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Alaska in April: A Complete Guide to Visiting in Spring

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Watching the seasons change in Alaska is an incredible experience. The snowclad mountains slowly change from their white vestiges to become clad in green. Wildlife begins to appear more frequently: moose move from the cities up into the mountains, bears emerge from their hibernation, and whales begin to reappear, seeking a season of feeding in Alaskan waters.

That said, I’ll be honest: April (along with October) is one of the months I don’t really advise people visiting Alaska. Spring in Alaska is a transition period between the popular summer activities and the tours and other things to do in the winter, and some things are either no longer available as the winter winds down or not yet open for the summer. That doesn’t mean you can’t visit in April – and if you’ve already booked your tickets, then I’ll help you make it an incredible trip anyway!

Alaska in April Hero

In this post, I’m covering everything you need to know if you’re committed to planning a trip to Alaska in April. Below you’ll find an overview of the weather, temperatures, and daylight hours so you can understand what the average day will be like; I also cover places I recommend you visit and what to do whale – I mean while – there. Lastly, I have tips on what to pack – one of the toughest questions you might be stuck on in planning your trip. Ready? Let’s jump right in!

In this post, I promote travel to destinations that is the traditional lands of many Alaska Native groups, including the Aleut, Athabascan, Haida, Inupiat, Tlingit, and Yuit peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

This post was originally published in January 2023, and was updated most recently in January 2024.

Weather in Alaska in April

Alaska in April - Snowy Mountains

It’s never easy talking about the weather in Alaska. The truth is the weather varies significantly depending on the region. In this section, I’ll focus on the weather you can expect in Anchorage, Girdwood, and Seward, which are the cities I recommend visiting in April in Alaska. 

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and sits in the heart of Southcentral Alaska, not far from the ocean. Therefore, it experiences a more temperate climate and receives more precipitation. Spring weather makes a big entrance in April, and those cold, dark days quickly fade away. During April, Anchorage’s average high temperatures are around 45°F (7°C), while average lows are around 30 °F (-1°C). The sky is overcast about 60% of days, but gets clearer as the month goes on.

Seward is 120 miles south of Anchorage. This laid-back town has an average temperature ranging between 25°F (-4°C) and 35°F (2°C) in April. Since Seward is a coastal town, there’s a bit more chance of cloudy weather and the sky is overcast about 70% of the month.

For contrast, Fairbanks is 250 miles north of Anchorage; while it’s not one of my top recommendations for visiting Alaska in April, it’s a good point of comparison in terms of the weather. In April, temperatures in Fairbanks range from 21°F (-6°C) to 47°F (8°C) – this demonstrates Fairbanks extremes’ in one month! Additionally, it’s actually clearer in Fairbanks than further south; about 50% of days see the sun during the month.

For a general overview, temperatures in Alaska in April range from an average low of 29°F (-2°C) to an average high of 44°F (7°C), but it of course depends on where you plan to visit.

Daylight Hours in Alaska in April

Knowing when the sun will rise and set in April in Alaska will come in handy when you’re planning your itinerary. By the end of April, daylight is rapidly increasing in Alaska; you can expect 14 hours of daylight. However, just like the weather, sunlight varies a lot depending on the geography:

  • In Anchorage, days lengthen from about 13.5 hours a day at the beginning of the month to over 16 hours by the 30th. Seward is almost the same since the two cities are so close.
  • In Fairbanks, daylight lengthens from 13.5 hours on the 1st to 17 hours by the end of the month – days get nice and long quickly in Fairbanks!

As a general rule, the further north you go during the spring months, the longer the days and the shorter the nights. In the Far North, they call it the Midnight Sun for a reason!

Want help planning your Alaska trip?

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Top Events in Alaska in April

Alaska in April - Snowy Mountain Lake

Okay, now that you have an idea of where you might want to visit in Alaska in April, here are some of the top things to do while you’re there.

Alaska Snowkite Festival (April 1-9) 

Winter sports are a top reason to visit Alaska. No surprise there. However, not everything is confined to Nordic skiing or snowboarding. You can also try snowkiting – the sport of flying a kite with your skis or snowboard on.

Sign up for the Alaska Snowkite Festival near Valdez and experience the thrill of gliding over snow-covered Alaskan landscapes. If you’re new to the sport or don’t feel ready to go on your own, the kite festival invites some of the experts in the sport to impart lessons! More seasoned snow kiters can take a tour to get familiar with the different zones that work best. 

Great Alaskan Sportsman Show (April 5-7) 

Perhaps, you’re visiting Alaska to indulge in some birdwatching or fishing. If that’s you, get a ticket for the Great Alaskan Sportsman Show in Anchorage. This is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Alaska’s outdoor lifestyle.

At this event, you’ll find the latest gear, techniques, and trends in hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation. This event brings together passionate sportsmen and women, providing a platform to learn from experts, explore innovative equipment, and connect with like-minded enthusiasts. From seasoned veterans to newcomers, everyone can enjoy the camaraderie and shared passion for nature.

Alaska Folk Festival (April 8-14) 

Alaska is home to a stunning diversity. One way to explore it is to attend the Alaska Folk Festival in Sitka. This festival celebrates the rich tapestry of Alaskan music and culture.

With a diverse lineup of talented performers, this annual event showcases the state’s musical heritage. Travelers can engage with local artists and folk traditions, from bluegrass to indigenous rhythms. If you’re you’re a folk music enthusiast or a music lover, the festival offers an opportunity to hear artists you may not otherwise as they’re not mainstream.

Skagway International Folk Festival (April 19)

Another opportunity to enjoy good local music takes place in Skagway. The Skagway International Folk Festival brings together musicians from around the world, creating a melting pot of sounds and rhythms against the stunning backdrop of Skagway.

One of the best things is that the festival’s intimate setting allows for up-close interactions with performers. Oh, if you’d like to perform, head over to the website and sign up. Everyone is welcome!

Spring Carnival & Slush Cup (April 21-23)

Photo courtesy of Alaska.org

For those visiting the last part of the month, Girdwood hosts the Spring Carnival & Slush Cup. The festival celebrates the arrival of spring at the Alyeska Resort.

To do so, this lively event proposes saying goodbye to long winter days in the only way possible: enjoying to the fullest the thrill of winter sports. Besides the daring participants attempting the Slush Cup pond skim, you’ll enjoy a costume contest where participants flaunt their most creative costumes and dance moves. There’s also a classic Tug-o-War. Sign up and try your best to pull the opposing team into the pool.

What to Pack for Alaska in April 

Okay, now you know what it will be like, where to go, and what to do once you get there… Here’s one final section to cover your last important question: what to pack.

Since Alaska is a month of transition, it’s actually harder to pack than in the winter (when you can safely assume it’s cold) and in the winter (when it’s warmer and your biggest concern is rain). In April, you can have all of the above!

Here are some tips for what to pack for Alaska in April:

  • Layers, layers, layers. In both my winter packing list and my summer one, this is my top advice – and it’s true in between, too. I always start with Unbound Merino base layers and add on from there depending on the day’s forecast.
  • Prepare for rain, even if the forecast doesn’t call for it. Alaskan weather changes rapidly in the good season, so you should be ready for it in the shoulder season too. I love a long raincoat to stay dry even if the wind kicks up too (here are the other coats I recommend for your Alaska trip).
  • Waterproof boots will do you well. Again, it just helps to keep your feet dry and warm if you want to have a good trip. Alaskans sport their Xtratufs all year, so take their lead and invest in a pair too (and double-check my list of suggested footwear for Alaska to ensure you cover the other basics too).
  • Don’t forget a hat, gloves, and sunglasses to be prepared for everything.

Have any other questions about visiting Alaska in April? Let me know in the comments below!

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I was born on the East Coast and currently live in the Midwest – but my heart will always be out West. I lived for 15 years in Alaska, as well as four years each in California and Washington. I share travel resources and stories based on my personal experience and knowledge.

4 Comments

  • Patricia L Zadra

    Hi Valerie, We will be in fairbanks mid April for Gondwana Aurora Tour. We have a free day April 6. Looking for special things to do. Sure wish we could see glaciers and a scenic river tour, sledding. We do not have our own transportaion. Seems like April, not much is open for water activities.

    Thank you in advance

    • Valerie

      Hi, Patricia – where will you be? April is a bit of a dead zone for activities as it’s not winter and not summer; I don’t typically advise people to book then if they don’t have specific spring activities they want to experience.

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