Alaska travel guide

Where to go, what to see: your Alaska travel guide

Why visit Alaska?

Unique light, stillness and quiet unlike any place on earth, Alaska is a sparkling expanse of untouched wilderness. There is wildlife at every turn – grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and occasionally black bears and wolves. Cruising is a fantastic way to see it, particularly along the legendary Inside Passage - and to get up closer to humpback whales, sea lions, harbour seals on floating ice, and maybe even land animals at times.

Alaska is blessed by its location. With its upper half dipping into the Arctic Circle, it offers the rare chance to see the magnificent Aurora Borealis. This stunning phenomenon is delicate and fickle as it doesn’t always present itself – your best chance to see the Northern Lights is in late February and early March. But when it does, in the quiet hours of the late night and early morning, it creates one of the most dazzling and inspiring images on earth.

 

This massive state is also well known for the iconic Iditarod National Historic Trail. Find out how goods were transported across great distances of cold and often dangerous land; check out Happy Trails Kennels – home of four-time Iditarod champion, Martin Buser, and his sled dogs. Take in the majesty of Kenai Fjords National Park, its vistas and sea life – perhaps witness glaciers calving into the sea, powerful whales, and playful sea otters.


Weather and climate in Alaska

When is the best time to visit Alaska?

Long days and clear skies mean the best time to visit Alaska is between May and September. During these summer months, nature is at its peak and the temperature is at its mildest. That’s not to say there’s no chance of rain, however, as Alaska’s climate can be as unpredictable as the UK’s. The best time to see bears in Alaska is between May and September, particularly during July when the glacial meltwaters bring in a fresh supply of sockeye salmon to areas such as Denali National Park.

Alaska has a subarctic climate resulting in cooler temperatures throughout the summer months. When travelling to the coast please keep in mind that the ocean breeze may give the sensation of colder temperatures. Higher elevations, like those found in Denali National Park will have drier air but may be slightly cooler than those found at lower elevations. We recommend checking local weather in each of your destinations prior to travel to ensure you are adequately prepared for the conditions.

 

 

 

 Anchorage

 Valdez

 Fairbanks

 January

 -21.5/-18°C

 -6/2°C

 -24/-14.5°C

 February

 -21/-16.5°C

 -5/3°C

 -21.5/-9°C

 March

 -6.5/2°C

 -3.5/5°C

 -17/-2°C

 April

 -0.5/7°C

 0/9°C

 -4.5/8.5°C

 May

 4.5/13°C

 3.5/12.5°C

 3.5/16°C

 June

 9/16.5°C

 7/15.5°C

 9.5/21.5°C

 July

 11.5/17.5°C

 9/16.5°C

 11/22°C

 August

 10/17°C

 8/16.5°C

 8/19°C

 September

 6/12.5°C

 5.5/13.5°C

 2.5/13°C

 October

 -1/5°C

 1.5/9°C

 -7/2°C

 November

 -7.5/-1.5°C

 -3/4°C

 -18/-8.5°C

 December

 -20.5/-17°C

 -4/3°C

 -22/-12°C

 


Browse our Alaska holidays

Available tours & cruises: 6

Select when you wish to depart and we will be able to show you all tours and cruises that depart on the day you have selected.

2019
2020

Alaska food and fun facts

Food specialities of Alaska

Enjoy some of the state’s specialties such as cold water seafood; like salmon, halibut, and Alaskan King Crab, or large game animal like moose, caribou, elk or bear. Sourdough bread is so popular that the word “sourdough” is slang for a person who lives in Alaska. For those with a sweet tooth, you’ll enjoy all the amazing wild berries: blueberries, cranberries, lingonberries, salmonberries and more. Try some of the fresh made jams and jellies, pies, and chocolates.

Fun facts

  • Less than 1% of Alaska’s land is privately owned

  • Russia’s Big Diomede Island and Alaska’s Little Diomede Island are only three miles apart

  • Oil is Alaska’s leading industry, tourism is second

  • Alaskan fishing vessels catch more than 5 billion pounds of seafood annually


Things to consider before visiting Alaska

How to call Alaska: Country code

The country code for Alaska is +1. When calling to Alaska from overseas, dial your international access code, followed by the country code, area code, and phone number.

Alaska’s currency

In the USA the local currency is the American Dollar ($).  In general, Alaska is more expensive than destinations in the continental United States. Although credit cards are widely accepted in the United States, we recommend our passengers carry some cash (~$50) to use in circumstances when credit cards are not accepted or in destinations where ATMs are not readily available.

Shopping in Alaska

Shop for Alaskan specialties: an ulu knife, beautiful hand-carved Totem poles, ivory, jade, and gold jewellery, native dream catchers and spirit masks, wild berry products, coffee table books, hats, scarves, mittens, and sweaters made from qiviut, the extra-soft and extra-warm under-wool from musk oxen. Make sure to stop by the Anchorage Market and Festival located at Third Avenue and E Street. On the weekend, there's no better place to shop for a variety of items including local art, souvenirs, jewellery, clothing, vegetables, and more.

When and how much to tip in Alaska

In America, tipping is widely spread: the general rule is between 15 - 20% for bartenders or waiters ($1 - $2 a bag for porters). If in doubt, ask your Tour Director.

The USA uses 110-120 volt power, so you may need a voltage converter, usually for appliances that heat up such as hair dryers and straighteners, However, you’ll definitely need a plug adaptor: America uses a flat 2 or 3 prong plug. It’s better to have a two-prong adaptor which will fit either.