Article Overview: Alaska in July
With ancient glaciers, grizzly bears, and days that never end, Alaska is a world of its own. And the most popular time to experience Alaska and all its glory is during the month of July, the peak of summer. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of venturing north during this magical (and admittedly, buggy) summer month.
Why Trust Us?
AlaskaExplored is THE DESTINATION for all things Alaska. Wether you’re planning a trip to celebrate the 4th of July in Alaska, or if you’re just curious about the last frontier in general, we got you covered. Here at AlaskaExplored.com you’ll find expert tips, detailed guides, stunning photographs, and so much more.
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 in Alaska 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, Animal Planet, and more. Now we want to share our knowledge and real life experiences with you!
My Experience with Alaska in July
For me, Alaska in July means a much lighter suitcase and a few more handfuls of Ibuprofen. When I’m working in Alaska it usually means I’ll be slugging through a couple feet of snow to film a caribou hunt or a firewood excursion. And for that I need long under, light coats, heavy coats, hats, gloves, ALL the socks, hand warmers, snow jackets…. well you get the idea. The suit case gets heavy fast. So while a July gig in Alaska can lighten my load, it does have its trade offs.
Generally speaking, if the sun is up our cameras are rolling, which means long days with a camera on the shoulder. But hey, thats what whiskey is for. The real draw back to Alaska in July, are the bugs. The first time I experienced the black clouds of death that are Alaskan mosquitos, was in Kotzebue. I remember setting up my camera on a tripod outside of town to get a B-roll shot, and within a few seconds my entire hand turned black. Every inch of exposed skin had a mosquito on it. So pro tip, if you’re traveling to the interior of Alaska in July, you still need gloves.
Alaska in July
Table of Contents: Alaska in July
Table of contents
- Why Trust Us?
- My Experience with Alaska in July
- Alaska in July
Reasons to Visit Alaska in July
Is July a good time to visit Alaska? Heck yeah it is! Here are some reasons why:
July is prime-time whale watching season in Alaska, as many whales migrate to Alaska to feed in the rich waters. Humpback whales and orcas are the most common whales to visit Alaskan waters in July. This is also the best time of year to see the Humpbacks bubble feed, a feeding technique that involves a coordinated and cooperative effort among a group of whales to corral and capture schools of fish using a “net” of bubbles. It’s one of the coolest things you can see in nature.
If you’re more of a land lover, July is also a great month for observing Alaska’s Bear and moose populations. The summer salmon runs, which is an incredible sight in itself, pays double dividends by attracting bears to rivers and streams, giving folks the best opportunity for bear viewing. It’s probably the safest time to observe bears as well, with a fish buffet in front of them, they are plenty occupied.
July in Alaska is all about soaking up the outrageous amount of daylight. While the peak of daylight hours is actually in June(summer solstice is June 20th), theres still plenty of daylight to hike mountain trails or kayak past 10pm. While these extended daylight hours can encourage tv producers to keep filming longer than they should, they also fuel endless adventure possibilities.
The exact number of daylight hours can vary slightly depending on where exactly you are within the state. Here are some approximate daylight hours for some cities in Alaska during July:
- Anchorage: Anchorage experiences about 18 to 19 hours of daylight in July.
- Fairbanks: Situated a few hours north of Anchorage, Fairbanks enjoys even longer daylight hours, with approximately 21 to 22 hours of daylight in July.
- Juneau: Located in the southeastern region of the state, the capital city experiences around 17 to 18 hours of daylight in July.
The weather in Alaska in July varies across different regions, but in general, it is considered the warmest month of the year. Here are approximate average temperatures and rainfall for key locations:
- Anchorage & The Kenai Peninsula (Seward, Homer): Average temperatures range from 50°F to 70°F with relatively low precipitation.
- Interior Alaska (Fairbanks & Denali): Don’t forget to pack your shades and bug repellent, because as you venture inland, the temperatures heat up and the mosquitos come out! Places like Fairbanks can have summer averages range from the 60s to the 80s F.
- Southeast Alaska (Juneau, Ketchikan): Average temperatures in this region range from 55°F to 65°F with a relatively wetter climate compared to other Alaskan cities, July can see moderate rainfall.
In July, Alaska’s farmers markets come alive with an abundance of fresh, locally grown produce and artisanal goods. Visitors can explore stalls offering all kinds of colorful fruits, vegetables, and handmade crafts. From juicy berries to crisp greens, Alaska’s farmers markets are fun way to enjoy and support local culture, farmers, and artisans. Here’s a list of some Alaska farmers markets to visit in July.
- Anchorage Market and Festival (Anchorage): Held in downtown Anchorage, the Anchorage Market and Festival is one of the largest open-air markets in Alaska. It features a wide array of vendors offering fresh produce, crafts, clothing, and local art. The market often includes live music and entertainment.
- Southside Community Farmers Market (Fairbanks): A seasonal outdoor market featuring locally grown & produced food in South Fairbanks. They operate every Tuesday from June to September.
- Homer Farmers Market (Homer): When I was working in Homer I used to love going to this little market. One of our safety officers had a booth where she sold her families honey. Sometimes they do cooking demo’s or live music.
Wildflower season in Alaska, which typically peaks in July, adds a nice splash of color to an often muted green or white landscape. Alpine meadows and valleys burst into bloom, showcasing a diverse array of native wildflowers. From delicate lupines to vibrant fireweed, wildflower season in Alaska offers flower enthusiasts and photographers a captivating spectacle.
For a full guide to Alaska’s Flowers check out our article: Alaska Flowers: Chronicling the Flora of the Last Frontier
Celebrating July 4th in Alaska
Alaska really digs Independence Day, and it is on full display with tons of 4th of July celebrations all across the state. Parades, live music, food, drinking and games make up for some grand gatherings in July. While most of the state doesn’t get enough darkness for a good fireworks display, it doesn’t stop some towns from shooting them off. Here’s a list of some of the best 4th of July celebrations in Alaska:
- Anchorage: Anchorage, Alaska hosts a big Independence Day celebration in July with events like a parade, live music, baseball games, and a fireworks display. Delaney Park Strip is the place to be during the festival.
- Juneau: The capital city has one of the best fireworks displays in Alaska. It fires off over Gastineau channel and benefits from being farther south, giving it darker skies for the fireworks to really contrast. The festivities also feature a lively parade through downtown, followed by various events at Savikko Park.
- Seward: A few hours after a midnight fireworks display, runners participating in the annual July 4th Mount Marathon Race ascend 3,022 feet above sea level, before turning around and coming back down. The race is considered by many to be one of the hardest 5k’s in the world. If you think you’re tough enough, check out their website for more info.
- Petersburg: Petersburg hosts a classic Independence Day celebration featuring food stalls, arts and crafts, an impressive parade along Nordic Drive, pie eating competitions, xtratuff races, and some wild street games like egg tossing. One year I managed to have an off day here before flying into port protection, It was a freaking party.
Alaska Events in July
Alaskan summer events and festivals are in full swing in July, here are some to check out:
- World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (Fairbanks, July 6-10): Witness feats of strength and agility in traditional Alaska Native games like the ear pull, the knuckle hop, and the seal skinning competition.It’s a cultural showcase like no other!
- Girdwood Forest Fair (Girdwood, July 5-7): The Girdwood Forest Fair is a much-loved annual celebration in the resort town of Girdwood, Alaska. It’s free, with an encouraged purchase of their T-shirt, and it features a parade, music, and exotic food, all in a really stunning forested setting.
- Gold Rush Days (Valdez, July 31-Aug 4): A lively festival held in Valdez, Alaska, during late July and August. The event commemorates the town’s history and connection to the Klondike Gold Rush era. It features activities and entertainment, like gold panning competitions, historical reenactments, and live music performances.
- Southeast Alaska State Fair (Haines, July 25-28) The Southeast Alaska State Fair is a multi-day fair that features fiddle and axe throwing contests, wood working and photography exhibits, and a full lineup of live music.
Popular July Activities in Alaska
For a full guide on Halibut fishing in Alaska, check out our article: Guide to Halibut Fishing in Homer, Alaska (+ Charter Tips)
- Fishing: The salmon are running and the sun is out! Theres great fishing all over the state of Alaska in the summertime.
- Hiking: Hiking in Alaska during July offers an array of popular trails to explore, such as the stunningly scenic Harding Ice field Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park, where hikers can witness awe-inspiring glaciers and sweeping mountain vistas.
Check out our fun guide on hiking in Homer: EPIC Places to Go Hiking in Homer, Alaska (FULL GUIDE)
- Glacier Tours: Whether it’s exploring the icy blue crevasses of the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau or cruising alongside massive tidewater glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park, these tours offer a captivating glimpse into the breathtaking beauty and power of Alaska’s glacial landscapes.
- White Water Rafting: From the Class III and IV rapids of the Nenana River in Denali National Park to the scenic and adrenaline-pumping trips along the Six Mile Creek near Hope. Alaska offers unforgettable white water rafting experiences.
For a guide on rafting Alaska, check out our article: Rafting Alaska’s Whitewater: Nenana, Lowe, Sixmile Creek, & More
Visiting Alaska in July: The Cons
Alas, paradise does have its price tag. July is Alaska’s peak season, so expect higher prices for flights, accommodations, and tours. Cruise ship crowds descend on port towns, transforming once-sleepy streets into bustling hubs of souvenir shops and selfie sticks. Be prepared for shared trails, packed restaurants, and slightly less solitude in the great outdoors. Oh, and there are mosquitos… lots of mosquitos.
Alaska Mosquitos in July
Ah, the legendary Alaskan mosquitoes, the unofficial contenders for the title of the state bird! These tiny buzzing bastards can do their best to ruin an otherwise epic July adventure in Alaska. But with a little help from someone that has been eaten alive many a time, you’ll be aright.
If you want to avoid these prehistoric pests altogher, then stay away from the Alaskan Tundra, areas like the interior or the far north. These buzzing critters love to call those regions home, they thaw out and proliferate when these areas become wetlands in the summer.
But fear not! There are ways to defend yourself against a July mosquito invasion in Alaska. Arm yourself with an arsenal of bug repellents. Cover your exposed skin like a medieval knight donning armor. You can also equip yourself with lightweight, long-sleeved clothing to create a protective shield against their tiny jaws. The tiny war canons CAN BITE THROUGH JEANS! I suggest something like nylon for the best protection. And make sure to don a bug net to cover your face.
How to Pack for Alaska in July
While Alaska in July brings warm days, nights can still dip into the chilly zone. Pack layers – think fleece jackets, rain gear, and comfortable hiking boots. Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen (mosquitos!), and that essential eye mask for those bright July evenings. Here’s a list of clothes you should pack while visiting Alaska in July:
- Footwear: Bring some good hiking boots when your hiking Alaska in July. The same you would for any normal hiking you might be doing. Just bring a couple solid pair of thin wool socks. They’ll keep your feet dry while you’re hiking in Alaska in July.
- Waterproof Jacket: Rain is common in some parts of Alaska during July, so a waterproof jacket with a hood is a must if you’re traveling to areas like Southeast Alaska.
- Warm Clothing: It’s still Alaska, and it still gets chilly at in July. No need for a parka, but bring a comfy hoodie or light jacket for evenings on the beach.
Alaska in July Conclusion
Whether you’re chasing the midnight sun, feasting on fresh blueberries, or dodging fireworks at a small-town parade, July in Alaska offers an unforgettable experience. So don’t let a biblical plague of mosquitos scare you off from traveling to Alaska in July, just come prepared and be ready for an adventure of a lifetime!
Alaska in July FAQ’s
It’s highly recommended, July is peak season and popular destinations fill up fast.
No, Aurora Borealis isn’t visible in Alaska during July due to the extended daylight hours.
Yes, July is an excellent time to visit Denali National Park.