When to go?
The most popular time to visit is in the summer. June, July, and August are the warmest months, and the long days provide many hours to stay outside. May and September are the shoulder season with fewer visitors, but some tours and activities are not available. Early September gives a brief window of fall colors (and a possibility of snow). Some visitors prefer the long winter nights for a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. Late February into March is a popular time to visit, coinciding with the World Ice Art Championships, Fur Rondy, and the Iditarod.
How long to stay?
The longer the better! I recommend at least a week but preferably 10-14 days. Some lucky people will spend a month or longer. Did I mention Alaska is big? There’s so much to do that a month or two could easily be filled.
Where to go?
Start by looking at a map of Alaska.
- Southeast (Inside Passage)-Includes Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, and Ketchikan.
- Southcentral-Includes Anchorage, Whittier, Valdez, and the Kenai Peninsula (Homer, Seward, Soldotna, and Kenai).
- Interior-Includes Fairbanks, and Denali National Park.
- Southwest-Includes Katmai National Park, Kodiak Island, and the Aleutian Islands Archipelago.
- Arctic-Includes Nome, Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), and Prudhoe Bay.
How to get there?
Most people fly into Fairbanks or Anchorage. I recommend renting a car to explore the Interior and Southcentral Alaska, as these areas are connected by the road system. Traveling in these regions without a car is possible, but not convenient. Public transportation is extremely limited. The Alaska Railroad connects Fairbanks, Anchorage, Whittier, and Seward. For the Arctic, Southwest, and Inside Passage, you’ll need a boat or a plane. The cruise ships concentrate on the Inside Passage, though a few cruises sail as far as Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands.