Lose the madness. Alaska is remote; Wi-Fi here is a novelty, survival skills are part of daily routine and the hinterland is in everybody’s back yard, it's Alaska’s forte. The sticks, the bush, the boondocks – whatever you want to call it – is right there, visible from the bedroom window. It’s the US’ biggest but most sparsely populated state. Cruises are a popular way of exploring Alaska but inland you can have Mountains, National Parks - entire landscapes - entirely to yourself.
Alaska might be empty in human terms but you won’t have the place entirely to yourself. When summer arrives, prolonged periods of daylight climax in an explosion of life from algae in rich marine environments all the way up the food chain to bears gorging on the flesh of fat salmon along the Brooks River. Time your holiday to see natural spectacles like the northern lights (winter), gray wolves pursuing caribou and humpback whales.
The most sparsely populated state it may be but humans have survived here using sophisticated techniques for thousands of years. Learn what you can from sourdoughs (old timers) that know the country like the back of their hand, Yupik natives that have an intimate knowledge of Alaska’s birds and beasts or ponder the past in vestiges of Russian influence like cathedrals and chapels. There’s giant seafood to feast on local delicacies like whipped animal fat with berries.
When to go
The best time to visit is the brief summer season, notably late June, when wildlife becomes active post hibernation and when the tundra has had time to thaw. Prices are higher at this peak time of year but the extremities of the weather leave little choice. Popular Alaskan winter holiday activities, other than braving extreme conditions, are the northern lights and snow sports.
Long, dark and cold winters and short cool summers are typical of northerly Alaska. Climates range from subarctic of the south to the true arctic conditions of the north. Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined and its weather and climes are influenced by the Chukchi, Beaufort and Bering Seas, plus the Gulf of Alaska.
Summer solstice here sees over 19 hours of daylight in almost all of the state. Constant sunshine means things get hotter than what you’d think, especially in the central Fairbanks where temperatures can be as high as 34 degrees Celsius. That said, it can snow any time of the year and the trick is to know what to wear to stay happy, that means under layer, insulating layer and an outer layer.
Airports and airlines
You've searched for flights by state. Being flexible in your point of entry to the USA means you’ll be able to choose from more of the 71 flights that we analyse which means a better chance of landing a good deal. Take a look at the popular flight destinations above, all prices are upfront and below is some useful information to bear in mind:
- The most popular airlines are: Virgin Atlantic & United Airlines
- The most popular airports are: Anchorage (ANC) & Fairbanks (FAI)
- August is the cheapest time to fly to Alaska
Alaska has 18 airports in total. Remember prices can vary significantly depending on the date, time, airlines and airports selected so look at a range of options before booking.