The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)

Enjoying Alaska's "Shoulder" Season

Alaska's Shoulder Season Offers Big Advantages - 2014

Holtzclaw (Ted) - Operations Manager at WABC-TV in New York, 2012

Dreaming of your Alaska vacation and looking to save a little money? Consider traveling during Alaska's "shoulder" season for better access to the prime attractions, lower prices and some interesting ancillary benefits, like some of the most unusually beautiful displays of fall colors you've ever seen.

Alaska's summer is just three months long - June, July and August. And while it's not unusual to see summer-like conditions in May, particularly later in the month, it's also not that unusual to have one last burst of snow. Likewise, the end of the summer comes quickly, and by the third week of September there's barely a sign of the busy summer season that just wrapped up. The bulk of Alaska's visitors come during the three prime summer months, which means the "shoulders," from late April through May and early to mid-September aren't just less busy, they're less expensive.

When most people think about Alaska, they think of rugged landscapes, wildlife and untrammeled nature. With a state as large as Alaska, you can enjoy quiet repose no matter what time of year you travel, but at some of the state's more popular attractions, there's no denying that shoulder season is less crowded. During peak summer months, four to six large cruise ships arrive in the state's most popular port communities each day; during May and September, there's often only one or two ships. And since the vast majority of Alaska visitors include a cruise in some portion of their trip, this pattern holds true for attractions far from the most popular cruise ports, including Denali National Park and Preserve, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Kodiak. If you're making plans at the last minute, you'll find it easier to book hotels and tours if you plan a shoulder-season trip as well.

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