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Alaska In June: Weather, Packing Tips And Epic Activities

Venturing into Alaska in June invites us to experience a landscape at its most vibrant. We’re greeted by extended daylight hours and milder temperatures, allowing us to revel in the natural beauty that defines the Alaskan summertime. 

While June isn’t quite a peak season, migrating humpback whales have completed their journey from Mexico and Hawaii, providing opportunities to see them. 

When deciding on a great month for an Alaska visit, consider June. It has drier weather, and its coastal ports aren’t as crowded as in July and August.

Sitka Harbor and Mount Edgecumbe, Alaska
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If you plan a trip to the Last Frontier in June, discover what to expect from the weather and how to pack. While activities are varied, find the top things to do during this month and where to do them.

Visiting Alaska In June

A journey through the Last Frontier is more than just a holiday. It’s an opportunity to immerse ourselves in a thriving, dynamic ecosystem. Wildflowers create a splash of color, glaciers are calving, and wildlife welcomes young.

In June, we get to experience Alaska’s stunning landscapes under the glow of the midnight sun. The longer days, drier climate, and pleasant temperatures make outdoor adventures even more enjoyable.

Outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and glacier cruises are enriched by the state’s stunning, long-lasting twilights.

However, late-June marks the beginning of peak travel season. So, expect crowds in busy hubs like Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau when traveling near the end of the month. If you’re not fond of crowds or higher prices, plan to travel to Alaska in May instead.

Cruise Vs. Road Trip

When visiting Alaska, the first decision is how we explore this vast wilderness: by sea or road. A cruise offers scenic views of tidewater glaciers not accessible by land. It’s an almost all-inclusive resort at sea with accommodation, meals, and entertainment included.

A cruise visits certain coastal destinations, like Icy Strait Point, Sitka, and Juneau, which are not reachable by road from the mainland. However, vessels only dock for set hours, so spending a few days in one destination isn’t possible.

Boardwalk in Icy Strait Point, Alaska, in June

On the other hand, a road trip offers the freedom to wander and discover the beauty of Alaska without a set schedule. However, since the state is vast, a road trip may require a longer commitment of time.

From crystal-clear lakes to towering mountain peaks, the scenery in summer is truly a feast for the eyes. On a road trip, every region has its own appeal, promising adventure, and serenity in equal measure.

Summer Solstice Cruises

A summer solstice cruise aligns with the longest day of the year. It’s a chance to witness the Alaskan wilderness from the deck of a cruise ship for extended hours.

Holland America Westerdam offers a 28-day summer solstice cruise, which travels into the Arctic Circle on the longest day of the year. A bucket list journey for many, it provides an opportunity to watch the sun lower but never set before rising again.

In 2025, Princess Cruises is introducing a 22-day voyage on the Ruby. While it coincides with the summer solstice, this one doesn’t enter the Arctic Circle and goes as far north as Valdez.

During the summer solstice, enjoy a gondola ride in Alaska, without fear of getting dark.

Best Places To Visit

While Alaska is a vast state, here are our top picks in June:

  • Denali National Park: Home to North America’s highest peak. June signals the short spring season as the landscape transitions from brown to green. Plan to visit for at least a few days, as Denali often shields its face behind clouds.
Mount Denali
The towering peak of Denali
  • Kenai Fjords National Park: Here, we find glaciers meeting the ocean. The park is accessible by land and sea.
  • Anchorage: It offers a mix of urban and wild experiences. Staying in Anchorage provides a base for day trips to other areas like Seward, Portage Glacier, Turnagain Arm, and Whittier.
  • Talkeetna: For breathtaking views of Denali, consider a flightseeing excursion.

Wildlife Sightseeing

Alaska’s wildlife is also at its most active during this period. Enthusiasts among us can spot brown bears on the ABC Islands, moose in the wetlands of Denali, and Sockeye Salmon making their way up rivers.

While bald eagles thrive in the landscapes of the 49th state, there’s a plethora of other bird species, all thriving in the long hours of the arctic daylight. 

In Denali, moose, bears, caribou, and Dall sheep are sighted in their natural habitats. Marine wildlife adventures broadened the wildlife spotting with chances to see humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, and seals, especially on Kenai Fjords tours. 

For cruise passengers, whale watching and wildlife tours are best from Juneau, Icy Strait Point, and Seward.

Spotting humpback whales on a whale watching tour in Juneau, Alaska
Seeing humpback whales on a tour in Juneau

For fishing enthusiasts, prime Alaskan fishing kicks off in June with the influx of King Salmon at the start of the month. It’s a chance to hone their angling skills on the largest salmon species.

By mid-month, Sockeye Salmon arrives, and the best places to catch them are the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers near the Cook Inlet.

Cultural Events And Festivals

Alaska’s rich culture comes alive in June with a variety of unique events:

  • Celebration: A major southeastern Alaska Native event featuring the Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian cultures.
  • Summer Solstice Festivals: Anchorage and Fairbanks throw vibrant solstice celebrations.
  • Midnight Sun Game: Fairbanks’ annual baseball game takes advantage of the midnight sun by starting at 10:30 pm and finishing at about 1:30 am.
  • Summer Brewfest: Beer, live music, and fun under the midnight sun.
  • Homer Halibut Festival: A month-long festival that includes a Halibut Derby.

Temperature Trends

As summer approaches, June is expected to have warmer temperatures, but that may or may not be the case. Alaska’s weather is unpredictable.

Endicott Arm on a wet day in June
Endicott Arm on a wet day in June

The temperatures across the state and even in one region can vary greatly from week to week. Checking the forecast before travel is helpful; however, weather patterns can change quickly.

Typically, you can anticipate daytime highs ranging from the mid-50s to low 70s°F, perfect for hiking and wildlife watching. 

Coastal regions are cooler, while the interior can be slightly warmer. 

Here’s what we can generally expect for Alaska temperature in June:

  • Interior: Daytime highs in the low 70s.
  • Coastal areas: Daytime highs in the mid to upper 60s.
  • Southcentral Alaska includes coastal and interior regions with moderate temperatures in the low 60s.

Remember to pack layers, as nights can still be cool, and weather conditions can change quickly. Since the state experiences lots of rain, preparing for the worst is best, even when traveling in a generally dry month.

Packing For A Trip In June

When traveling to the Last Frontier in June, we prefer to think about comfort and practicality over fashion regarding clothing choices. Planned activities may play a factor in what we pack.

Brian wearing a Helly Hanson 3-in-1 jacket
Brian dressed for the cold in a fjord

Supportive hiking boots, wool hiking socks, and collapsible hiking poles are recommended for avid hikers. Layers of fleece and sweatshirts are a must for outings on the water. 

Since it can often feel colder in a boat, it’s best to have extra items that can be removed if the weather changes. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also needed, especially on the water or when visiting ice fields. 

Think about balancing comfort with common sense and selecting pieces that can function in multiple ways. Convertible cargo pants that function as long trousers and shorts and 3-in-1 jackets are ideal. Add both short—and long-sleeved tops for a good starting point.

Pack for three seasons and hope for higher temperatures and drier weather. A waterproof backpack or crossbody bag is best for hiking and day trips. 

Do I Need Rain Gear?

Yes, rain gear is a must in Alaska. The Tongass Rainforest blankets much of the state, and rainforests aren’t made without precipitation. 

Even if June typically signifies a drier month, weather can be unpredictable. I’ve experienced scattered showers to downpours in June, so having the right gear makes all the difference.

  • Waterproof shoes: Our favorite, Vessi footwear, is 100% waterproof, lightweight, and comes in many styles and colors.
Wearing our Vessi shoes on a wet day in Sitka
Wearing Vessi shoes on a wet day in Sitka
  • Waterproof Jacket: This is a must-have to stay dry. I prefer a 3-in-1 with a fleece inner jacket. I can wear the jackets separately or combine them near glaciers or in areas where I need extra warmth.
  • Waterproof Trousers are ideal for certain shore excursions and outdoor activities. Some operators provide these when rafting and or on high-speed boat tours.
  • A compact umbrella: One that fits in a backpack side pocket is recommended. You never know when it’s needed, and you’ll be thankful to have one.

Protect your expensive electronic equipment with an inexpensive rain sleeve for a DSLR camera.

Cruise Attire

Cruising requires a slightly different set of attire. Select pieces that cater to both formality and comfort. During the day, casual and comfortable clothes work well for onboard activities or exploring ports. Remember to add sweaters or cardigans for colder spots on the ship.

  • Days: Lightweight, breathable clothing and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Evenings: Smart casual or formal wear, depending on the cruise line’s dress code. Since most lines have moved away from traditional formal nights, “dressing your best” is optional. For most evenings, dark jeans and a shirt, sweater, or top will suffice.
  • Bring bathing suits and slip-on shoes, as all vessels have swimming pools and hot tubs. Remember to pick a ship with an indoor pool, as it may be too cold to utilize the outdoor one.
Wearing a Columbia waterproof jacket on a boat tour
Wearing a waterproof jacket on a boat tour
  • Port days: Dress for the weather or activity, but carry a compact umbrella and a waterproof jacket, no matter the forecast.
  • Gym gear: Optional for those who want to maintain their routine of daily workouts.

All cruise ships have laundry services. Some are self-serve with irons and ironing boards, while others charge a fee. When cruising an extended itinerary of fourteen days, using the laundry facilities will require fewer clothes.

Mosquito Protection

Mosquitoes in Alaska can be prevalent, especially in wooded areas or near water. 

  • Insect Repellent: Choose one with DEET or Picaridin. When concerned about space, purchase mosquito repellent towelettes, which are easy to carry and repel mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks.
  • Long-Sleeved Shirts and Pants: Wear light-colored clothing when hiking to help deter mosquitoes.

Alaska’s weather can be fickle, so pack with layers and protection in mind to enjoy the Alaskan adventure to its fullest.

Alaska’s Best Activities In June

Alaska’s extended daylight hours in June provide ample time for a myriad of activities. From the lush trails to the abundant rivers and serene waters, no shortage of adventure awaits us.

Hiking Trails

Whether cruising or traveling on land, Alaska offers many hiking routes to see waterfalls, glaciers, and ones that scale mountain peaks. Pick one or several that match your hiking ability. 

Hiking at Mount Roberts in Juneau
Hiking at Mount Roberts in Juneau
  • Flattop Mountain Trail: One of Anchorage’s most beloved hikes, Flattop Mountain offers breathtaking panoramic views. It’s a moderate to difficult 3-mile round trip, but the reward is worth the great workout.
  • Exit Glacier: Near Seward, the walk up to Exit Glacier rewards us with being able to touch the ice. This accessible trail gives us a close-up look at a magnificent glacier and the chance to learn about the glacial retreat.
  • Nugget Falls: This popular trail, located in the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in Juneau, is suitable for all. The flat, easy route ends at a thunderous cascade near the glacier’s toe.

Kayaking And Boating

Alaska offers many opportunities to get out on the water, on boating, rafting, and kayaking excursions.

  • Resurrection Bay: Kayaking tours to Resurrection Bay boast calm waters and the opportunity to paddle amidst sea otters and puffins.
  • Chugach National Forest: Discover the unparalleled beauty of Prince William Sound by boat, where tidewater glaciers and diverse wildlife provide an unrivaled boating experience.
  • Rafting On Mendenhall Lake: Get up close to the face of Mendenhall Glacier on a small raft. See giant icebergs and witness glacial calving from a small vessel.
  • Whittier Glacial Cruise: Take the 26 glacier cruise to see tidewater glaciers and enjoy wildlife spotting, too.

Fishing

Fishing might not be the number one reason travelers visit Alaska, but why not enjoy the sport while there? The type of fish caught will depend on location and whether angling in lakes, rivers, or the ocean.

  • Russian River: A confluence where we can witness salmon runs and try our luck with a fishing rod. Its stunning clear waters and high fish concentration make it a premier spot for fly fishing.
  • Ketchikan: Known as the salmon capital of the world. Try your luck at King or Sockeye salmon or go for halibut instead.

If you leave empty handed, head to a restaurant instead. Local eateries serve the freshest fish, chowder, and a variety of mouth-watering crab legs.

Skagway train, brown bear, Denali, and woman by a glacier in Alaska