“Only in Alaska” Adventures Under the Midnight Sun

Published: June 10, 2023

When you come to Alaska in the summer, you’ll quickly appreciate why this state is known as the Land of the Midnight Sun. You’ll also begin to understand how all Alaskans are able to “hang tough” through the state’s dark, cold winters, waiting for all the plentiful payoffs experienced in the summer season.

More Sun Means More Time for Alaska Adventures

It sometimes takes the uninitiated mind and body of Alaska visitors some time to get acclimated to a sun which shines so bright and constant in the summer sky. The constant daylight makes days feel longer with energy levels more exuberant as opportunities for adventure expand to earlier and later hours. For many, it’s simply hard to slow down and relax! On a busy day, 10 p.m. can feel like 7 p.m., and midnight can seem like 8. And the upside is that this allows for much more flexibility when planning itineraries as there are more hours to schedule around wherever you’re traveling in Alaska.

Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge deck at sunrise (or is it at sunset)?

How to Make the Most of Alaska’s Midnight Sun

All Alaska businesses – including restaurants and breweries – adapt their summer schedules to accommodate Alaska adventure seekers and midnight sun-soakers, prepping their decks and patios for sun-lit service late into the night. The same goes for early risers, as coffee shops, cafes and restaurants open early to provide sustenance and caffeine for whatever excitement visitors have planned for the day ahead.

Sunset in the Alaska Summer at Kenai Backcountry Lodge and Skilak Lake

Your fun under the Midnight Sun can include fishing for salmon into the wee hours of the night surrounded by a delightful dusk; enjoying the tranquility of a majestic peak all to yourself during an after-hours hike; floating in a kayak in a “calm-as-glass” cove while listening to waterfowl flap, tweet and squawk, a whale expelling a deep breath or an otter crunching on a mussel; or simply ending the perfect Alaska day with a sunlit stroll along city sidewalks or enjoying a late-night snack or sip of something delicious.

Alaska Photo Safari at Dusk

Many Alaska adventure outfitters also broaden their hours and offerings to maximize their client’s fun under the midnight sun. Going flightseeing in the evening, for example, makes for awesome views and hues, showcasing already incredible Alaska landscapes and allowing for super-cool landings especially if you’re traveling by floatplane. Tour boats and water taxis transport passengers to and from camping spots, cabins and lodges earlier and later and many offer expanded daylong sightseeing trips in a search for glaciers, whales and other Alaska wonders. Wildlife viewing expands to all hours, as many of Alaska’s creatures are out and about 24-7, gorging on berries, plants and fish as they prepare for winter. Remember that in Alaska, if the fish are running, then the bears and eagles are fishing, eating and repeating!

Alaska Hiker Along 20-Mile River at Sunrise in the Chugach National Forest in Summer

Even urban experiences can extend to late-night hours, with sunny concerts – from local and national acts – taking place in chill downtown city parks and welcoming outdoor venues just about every weekend, and even on some weekdays. There are art walks, music festivals and brew fests that go late into the night, too. And if you feel the need for a perfect Alaska late-night bite to keep you going into overtime, stop by a downtown food cart that serves up grilled reindeer sausage and sautéed onions. From there you can continue to party, just walk or talk into the wee hours or retire back to your accommodations to plan more Alaska fun, all while enjoying the magic of Alaska’s Midnight Sun.

Whatever summer adventures you’ve planned to pursue in Alaska, don’t miss extending your day and your itinerary with just a bit more so you too can maximize your every minute with a little help from mother nature’s best bonus – the midnight sun!

a sunset over coastal Alaskan shoreline

Sunset at Kincaid Beach (Jack Bonney/Visit Anchorage)