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Before You Go to Alaska: Your Alaska Travel Choices

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A grand trip to Alaska is on many people's "bucket list." There are two popular ways to visit Alaska:

  • Land Tour -
    This itinerary typically includes Anchorage, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks. Transportation can be a combination of bus, railroad, and rental car.
  • Inside Passage Cruise -
    Travel by cruise ship through the sheltered and scenic waters of Alaska's Inside Passage, with stops at such ports of call as Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.

Both itineraries afford the opportunity to see glaciers and snow-capped peaks as well as wildlife from the land and sea.

How to Go to Alaska: By Land or by Cruise

A big part of choosing how to travel in Alaska is choosing what you want to see and do. In an ideal world, we'd all have the time and the money for both an Alaska cruise and a tour of the land. Denali National Park, located in Alaska's interior between Anchorage and Fairbanks, is certainly high up on most people's lists. Unfortunately, many of us don't have the 2 weeks required to see all the highlights.

When to Go to Alaska: The Alaska Travel Season

Most of us will want to visit Alaska during the warmer months of the year. The travel season for the state of Alaska is mid-May through mid-September, with mid-June to mid-July considered the optimal weeks for a visit. May is typically the driest month, with average rainfall increasing over the course of the summer.

Denali National Park has a shorter season for visitors. If Denali is on your itinerary, mid-June through August is the best time to visit. Over 20,000 feet in height, Mt McKinley is usually shrouded in clouds. The more time you can spend around the mountain, the greater chance you'll have to see the peak.

Other Considerations

The weather in Alaska is unpredictable. Heavy chilly rain can fall at any time throughout the summer. Or you could experience sunshine and blue skies. Dress in layers and be prepared for anything. It's all part of your Alaska adventure.

The weeks at the very beginning and the very end of the Alaska travel season are called the "shoulder season." With fewer visitors, these shoulder seasons are a great time to take advantage of package discounts and special offers.

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