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What Are The Best Activities And Attractions To Experience In Alaska In July?

July is undoubtedly the best time to experience the wonders of Alaska. The combination of mild weather, extended daylight hours, and many activities and attractions make it a prime month for tourists.

Jan 24, 20242.1K Shares91.8K Views
The blend of mild weather and prolonged daylight in July is pivotal in offering tourists an immersive experience in Alaska's splendour, making it the best time to engage in many activities and attractions across the state.
July in Alaska, renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and unique climate, is a peak time for tourists seeking the best activities and attractions to experience in Alaska in July.
During this month, the state basks in exceptionally long daylight hours. This phenomenon culminates in the Midnight Sun, particularly in northern regions.
This extended daylight illuminates Alaska's stunning landscapes and maximizes time for outdoor activities. The weather patterns in July contribute significantly to its appeal.

Wildlife Watching In Summer

This month is particularly special for bear viewing, with brown bears congregating at Brooks Falls, offering a unique spectacle as they skilfully catch salmon.
Additionally, Alaska's Big 5 - moose, bears, caribou, Dall sheep, and wolves - are more visible during this period. For marine wildlife, the waters are teeming with life, including orcas, humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, and various shorebirds.
National parks and reserves serve as prime viewing spots: Kenai Fjords National Park is excellent for marine life. At the same time, Denali National Park is a haven for land animals like moose and bears.
The coastal regions near Seward and Homer are ideal for spotting marine mammals.

Fishing Expeditions

July in Alaska marks a prime time for fishing enthusiasts, highlighted by the renowned salmon runs. Rivers teem with sockeye and king salmon this month, making it an ideal period for freshwater fishing.
Anglers can pursue Dolly Varden and rainbow trout. For those interested in deep-sea fishing, the waters offer abundant halibut.
To partake in these fishing expeditions, obtaining a fishing license is mandatory. It can be easily acquired online or at local sporting goods stores.
When it comes to gear, it varies depending on the type of fishing. For salmon, medium-weight rods with suitable line strength are recommended.
For halibut, heavier gear is necessary due to their size.

Summer Festivals And Events

Independence Day is uniquely celebrated across Alaska with various festivities, given the lack of darkness for fireworks. For a cultural immersion, the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks is a must-visit.
This event showcases traditional Native games and cultural displays, deeply diving into Alaska's native heritage. The Homer Peony Celebration throughout July highlights the floral beauty of Alaska with farm tours and art exhibitions.
The Golden Days in Fairbanks, a week-long festival starting mid-July, celebrates the region's gold rush history with parades and various family-friendly activities.
The SAC Blues, Brews & BBQ in Anchorage also offers a delightful combination of local music, craft beers, and barbecue.

Midnight Sun Experiences

The Midnight Sun, a natural spectacle unfolding during summer at high latitudes, manifests when the sun remains visible even at local midnight.
This translates into incredibly long daylight hours in Alaska, particularly in regions above the Arctic Circle. This phenomenon allows for unique experiences and activities that are not possible elsewhere.
One of the best ways to experience the Midnight Sun is through midnight hikes, especially in areas like Fairbanks, which see extensive daylight.
These hikes offer an unusual yet serene experience of exploring nature under a sun that never sets.

Glacier Tours And Hikes

July's warm temperatures in Alaska make it a suitable time for exploring glaciers, with many becoming more accessible for tours and hikes.
Guided glacier tours are highly recommended, as they offer expert insights and ensure safety while navigating these majestic ice formations. These tours often include equipment like crampons, ice axes, and safety briefings.
For a more independent adventure, self-guided hikes are possible in areas like the Exit Glacier outside Seward, where marked trails lead to stunning glacier views.
However, if venturing close to the ice, self-guided hikers should be well-prepared with proper gear, including sturdy hiking boots, layers for changing weather conditions, and glacier hiking equipment.

Kayaking And Water Activities

In July, Alaska presents abundant water-based activities, offering a unique perspective of the state's stunning coastline and waterways.
Sea kayaking is a popular choice, allowing adventurers to navigate the serene waters while enjoying close encounters with marine wildlife and spectacular views of glaciers.
Key locations for sea kayaking include the Kenai Fjords near Seward and the tranquil waters around Valdez. For a more leisurely pace, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding are excellent options.
These activities are often more suitable for families or those looking for a relaxing way to explore Alaska's scenic landscapes. Many areas, such as the lakes near Anchorage and the calm inlets around Juneau, provide perfect settings for these water sports.

Culinary Delights And Seafood

This month is particularly known for its salmon runs. It is the perfect time to savour world-renowned Alaskan salmon prepared in various styles.
Visitors can enjoy other seafood, such as halibut, crab, and shrimp, renowned for their freshness and quality.
Top seafood restaurants that are a must-visit include Simon & Seafort's in Anchorage, known for its upscale dining and spectacular views, and The Saltry in Halibut Cove, accessible only by boat and famous for its unique location and fresh seafood.
In Juneau, Tracy's King Crab Shack offers a more casual setting with its highly acclaimed crab legs.

Local Art And Craft Markets

Alaska's art and craft markets are vibrant hubs that showcase the region's rich cultural heritage and artistic talents.
These markets, operating mainly during the summer, are treasure troves of indigenous art, handcrafted jewellery, unique souvenirs, and much more. In Anchorage, the weekend market is a must-visit.
Operating every Saturday and Sunday throughout July, this event showcases a diverse array of local artisans and skilled craftsmen.
Visitors can find everything from traditional Alaska Native art, like totem carvings and beadwork, to contemporary paintings and sculptures. Handcrafted jewellery from local materials like Alaskan gold and ivory is particularly popular.

Scenic Road Trips And Routes

In July, Alaska is perfect for scenic road trips, offering breathtaking landscapes and unique attractions along its routes. Here are some notable trips:
  • Seward Highway (Anchorage to Seward): This 127-mile route is known for its stunning mountains, glaciers, and ocean views. Key attractions include the Turnagain Arm, where one might spot beluga whales, and the Chugach National Forest for hiking opportunities. Stop at the Alyeska Resort for a tram ride with panoramic views.
  • Denali Park Road (Denali National Park): This 92-mile road offers an incredible journey into the heart of Denali National Park. Wildlife sightings are common, and the views of Denali Mountain are awe-inspiring. Only the first 15 miles are accessible by private vehicles, but shuttle buses offer deeper exploration.
  • Glenn Highway (Anchorage to Glennallen): Covering 189 miles, this route showcases diverse landscapes, from mountain vistas to river valleys. Matanuska Glacier is a highlight, offering stunning ice formations. The road also passes through quaint towns like Palmer and Sutton, where visitors can explore local culture.
  • Richardson Highway (Valdez to Fairbanks): Spanning 368 miles, this drive provides views of waterfalls, canyons, and the Alaska Range. Keystone Canyon and Worthington Glacier are must-see stops, offering hiking and photo opportunities.

Nature And Photography Tours

Alaska's landscapes and wildlife are in full glory in July, making it an ideal time for nature and photography tours. These tours are designed to capture the essence of Alaska's natural beauty, focusing on wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and unique phenomena like the Midnight Sun.
Wildlife Photography Tours: These tours capture Alaska's diverse wildlife in their natural habitats.
Guided by professionals, these tours often venture into areas like Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park, known for sightings of bears, moose, caribou, and marine life.
Photographers get a chance to capture stunning shots of these animals in the wild.
Landscape Photography Tours: Focusing on Alaska's vast and varied landscapes, these tours guide participants to picturesque locations like the Matanuska Glacier, Turnagain Arm, or the Brooks Range.
Under the guidance of expert photographers, participants learn techniques to capture best the majestic mountains, serene waterways, and lush forests.
Midnight Sun and Northern Lights Tours: Depending on the region and weather conditions, some tours are dedicated to capturing the Midnight Sun phenomenon or, for those staying late into the season, the early appearances of the Northern Lights.
These tours require staying late or waking up early but offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph these unique natural occurrences.

Outdoor Adventure Sports

Hiking and Trekking: Alaska beckons adventure enthusiasts with abundant hiking possibilities, featuring trails ranging from strolls to demanding treks.
Popular trails include those in Chugach State Park near Anchorage and the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park.
For safety, hikers should carry bear spray, dress in layers, and inform someone about their hiking plans.
Mountain Biking: Trails around areas like Kincaid Park in Anchorage or the Lost Lake Trail in Seward offer a range of mountain biking experiences.
For those requiring additional gear or desiring local guidance, bike rentals and guided tours are conveniently accessible.
Rafting and Kayaking: For water sports enthusiasts, Alaska's rivers and coastlines provide exhilarating rafting and kayaking experiences.
Rivers like the Nenana near Denali offer varying white-water challenges, while sea kayaking in Resurrection Bay offers a more serene but equally thrilling experience.
Guided tours are recommended for beginners or those unfamiliar with the local waterways.
Rock Climbing and Mountaineering: With its vast mountain ranges, Alaska is a prime destination for climbers. Areas like Denali National Park cater to experienced climbers, while indoor climbing gyms in Anchorage offer options for beginners.
Hiring a guide is advisable for those new to Alaskan terrain.


Are There Any Special Events Or Festivals Unique To Alaska In July?

In July, Alaska offers excellent opportunities to see brown bears at Brooks Falls, marine wildlife like orcas and humpbacks, and the Big 5: moose, bears, caribou, Dall sheep, and wolves, particularly in national parks like Denali and Kenai Fjords.

What Is The Midnight Sun, And Where Can I Experience It In Alaska?

The Midnight Sun, a phenomenon unique to northern Alaska, graces the sky with the extraordinary sight of the sun persisting on the horizon even at midnight. It can be best experienced through midnight hikes or special events in places like Fairbanks and Utqiagvik.
Pack layers, including rain-proof gear, sturdy hiking boots, and possibly an eye mask due to long daylight hours. Remember your camera for wildlife and scenic photography.


July is undoubtedly the best time to experience the wonders of Alaska. The combination of mild weather, extended daylight hours, and many activities and attractions make it a prime month for tourists.
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