Our fall season in SouthEast Alaska admittedly doesn’t last very long, but what we do have is spectacular! The prime tourist season here is June, July, and August. But September and even the first week of October are great times to visit and enjoy our splash of a fall. Make sure you bring layers of clothing since the weather can be unpredictable.
There are Animals Everywhere!
Fall is a big season for our mammals and our birds. The moose, caribou, mountain goats, and bears, for example, are busy gorging themselves to prepare for the upcoming winter. Since there are fewer tourists making noise and they need to come down from higher elevations anyway to forage for more food, you will have a much greater chance of seeing one or two or three. Just remember to keep your space though, these are still wild animals (even if they are in the middle of downtown) and they don’t like being crowded by us humans.
Bird migration in our great state is at a premium in the fall. You can see snow geese, ducks, swans, sandhill cranes, arctic turns and more. If you’re staying in Anchorage, you will want to check out Potter Marsh at the southern end of the city. If you want more of an adventure travel out to Wrangell, Alaska for some spectacular bird viewing.
The Fishing is GOOD!
If Silver Salmon or Halibut is your thing, September is still a great month to come up and fish. Good news is you won’t have to be fighting for space since September is considered the “shoulder” season and there are a lot fewer visitors. If you’re looking for something else, many of our interior lakes and streams feature the Arctic Grayling known as the sailfish of the north. You’ll also find other freshwater catches such as Dolly Varden, Rainbow Trout, Northern Pike, and Arctic Char.
Things are Cheaper
Peak tourist season usually ends about the first week of September, so you’ll see the prices drop on just about everything from airline tickets to zoo tickets. While there is still a lot of beautiful weather left before the snow flies, things do start to slow down in September, and the prices reflect that. Hotels, B&B’s, trains, zoos, cruises, motorhome rentals, truck and 4X4 rentals, and more all lower their prices around the 7th-to the 10th of September. This means your money goes further and perhaps you can even stay longer and explore more of our breathtaking state.
We have to be honest; things can get pretty crazy up here during tourist season. We don’t have that many roads, and every one of them is packed with motorhomes and campers and people exploring our great state. Tourism is a thriving, hoping business for our short summer and any Alaskans know which places to avoid to stay away from the crowds. But fall is different we tend to spend as much time as possible gorging on the outdoors and the sun before winter comes. So in some ways, coming in the fall means you get to see more of the “real” Alaska and meet the wide variety people who call it home. Most shops are still open along the main roads, though they might have reduced hours.
The Northern Lights are BRILLIANT!
Alaska is well known for our mysterious and awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) displays. Since it never really gets dark during our summer, you just can’t see them well between June-August. But September is an entirely different story! While our days are still longer than anywhere in the continental United States, the sun does set, and the light shows begin! On most nights in September between 10pm-2am you can catch the show. Fairbanks, Alaska or even further north offers the best chance of catching this incredible natural phenomenon. So bundle up and enjoy!
If you’re considering a trip to Alaska, take a serious look at visiting us during September. We promise you won’t be disappointed. Clear, crisp fall days, spectacular animal viewing, story-worthy fishing, brilliant Northern Lights viewing, and so much more await you!