The most popular seasons to visit Alaska are summer and winter, but the offseason has plenty to offer too. If Alaska’s on your bucket list but you’re not sure what season to book, here are some great reasons to plan your trip for fall!
*For all the same reasons listed here, spring would be a great time to visit Alaska, too!
1. Extended Sunrise and Sunset
Unlike summer and winter, the shoulder seasons of fall and spring provide a distinct day and night in Alaska. And during the daylight hours in fall, the sun never strays far from the horizon — thanks to the state’s far north coordinates.
Before the sun rises very high in the sky, it begins to set. In this light, landscapes and people both look more beautiful. It’s a photographer’s dream!
2. Avoid the Tourist Crowds
Summer and winter are the most popular tourist seasons in Alaska. While the activities available to you will be a bit limited, visiting in the “offseason” means you don’t have to deal with large crowds.
Read Things to Do Year-Round in and Around Anchorage for some fall activity ideas we enjoyed on our trip!
3. Save Money
Since fall and spring are less popular times to visit Alaska, plane tickets and accommodations tend to be cheaper. Search for accommodations on Airbnb (get $35 off your first booking) to live like an Anchorage local.
We’re saying goodbye to #Alaska today and I’m already reminiscing about the best parts of our trip. There’s so much beauty in this state, it’s impossible to see it all in just two weeks… but we sure tried! See our list of things to do at northtosouth.us/things-to-do-anchorage #NTSroadtrip2015 #alaska
4. The Northern Lights
Witness the Aurora Borealis in action when it’s not so freezing cold. While temperatures are still quite chilly in fall and spring, they won’t dive far below freezing like they do in winter. Summer is the worst time to visit Alaska if you hope to see the Northern Lights since the sun will still be out almost the entire night.
5. Sleep In!
The endless sun of summer requires black-out shades and a sleep mask to fall asleep, and the droning dark of winter can easily throw a wrench in a traveler’s sleep schedule. With a more normal day and night time and a mild, dusk-like daytime, catching Zs is easy peasy in Alaska’s fall and spring.
Happy Halloween from Anchorage! The snow is accumulating! I’ve already built a snowman and thrown two snowballs (Yes, at Ian… One missed). Say goodbye to fall if you’re in the North. Winter is here! #NTSroadtrip2015 #alaska
A photo posted by Diana Southern + Ian Norman 👫 (@northtosouthtravel) on
6. Snow… but not TOO much
Visiting Anchorage in early to mid fall (or mid to late spring) has the best potential for offering snowfall without a horribly slippery road situation.
7. Easy Wildlife Sightings
Smaller tourist crowds and mild weather conditions make wildlife sightings easy in the shoulder season. We saw a mountain goat, porcupine, bald eagles, swans, and a family of moose just while driving around on our two-week trip.
Ooh so cute and fuzzy! Check out the coat on this guy! 🐐 I was really hoping to see a mountain goat when we visited Glacier National Park earlier this trip, but we spotted one in Alaska instead! Apparently male mountain goats can grow to up to 385 pounds. The telephoto lens we’re toting around this trip may be heavy, but it’s so worth it! #NTSroadtrip2015 #alaska
Planning a trip to Anchorage, Alaska? Don’t miss our list of things to do in Anchorage!
Have you made it to Alaska on your travels? Which season did you visit? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
- In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.