Alaska is a beautiful state no matter what time of the year you visit. Each season has its own unique beauty and draw to the region. Still, spring is a fantastic time to visit for many Alaskan travelers. The month of May can be the perfect time for your travel to the state. Why?
Springtime in Alaska
Winters in Alaska are long and hard. Many areas in the state face frigid temperatures and extreme darkness. Other places receive mountains of snow or rain. While winter has its charms, these can be difficult conditions to surmount as a tourist.
Summer, on the other hand, is usually filled with beautiful weather. But it also means that the state is filled with tourists and mosquitoes.
Need to strike a balance between the two extremes? Try May. Winter is probably completely over, and the snow is melting quickly. Temperatures are warming up, and the days are getting longer. When this happens, greenery flourishes. The local flora burst into color all over the mountains and valleys.
Difficulties in Spring
Now, this isn’t to say that traveling to Alaska in May is without its hardships. For example, winter may not be truly over. Parts of Alaska can see snow flurries come up any time of the year. And I have known some who drove to Alaska in May and hit large amounts of snow while traveling the Alaska Highway.
Too, since the usual tourist season is from the beginning of June to end of August, not all services are available in May. Restrooms, restaurants, and gas stations that may be open during the summer might not open their doors for early travelers. Tourist attractions such as Pioneer Park in Fairbanks do not always have everything fully operational. The Alaskan traveler has to decide if what they want to see is uncrowded scenery or large numbers of tourist traps functioning. If it’s the latter, then May might not be the time to visit this gorgeous state.
If You Go
However, May can be a tad unpredictable as far as weather goes, so be sure to pack some warm clothing. Many visitors forget to bring jackets and long pants, but it can still get quite chilly overnight or even during the day. Plan on packing some extra supplies for longer drives between service stops in some areas. You may also need a darkening sleep mask because daylight hours are quite a bit longer than the rest of the United States.
Still, spring in Alaska is absolutely stunning, and I think that the lack of services is nothing compared to the wonder of fresh air amidst budding plants and trees. Bears are waking up from hibernation, and other animals are abundant.