While most visitors trek to Alaska to enjoy the mild summers with (sometimes) unending daylight, more intrepid travelers will brave the offseason in order to experience the Alaska that most people imagine: cold, snowy, windy weather worthy of an artic parka. The Interior (which makes up most of the state) may reach into the 90s(F) in the summer, but can fall below -60 (F) in the winter. The coldest recorded temperature was -80(F) in 1971.
This largest US state is home to islands, volcanos, mountains, glaciers and more coastline than all the other states combined. Plan for ice fishing, mountaineering, ice climbing, or cross-country skiing — and that barely scratches the surface. Watch polar bears, whales, moose, caribou and countless other species in their native habitats. Remember to bring appropriate gear, esp. if camping out in the Artic. Parkas (with hoods), boots and gloves are essential when traveling off-season into the northern-most corners of Alaska. Rent a cabin for the winter to experience the “real Alaska.”
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with avoiding the Artic — parkas, skiis, and snowshoes, etc. — and cruising the coastline during the warm summer months or taking in Alaska’s historic landmarks and cultural sites. The state boasts eleven cultural groups and a rich, history that predates the establishment of the arrival of Europeans in 1741 by hundreds (if not thousands) of years. However it will always be the wilderness of Alaska that calls to most visitors — sea, mountain, animals, snow and ice.