I am planning a trip/cruise to Alaska, and I would like to know what the weather is like there.

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about traveling to Alaska and actually, this simple sounding request is not easy to fulfill. The writer did not state when or where they planned to visit. Alaska is a large state, and the climatology ranges from temperate rain forests in the southeast, to barren tundra in the north. And, because of the extreme northern latitude of much of the state, the weather can vary considerably during the course of a year even at one location.

There is one special rule that has been found to work for most travelers in Alaska, and that is to always be prepared for one season COLDER than the time you are traveling. This is especially important for those who travel early and late in the season. Likewise, if your plans are going to take you into any of Alaska's many mountainous regions, be prepared for cooler temps and higher winds.

"What is the best time of year to go?"  The "normal" tourist season begins the end of May or early June, with many attractions opening at that time and the snow melting at higher elevations, and ends in early September as these same attractions close down for the winter and the weather turns chilly.  However, some popular activities, such as the international ice-carving festival in Fairbanks, the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, snowmobiling and viewing the Northern Lights, take place during spring, fall or winter.

During the summer, the weather in the North is as variable and unpredictable as anywhere else. Go prepared for both hot, sunny days and cold, rainy days. Regardless of weather, the Alaska Highway is open all year.

  • May: fewer people on the road, can be fine weather.
  • June: long days averaging 20 hours of daylight.
  • July: busiest month on the highway, can also be the wettest.
  • August: trees start to turn colors, nights get chilly.
  • September: fall colors, first frost and snow possible in some areas, uncrowded ferries.

With the limitations of long range forecasts, prospective visitors might find it useful to watch the weather at the place(s) they will be visiting to get an idea of what to expect. As the time of your trip approaches, keep a watch on the current weather conditions at the locations you expect to visit by viewing a current weather map. It's rather slow-loading, but this map has 64 locales around the state, 6 sea buoys, links to the current satellite image for the state, and other current weather information. A must stop for all people planning to visit our state! (A cautionary note: temperatures are usually cooler at night, and in the morning. Keep in mind the time difference between your home, and where you will be visiting.

A search at Google for Alaska weather yielded 6,370,000 sites!  A look at the first ten will probably give you the answers you seek - and save your eyes!  :o)  I truly hope your trip to Alaska is exciting and memorable.