Barrow(the tippy top of alaska) on an almost all inclusive tour were you can see polar bears, eskimo dancing, and even dip your toes into the Arctic ocean… the package is called “A Day at the top of the world”.
Granted, it’s been 20 some years, but my best memories of staying there (we were up there almost 3 months) was camping on the kenai peninsula, near Homer Spit. I remember the view across the bay, of a volcano. I remember “clamming” there as a child, and at the time, you could just pull right onto the beach and just camp. Not sure what it’s like now, but that was my favorite place.
Most of my time was spent along the Aleutian chain and the Bering Sea.
I have been through the inside passage 3 times, it is a must see when traveling to AK.
The last time in AK, I spent in Cordova.
It’s beautiful. I stayed in the Reluctant Fisherman, which was owned and ran by the Mayor.
This site can give you the info you need for Cordova:
If you decide to fly, there is a ferry available to Cordova as well from Anchorage.
Brighton and Hove
Summer in Alaska is beautiful but expect lots of bugs. If you go in late Spring you might get the best of both worlds: great weather without the annoyance.
I always go the middle to end of July so I catch the Salmon run on the Kenai Peninsula. I love it down there. So many things to do, and not that far a drive from Anchorage. I usually stay in Soldatna or Homer. Rental cars are hard to come by because of tourist season. Denali is great to visit, although over the years has changed because of the influx of tourism.
I must get lucky every year, I never have mosquitoes when I am on the peninsula, but I don’t go back into the bush much. The tundra areas tend to have the most(from living there).
Compared to the rest of the US….big cities cannot be the proper term. Most are small. It’s a big state, lots of room to travel.
I went in July and the bugs were bad but not THAT bad. I started in Anchorage and went down to Valdez to see the glaciers. Quite an experience. When it comes down to hiking go to St. Elias and have them drop you off with an airplane inside the park (see here: http://www.nps.gov/wrst/) . Not for the faint of heart, though. A good place to start is Kennecott, you might be able to hook up with other back country folks here.
Another thing I really enjoyed about my visit was Denali. It is stunning, lots of wild life (foxes, bears, elk, you name it) and beautiful hikes. Just watch out for the cubs …
Alaska is huge. Best to focus on one part with the most bang for your buck and time available. When friends come to visit for 7-10 days I usually do a Kenai Peninsula trip that includes mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, camping and great food, lots of wildlife and incredible scenery. The best time to do this is usually late July or early August. You miss out on the really long days, but the weather tends to be better than June/July and most of the tourists are gone. Also, a big bonus is the fireweed is in bloom and the hills are alight with the bright pink blossoms.
Having a car is pretty important to access the hidden jewels off the beaten path (and there are plenty)
Drop me a line if you like and I can give you specifics on really memorable places to see that you won’t find in a guide book for all of the above.
My husband and I are thinking about a trip to Alaska in early May. Our church is doing a missions trip. Any suggestions for us to get a real feel for the beauty and nature. I am a photographer and would love to see some of the wildlife and scenery. We would be staying at a church in Anchorage I think for the week. I am sure we would have some time to go and explore.ANy advise would be great?
I don’t know enough about you to suggest when to go.
If you can handle the mosquitos, without griping or whining, then go in the summer.
If you don’t mind some cold, and you have enough winter gear, then go in winter.
Read up on Alaska before you go. Don’t go out alone without a guide, unless you are very well trained or experienced, and understand the risks.
Anchorage has the amenities of civilization, so that could be a good base for your explorations. Seattle too.
Kathy Larkin Clark
Alaska was my home for 30 years. I went there as a 12 year old. What an adventure. We lived in Anchorage most of the time and in Willow for 6 years.
My recommendation is to visit in June. Unless you are into skiing or winter sports. Of course, the Northern Lights appear mostly in the winter.
In June is the most perfect weather, with almost 24 hours of sun. The misquitos aren’t as bad yet, but be prepared.
You can enjoy hiking and trekking thru the wild without worrying about snakes, but of course be on the watch for bears. However, the bears usually don’t want to run into you either.
No matter which city or town you are in, the wilderness is only 5 minutes away. In Anchorage you can be in the wild very quickly and not even realize you are just outside of a very modern city, full of shopping centers, great restaurants, and museaums.
Visit my personal website and you will be able to read many stories about my life in Alaska: http://www.JimAndKathysCorner.com
Answer this question