Things To Do In Alaska In September
Alaska Events in September: If your Alaska cruise is in early September, there’s a chance that you might be able to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights on your cruise to Alaska if you can get to Fairbanks or points farther north. Time and weather conditions play a major role, but it’s a highlight of cruising to Alaska at the end of the summer.
Alaska Wildlife in September:According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, mating season for moose, goats, caribou and muskoxen begins in the fall . Despite the weather, it’s also a great time for seeing moose and other animals at Denali National Park, and bears can be seen near berry patches and streams with salmon. There will still be whales in Alaska’s seas in September, though numbers will start to decrease later in the month.
Alaska Fishing in September: Silver salmon and halibut seasons run through September in Alaska for anyone hoping to add a fishing adventure to their cruise.
What to Eat in September: September is mushroom season in Alaska. Check out the Cordova Fungus Festival, which takes place every September. You can expect lots of locally sourced food, expert talks and — of course — plenty of mushrooms.
So When Is The Best Time To Visit Alaska
Considering everything stated above, we advise travelers that June 15 through August 15 is the best time to go to Alaska. But not everyone can schedule their trip during this time and as weve noted, each season has its benefits. If you plan your trip during the peak season, then plan ahead and book early as these are the dates that sell out first.
For more information on when to visit Alaska, view our How to Choose Your Alaska Cruise guide. If you are still looking for advice on the best time of year to visit Alaska, just give us a call, our experts are ready to help.
This guide on the best time to visit Alaska is amongAdventureSmithExplorations extensive collection of travel guides the content is regularly updated by our team for accuracy. Visit our Alaska Travel Guidesfor even more resources and inspiration in planning your Alaska trip.
Have a question about the best time to visit Alaska? Use the comments below and well answer ASAP.
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Plan Your Alaskan Cruise With Windstar
Now that you know the best time to take an Alaskan cruise, its time to make it happen! Why not turn your dreams into reality with us at Windstar Cruises? Connect with fellow travelers and the crew as you sail the Alaskan waters on our intimate cruises. Our smaller ships give us access to ports the other ships cant reach, meaning you get a unique experience and opportunities you couldnt anywhere else.
Take a look at the Alaskan cruises we offer to see what will take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Well take you on guided fishing trips, through scenic forests and close to legendary fjords and glaciers for the Alaskan trip of a lifetime. Plan your voyage today by calling us at 800-258-7245 or requesting a call. We cant wait to have you aboard a Windstar Cruise!
Winter Vacations And Prime Aurora Viewing
The northern lights are visible August 20 through April 20. The best time for a winter aurora vacation is February and March. Its still plenty dark at night, but the days are longer and snow conditions are best for dog sledding, snowmobiling, skiing and other winter activities. The best area to view is near Fairbanks. Here are our recommended northern lights viewing tours.
Best Time To Visit Alaska For Northern Lights
Many people travel to Alaska to see the aurora borealis or Northern Lights. The closer you are to the North Pole, the better your chances of seeing this amazing natural phenomenon. January through March is your best bet for viewing the Northern Lights around Fairbanks, or from anywhere in Alaskas interior. In the coastal regions, youll have a better chance of viewing them from October through February.
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The Timeline For Cruising Alaska
While the state is beautiful during any season, the best time to cruise Alaska is between May and September. Between these months, there is an average of zero inches of snowfall in Juneau and Anchorage. The days are longer than they are in the winter, and theres usually much more to do. The Anchorage Market, for instance, runs from mid-May to mid-September on the weekends, so no matter which month you choose, a visit may be a part of your cruise itinerary.
May to September also has the safest and calmest water to cruise on, but which of those months is the best time to take an Alaskan cruise? Well break down the pros and cons to help you decide when to experience the great Alaskan wilderness and culture. Some factors to consider include:
- Hours of daylight
- Wildlife sightings
- Potential for crowds
Check out our breakdown of the months between May and September to decide when is the best time to visit Alaska based on what you want to see and do.
Alaska Cruises In April/may
Mays shoulder season allows cruise-goers to score great deals on early Alaskan departures. Also, ships dont generally sail at capacity in the early weeks.
In April, cruise passengers may encounter snow in Alaska. Its the tail end of winter, and the days are getting longer again. Even if its dry, expect it to be cold. Average daytime temperatures in Juneau are 48F or 9C in April and 55F or 13C in May. However, nighttime temperatures in April could be close to freezing.
Although cool, visitors can enjoy fewer days with rainfall. May is the driest month if you dislike traveling in the rainy season. Since Alaska cruise season generally starts in May, many businesses will be closed in April.
Humpback whales begin to arrive in Alaska to feed. The journey from Hawaii is long, and the whales are hungry. Its not unusual to see whales along the inside passage with a pair of binoculars. However, sightings may be few and far between if you arrive in April or the first week of May.
In May, harbor seals give birth on the icebergs. So its a great reason to cruise to Tracy Arm Fjord. However, in the early weeks, ice can block passage to the end of the fjord. Seals choose to birth in fjords because the narrow passageways provide protection from hungry whales.
Since ships are just starting their Alaska season, ports see fewer crowds in the early weeks. With fewer tourists, youll likely score better deals on last-minute excursions.
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What Is The Best Month To Cruise Alaska Ideas
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Alaska Cruise Guide: Planning Tips And Best Cruise Itineraries
Most people equate cruising with tropical destinations or the Mediterranean. Why would anyone cruise to chilly, rainy Alaska, where you might be wearing fleece jackets and knit hats and gloves in July?
Look beyond the iffy weather, and youll find many reasons to cruise Alaska. Perhaps youre drawn to the gorgeous scenery, the areas cultural and historic riches, or its abundant wildlife. With a variety of itineraries, cruise ships, destinations, and activities to consider, no two cruises to Alaska will be the same. However, first-timers can easily become overwhelmed choosing the best Alaska cruise itinerary or picking the perfect cruise line or cruise tour.
In our definitive Alaska cruise, well take you through everything you need to know to choose and plan the Alaska cruise vacation of your dreams.
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Why Cruise To Alaska
If you have decided you want to visit Alaska, I will suggest you go on a Cruise to Alaska. You will get to explore a lot of things if you choose to cruise Alaska. This is an easy way to travel. You will be taken through so many different places and destinations that will be the best decision you are making!
I am listing down some of the reasons why you should Cruise to Alaska.
When To Cruise Sitka
Also rich in history, Sitka is on the southern part of Baranof Island and is known for its role in the US purchase of Alaska. Once inhabited by the Tlingit people, Sitka became a Russian settlement and was then sold to the USA in the 1860s. Transfer celebrations took place there on 18th November creating what is now known as Alaska Day.
Sitka is a popular start and end point for cruises to the Northern Passages but there is plenty to enjoy at Sitka itself. The Alaska Raptor Center is a highlight for bird fans, whilst history lovers will no doubt enjoy the Sitka National Historical Park. Cruises from Sitka also offer a variety of wildlife spotting and sightseeing opportunities, shore excursions and relaxation time.
Both spring and summer are great times to visit Sitka. For something different, consider visiting in November for Sitkas WhaleFest. This annual unique event celebrates the wonders of the northern ocean with a science symposium, art, wildlife cruises and more.
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What Is The Best Month To Cruise Alaska
The best month to visit Alaska depends on what you hope to experience during your trip.
- Do you want as much sun and daylight as possible? Then book a June or July cruise.
- Would you like to see lots of wildlife? Then purchase a May, August or September cruise as these months feature young animal families and migrations.
- Do you want to get into the interior and see Denali National Park or the Yukon? Then select July or August.
- Are you chasing bright tree foliage? Then book a cruise at the end of August or in September.
- Would you like to avoid mosquitoes? Then May and September are the best months for your cruise.
- Are northern lights on the itinerary? Then your trip will be in September or October. Would you like to fish for salmon? Then select any summer or shoulder month.
The good news is that no matter which month you choose, your Alaskan cruise will reward you with incredible experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
Which Cruise Line Is Best For Alaska
Nearly every major cruise line sails to Alaska, so you have your pick of price points and onboard personalities.
Among the big-ship lines, Holland America and Princess are known as the Alaska experts. These lines typically base the most ships in this region every summer, and offer the largest selection of cruises and cruise tours. They schedule Alaska-specific special events onboard, such as Princess Puppies in the Piazza and Klondike Festival, and even have their own train cars and hotel properties in Denali and Fairbanks.
However, if other lines, such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, or Norwegian, suit your familys needs and budget better, you will still have a wonderful cruise vacation in Alaska. You might find that these lines offer more competitive pricing, your preferred onboard activities , or more robust kids programming, making them the best Alaska cruise choice for you.
Travelers looking for luxury should consider upscale lines such as Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, and Silversea. These cruise lines offer more intimate ships, inclusive fares, and attentive service, but wont have as many onboard attractions or as expansive kids facilities or activities as the bigger ships.
Choose expedition cruise lines, such as UnCruise Adventures, American Cruise Line, or Alaskan Dream Cruises, for intimate, adventure-focused ships that sail off the beaten path.
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For The Visitor To Alaska
This is also an ideal time to experience some of Alaskas best national parks including Kenai Fjords National Park, Glacier Bay National Park, and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park as well as popular Alaska wildlife viewing destinations such as Denali National Park, Kenai Wildlife Refuge, and the surrounding areas.
Another great experience to consider during the summer months is a tour through Fairbanks or the North Pole where you can walk down Santa Claus Lane while visiting one of Alaskas more unique shopping districts.
doesnt have much on display during the summer months but does still provide a nice selection of seaplanes and floatplanes to take advantage of some of Southeast Alaskas best scenery.
In August You can expect to find many local Alaskan celebrations honoring our Native American Heritage Month from the 18th through the 21st with everything from parades to craft fairs taking place in many of Alaskas communities.
Summer Is Typically June Through August
The second weekend of July is Alaskas biggest holiday The Fourth of July. During this time it is not uncommon to see towns and villages hosting parades, barbeques, baseball games, open houses, and festivals in celebration of the nations birthday.
Summer is also peak season for all cruise lines operating in Alaska. With many vessels departing on seven-day roundtrip Alaska vacation packages itineraries from Seattle, Vancouver B.C., Seward, Whittier, and other state ports.
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When Is Low Season
Low season on the Amalfi Coast runs from November to February, when the days are often gray and the temperatures are the chilliest. Even during this period, however, the local towns and villages still have a certain laid-back charm. December is particularly festive, with colorful lights and Christmas decorations glittering until late in the night.
Tempted to explore Italys glorious Amalfi Coast? Browse our luxury cruises to the Amalfi Coast and plan your Italian adventure.
Best Time Of Year To Take An Alaskan Cruise: Weather
The first factor you will want to consider when planning your Alaskan cruise is the weather. Dont let all those beautiful pictures of Southeastern Alaska fool you. Unfortunately, the summer months in Alaska are not always bright and sunny. In fact, the weather during the Alaskan cruise season tends to be rather wet.
A benefit of traveling earlier in the season is the reduced precipitation. Historically, May is the driest month of the cruise season. Less rain is good, but the weather also tends to be cooler earlier in the season.
If you are looking for the warmest weather, then you will want to sail mid-July to mid-August. Still, temperature swings in one day of 25 degrees will not be uncommon. You could wake up to freezing temperatures and be in the mid 60s by late afternoon.
There is also the longest daylight hours during the months of June and July. During this time of year, the sun doesnt set until around 10 pm. These extended periods of light make viewing the surrounding scenery sailing in and out of ports even more appealing.
Taking into consideration the average temperatures, rainfall amounts, and hours of daylight, the best time of year to go on an Alaskan Cruise is the month of July. However, with this optimal weather comes increased crowds and increased price. Not to mention, popular tours and shore excursions will fill up quickly.
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Best Time To Go On An Alaskan Cruise To See Northern Lights
If you want to see Northern Lights in Alaska, the best time to go on an Alaskan cruise is the month of September.
If you plan your Alaskan cruise in September, besides witnessing one of natures wonders, you may also end up grabbing last minute cruise ticket deals.
For the best sighting of Aurora Borealis, you can visit Fairbanks, which is geographically under the auroral oval, the spot where Northern Lights are seen most frequently.
The best time for seeing the aurora during Alaskas winter is 11:30 p.m.3:30 a.m. so make sure you are out there staring at the sky.
While you will witness the Northern Lights during your Alaskan cruise, you may have to sacrifice some wildlife experience because some parts of Denali National Park close in September.
The Gulf of Alaska is the choppiest during this period and if you tend to get seasick, we suggest you plan your Alaska cruise during the calmer months.
Taking An Alaska Cruise In May
With 17 hours of daylight, youll have plenty of time to work with on deck or shore. But you can leave the t-shirts and shorts at home, as the beginning of the Alaska cruise season, temperatures here are just starting to warm with an average high in the mid-50s.
Youll still need to pack layers, as the nights will be quite chilly, but you might luck out and not need your rain gear, as May is historically Alaskas driest month.
Cruise prices and excursions will also be lower in May, especially during the first week of the season. You can even find cruises for as low as $100 per day.
This early season is also a great time to view wildlife as the vegetation has not completely grown in yet, meaning it will be easier to spot animals between the trees.
Migratory birds should also have begun to arrive, and the fishing season will be just kicking off .
For those looking to hop on shore and take a hike, you still may encounter some snow on the ground, depending on where you are and at what elevation.
There are also numerous opportunities to walk on a glacier should you so choose. Just check to see what excursions are available in each port.
If youre pulling into port in Seward, keep an eye out for Alaskas resident orca whale pods, as May is the best time to spot these locals of Resurrection Bay. Its also your best chance to spot the elusive gray whale before they migrate north to colder waters.