Anchorage, Alaska in May is one of the best places to be in the United States. The weather is finally warm, you get to experience long days, and there’s so much to do!
If you’re visiting Anchorage during its early spring, here’s what you need to know about the weather, the best things to do, and what to wear. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on a minute of this beautiful state, especially in May!
The month of May, also known as “shoulder season” in Alaska, is when the weather forecast is the best for nature lovers. It’s right before the peak visiting season and truly the perfect time to visit!
Anchorage, which is located in the south-central region of Alaska, has average high temperatures of 55 to 62°F (or 13-16°C) in May. At night, the average low temperature is about 40°F (or 4°C) during this month.
And because May is one of the driest months in the state, the chance of rain is only 20% at an average of 6 days for the whole month. The average snowfall amount is only 0.3 inches, so you likely won’t see it snow in Anchorage while you’re there.
Perhaps the best part of visiting this magical city in May is the long daylight hours you’ll get to experience. During this month, you’ll have about 16 to 17 hours of daylight each day! This means you can expect to have a great time with more sightseeing while you’re here.
Best Things to Do in Anchorage, Alaska in May
Generally speaking, if you want to view the Northern Lights in Alaska, May is not the best month to visit because of the long hours of daylight. Still, there’s so much more to Alaska than just seeing the aurora borealis!
Here’s some of the best activities you can do in Anchorage during this time of year:
1. Take an Eduvacation℠ in Alaska
What exactly is an eduvacation℠? It’s a destination vacation that’s been curated especially for legal practitioners who need to complete their continuing legal education (CLE) requirements. Early to late May is the absolute best time to travel to Anchorage for your eduvacation℠ because the weather is perfect, there are fewer crowds, and you can always find amazing Alaska travel deals!
So, if you’re a lawyer who needs credit hours for your CLEs, be sure to book your trip to Anchorage with Destination CLEs before the spots fill up!
2. Tour the Beautiful State & National Parks
Because Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, you can expect to see a lot of parks nearby that are dedicated to wildlife viewing, outdoor activities, and breathtaking views.
Here are some of the best national parks near Anchorage, Alaska:
Kenai Fjords National Park
This national park is extremely popular with tourists. In fact, Kincaid Park is also one of the largest parks in Anchorage. Here, you can experience nearly 40 miles of walking trails and over 20 miles of bike runs. And the best part? It’s not uncommon to find wild moose or even the occasional black bear browsing along these pathways!
Chugach State Park
This state park has a lush green landscape that stretches over 6.9 million acres. It extends across Prince William Sound, all the way to the Copper River Delta. In this park, you can bike, hike, camp, rent a cabin, fish, and so much more. On your way here from Anchorage, you can even take a scenic drive through the national forest and experience the longest highway tunnel in North America!
Kincaid is a municipal park in Anchorage that offers 1,500 acres for outdoor sports in an enchanting setting that’s reminiscent of Alaska’s wilderness. It’s a well-known host of major ski competitions and this park definitely doesn’t disappoint! One of the best ways to enjoy Kincaid Park is to bike its beautiful trails, so you can experience views of the open glades and spectacular terrain.
Denali National Park
This is a great place to visit if you want an incredible outdoor experience with amazing views of the Alaskan Range. Many flightseeing tours of this park leave from Anchorage, which makes it easy for travelers who have a lot going on in their schedules but still want to spend time at this scenic destination. Plus, if you have time to spare, you can take the Alaska Railroad to this park for discounted prices and even more incredible views.
Lake Clark National Park
Located on the western edge of Cook Inlet, this national park is a rare balance between easy access and remote wilderness. It’s usually on the bucket list of anyone who loves hiking, kayaking, or rafting in an amazing natural setting with some of America’s friendliest people as guides!
Katmai National Park
This national gem is where you can’t beat the thrill of watching brown bears in the wild as they swim, dive, and play in their natural habitat. Here, a day trip to Brooks Camp is always a worthwhile excursion.
3. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Of course, the best place to see wildlife in its natural environment is at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. This center is not just about giving endangered animals like the wood bison, lynx, musk ox, and many more the care and safety they need, but it also provides an enclosure from predators. You’ll definitely want to bring the kids along to this Alaskan wildlife tour!
4. Alaska Native Heritage Center
Similarly, a trip to the Anchorage Cultural Center is like taking part in an interactive history lesson. This venue offers visitors a chance not only learn about Alaskan natives, but their culture as well—with plenty of hands-on activities for all ages! Visitors will be able to see how these native people live on both land and sea. Plus, they can even join them onstage during performances!
5. Glacier Tours
It’s no surprise that a glacier tour is included on so many bucket lists. If it’s on yours, a trip to Alaska will allow you to finally cross that off!
Here’s the best glacier tours near Anchorage:
This may be the biggest, most impressive roadside glacier in all of Alaska. With an imposing presence that spans over 20 miles long, Matanuska is a sight to behold! Join a tour with experienced glacial guides here for a safe adventure you’ll remember for the rest of your life!
The Portage Glacier is one of the most visited glaciers in Alaska. You can visit this natural wonder for a day cruise, hike, or even a paddle. During the winter months, Portage Glacier is also great for skiing, hiking, and ice skating.
What To Wear
Here are the essential things to pack when you’re leaving in May for your Anchorage, Alaska trip:
- Fabrics that are nylon or spandex are best for innerwear.
- Wool or fleece sweaters are best for mid-layers.
- We recommend water-resistant pants, gloves, shoes/boots, and hooded coats for your outer layer.
- A winter coat is always a good idea, especially if you’re planning on an early May trip.
- Scarf and knitted hat
- Warm wool socks
- Light-colored clothing for hot days
If you’re looking for a trip that’ll take your breath away, visiting Anchorage, Alaska in May is the perfect destination! With moderate temperatures and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, you’ll be able to explore everything this beautiful city has to offer.
And don’t worry about what to wear—Destination CLEs has got you covered with the best advice on what to pack for your Alaskan vacation.
We can’t wait to help you plan this unforgettable getaway!
Have you experienced Alaska in May? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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