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Eph60

When to go to Alaska

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When to cruise Alaska is a question that is asked frequently. The truth is this is a question that is hard to answer because every month in Alaska is different during the cruise season. I will try to help with this question but keep in mind Mother Nature does what she wants.

May is considered the driest month to be in Alaska. The temperatures on average will be in the 60's. Daylight will be anywhere from 16 to 19 hours long as the month goes on. There will still be snow on the ground in many places. If you want to see waterfalls this is a great month due to the snow melt. They will be everywhere. The start of the month the trees will be bare but with the long days they will sprout leaves very quickly, in fact within a day or two. The animal life will be limited because bears and such will just be starting to come out from the winter.

June will start out dry but by mid month the rain will start to come in and when the rain starts in Alaska it will be a long time before it stops. The temperatures will get into the mid to high 70's. The trees and flowers will be in full bloom. Wildlife will be very active. The salmon will start running about the third week of June. Daylight will hit 24 hours during this month. For those that have never experienced it, that much daylight can get confusing when trying to tell time.

July will be pretty much rain the whole month. There will be very little dry days during this month. When I worked in Alaska I think we had three dry days during July the year before they had 5 dry days, in otherwords make sure you have rain gear.. Temperatures can hit in the high 70's to low 80's. There will be a lot of wildlife both on land and sea. The salmon will be running full in the start of the month. July is peak season and when I worked at the lodges we got a lot of complaints because people did not expect all the rain and clouds.

August will start out with rain but dry out a couple weeks into the month. The sun will start to drop quickly every day. By the end of the third week the chances of seeing the norhhern lights will increase. By the end of August leaves will start to change colors. The bad thing about the color change is that the majority of colors will just be yellow with an occasional red thrown in. Temperatures will get down to low 60's and many more days down into the 50's. Whales will start to head south but will still be in the area.

September the final month of cruising. This month will be fairly dry but the sun will go down more quickly and it will also start getting much colder. There may be mornings with frost on the ground. The chance to see norhtern lights will be much improved. You may even see snow. There will still be some wildlife and some whales but the whales will be thinning out. The best part of September is for the shoppers. Shops will have a lot of sales before they close up for the season.

I hope this helps some in your planning but remember that Mother Nature does what she wants.

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Good advice – especially about the unpredictability of nature! We tend to travel off-peak to get the best deals so we’ve been to Alaska in May, late August and September. Probably enjoyed May a little more due to the extended sunlight, but souvenir shopping was really cheap when we were on the last ship of the year!

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Thanks for the report. We'll be sailing out of San Francisco on 7/29 to Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway and Ketchikan, then to Victoria and back to SF through August 8. Looks like I better be prepared for anything!

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Thanks for the info. My cruise will be mid-June and I am still trying to figure out what to pack. This really helps.

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