When is the Best Time to Be Traveling in Alaska?
The cruise ships only travel to Alaska from early May to mid September.
The Ferries go all year long.
Summer has almost 22 hours of daylight.
Summer solstice is June 20th when it is the longest daylight of the whole year…Party time in Alaska. No one goes to bed. No one is tired. Daylight energizes you. Winter is just the opposite – not much daylight.
Summer weather is unpredictable so go prepared for anything. You don’t want to miss the sights. Take a rain poncho in case of a shower any time in the summer. Winter, take your warmest clothes. Every season has its own amazing sites. February has northern light displays that will mesmerize you.
What do see and do in Alaska
There are many different areas in Alaska from the Kenai Peninsula to the Arctic Circle. This list is only a fraction of what adventure awaits.
Having a car is a good idea and can be rented in Anchorage. You can also rent motor homes and even have them awaiting you at the pier if you are disembarking a cruise ship. There are a few places you can’t drive direct but have to put a car on the ferry.
- The Kenai is a long peninsula in Southwest Alaska. The main town is Homer. This is the halibut fishing capital of the world. Trophy-sized halibut are caught here, but the best tasting are smaller ones. You also have the Kenai River, famous for salmon fishing. Many charter companies will give you a thrill. Wildlife abound and watch for the moose and bear on the roads.
- Whittier is the end of the cruise for one cruise line. From there you are put on a train and taken to Denali Park. Along the way you pass amazing sights in your dome train car. Seward is the end for other cruise lines and you can take a motor coach around Portage Bay on your way to Anchorage.
- Anchorage is the capital. A beautiful city with great restaurants and shopping. From there head North to Katmai National Park to see bears as they feed on salmon.
At Anchorage take the train to Fairbanks…A slow ride past small villages, towns and amazing scenery. Pass Palmer where they grow the biggest cabbages in the world because of all the daylight.
Get off in Talketna and go salmon fishing. Then take a small plane over Mt. McKinley (weather permitting) and land in Kantishna. This was the last place to buy supplies before heading into some of the mining fields. Visit Mirror Lake and on a clear day see a picture perfect image of Mt. McKinley.
Take a bus ride from Kantishna out to Denali Park. Spend a couple of nights and feel the wilderness. Visit a sled dog camp and hear the stories of these amazing dogs who absolutely love to run. Then get back on the train and end in Fairbanks.
What to do in Fairbanks
There are many things to do and see in Fairbanks. There is the Discovery paddle-wheeler on the Chena and Tanana Rivers stopping at Susan Butcher’s sled dog camp as well as the Binkley’s native Chena village showcasing many of the native tribes in Alaska and their crafts.
Along the river hear the stories of the fish traps, the gold mining adventures and the sights of Alaska.
Here is where you catch a small plane and fly over to the Arctic Circle and get your certificate. Visit North Pole, Alaska, part of the pipeline and even KJNP-“the radio station at the top of the nation”.
From Fairbanks you can drive south and visit wonderful historic places such as Tok, Chicken, Dawson City, Whitehorse, Skagway and the capital Juneau.
This part of your journey would not be complete without knowledge of the Gold Rush of 1898. Read Pierre Burton’s books and gain an insight into that historic time of our country and the fever that brought thousands from all over the world to risk their lives for gold.
After my grandfather died, I found out he had gone to the gold rush. How sad that I didn’t get to ask him about the experience.
Alaska, a wonderful place to visit where they speak English, the dollar is good, the food is wonderful (Reindeer sausage is yummy) and you feel at home instantly. Your cares melt away as you come face to face with nature.
I have quit counting the times I have been up there. You can go many many times and see new things.