Article Overview: Alaska in August
Heading to Alaska in August? It’s never too early to start planning your Alaska Adventure. The earlier, the better. While we here at AlaskaExplored have had our fair share of unplanned globe-trotting adventures, planning your trip well in advance is a smart way to ensure a successful trip. While spontaneity is great, it may leave you sleeping in a tent instead of a sweet public use state cabin.
Many of Alaska’s great opportunities must be booked months or years in advance. Alaska’s popularity grows yearly, making getting those unique cabin rentals, charter boat reservations, and heli tours more challenging. Continue reading about all the incredible things you can do while traveling Alaska in August, and some things you may want to avoid.
Why Trust Us When Reading About Alaska in August
AlaskaExplored is THE DESTINATION for all things Alaska. Whether you are planning your Alaska in August adventure or just curious about the last frontier, we have you covered. You’ll find expert tips, detailed guides, stunning photographs, and more here.
Together AlaskaExplored has more than twenty years of experience traveling, working, and exploring the beautifully rugged 49th state. Working in television has taken us all around the world, and no place more than Alaska. During our time here, we’ve documented countless stories from every corner and crevasse of the state. We’ve helped showcase the grandeur of this wild place for National Geographic, Discovery, Disney, and Animal Planet. Now, we want to share our knowledge and real-life experiences with you!
AlaskaExplored combines years of firsthand experience with extensive research to deliver YOU with the best knowledge to help plan your next great Alaskan adventure.
My Experience With August in Alaska
By my count, I’ve spent nine August months filming in Alaska. I’ve spent parts of August in Alaska sleeping in a tent while filming bear hunting for the Discovery Channel, living on a thirty-foot boat while filming salmon fishing, and many Augusts four-wheeling outside Homer, Alaska. While there are some drawbacks to August in Alaska, for the most part, I really enjoy the month. Tourism is slowing down from its summer peak; Autumn hasn’t quite started, it’s a bit wet, and the mosquitos are still out, but there is plenty of sunlight to have adventures. So, like all the months, August in Alaska is special and has lots to offer!
Table of Contents: Alaska in August
Table of contents
- Why Trust Us When Reading About Alaska in August
- Alaska in August
- Alaska Daylight Hours in August
- Alaska Weather in August
- Alaska Events in August
- Where to Stay in Alaska in August
- Alaska in August: The Cons
- Alaska in August Facts
- Travel to Alaska in August: Just Do It!
Alaska in August
Alaska Daylight Hours in August
While Alaska in August is a magical time when the sun barely sleeps, I’ll never forget having to black out my windows with tin foil during my first trip there. I was on a missions trip with my church and we weren’t exactly staying at the Marriott. So word to the wise, pack a sleeping mask if you have trouble sleeping when its still light outside.
The exact amount of daylight hours in Alaska during the month of August depends on where you are. It might seem obvious but the farther north you go, the longer the days are. Anchorage begins the month with around 17 hours of daylight, and is down to 14.5 by the end of August. Fairbanks starts with close to 18 before dropping to 14.5. Southeast is less dramatic losing around 2 hours throughout the month.
Alaska Weather in August
Like so many things in Alaska, the weather during August can vary depending on the specific region your in. Personally I think the weather is divine during August, especially because I’m familiar with the other end of the spectrum. Here’s a brief overview of Alaska weather in August. Keep in mind these are rough averages, the more I travel to Alaska the wilder the weather seems to be.
- Anchorage: These days it’s not unheard of for Anchorage temperatures to reach the 80’s in August. But typically temps range from 60°F to 70°F, while nighttime temperatures can drop to around 45°F to 55°F. August is pretty wet averaging 14 of rainy days.
- Southeast: Temps range from low 60’s in the day, to high 40’s at night. There’s always more rain in the southeast Alaska with August seeing an average of 18 rainy days.
- Arctic: The arctic is always just freaking cold. Temps usually stay in the 30’s or 40’s during the month of August, with an average of 11 rainy days.
If you need help finding the best place to eat in Nome, Alaska, we got you covered too! Check out our top 5 Restaurants in Nome, Alaska.
Alaska in August: Top 5 Adventure Ideas
If you are planning a trip to Alaska in August, you’re in for a treat. While the entire summer is fine time to tour the last frontier, August offers plenty of events and excursions that will make your trip memorable. From music festivals and local fairs to kayaking and bear viewing, we’ll highlight the best the state has to offer during the month of August.
#5. Hiking and Backpacking:
August is a fantastic time for hiking and backpacking in Alaska, with numerous trails offering breathtaking vistas and unique terrain. Lace-up your boots and tackle the world-famous Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park. This 8.6-mile out-and-back trail is located near Seward, Alaska. Hikers often proclaim this hike as one of the best they’ve ever done, with the breathtaking scenery and wildlife viewing. The trail is considered a challenging hike, but dogs aren’t allowed.
For a more remote wilderness experience, head north to the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, the northernmost national park in the United States, located entirely north of the Arctic Circle. Explore its rugged landscapes and untouched tundra, and witness the Arctic wilderness. Remember to plan your trip carefully, as this vast park offers limited facilities and requires self-sufficiency.
If August travels bring you to Homer, Alaska or the Kenai Peninsula check out our Hiking Guide: EPIC Places to Go Hiking in Homer, Alaska (FULL GUIDE)
Here are a few other hiking adventures worth checking out in Alaska in August:
- Talkeetna Heli Hiking, Alaska Nature Guides, 907.733.1237
- Denali Wilderness Hike, Alaska Nature Guides, 907.733.1237
#4. Glacier Exploration
Alaska is known for its awe-inspiring glaciers, and Alaska in August provides an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with these icy giants. Take a boat tour to witness the tidewater glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park or Kenai Fjords National Park. Listen to the rumble and crack of calving ice and enjoy seeing the magnificent blue hues.
- Glacier Bay Day Tour, Glacier Bay Lodge and Tours, 888.229.8687
- Kenai Fjords National Park Tour, Kenai Fjords Tours, 888.478.3346
For an even more immersive experience, consider a guided glacier hike or Kayak adventure. Explore the stunning Matanuska Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, or the Root Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Hiking these glaciers will allow you to walk on ancient ice, see crevasses, witness the incredible formations, and, unfortunately, see the effects of climate change in person.
#3. Wildlife Encounters
Alaska’s wildlife is legendary, and August is a prime time to witness animals in their natural habitats. Join a wildlife safari or boat tour to spot marine mammals such as humpback whales, orcas, seals, and sea lions. Visit the Katmai National Park and Preserve to observe the spectacle of brown bears feasting on salmon as they migrate upstream. Several established guiding companies can take you to see the bears (listed below with contact info).
For bird enthusiasts, a visit to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge offers a chance to witness the breathtaking sight of migratory birds as they gather in preparation for their long journey south. While this refuge is amazing and seeing the wildlife in person is humbling, be prepared to rough it. The refuge has NO designated trails, roads, or facilities of any type within its borders. Visitors must bring their own food and gear and access the refuge by air or personal airplane. If that sounds too daunting, consider hiring an authorized recreational guide to help plan your trip.
If bears are your thing, Alaska in August offers plenty of bear viewing opportunities; here are a few tours and locations that can ensure your trip to Alaska includes a bear sighting:
- Guided Bear Viewing in Katmai, AK Adventures, 907.235.1805
- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, 907-783-0058
- Bear Viewing in Kodiak, Adventure Kodiak, LLC, 907-337-6532
- Alaska Grizzly Safari, Alaska Grizzly Safaris, 541-410-1331
#2. Kayaking and Rafting
Alaska has a vast network of rivers, lakes, and coastal waters, so it is a paradise for kayaking and rafting enthusiasts. Paddle through chunks of ice while heading to see the glaciers, or navigate rapids for an adrenaline rush.
If heading to Alaska in August, explore Prince William Sound or Kenai Fjords National Park on a sea kayaking adventure, where you can paddle past icebergs, photograph wildlife, or camp on the shores. Most kayaking tour operators will offer either day trips or multi-day camping trips. To access some of the more remote locations, take a water taxi to your kayaking location or take a helicopter ride for an even more thrilling experience. No matter what, kayaking in Alaska in August is a must-do activity.
- Kayaking at Lake Clark, Alaska Alpine Adventures, 907.351.4193
- Day Kayaking Trips, Alaska Tours, 5907.277.3000
- Sea Kayaking, Sea Expeditions, 907.303.0234
#1. Flight seeing and Helicopter Tours
Not for the faint-of-heart or the penny-pincher, to truly appreciate Alaska’s grandeur in August, consider taking a flight seeing tour or helicopter excursion. Fly over massive glaciers, ice fields, and snow-capped peaks and experience a unique vantage point of the Alaskan wilderness. Heli-tours are an excellent opportunity for aerial photography and capturing the vastness of the landscape. Heli-tours can also get you to some of the most remote locations to view incredible wildlife.
- Glacier and Mountain Viewing Tour, Seward Helicopter Tours, 907.362.4354
- Dog Sled Tour, Coastal Helicopters, 907.789.5610 (Dog sledding season may end in early August due to climate)
- Heli and E-Mountain Biking Tours, AK Helicopter Tours, 907.272.7777
Alaska Events in August
Alaska isn’t just about epic landscapes and diverse wildlife. While those things are great, the last frontier also offers a slew of vibrant cultural scenes and exciting events. Here are some events that take place in Alaska in August.
- Alaska State Fair: This ones the big one, the main event when it comes to Alaskan Fairs. The annual event is held in Palmer, Alaska, at the end of the summer. It showcases the diverse agricultural, artistic, and cultural aspects of the state. Attractions include livestock exhibits, agricultural competitions, arts and crafts displays, live entertainment, rides, and an tons of food. Aug 23rd-Sept 2nd
- Alyeska Blueberry Festival: Celebrating everything blueberry the Alyeska Blueberry Festival offers Blueberry-themed events with vendors, live music, a pie-eating contest, a kid zone, and berry picking! Its located at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. Aug 12-13
- Anchorage RunFest: This two-day event celebrates everything running; the festival hosts multiple races, including a Boston Marathon qualifier. Runfest also includes a 2-day health and fitness expo. Aug 17-18, 2024
- Kenai Peninsula Fair: Located in Ninilchik, the fair is a genuine Alaskan experience with livestock exhibits, horse shows, agricultural displays, and rodeo events. It also includes live music, local handmade crafts, and fair food. Aug 11-13, 2023
- Salmonfest: With its emphasis on promoting sustainable fishing practices and raising awareness about the significance of wild salmon conservation, Salmonfest is a unique celebration of music, nature, and community. It is held in Ninilchik, Alaska, on the Kenai peninsula, about an hour outside of Homer. The three day festival offers a diverse lineup of artists, both local and national, as well as a smoked salmon competition! Yum. Aug 2-4, 2024
Where to Stay in Alaska in August
I can not recommend this enough: stay away from hotels, motels, and fancy rental houses. You’re going to Alaska in August! Experience nature and sleep in the wild. I prefer tent sleeping, avoiding cell phone service, people, and electricity. Getting out of town and experiencing the night sky in Alaska with no light pollution is a life-changing experience.
If sleeping in a tent isn’t your thing, plenty of other options exist. Throughout Alaska, the State Parks provide public-use cabins. Many of these cabins are in some of the state’s most beautiful and secluded locations. Over the years, I’ve stayed in plenty of public-use cabins, housing film crews and just for fun. August is the perfect month to enjoy a good long hike and a relaxing weekend in a cabin. The cabins fill up soon, so plan your trip accordingly.
- Alaska State Park’s Public Use Cabins, Alaska Dept of Natural Resources, 907.269.8907
- Additional Information on Alaska Cabins, Alaska State Parks, 844.351.9733
Alaska in August: The Cons
Alaska is notorious for its huge summer time mosquitoes. Everything is bigger in Alaska, and that holds true even for the pesky blood suckers, people even joke that mosquitoes are the state bird. While Southeast Alaska and most coastal areas might not be too bad for mosquitos, they will certainly be a factor if you’re traveling into the interior. By the time September rolls around the cool nights will have killed off most of them, but if you’re traveling to Alaska in August, make sure to bring some bug repellent.
Rainfall is another factor to consider when traveling to Alaska in August. While August is generally the rainiest month for the state as a whole, the amount of rainfall can vary significantly depending on the region. Southeast Alaska, which includes Juneau and Ketchikan, is the rainiest part of the state year round, which makes sense because most of the area is an actual rainforest (Tongass National Rainforest). In August, you can expect an average of 17 rainy days with around 5 inches of rain. On the hand, the interior of Alaska, places like Fairbanks and Denali National Park, get an average of only 7 rainy days during the month of August.
Depending on your tolerance to cold, another knock on traveling to Alaska in August cold be the cooler temps. Some travelers complain that autumn starts as early as late August in Alaska, but I don’t see that as a disadvantage. With average temperatures in the 60’s I personally think the cooler temps are awesome! And as always, it’s a massive state so depending on where you are it could be warmer or cooler. Just pack layers and you’ll be fine no matter the weather!
Alaska in August Facts
- Interior Alaska tends to see 16 hours of sunlight during August.
- The average rainfall is 2.9 inches in Anchorage Alaska in August.
- The average rainfall is 11.3 inches in Ketchikan Alaska in August.
- An estimated 2.26 million visitors traveled to Alaska between May and September 2019.
- Prices begin to drop on Alaska cruises in August
Travel to Alaska in August: Just Do It!
I’ve been working in Alaska in August for over a decade, and while I love all the Seasons, August is special. While the tourism industry is great for Alaska’s economy, it can be overwhelming and crowded in places like Homer, Alaska. I have always loved August because the tourism season is winding down, but you still have plenty of daylight for fun outdoor activities. There may be a few mosquitos and bit more rain, but the pros far out weight the cons.
Whether you choose to hike through the wild, explore the glaciers, encounter incredible wildlife, paddle through the waters, or fly above the glaciers, traveling to Alaska in August will undoubtedly leave you with some stories. So embrace your spirit of adventure and make August a month you’ll never forget.