Alaska in July: A Guide for Planning Your Summer Visit
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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, Alaskans and visitors make the most of long days, good (or at least better-than-winter) weather, and get outside a lot to enjoy the beauty of The Last Frontier.
If you’re planning to visit Alaska in July, you might have questions specifically about visiting during this month. After all, it’s not the shoulder season (May and September), nor is it the generally agreed upon most popular month to visit with the best weather (June). It’s July – what does that mean?
After growing up in Alaska and visiting many times since my family moved back to the Lower 48, I’ve spent a fair number of Julys in Alaska, and I know what makes a visit during this month special – as well as what particular things you need to know when planning your trip and once you arrive.
Below you’ll find a guide specifically about visiting Alaska in July, including the weather and daylight hours, as well as lots of special events you can only attend in July, 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 tie a tidy bow on this last stage of your Alaska trip planning?
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.
Weather in Alaska in July
If you’re planning a trip to Alaska in July, you’re in for a treat. July is one of the warmest months in Alaska, and the weather is typically sunny and mild. While temperatures vary depending on the region, you can expect average temperatures to range from the mid-50s to the mid-70s.
Southcentral Alaska (including Anchorage and Seward) typically has an average temperature of 55-70°F, while the Interior (Fairbanks and Denali) boasts some of the warmest weather in July in Alaska, with average temperatures ranging from 55-75°F. Another warm region is Southeast Alaska (Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka), where temperatures range from 65-80°F on average. Unsurprisingly, the Arctic region is the cooler one as expected, with temperatures ranging from 35-50°F.
Daylight Hours in Alaska in July
You can expect to see plenty of sunshine in Alaska in July. Like the weather, how much sunlight you get depends on the region. The state receives an average of 19 hours of sunlight. However, some areas experience nearly 24 hours of daylight, without ever getting fully dark. The further north you go, the more sunlight there will be each day!
Anchorage typically decreases from 19 hours of daylight to 17 by the end of the month, Fairbanks decreases from 21.5 to 18.5 hours of daylight, and Juneau decreases from 18 to 16.5 hours of daylight. Still plenty of time for adventures, even at the end of July.
10 Great Events in Alaska in July
All those hours of daylight have to be filled in some way or another. Luckily, Alaska has no shortage of exciting festivals and events to pack your itinerary, in addition to all of the general things to do in each part of the state. Here are ten of the best events to attend in July in Alaska, depending on where you’ll be and when.
Independence Day (July 3/4)
Independence Day is celebrated a little differently in Alaska compared with the Lower 48: in most parts of the state, the sky doesn’t get dark enough for fireworks! As such, there are a number of other celebrations held in each big city across the state.
I recently published a guide to all of the different 4th of July celebrations in Alaska this year, which you can use to check where you’ll be on that day to determine which activities you can partake in.
Homer Peony Celebration (July 7-30)
July in Alaska is synonymous with gorgeous weather. So it comes as no surprise that flowers are at their prime.
Homer is known as the “City of Peonies” and features nothing less than 25 Peony farms. Needless to say, these lush blooms are quite a sight to behold. The city hosts the Homer Peony Celebration and 2023 will be the fourth edition. This month-long celebration of peonies features farm tours where you can appreciate the beautiful blooms in all their glory, but there are also art exhibitions and food trucks to explore the gastronomic scene.
Bear Paw Festival (July 12-16)
Bear Paw Festival is a popular festival in Eagle River. It takes place every year and has become a lovely tradition. The festival celebrates the local community and culture with a range of events and activities, including live music, food vendors, a parade, a carnival, and a street fair. One of the highlights of the festival is the Slippery Salmon Olympics. Teams of two overcome different challenges against the clock while holding a real salmon.
World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (July 12-15)
Held in Fairbanks, the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics is an annual multi-day event you shouldn’t miss if you want a deeper look into Alaska’s native heritage. The event brings together athletes from Alaska Native communities to compete in traditional Native games that test strength, endurance, and agility. But not everything is about sports. The event also features cultural events such as storytelling, traditional dance performances, and an arts and crafts fair.
Alpine Adventure Run (July 15)
Lace-up your running shoes and join the Alpine Adventure Run, a scenic race through the mountains above Sitka. The trail is seven miles long, starting at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church parking lot and ending up at the Harbor Mountain picnic area. You’ll be running over hills and valleys while enjoying spectacular alpine vistas of rock slides and stunted-growth forests.
Fly By Festival (July 15)
As you can see, there are activities for pretty much every like and interest in Alaska in July. If you’re into aviation, don’t miss the Fly By Festival. This aviation-themed event in Anchorage is organized by the Alaska Aviation Museum. There will be food trucks and family-friendly activities. But the highlight of the event is the vintage aircraft flying over the beautiful Lake Hood.
Golden Days 2023 (July 15)
The Golden Days are a series of activities that Fairbanks has held since 1952. They became so popular that today they are considered a festival and an important part of the city’s identity. In 2023, the Golden Days festival will offer tons of activities for people of all ages.
The festival will kick off with a parade through downtown Fairbanks, featuring colorful floats and marching bands. Other highlights of the festival include the rubber duckie race along the Chena river, a street fair with vendors selling local arts and crafts, live music performances, and delicious food stalls.
Skinny Raven Half Marathon & 10K (July 16)
For all my fellow runners out there, sign up for the Skinny Raven Half Marathon & 10K. This running event in Anchorage attracts runners from all over the state and beyond. The half marathon trail takes you on a scenic route through Anchorage, passing by some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, while the 10K course also takes runners through downtown Anchorage and along the Coastal Trail.
I won’t lie, it’s a bit challenging, but the stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the Chugach Mountains and the ocean, make the effort well worth it.
Deltana Fair (July 21-23)
If you’re coming with kids, the Deltana Fair is a great alternative to entertain all members of the family. It takes place in Delta Junction and there’s everything from horse shows to pie-eating contests. The highlight of the Deltana Fair is the annual mud bogs competition, where drivers navigate their vehicles through a muddy course, competing for the best time.
SAC Blues Brews & BBQ (July 22)
Who doesn’t enjoy a sip of beer with good music? As the name suggests, the SAC Blues Brews & BBQ is a festival where you can sample some of Alaska’s best beer, eat the most delicious barbecue, and listen to the deepest blues songs at this festival. The event is child-friendly, so you can bring your little ones, too!
What to Pack for Alaska in July
There’s a saying in Alaska, that after the 3rd of July, the rain comes. This might sound dramatic, but I can’t tell you how many times we enjoyed watching the fireworks on the 3rd of July to wake up the next day for the first rain in a month or so. All this to say: July begins to see more precipitation, which increases and cools until the snow flies (typically in September). If you’re visiting Alaska in July, you should be prepared for rain.
- As always, you should pack layers – especially rain-proof layers if the forecast is even slightly cloudy during your visit.
- 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.)
- An eye mask is still a good idea, since there are so many hours of daylight each day throughout the month.
As always, my Alaska packing list and cruise-specific packing list will help you cover all the essentials.
And that just about covers it, right? Have any other questions about what to pack for Alaska in July, or things to do in July – or anything else for your Alaska trip? Let me know in the comments below!
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