This is the third in a series of when to visit Alaska to achieve your goals of seeing wildlife activities that interest you, as well as discussing the climate, the growing season, fishing and other activities available. Click on these to view the first (Introduction) and second articles about this great land – Which Month Should You Visit Alaska? and May & June in Alaska.
JULY — The absolute middle of the Alaska cruise season, July is often the busiest month to travel here, and pricing will be the highest. However, you still might be able to book for less than $1,000 per person if you book in advance. It is warmest month in Alaska, so expect highs of about 65 degrees with 51-degree lows. Since it can be hot or overcast and rainy, pants that zip into shorts could be handy on all-day excursions. Bring rollable windbreakers or jackets that will fit into a day bag if you start breaking a sweat. Many events around the state mark the Fourth of July. One of our favorites is the Girdwood Forest Fair, with music, crafts and cultural events, which takes place annually in this small resort town outside of Anchorage.
July is when the growing season really gets in gear — strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage, gooseberries and tons more will begin to find their ways into recipes and onto your plate if you eat in town.
Wildlife: Bear viewing coincides with the salmon runs, so you can assume that with so many salmon in Alaskan waters, chances of seeing bear should increase in July. Fur seal pups are born and Steller sea lions give birth beginning in July. It’s also the best month to visit seabird colonies from Southeast to Northwest Alaska, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. If you’re venturing north near Nome, walruses “haul out” on Round, Little Diomede and King islands.
Fishing: King salmon can still be caught in early July; sockeye run through the month. Pink salmon can be found beginning in the middle of the month. Silver or coho salmon also begin their run in July.
AUGUST — August is the end of the peak Alaska cruise season, so you might start to see some deals edge in late in the month, but expect full fares for the most part. The chance of rain is more than 50 percent, so expect a few parades to get rained on. Pack plenty of rain gear including waterproof shoes and wool socks (wool dries much better than cotton) and remember temperatures are only slightly lower than July with average high of 63 degrees and the low is about 48. Daylight hours of 17 is about the same as May. The Alaska State Fair, which takes place in the Mat-Su Valley, is late in the month and typically runs into the first few days of September. The Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival combines camping, handicrafts and of course, bluegrass. The music has been known to play up to 20 hours per day.
The Alyeska Resort hosts its annual blueberry festival in late August with everything blueberry you can imagine; about a week or so after, the nearby Girdwood Fungus Fair celebrates all things mushroom.
Wildlife: Bears are still in full view with salmon and berries still plentiful. Bald eagles can also be seen congregating near salmon-spawning streams.
Fishing: Pink salmon runs until mid-August and silver runs through the month. Seward’s Silver Salmon Derby is always the second week of the month, one of the oldest and largest fishing derbies in the state. The Dolly Varden trout in late August are plentiful on the Upper Kenai.
SEPTEMBER — The end of the cruise season and the beginning of school make September a quiet and lower cost time to head to Alaska. If you’re lucky you might find a last-minute deal, but nowadays more cruisers are booking a vacation in the region and ships are beginning the repositioning to warmer climates, leading to early sellouts even for September sailings. It can begin to get cool, and on top of that it’s as rainy as August with up to 14 days of rain, meaning there’s a good chance one of your excursions could get rained out. Temperatures drop to a high of 55 and a low of 41 degrees so bring heavy layers that will keep you warm and dry. Since daylight hours have diminished to about 14, and if you can make it up to Fairbanks, there’s a chance you might be able to catch a glimpse of the northern lights. Time and weather conditions play a major role, but it’s one of the few perks to cruising toward the end of the summer.
Wildlife: According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, moose, goats, caribou and muskoxen mate in early autumn, often in open areas, and antlered male moose and caribou might be seen sparring. Despite the weather, this is still a good time to catch moose and other animals at Denali National Park, and bears can still be seen near berry patches and streams with salmon. Gray, bowhead and beluga whales migrate along the west coast.
We hope you have found these articles about the Last Frontier detailed by month helpful in deciding when is the best time for you to visit. This is a wonderful opportunity for a family or multi-generational summer vacation. Please contact Getaway Dreams Come True for more information at 724.824.3826 and to book your lifetime memories Alaska cruise.
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