How to Plan an Unforgettable 10-day Alaska Itinerary in 2023

Want to go to Alaska but aren’t sure where to start? While no amount of time ever seems to be enough, a 10-day Alaska itinerary can easily cover many of the highlights.

Even better, as a solo female traveler, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place more welcoming to lone adventurers, discovering joys in days spent alone with opportunities to meet like-minded Alaskans too.

For thousands of years, Alaskan natives have lived throughout this vast land, fishing, hunting, and gathering food which has enabled them to thrive in some of the harshest and most challenging environments.

Of course, you don’t have to be as hardy as they were to enjoy a trip here with plenty of modern luxuries to take advantage of.

In this post, you will find all the information you need to plan an incredible 10-day Alaska Itinerary, including some of the best places to stay in Alaska!

After this 10-day Alaska itinerary is explained in detail for each day, you will find more useful information and practical tips. So make sure you read through the end of the article. 🙂

10-day Alaska itinerary day by day

As I will explain later on in this post, this itinerary is meant to be enjoyed during the warmer months of the year, from May through September.

Otherwise, much of the national parks and other areas will be covered in snow and inaccessible.

Even May can be too early so if you plan to travel then, aim for the second half of the month.

Before your dates are set in stone, be sure to confirm that any must-experiences like tours, hotels, and attractions will be available when you plan to visit.

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Find the best car rental deals and explore around freely, at your own pace. My favorite way to enjoy a destination!

Alaska 10 day itinerary

You may want to read more about the Alaska history and geography so here some suggested books

Day 1 – Anchorage Arrival

Your flight will likely arrive in Anchorage during the afternoon or evening hours, which is best spent in a low-key way so that you’ll be refreshed and ready to fully enjoy your trip.

Perhaps walk around the downtown area which offers practically an endless number of shops along with enticing cafes, restaurants, public art installations, and museums.

You can also stretch those legs after a long flight by strolling north on L street to see the city’s early architecture as you make your way to Resolution Park.

It offers sweeping views of Cook Inlet, and a statue of the British explorer, Captain James Cook.

If it’s early enough in the day you can stock up on travel information at the Log Cabin Visitor Center and perhaps take an Anchorage Trolley Tour for a brief course in the local history.

Short and sweet, the hour-long tour offers the chance to see top attractions like Earthquake Park, Lake Hood, and the Alaska Railroad while learning about the city’s unique history.

You might even spot a moose or other wildlife in the process as this is one of the best places to see Alaska wildlife.

Late arrivals can simply unwind in their hotel and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Anchorage alaska freezing river

Where to Dine in Anchorage

Spenard Roadhouse: Award-winning local favorite paying homage to Alaskan roadhouses with a menu filled with comfort foods and a famously extensive selection of bourbons and whiskies.

Address:1049 W Northern Lights Blvd Anchorage, Alaska 99503

Phone: 907 770 7623

Crow’s Nest: High-end restaurant at Hotel Captain Cook serving New American and French fare along with an impressive wine list and picturesque views.

Address: 939 W. 5TH AVENUE ANCHORAGE, ALASKA 99501

Phone: 907 276 6000

Glacier Brewhouse: Quintessentially Alaskan, enjoy fresh local seafood, rotisserie grilled meats, and wood-oven pizzas along with handcrafted ales or classic cocktails.

Address: 737 W. 5th Avenue Suite 110 Anchorage, Alaska
Phone: 907 274 2739

Flight seeing Anchorage Alaska

Where to Stay in Anchorage

Hotel Captain Cook: A huge hotel taking up an entire city block downtown Hotel Capital Cook is considered to be the only luxury accommodation for your stay in Anchorage.

It includes the fine-dining Crow’s Nest restaurant, a pub, wine bar/bistro, cafe, and a health club with an indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and fitness center. BOOK HERE

Marriott Downtown Anchorage: Downtown hotel within walking distance of the Anchorage Museum. It includes a gym, an indoor pool, and a bar/restaurant. BOOK HERE

Embassy Suites by Hilton Anchorage: All-suite hotel with mountain views two miles from downtown. Some rooms have mountain views and whirlpool tubs, while an indoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, and a bar/restaurant are all on-site. BOOK HERE

Anchorage Alaska

Day 2 – Exploring Anchorage

With a full day to explore Anchorage, you have lots of options. If you’re interested in Alaskan Native traditions, visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center located in the Dena’ina Athabascan people’s traditional homelands.

Less than seven miles from downtown, it tells the story of the state’s 11 major cultures firsthand, through dance, stories, and more, with cultural performances regularly hosted. 

The Anchorage Museum is the state’s largest, focused on the history of Alaska through both art and history galleries.

If you want to get more active while enjoying picturesque views and the chance to spot wildlife, including regular sightings of eagles and moose, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail stretches for over 11 miles and starts right in the center of town.

Anchorage flattop mountain Alaska

It makes its way to Kincaid Park, a tranquil and scenic endpoint with magnificent views of Denali, the Chugach Mountains, and Fire Island.

If it happens to be a Saturday, check out the Anchorage Market and Festival which hosts over 300 vendors right downtown.

You can shop for high-quality crafts, foods, clothing, and more while sampling locally grown eats and enjoying live entertainment.

Day 3: Epic Seward Highway to Seward

It’s time to drive to Seward, traveling south on the 127-mile-long Seward Highway that runs through the Kenai Peninsula.

The trip from Anchorage to Seward takes just under 2 1/2 hours to cover without stopping, but as this is often ranked among the top scenic drives in the entire country, you’ll want to take time to savor those views.

Sunset at Seward Alaska

It features dramatic vistas of the Turnagain Arm shoreline, the craggy peaks of the Chugachs, blue-tinged glaciers, sparkling valley lakes, and cascading waterfalls.

Along the way, watch for wildlife like eagles, moose, and bears. Stop at Beluga Point, a rocky outpost jutting into the water, for the chance to see beluga whales that come in with the tide.

When they’re present you may be able to hear their unique vocalizations that have led to their nickname, “the canaries of the sea.”

A little over 30 miles further along your drive to Seward, you’ll reach the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center located just off the roadway for guaranteed animal sightings. It’s a great way to get a close-up look at many of the animals that inhabit Alaska.

The center rescues orphaned, injured, and sick wildlife, such as moose, elk, reindeer, bison, bears, wolves, and lynx, with a habitat that replicates their natural wild habitat with over 200 acres. 

When you reach the town of Seward you’ll get to enjoy a bit of everything the state of Alaska has to offer. It’s surrounded by breathtaking wilderness, with Kenai Fjords National Park and Resurrection Bay the highlights.

Whale in Seward

The bay is frequented by orca and humpback whales, porpoises, harbor seals, sea otters, and sea lions, while the park offers all of that, along with glaciers like the famous Exit Glacier, coastal fjords, and islands.

After checking into your Seward accommodation, you might want to explore downtown with its many shops and restaurants, including some excellent options for halibut fish ‘n chips.

Seward Waterfront Park which extends for over five miles from the small harbor is a great place for a stroll with the glistening water backed by soaring snow-dusted peaks. 

Where to Dine in Seward

The Cookery: One of the most highly rated restaurants in Seward, The Cookery is a foodie favorite. The menu is inspired by Alaskan ingredients, including fresh seafood, local farm-raised meats, and fresh produce.

Ray’s Waterfront: Popular with Seward locals and visitors alike, enjoy steaks and seafood complemented by mountain and harbor views.

Gold Rush Bistro: Family-owned eatery with friendly service and some of the best seafood chowder in town along with favorites like halibut, salmon, and king crab.

Where to Stay in Seward

Seward Windsong Lodge: Located along the banks of the Resurrection River surrounded by dense forest, Seward Windsong Lodge is four miles from town with a free shuttle if you don’t want to drive.

Harbor 360 Hotel: Nestled right along the water in the Small Boat Harbor district offering panoramic views of the bay and the mountains while being within walking distance of the top restaurants and shops. BOOK NOW

Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge: Set within Kenai Fjords National Park, this spectacular lodge includes the main lodge and eight waterfront cabins, providing breathtaking views of Halibut Cove.

Katmai national park aerial view
Katmai National Park Aerial view

Day 4 Seward & Kenai Fjords National Park

Rise early to take advantage of a full day in Seward. You might want to rent a kayak or join a guided kayak tour to paddle the waters of Resurrection Bay, which has been named among the country’s top places to kayak.

Follow the shoreline, winding through hidden coves while enjoying a breathtaking backdrop of scenery and wildlife.

You’ll be sharing the tranquility with puffins, eagles, sea lions, sea otters, porpoises, and a variety of different whale species like humpbacks and orcas.

If you’d rather stay on land, consider a horseback riding excursion, watching bald eagles, arctic tern, moose, and even bears along the way.

Katmai national park coastline

You’ll head into areas only accessible with a horse, perhaps getting up close to bald eagles to watch them feed and see where they nest.

A visit to Kenai Fjords National Park is a must. Just a few miles from downtown Seward, it protects over 600,000 acres of long fjords, tranquil bays, and coves, with snow and ice covering more than 60 percent of the area.

The vast, 936-square-mile Harding Icefield is the crown jewel, which feeds nearly 40 glaciers that flow out of the mountains.

Wildlife is abundant here too, including mountain goats, black bears, moose, sea otters, harbor seals, and sea lions.

If you have time, consider a hike on the Harding Icefield Trail. One of the most popular things to do while visiting Seward, the 8-mile round-trip hike showcases Exit Glacier, Resurrection River, and a massive sheet of ice and snow.

After your outdoor adventures, you might visit the Alaskan Sea Life Center, a visitor center and research center in Seward that provides an up-close look at Alaskan marine life, including the popular Stellar sea lion and harbor seal habitats, and a seabird aviary.

Bears in Katamai National park
Bears in Katamai National Park

Day 5 Homer Road Trip

Halfway through your 10-day Alaska itinerary, it’s time to head to Homer, Alaska. The drive from Seward is an easy three hours along the Kenai Peninsula, traveling west to Soldotna before venturing south along the Cook Inlet.

You might want to stop in the small town of Cooper Landing to learn about some of Alaska’s unique culture and history at the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area.

It tells the stories of the Gold Rush and some of the notable characters who decided to call this area home.

There’s an old roadhouse with historic photos and a historic post office in Cooper Landing too.

At the last turnout before reaching Homer, you’ll find the Homer Baycrest Overlook which offers a stunning panoramic view of Kachemak Bay with towering mountains and glaciers in the backdrop.

Alaska bold eagle
Alaska Bold Eagle

Once in Homer, take time to get to know it. One of the state’s coolest towns, not only does it offer old-growth Sitka spruce forests, deep fjords, impressive mountain peaks, and serene beaches with remarkable tidal fluctuations, but it’s the cultural capital of the region.

Somewhat of a hippie haven, it hosts some fantastic art galleries, music venues, live theater, and museums, along with trendy coffee bars and many outstanding eateries.

Delve into the food scene and perhaps check out the Art Shop Gallery which features original Alaskan works.

It offers something for every budget with fine art posters, limited edition prints, pottery, jewelry, Alaskan Christmas ornaments, and a collection of bone and ivory carvings created by Native Alaskans.

Occasionally one of the local artists will be here signing items, drawing pictures on the spot for customized creations, or personalizing cards.

Girdwood cave

Where to Dine in Homer

Fresh Catch Cafe: Located on the Homer Spit, this intimate eatery is one of the most popular spots in town. To avoid the wait, make a reservation. The menu features fresh seafood and steaks with dishes utilizing locally grown ingredients.

The Chart Room: Located at Land’s End Resort, the only hotel on the Homer Spit, this full-service restaurant and lounge focus on local, sustainably harvest seafood and produce that can be enjoyed with breathtaking views while dining indoors or out.

AJ’s Old Steakhouse and Tavern: Set within a historic Old Town Homer building, this restaurant is an icon, here for more than 70 years. Enjoy the supper club vibe with steaks, seafood, spirits, and live music.

Homer Alaska

Where to Stay in Homer

Land’s End Resort: Located at the tip of the Homer Split surrounded by water and mountain views while offering a wide variety of accommodation options from beachfront rooms and cabins to luxurious four-bedroom homes.

Tutka Bay Lodge: Nestled in a remote fjord at the southern end of Kachemak Bay offering both private, individual accommodation and rooms in the main lodge, offering recreational activities like halibut and salmon fishing, sea kayaking, and hiking.

Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge: An intimate all-inclusive lodge that includes gourmet meals, it hosts up to dozen guests at any one time, with accommodation in private cabins.

Homer Alaska landscape

Day 6 Homer

Start the sixth day of your Alaska road trip itinerary by visiting one of the most popular attractions in Homer, Alaska. Accessed by water taxi, Kachemak Bay State Park is a 350,000-acre paradise.

The spectacular wilderness area is inhabited by more bald eagles than you can count.

It includes an extensive trail system for hiking, secluded coves for paddling, opportunities for fishing, beachcombing, and watching all sorts of other wildlife.

Keep an eye out for notable species like orca and humpback whales, harbor porpoises, sea otters, and sea lions in the water, while black bears, mountain goats, and moose roam the land.

While the state park is a dream for nature lovers, it’s also possible to join a bear viewing tour from Homer. Excursions will bring you to Katmai National Park to check off another bucket list experience.

It’s one of the best places in the world to view grizzly bears, with a population of around 3,000 them.

The flight to Katmai National Park also brings the chance to see a glacier or two, waterfalls, volcanoes, and whales from above.

Bears fishing salmons

Back in town, be sure to visit the Pratt Museum. One of the leading cultural and educational institutions in the state, it reveals the region’s natural history through exhibits and a historic homestead cabin.

You’ll discover how those hardy early Alaskans survived and somehow even thrived despite the harsh conditions. Just behind the museum, there’s a natural trail where moose can be spotted.

Check the tide tables and aim to visit Bishop’s Beach at low tide. Often named among Alaska’s best beaches, it can be reached with a short walk on a trail leading from the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

This is the perfect time to search through tide pools.

Turn over the rocks and you never know what you might find, from colorful starfish and sea anemones to hermit crabs.

Free guided tidal pool tours are offered by the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge when there’s a good low tide at Bishop’s Beach if you’d like to head out with a naturalist.

Turnagain Arm in Girdwood

Day 7 Girdwood & Mt Alyeska View

It’s time to head back to Anchorage, enjoy the breathtaking views of Turnagain Arm, and ultimately venture north to Denali National Park.

But first, your Alaska road trip itinerary includes a night in Girdwood, a perfect stop about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Homer.

As you get close to your destination, Whittier is only about 10 miles out of the way to the southeast and brings the chance to explore the sparkling waters of Prince William Sound on a kayak or jet-skiing tour with glacier views.

Or, hike one of the short, easy trails like Horsetail Falls to stretch your legs and view multiple cascades. You might even hike the 4.2-mile out-and-back Portage Pass Trail to see Portage Glacier.

From here, Girdwood is less than 35 minutes away. Originally known as Glacier City, it’s surrounded by seven glaciers.

Kenai Fiords National Park

For a big thrill, consider a helicopter flightseeing excursion with Alpine Air.

You’ll get an aerial view of the glaciers and you can even choose the option for a glacier landing where you’ll be able to take in a 360-degree view of the area’s glaciers and mountains.

It’s also possible to get a bird’s-eye view of hanging glaciers and mountains from above by riding the tram to the top of Mount Alyeska.

At the summit, there are trails to explore and two: dining venues. Casual bites can be enjoyed at the Bore Tide Deli, or treat yourself to a meal at the upscale Seven Glaciers Restaurant.

Want to try your hand at panning for gold? Head to the Crow Creek Mine. You can also enjoy beautiful views and tour the historic buildings.  

Seward Alaska scenic view

Dining recommendations in Girdwood

Double Musky: One of the most highly rated eateries in the state, the Double Musky specializes in New Orleans cuisine with an Alaskan twist. Think cajun cooking with lots of local seafood in a roadhouse-style restaurant filled with Mardi Gras-style decor.

Jack Sprat: Dining on local, sustainably caught seafood, humanely raised meats, and vegetarian dishes with a mountain view.

Hightower Pub: Downtown gastropub with a diverse menu focused on comfort cuisine, including all-day breakfasts.


Where to Stay in Girdwood

Hotel Alyeska: A luxury chateau-style hotel with a spa, saltwater pool, and hot tub surrounded by the Chugach Mountains. BOOK NOW

Ski Inn: A boutique inn open year-round located downtown steps from coffee shops and restaurants.

Carriage House: A boutique property set along a creek with a hot tub, fire pit, and outdoor games offering accommodation in lodge rooms and cottages.

Denali and taakketna rivers

Day 8 Talkeetna and Denali National Park

The eighth day of your 10-day Alaska itinerary brings you to your final stop, a bucket list destination: Denali National Park, one of the most popular attractions in North America and one of the most wildlife-filled national parks.

The drive to Denali takes a little under five hours, so you might want to go back to Anchorage first, fueling up with some coffee, and then plan to break up the drive with a visit to Talkeetna.

A small town in the shadow of Mount Denali is 150 miles from Girdwood, founded at the height of the gold rush.

Take a stroll around town to check out the historic buildings standing testament to local craftsmanship having survived after more than a century of harsh Alaskan weather.

Today they house restaurants, shops, local breweries, and other local venues.

Talkeetna also happens to be the world’s sled dog capital, bringing the chance to take a kennel tour with Sun Dog Kennel starting right from downtown.

Taalketna River

You’ll meet the dogs, watch a demonstration, and learn about their winter training program that gets the animals ready for the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

You can even hold and play with future champions, the cuddly puppies.

Once in or near Denali National Park, after a long day behind the wheel, you’ll probably want to enjoy a meal and unwind at your accommodation, resting up for the fun tomorrow.

Bear eating a salmon

Dining recommendations in Talkeetna

49th State Brewing Company: A brewpub restaurant serving unique offerings like yak burgers and buffalo meatloaf. If you’re here on a Friday, it hosts a popular pig roast.

The Overlook at the Crow’s Nest: Serving farm-to-table cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood, including Alaskan oysters and weathervane scallops.

Prospectors Pizzeria & Ale House: Seriously delicious pizzas made with handmade dough that’s aged for 24 hours and baked in a traditional wood-stone oven, enjoyed with outstanding beers in a quintessential Alaskan setting.

Where to Stay in Talkeetna

Denali Backcountry Lodge: Located at the end of the famous Denali Park Road offering all-inclusive accommodation in private cabins. Meals consist of fresh, local fare while activities include everything from morning yoga to guided hikes and fishing.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge: Located .8 miles from the entrance to Denali National Park offering traditional rooms with basic amenities, multiple on-site dining options, and a dinner theater.

Grande Denali Lodge: A rustic lodge on a secluded hilltop 2.7 miles from the entrance to the park, providing panoramic views of the wilderness. accommodation is in rooms and cabins.

Taalketna rivers

Day 9 Denali National Park

On the ninth day of your 10-day Alaska road trip itinerary, you’ll have a full day in Denali National Park. Make the most of it by taking the Tundra Wilderness Tour.

This is the park’s premier tour, showcasing the jaw-dropping scenery while bringing the opportunity to view much of the abundant wildlife and enjoy a narrated history of the park road. Watch for the park’s big five: Dall sheep, caribou, moose, grizzly bears, and wolves.

You might even see a bear fishing for a salmon feast or roaming the tundra searching for berries on the Tundra Wilderness Tour.

Denali National Park View

If you want to splurge, take a helicopter flightseeing tour where you’ll land on a glacier and explore it on foot while taking in the brilliant blue of the lakes and winding rivers among a dramatic backdrop of nearly endless snow-covered peaks.

It makes for a great finale, providing the chance to savor it all with your 10-day Alaska trip soon coming to an end.

Denali National park alaska

Day 10 Anchorage Flight Home

It’s time to say farewell to Denali National Park. After 10 days, you’ll make your return to Anchorage where your unforgettable Alaska trip comes to an end.

Ideally, you’ll have a flight that leaves in the late afternoon or early evening hours as it will take you a little over four hours to get to the Anchorage International Airport.

If you leave early enough you might be able to enjoy lunch or some last-minute souvenir shopping in downtown Anchorage before you have to catch your flight.

10-day Alaska Itinerary Planning & Travel Tips


Booking a Guided Tour Versus Doing It on Your Own

It’s definitely easier to book your 10-day Alaskan getaway with a tour operator or guide as it can take a lot of time to plan your own independent trip.

When a guided tour is organized, all you have to do is relax and enjoy the experience, which is why you need to make sure it’s a good trustworthy company you are booking with.

One of the companies we recommend is GAdventures among others.

G adventure flyer tour

That said, if you plan a trip on your own, you’ll be able to define where you want to visit and what you want to do.

You won’t be lost among the crowd following your leader like a cattle drive, or forced to jump back on a bus when you aren’t ready to go.

Want to linger at the Denali Visitor Center or stick around Beluga Point so that you can spot the whales? You can do that and anything else you’d like.

Of course, an independent trip covering 10 days in Alaska costs a whole lot less too. While it does take time and effort, for many travelers, planning a trip is part of the fun and this article will help for sure!

That said, you can enjoy the best of both worlds by taking the occasional tour of the destinations that you visit.

Whether it’s a boat tour, bus tour, day trip, or something else, it can be a great way to meet up with like-minded travelers and perhaps even find a hiking partner for that epic trek.

Taalketna Mountains

10-day Alaska road trip FAQ

The cost of travel in this Alaska itinerary

There’s no doubt about it, Alaska travel isn’t cheap. That said, doing it on your own brings many options for ways to save, typically making it much less than a trip on your average cruise ship, guided tour, or excursion on the Alaska railroad.

Travel experts have estimated a typical Alaska vacation to cost a little over $400 per day per person, which would make it $4000 per person for 10 days.

Of course, you could easily spend much more especially when calculating the current cost of a rental car.

Of course, for an Alaska road trip, you’ll need a rental car.

For 10 days the cost can vary significantly depending on how far in advance you book, the type of vehicle, and the company you choose, ranging anywhere from about $1700 to over $4,000 currently due to the worldwide shortage.

You may pay less if you’re planning a trip for 2023 or beyond. Try to reserve it as soon as you book your airfare to avoid paying an exorbitant price.

Seward Alaska Homes

You’ll also want to calculate your round-trip airfare to Anchorage, with the cheapest fares typically found on a route to/from Seattle, averaging about $250 to $500, again depending on how far in advance you book.

The standard Alaska hotel room runs about $300 per night in the peak summer season while economy hotels run about $100 less and luxury properties about $100 more.

An all-inclusive wilderness resort will be much pricier.

The cost of excursions will depend on which you choose to take if any.

They can range anywhere from $75 for a whale-watching tour to $175 for a half-day guided hiking trip or over $700 for a fly-in bear-viewing tour.

Other costs to consider for Alaska travel include dining out and fuel. The average meal is $18 per person, but you can cut back by stopping at grocery stores and picking up ingredients for picnics and snacks.

If your accommodation includes breakfast, you may be able to get by going out just for one meal a day. Be sure to check current gas prices and consider the type of vehicle when you rent a car as you’ll pay more for a gas guzzler like an SUV.

Once you have all the specific details narrowed down for your Alaska travel itinerary, you’ll know how much you need to budget for your 10-day trip.

Read about the best Whale watching cruises in Alaska for an incredible adventure!

The best months to visit Alaska

The best month to visit Alaska depends on what you hope to experience. While the winter can be magical, many places will be closed, including visitor centers at national parks like Wrangell St Elias National Park.

Anchorage Alaska
Anchorage Alaska

Many travel to this state with plans to arrive in Anchorage during the summer, with July and August the peak time, which means you may have to battle the crowds and expect to pay more for airfare, car rental, and accommodation.

But this is also the time for enjoying long hours of daylight so you’ll be able to squeeze in more outdoor activities and opportunities for sightseeing.

Whale watching is at its best too. While dog sledding through the snow may not be possible, there are opportunities to meet a sled dog and learn more about them.

A trip to Alaska in mid-to late-May or early-September can be ideal, whether you plan to visit Wrangell St Elias National Park, Denali, or just about anywhere else in the state, with mild weather minus the hordes of tourists.

If you hope to view the aurora borealis but don’t want to do it in the middle of winter when roads aren’t clear, you might want to go in late September.

Early autumn is also a great time for wildlife watching in Denali, with the animals taking advantage of every bit of daylight before winter sets in. 

Kenai Fjords

The wintertime brings a snowy wonderland, a magical setting with snow-blanketed across the landscapes.

There are festivals, dog sled races, ice sculpture competitions, and all sorts of activities available depending on where you are, including skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and more.

While the far north sees almost no daylight in January, south of that in Anchorage or Juneau, there will be at least of few hours of daylight and the skies are often bright blue and clear.

This can be one of the best times for a flightseeing trip over the mountains and glaciers.

Overland travel will be practically non-existent, however. February is similar although the cloudy skies are more frequent.

March is still the depths of winter in Alaska, but temperatures are beginning to warm and the days are getting longer.

April marks the transition to summer as the short spring season and can be a good time to visit before the crowds arrive although, depending on where you are, snow is still likely to be on the ground. Wildlife will be emerging from their hibernation now too.

In May, the days are long now and the farther north you are the longer they will be.

This is when whales start to make an appearance in places like the Inside Passage and with the ice thawing across the state, life is renewed.

As the summer crowds have yet to arrive, it’s a favorite time to visit Alaska.

Anchorage Alaska Overview

With the arrival of June, tourism really starts to pick up and by July, the popular cities and attractions are likely to be filled with visitors while the temperatures reach their annual highs, typically in the mid-60s to low 70s depending on the destination.

This is when you can experience the Midnight Sun, with long hours of daylight.

August is more of the same but by the end of the month, the crowds are beginning to disappear and things start to cool, with the short autumn just around the corner. 

Wildlife is still quite active in September, another favorite month to watch the animals as they prepare for winter hibernation. You might even catch the northern lights, especially if you’re here later in the month.

October is the transition to winter, with few tourists here now. Hiking may not be possible yet there probably won’t be enough snow for skiing.

November is winter, and in December, you’ll be in the thick of it, guaranteeing a white Christmas.

Kenai Fjords national park

Fun fact! Did you know that Juneau is considered one of the cloudiest cities in the US? It’s actually the cloudiest one with 290 Cloudy days and 41 Partly Cloudy Days. So don’t be surprised if you find a covered sky and make the most of your stay regardless!

How to travel to Alaska without breaking the bank

If the cost of visiting Alaska caused your jaw to drop and wonder if you have to give up on your dream, the good news is there are ways to save.

Consider traveling in the shoulder season, ideally late spring or early fall which typically means cheaper flights and accommodation rates along with fewer crowds.

Non-hotel accommodations may be your better bet as there are often lower-cost campgrounds, cabins, hostels, Airbnbs, and other vacation rentals available too.

Instead of a flightseeing tour to a glacier, for example, look for a glacier you can reach by car like Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park.

10 day Alaska itinerary travel tips

✔ Take time to study a map of Alaska. If you look at most world maps and globes, the state doesn’t look that big, but the reality is that it’s vast, covering 600,000 square miles.

The drive from Anchorage to Denali National Park takes about four hours and from Anchorage to Fairbanks, it’s six-and-a-half.

There are no interstates and few roads, which means there is no quicker way, but the journey is sure to be scenic. 

✔ Booking a trip to Alaska is best done far in advance. Many travelers book their accommodation a year or more ahead.

You’ll want to rent a car to make the most of your time and explore at your own pace.

As soon as you purchase your flights, reserve a car rental as vehicles can sell out quickly during the busy summer season.

You’ll also get a better rate the farther away you are from your dates.

Anchorage Alaska flowers

✔ Prepare for rain. With all the talk about glorious summer weather, you might think you don’t have to worry about rain, but it tends to rain quite a lot during the season.

You’ll want to pack rain gear even during this time of year, including a light rain jacket and waterproof boots.

✔ The scenery in Alaska is jaw-dropping so you’ll probably want to stop frequently to take photos. Don’t stop on the shoulder of the road, use the pull-offs instead to avoid a possible accident.

✔ Be very careful when driving during the early morning hours and around sunset when wildlife is more likely to get too close to the road or even venture out on it.

✔ Check for local events before you go for the opportunity to enjoy authentic Alaskan life such as the Iditarod dog sledding race, the Alaska State Fair, Mount Marathon, and unique festivals.

✔ While the Midnight Sun brings long hours of daylight for sightseeing, wildlife watching, and more, it’s not the time to see the northern lights.

The best time for that is October, November, and March, although sightings are possible between August and April.

Also, read the best time to visit Alaska article for more detailed information.

Seward Alaska

What to pack for Alaska?

While packing for Alaska varies depending on the destination and season, for our recommended 10-day Alaska itinerary you’ll want roads to be clear of snow for smooth travel, which means visiting during the warmer months of the year.

That said, the weather is unpredictable so while you may not have to deal with ice or snowstorms, rain is common.

You’ll want to pack rain gear, including a light rain jacket and waterproof boots.

Think clothing that can be layered so if it gets too warm you can peel a layer off and when a chill hits you’ll have another layer to throw on. 

If you’ll be doing anything outdoors like hiking or kayaking, be sure to bring waterproof pants with a fleece lining, a mix of long- and short-sleeve shirts, and a fleece jacket that can be topped with your rain jacket if necessary. 

Consider the sun too. In the summertime, there are long hours of daylight meaning more exposure to the sun.

Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a sun hat as well as a beanie or another warmer hat if you’ll be out on the water.

Waterproof sandals with traction for hiking are ideal for warmer days.

If you plan on soaking in a hot tub or a natural hot spring, enjoying a refreshing dip in an alpine lake or a hotel pool, don’t forget your swimsuit.

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Are there any snakes in Alaska?

Finding snakes in Alaska is a very rare event, because of the cold climate which is not suitable for snakes.

10 days Alaska Itinerary: final thoughts

Seward Alaska Sunset

One thing’s for sure, you’re likely to have captured hundreds of photos while following this Alaska road trip itinerary, with so many photogenic places.

While it’s a place that’s never easy to leave, planning a return trip can make it less bittersweet. Perhaps next time you can even venture all the way to remote Wrangell St Elias National Park?

For more information and practical tips about Alaska here are our best posts:

5 Day Alaska Itinerary – 3 amazing road trip options around the last frontier
The Best Time to Visit Alaska by Season
The Best Whale Watching Cruises in Alaska
The Best Whale Watching in Alaska – the 5 most spectacular

Karen writer

About the author

K.C. Dermody has traveled the world, visiting some 40 countries and nearly all 50 U.S. states. She has a passion for learning about different cultures and taking part in outdoor adventures. When she’s not writing, you might find her swimming with sea lions in the Sea of Cortez, watching whales in Alaska, paddling among icebergs in Newfoundland, or enjoying a pint with the locals in an Irish pub.