What’s the cheapest time to visit Alaska? (free or cheap things to do)

cheapest time to visit Alaska

Have you ever dreamed of taking a trip to Alaska? Often referred to as the “last frontier,” Alaska is one of the most unique, beautiful destinations in the world.

Whether it’s hot pink sunrises over snow-covered mountains or deep sea fishing in its icy waters – an Alaskan adventure should be on everyone’s bucket list.

With this majestic destination comes a hefty price tag, so today we’re discussing how to make sure you explore Alaska at its most affordable.

Get ready for an unforgettable journey as we uncover insider tips and tricks for tackling your next Alaskan vacation on a budget.

The cheapest time to visit Alaska

Alaska is a land of breathtaking beauty and rugged wilderness, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

However, such a spectacular experience often comes at a steep price. Fortunately, there is a window of opportunity for travelers looking to explore Alaska without breaking the bank.

The cheapest time to visit Alaska is during the off-season months of September and October, when crowds are thinning and accommodations are more affordable.

Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have the chance to witness the stunning autumn foliage, catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, and potentially catch a glimpse of whale migrations.

Free or cheap things to do in Alaska:

With plenty of free and cheap activities available, you can experience the breathtaking scenery and unique culture of Alaska without going over budget.

Visit the Anchorage Market and Festival

One of the best ways to experience the local culture and entertainment in Alaska is by attending the Anchorage Market and Festival held every weekend from May to September.

Admission is free, and you’ll find over 300 vendors selling everything from handmade crafts to delicious food.

There are also live performances, including music and dancing, making it the perfect place to get a taste of Alaskan life.

Hiking in Chugach State Park

Visiting Chugach State Park is a must-do when you’re in Alaska, and there are hiking trails available for every skill level.

With over 495,000 acres of beautiful mountains, glaciers, and lakes, you’ll be amazed by the stunning views. The best part? There’s no entrance fee.

Fishing in Ship Creek

Fishing is one of Alaska’s most popular activities, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Head to Ship Creek in Anchorage, where you can catch salmon and trout for free.

There’s a catch-and-release policy in place, so you won’t be able to keep what you catch, but it’s still an excellent experience for outdoor enthusiasts.

Glacier Viewing

Alaska has some of the world’s most beautiful glaciers, and you don’t have to pay to experience them.

Take a trip to Matanuska Glacier, where you can take a short hike and view the glacier for free, or go on a guided ice hike for a reasonable fee.

You can also take a drive to Portage Glacier, which is free to view from the parking lot.

Explore Denali National Park

Denali National Park is one of Alaska’s most famous destinations, and there are endless opportunities to explore the wilderness.

Entrance fees to the park vary, but if you visit on certain days throughout the year, admission is free.

Once inside the park, you can go hiking, wildlife viewing, or take a drive to experience the stunning scenery.

How can I save money when visiting Alaska? 

However, planning a trip to Alaska can be difficult, and it can also be expensive. Despite the high cost of living, there are ways to enjoy your Alaskan vacation. Below are several tips to help save money when visiting Alaska.

Create a budget and stick to it:

Before you start planning your trip, make sure you create a budget and try to stick to it as much as possible.

Be sure to consider all of your expenses, from airfare and accommodation to meals and activities.

This will help you stay on track with your spending and ensure you don’t go over budget.

See Also
What’s The Cheapest Time To Visit Japan

Stay with friends or family:

If you’re lucky enough to have friends or family in Alaska, take advantage of it by staying with them.

Not only will this save you money on accommodation, but it’s also a great opportunity to get a unique experience of local life.

Look for deals and discounts:

Do your research before booking anything, as there are often deals and discounts available.

You can also find free or discounted activities, such as visiting museums or taking part in walking tours.

Take advantage of public transportation:

Public transportation is an affordable way to get around Alaska, and there are plenty of options depending on where you’re planning to go.

Buses, trams and ferries are all available and can save you money on transportation.

Cook Your Own Meals:

While Alaska is known for its seafood, eating out can quickly become expensive. To save money, consider cooking your own meals.

Many vacation rentals and hostels have fully equipped kitchens, and grocery stores like Fred Meyer and Safeway can be found in major cities and towns.


Visiting Alaska in the shoulder seasons of September and October is one of the best decisions if you are looking to save a bit of money on a vacation.

The rates are low and oftentimes you can even get special packages that include extra amenities. The scenery is unbeatable during these months as the leaves start to change color and everything is fresh.

Along with that, there are plenty of activities available such as hiking, rafting, boat tours and more! Since it’s not overly crowded during this time, lines won’t be as long either so you can enjoy every moment without worrying about being overtaken by huge crowds.

Whatever season you decide to come for, Alaska will always provide an experience unlike any other place on Earth. With its awe-inspiring landscapes, unique people and abundance of activities, it’s no wonder why so many people dream of visiting here.

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