July proves a popular time of year to take a trip into the land of the midnight sun. Located high in the Arctic North, Alaska benefits from days of almost total sunlight throughout its summer months and this is certainly an experience to enjoy at least once in your lifetime. Add to this the beautiful landscape, unique natural wonders and great weather and there really is no reason why you wouldn’t choose to visit Alaska during July.
Alaska in July
The abiding image of Alaska is a landscape covered in snow and ice, with all who visit here dressed head to toe in layers of clothes. Well that really isn’t the case during the summer months here. As the temperatures begin to climb and the snow really begins to thaw, the tourists start to flock to explore this beautiful part of the world. During July, temperatures average 18C (65F) and you’ll find the weather much drier than later on during the summer. What’s most appealing is the amount of daylight during these months. Through July, Alaska averages 18 hours of sunlight, with the sun rising after 4am and setting after 11pm. If you’re sensitive to light at nighttime then I would advise packing an eye mask to help you sleep.
There are a number of events to enjoy during July. Obviously as Alaska is the 50th State of America, there are events across the state to celebrate Independence Day on 4th July. Seward and Anchorage provide the best of these festivities. Visit Eagle River to attend the Bear Paw Festival which runs for five days during the middle of July and features a carnival, rodeo and car show as well as some fantastic food including the famous Alaskan salmon. Alternatively, if you’re visiting at the end of the month, take a trip to Cordova for the Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival.
Cruises around Alaska are extremely popular during the summer months, with the ice thawed enough for ships to guide their way through the arctic seas. Most cruises will take you on a glacier tour, past lush forests and to the capital Juneau. There are also cruises available that mix cruises with land tours, meaning you’ll get to see the best of both worlds. Most cruises depart from three main destinations: Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco which are perfectly placed along the Western Coast to reach Alaska easily.
- For more information and to compare cruises available during July, visit alaskacruises.com
Alaskan Wildlife must-sees
Of course one reason why Alaska is a popular destination is because of its diverse wildlife population. From the skies, to the land to the seas, there are opportunities a plenty to see a whole array of iconic animals. Keep a look out for bald eagles swooping across the sky on the hunt for their next meal, curse another moose family crossing the road and causing a tailback and whilst at sea, you’ll be almost guaranteed to see some whales enjoying the waters.
Arguably the most iconic image for Alaska is that of the bear hunting its salmon. For the best experience getting up close to these beautiful, yet sometimes dangerous, animals, visit the Kodiak Brown Bear Center. Here you’ll be able to stay in the wilderness for a few days, see and learn about the bears that live here and also take up a spot of fishing. It’s the ultimate bear experience in my opinion and well worth every dollar.
- For more information, visit kodiakbearcenter.com
Enjoy the Alaskan landscape
With a terrain such as this, it’s hard to know where to start when talking about must see destinations. In a state that contains 17 National Parks, there is much to recommend! Visit Wrangell-St Elias or Denali National Park for fantastic locations for hiking, climbing and exploring the landscape. Wrangell-St Elias is the largest national park in the USA and is home to the St Elias Mountains, many glaciers, icefields and even an active volcano. Even here in Alaska the mosquitos are out in force during summer so ensure you’re well protected from these pesky insects.
A park I would definitely recommend visiting if you can is the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Situated in the south of Alaska, it was this area which played a significant role in the famous Gold Rush that made so many people rich during the late 19th to early 20th century. Here you can not only learn about the history of the Gold Rush and enjoy the landscape that gave such a high yield, but you can also try your hand at panning yourself.