Although the assumption is that Alaska is a land of snow and sub-zero temperatures, the Alaskan climate is actually extremely varied, caused by the state's six different topographic regions. The far north is extremely dry and very cold, with Arctic conditions and temperatures average about -29C, and the ground at Point Barrow remains permanently frozen to a depth of 405m. Summer temperatures in the lowlands are surprisingly high, averaging in the about 16C, and they have been known to reach 32C and up. The southeast tends to be fairly moderate, with damp, rainy and sometimes mild conditions, with temperatures in July averaging 13C and temperatures in January averaging -1C and the south and central areas tend to be similar, with slightly colder winter temperatures. Western Alaska tends to be rainy, while the Aleutian Islands in winter are damp and rainy, with fog. Heavy snows are common in the north and central regions of the state.
When to fly to Anchorage
The best time to book flights to Anchorage and travel the area is during the summer months, June through August. The temperature averages around 21C and rainfall is minimal. If winter sports are your forte, plan to travel to Anchorage in February and trek the mountains or stay around for the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The winter months are cold and blustery in Anchorage, averaging around -12C, but if you're a snow-lover, cheap flights to Anchorage can be found in the heart of winter.
Getting around Anchorage
Get ready to move around on Anchorage’s public bus system, called the People Mover. Take the People Mover to the city centre after your Anchorage flight lands and get an immediate tour. On weekdays, catch a bus every half hour until 9pm. Service is limited on weekends, but the buses run until 11pm. There are also hotel shuttles and cabs available for late night arrivals. If your travel plans include a trip around the edge of Anchorage, it’s a good idea to rent a car. Save money by booking a package deal when you buy your plane ticket. Make sure you reserve early in the summer though. Summer is Alaska’s peak travel time and rental cars can get snatched up quickly.
Anchorage insider information
From May through September, the Anchorage Saturday market is in full swing. Take a walk through Anchorage's Saturday market and stop by the hundreds of stalls and booths that sell everything from now boasts 350 stalls selling everything from Eskimo arts and crafts to plants, food and clothes. Local musicians and entertainers make their way through the crowds to keep the mood light and fun.
The Annual Anchorage Folk Festival occurs every January and features musicians and performers from all over the world. The festivals, which takes place over two weekends, features hundreds of performances, workshops, dances and other special events.
Witness the famous Iditarod Dog Sled Race which takes place every March in Anchorage. The race, which began in 1925, is 1820km long.