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Alaska may have a short summer season, but we certainly know how to make the most of it. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, both visitors and local Alaskans can experience all The Last Frontier has to offer, from culture and cuisine to the wonders of wildlife and the Great Outdoors.
While June might be the most popular month to visit due to long days and good weather, you should definitely consider planning a trip to Alaska in August if you want to enjoy the summer season and slightly fewer crowds and more availability for hotels and tours. The days are still long, and the weather is typically pretty good – and there are lots of fun local summer events, like the Alaska State Fair, which visitors can enjoy too.
My most recent Alaska trip was in August 2022, and despite the less-than-ideal weather, I still had a great time exploring from Denali to Seward and even parts of Southeast Alaska I had never visited before. Speaking from experience, I can confidently say: Alaska in August is a great time to visit!
Below you’ll find a guide specifically about visiting Alaska in August, including the weather and daylight hours, as well as lots of special events you can only attend in August, and tips on what to pack to enjoy those events, make the most of those daylight hours, and be prepared for any weather. Ready to learn the last details you need to prepare for your August trip?
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 May 2023, and was updated with new events in July 2023.
Weather in Alaska in August
If you’re visiting Alaska in August, you’ll still enjoy pleasant weather to get around. August is the last month of summer in Alaska, and the weather remains sunny and mild though a bit rainier. As I always say, it’s hard to talk about the average temperature in Alaska as they vary so much depending on the region.
On average, you can expect temperatures to range from the mid-50s to the mid-70s, but here’s a breakdown by region – still quite broadly, so be sure to check the forecast as your trip approaches.
- The coastal regions (Southeast and Southcentral) of Alaska have cooler temperatures as summer starts winding down. You can expect an average of 50°F to 60°F.
- The Interior region has warmer temperatures compared to other parts of Alaska. In August, highs can reach around 65°F to 70°F, while nighttime temperatures drop to around 45°F.
- The Arctic region boasts the coldest temperatures in August in Alaska. On average, the temperature fluctuates between 33°F and 41°F – winter comes on early in the north!
Daylight Hours in Alaska in August
There is plenty of daylight in Alaska in August. Nonetheless, like the weather, how much sunlight you get depends on the region. The state receives an average of 19 hours of sunlight, but I’ll give you a quick overview of how much sunlight you can expect in different regions.
- Anchorage starts August receiving 17 hours of daylight, and this decreases to about 14.5 hours by the end of the month.
- Fairbanks is even more dramatic, decreasing from 18 hours of daylight down to 14.5 hours at the end of August.
- Juneau and the rest of the Southeast region also see a change, decreasing from 16 hours of daylight at the start of the month down to 14 hours by the end.
Top 7 Events in Alaska in August
August in Alaska is a busy month, full of fun events and activities to fill the days of your itinerary. Below I’ve compiled seven events that you can consider during your visit. From state fairs to blueberry festivals, there’s something for everyone.
Gold Rush Days (August 2-6)
Taking place August 2-6 in Valdez, Gold Rush Days is one Alaskan community’s way to honor the past, present, and future. After all, Valdez was a common stop for some prospectors – but it wasn’t the only one!
There are all kinds of interesting events around town for this celebration, ranging from historic home and old town tours to a “Royal Pickleball Match” to “Jail and Bail arrests” where you can go fill out a warrant and have someone thrown into “Hoosegow,” a traveling prison cart.
Blueberry Arts Festival (August 4-6)
August is blueberry season in Alaska – and if you can believe it, Alaska hosts not one but two blueberry festivals during this month! First up is the Blueberry Arts Festival in Ketchikan from August 4-6.
Less focused on the berries themselves, this festival has been going strong for almost 50 years, and hosts all kinds of quirky arts-related activities: a Pet & Doll parade, the Handmade Human Powered Blueberry Boat Race and the Richard Brautigan, Dick Whitaker and Lillian Ference Memorial Trout Fishing in America Poetry Slam and Flounder Free Form Poetry Contest. It’s definitely quirky – but that’s what makes all of Alaska great!
Salmonfest Alaska 2023 (August 4-6)
Both economically and gastronomically, salmon is one of the most iconic species of Alaska. The locals of Ninilchik know this very well and have organized the Salmonfest to support all things salmon.
Their main goal is to protect Bristol Bay and donate money to salmon and related initiatives. But they do it in the most fun way! The festival invites local bands, and food vendors, and organizes the Salmon Causeway to let guests learn and engage on the environmental issues Alaska and the world are facing.
Tickets are about to come out, so be sure to check the website for details if you want to try and attend.
57° North Open Water Challenge (August 9-13)
Did you know Alaska is home to one of the northernmost open ocean races in the world? Well, now you do. The 57° North Open Water Challenge is hosted in beautiful Sitka.
The race is organized by Baranof Barracuda Swim Club and is a combined 10k/6k/3k/1k open water swim. How you enjoy the event is up to you. Either join the crowd and cheer up for your favorite swimmer, or be one of the brave ones who dare to win a race in the chilly waters.
Galway Days Irish Festival (August 12)
If you have Irish heritage, love Irish culture, or just know how to properly pronounce sláinte for this kind of occasion, you’ll want to attend the Galway Days Irish Festival in Anchorage on August 12th. It’s free for all and held at Town Square Park with live Irish music, Irish dancers, cultural activities, a genealogy tent, Irish food vendors, and much more!
Alyeska Resort Blueberry Festival (August 12-13)
Visiting Alaska in August means you’ll be there to take advantage of one of the best opportunities to enjoy the Chugach Mountains and the blueberry season: the Alyeska Resort Blueberry Festival.
For two days, blueberry enthusiasts get together at Alyeska Resort to celebrate the little morsels that grow in the area. Needless to say, everything will be blueberry-themed. There’ll be food vendors, live music, pie-eating contests, and of course, berry picking!
Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival (August 18-20)
Animal lovers can’t miss the chance to attend the Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival. This festival celebrates the fall migration as thousands of Sandhill Cranes begin their journey south for the winter.
Held the 3rd weekend of August at Creamer’s Field, it features internationally renowned speakers and guides. You can also join the activities and workshops, which include birdwatching, photography, and crane calling. Of course, there’ll be plenty of activities with opportunities for observing cranes and other fall migrants.
Alaska State Fair (August 18-Sept 4)
Last but not least, the Alaska State Fair takes place in August in Alaska. The fair has been running since 1936 and lasts for 12 days. The fair’s program is as varied as it can get. There are concerts, rodeos, monster trucks, cosplay, ventriloquists, cooking contests… everything you can imagine.
One of the most beautiful things is that it’s hosted in the heart of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. You won’t find a better way to enjoy the last days of summer in Alaska.
Alaska Greek Festival (August 18-20)
Unlike other states, Alaska didn’t receive many Greek immigrants in the past. But there are some! And they invite you to get to know them for a day.
The Alaska Greek Festival celebrates its 29th edition this year. This fun festival opens the doors to anyone who’s interested in the fascinating Greek culture. You can taste declined traditional foods (the Greek pastries are to die for!) listen to live Greek folk music, and best of all, watch and learn how to Greek dance!
Anchorage RunFest (August 19-20)
Get your running shoes and participate in Anchorage RunFest, one of Alaska’s premier running events. The event welcomes literally all kinds of runners, from beginners to pros: there’s a marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, 49K ultra race, 5K, and the Anchorage Mile. Even the little ones can show off how hard they’ve trained this year in the Kids’ 2K Fun Run.
What to Pack for Alaska in August
As you can tell from this post so far, August is still summer in Alaska, so you can pack appropriately for that. However, it is possible to experience cooler temperatures and even rain as the month wears on. (For example, in 2022, August was very rainy from about the 10th onward!). Here are my tips for what to pack specifically in August, but you should also review my general Alaska packing list and my Alaska cruise packing list too:
- As always, you should pack layers – especially rain-proof (not rain-resistant) layers if the forecast is even slightly cloudy during your visit.
- Choosing the right outer layers is an essential but tricky part of what to pack; I have a guide for the jackets and outer layers I recommend for Alaska travel.
- Don’t forget to pack waterproof footwear in addition to any shoes/boots you want to walk around on nicer days. (I have a whole guide to shoes and boots for Alaska including rain boots.)
- Late summer can be mosquito season, especially if it has been rainy earlier in the summer; here’s a guide to the mosquito repellants I recommend.
- An eye mask is still a good idea, since there are so many hours of daylight each day throughout the month.
That pretty much covers it, right? Have any other questions about what to pack for Alaska in August, things to do in Alaska in August, or anything else for your Alaska trip? Let me know in the comments below!
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