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Alaska Weather And Best Time To Visit Alaska
Alaska is a state of America, located extreme north of Canada and braving the cold of the North Pole. With plains of ice, blue glaciers, rugged mountains and alpine forests, Alaska is a nature buff’s paradise. For people who only picture Alaska as a cold, dark country that hardly ever sees sun, you are in for a very pleasant surprise. Yes, Alaska has some of the shortest days in winter (4-5 hour sunlight), but it also boasts of almost 24 hours of sunlight and long, warm days during the summer season. The midnight sun is seen in summer here, while the Northern Lights are seen in winter. Such is the weather of Alaska. There is no best to visit Alaska, both summer and winter are tourist times here, albeit, for different activities.
Summer (April to September)
Alaska mainly only experiences two seasons - the quintessential summer and the long, cold winter. Summer months see long daylight hours, going up to almost 23-24 hours in the month of summer solstice - June. From April the daylight hours start extending and warmth spreads, reaching peak by June-July, with July being the busiest, tourist wise. At this time of the year you have the best opportunities to go sightseeing, take cruises and enjoy adventure.
The midnight sun is one of the most coveted phenomena that people come from far away to see in Alaska. Only seen through summer months, the midnight sun can be seen from specific landscapes and viewpoints designated. The national parks are open and fully functional at this time, you can see brown bears, mountain deer, birds etc in their full glory. Fishing is a great activity to enjoy, as is river rafting, kayaking, hiking and trekking. There are so many local fairs, events, fishing derbies and competitions organised regularly. Rain is scarce, seen only in the last two weeks of August. Average temperature range at the peak of summer here is around 15-26°C with ample sunlight, to such an extent that the sun doesn’t set on the day of summer solstice! How cool is that?
Winter (October to March)
Winter is Alaska is a white wonderland, literally. Winter here starts in late September and goes on until March. The sunlight goes on decreasing down to almost nil by December, with the coldest, most darkest days seen around winter solstice (Christmas). But if you thought winter in Alaska is not a good time for a visit then you were wrong. Even if it is cold; bitter, freezing cold (-20°C), this is the ideal time to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights that take a vivid range of colours in the dark, sun-less sky of Alaska. The best places to see Northern Lights are in and around Fairbanks, where the sky is clear and without pollution.
Winter tours in Alaska start by October and go on until March, with special ones for Christmas week. The night markets (virtually held all day because well, all day is dark), Christmas decorations, lilting carols from every nook and cranny and spiced ale, gingerbreads, puddings and cakes on sale make Christmas a very special time. February and March make for more milder winter months as daylight has started to lengthen and you have the added bonus of Northern lights. The rates at this time are also lower as winter is not the most coveted by all tourists. Other actives you can indulge in winter here are Nordic skiing, dog sledding, Bath in hot springs, ice fishing, meeting eskimos and living in igloos. Already ditching summer for winter, aren’t you?