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What To Wear In Alaska In June: Tips From Our Trips

If you’re planning an Alaska cruise or road trip next summer, June, July, and August provide the warmest months. After you’ve booked shore excursions, you’ll need to know what to pack.

In this article, you’ll discover what to expect from the Alaska weather and what to wear in Alaska in June.

Special excursions like dog sledding on a glacier also demand specific clothing choices. And did you know you can even snorkel in the frigid waters of Alaska?

Visiting Glacier Bay National Park

Even if you’ve checked the weather forecast, preparing for cooler conditions, rainy days, and warmer days is a good idea. This post includes an Alaska packing list tailored for a June visit.

Alaska Weather In June

In Alaska, expect unpredictable weather in June or any month. Average daytime highs range from 55-75°F, and lows from 40-50°F. The temperatures can vary significantly from one area to another. Areas in southeast Alaska, such as Sitka and Ketchikan, often experience more rain.

Ketchikan, being close to the border of Canada, is usually cooler, with highs around 60°F. The further north you travel, the warmer it gets, so Anchorage and Skagway can reach 65°F.

Liquid sunshine is a common occurrence, creating the lush Tongass Rainforest surrounding the cities. Ketchikan has about a 50-60% chance of rain in June and has a liquid sunshine gauge by its visitor center. However, June receives fewer rain showers than August and September.

Anchorage is drier, with a 30-40% chance. Further inland, Fairbanks welcomes summer while coastal areas are still experiencing spring. Expect it to be 7F warmer in Fairbanks than in Anchorage.

However, always prepare for varying conditions. I wore shorts and T-shirts in June and saw heavy rain and frigid temperatures on another visit. Not only can the weather drastically differ from year to year, but also from week to week.

So, prepare for the cold at a glacier, sunshine on warm days, and bring a waterproof jacket for days when it rains.

Around the summer solstice, you’ll enjoy long days to enjoy your outdoor adventures. Here are the daylight hours in popular cities in June:

  • Anchorage – 19 hours.
  • Fairbanks – 21 hours.
  • Juneau – 18 hours.
  • Ketchikan – 17 hours.
  • Skagway – 18 hours.

Luggage

Limiting what to pack can often be tricky if you’re cruising to Alaska and flying into your embarkation port. You’ll need comfortable footwear, something nicer for the dining room, and maybe some hiking boots.

The variety of clothing needed for land, sea, excursions, and formal nights can leave you overwhelmed. 

Level8 Textured and Carry-on styles
Our Level8 luggage

Select luggage that can nest. Level8 makes a Luminous Textured Luggage and Grace Luggage Set that is sleek, stylish, and fits inside each other. After you’ve unpacked, you can store your luggage under the bed.

If you’re interested in Level8 Luggage, you can find it on Amazon. Alternatively, you can use the code  foreverkaren10 to receive a 10% discount on any of their pieces on their website.

Travel cubes make packing a breeze and help to organize your clothing. Compression bags are handy if you tend to overpack.

Wear your heaviest items and boots the day you fly to make more space in your luggage.

If you travel with camera equipment like we do, having a camera backpack keeps all your valuables in one place. We put our digital camera, zoom lens, chargers, and DJI gimbal in our backpack carry-on. We use this backpack for hiking and in ports.

hiking with a camera backpack
Hiking with our backpack

What To Wear Onboard

Choose your outfits carefully to stay comfortable and warm for an Alaskan cruise in June. On a cruise ship, the ship’s main areas are generally warm. However, I sometimes found restaurants and theaters chilly. Bring a light sweater or wrap to stay cozy during meals and shows.

Expect a less dressy atmosphere with all cruise lines except Cunard formal nights. Casual attire like fleece and sweats is acceptable for daytime wear. These keep you warm and allow for easy movement. 

Try to select multiple-purpose pieces that you can dress up or down. Black fleece leggings are ideal for cooler days on deck. However, you can wear them to dinner with a nice top or sweater.

Unless the forecast is for hot weather, you’ll likely wear long pants over shorts. Bring several short-sleeved T-shirts and add a fleece if it’s cold.

T-shirts are multi-purpose; they add extra warmth under a sweater, or you can sleep in one if you’re cold. And if you intend to hit the gym, they are also perfect.

Wearing casual clothing on a cruise ship
Wearing casual clothing on a cruise ship

I remember cruising my first Alaska cruise in the summer and didn’t have enough warm clothes. Don’t worry if this happens to you because you can purchase a fleece jacket or sweatshirt from the onboard shops or souvenir stores in ports.

The Tongass Trading Co. at the Ketchikan cruise port has the best deals and prices.

One last thing, remember to pack a bathing suit and slip on shoes. At the end of the day, enjoy the swimming pool or soak in a hot tub. On most cruise ships, you can request a cotton robe.

All cruise lines offer a laundry service, whether paid full-service or self-serve. Having the ability to do laundry can mean you could pack half as much. Also, the service is welcomed on longer itineraries of 14 days or more.

Formal Nights

Cruises of seven days will have two formal nights, although some lines call them ‘evening chic,’ ‘wear your best,’ or ‘dress to impress.’ However, with the move to go more casual, wearing formal wear on these nights is optional.

Dressed for Cunard's White Ice gala night
Dressed for formal night on an Alaska cruise

While my husband and I enjoy formal nights, the majority of guests prefer not to dress for the special event. However, we did observe more ‘dressed up’ guests at the late dinner seating than the early one.

On the majority of cruise lines, you can opt to follow Norwegian’s slogan of ‘dress up or not.’ Cunard guests are the exception to this rule.

The British cruise line sticks to its tradition where the men wear tuxedos and the women ball gowns. You can opt for the Lido buffet if you’re not a fan of the Cunard dress code.

If you’re not cruising with Cunard, men can wear long-sleeve shirts and pants; suits and ties are no longer required. Women can forego the evening dress and choose long pants or a skirt with a nice top instead.

You can always dine at the Lido buffet if you prefer to keep wearing your fleece and sweats if you prefer a less formal dining experience.

Hiking In Alaska

In June, Alaska has yet to reach the summer temperature highs, and some areas still need to emerge from winter. Expect variable weather: mild temperatures but sudden changes. So, you need to prepare for muddy spots on trails.

Hiking at Mount Roberts, Juneau and finding snow
Hiking at Mount Roberts, Juneau and finding snow

Footwear is crucial, so pick Waterproof hiking boots or a comfortable pair of lightweight hikers if you plan to hike in each port. There are many trails near the cruise port, with varying degrees of difficulty for every ability.

Columbia hiking boots are reasonably priced and provide good traction on uneven trails and waterproofing properties. Judging from the 20K+ positive reviews on Amazon, other hikers love them too. 

Complete your footwear selection with good wool hiking socks. Wool socks provide moisture wicking, which prevents blisters. Unless, we’re going some serious hiking, we often wear our waterproof Vessi runners on easy treks.

Hiking in Juneau
Hiking in Juneau

Rain pants or gaiters are optional but help to keep rain and mud out of your boots. Trails may still have some snow in June, especially at higher levels. Hiking poles (collapsible are best for traveling) assist with stability.

A moisture-wicking base layer helps regulate body temperature. Select the ones made from synthetics because they moisture wick, dry quickly, and take up little luggage space.

Add a fleece mid-layer for warmth. Always bring a waterproof, breathable outer layer. This shields you from rain and wind.

Since you’re hiking in a rainforest, remember to use mosquito repellent (Deet is best) to keep the pesky bugs at bay. 

A refillable water bottle, power bar, snack, and waterproof backpack will complete your hiking essentials.

While hiking in bear country, bear spray and a bear bell are recommended. However, since bear spray is forbidden on airlines, you’ll need to acquire it after your flight.

What To Wear In Port

Port days can vary significantly from glacier viewing days. Early mornings may start out cool, but the long days may surprise you with warm weather. Opt for quick-drying, comfortable pants with pockets. Denim takes a long time to dry if you get wet.

Layering is vital for port days, and you want to prepare for varying weather. Start with moisture-wicking base layers. Add a fleece or lightweight sweater, which you can remove as the temperature rises.

Lightweight cargo pants that convert to shorts are especially nice if you’re short on luggage space. Their large pockets are handy for phones, mosquito spray, and your cruise card.

Brian in his Helly Hansen jacket in Ketchikan, Alaska
Brian in his Helly Hansen jacket in Ketchikan, Alaska

A waterproof, breathable jacket is essential, as it protects against sudden rain and wind. Remember that 3-in-1 jacket – this is where the outer shell comes in handy. While I have a Columbia brand, my husband wears a Helly Hansen 3-in-1 which serves the same purpose.

Always carry a small, packable umbrella in your day pack.

If you plan to visit near the end of June, you’ll enjoy warmer days. A pair of shorts and short-sleeved shirts are a good option for daytime if the weather is favorable. 

However, long-sleeved shirts and long pants may be more suitable if you travel in early June. Always be ready to adjust your outfit as the day progresses since the weather can shift quickly from warm highs to rainy lows.

Remember sunglasses and sunscreen. Despite cooler temperatures, sun glare can be intense.

Lastly, pack walking shoes for exploring ports and ship decks. A waterproof pair such as Vessi footwear is ideal. They will keep your feet dry, even in a downpour. 

Wearing Vessi footwear in Mendenhall Lake, Juneau
Wearing Vessi footwear in Mendenhall Lake, Juneau

If you choose the black-on-black color, you can wear the footwear in port, on a wet shore excursion, and double up for a neutral look with dark pants in the dining room.

Alternatively, you can select something inexpensive like Duck shoes. While they are less stylish, they will do the job of keeping your feet dry.

Excursions That Require Certain Clothing

Alaska is a place of extremes. In June, you can participate in snorkeling to trekking on an icefield.

Those booked on fishing or whale-watching tours may want a rain jacket and waterproof footwear. Even if it’s warm in port, expect it to be cooler on the water. Wind burn can be another factor to consider when heading out on the water.

Wearing a waterproof jacket and shoes on a boat excursion
Wearing a waterproof jacket and shoes on a boat excursion

Some Alaskan shore excursions may require extra clothing, especially if you spend time ON a glacier. Layering is essential to staying warm on glacier dog sledding tours and helicopter excursions with icefield landings.

Start with a thermal base layer and add a fleece layer. Top it off with a waterproof, windproof jacket, as well as waterproof gloves and a hat that covers your ears. You don’t need to worry much about footwear, as most tour operators supply glacier boots.

Ski goggles or polarized sunglasses protect your eyes from glare. Some people prefer wearing a balaclava for extra face protection.

It should be noted that helicopter tours do not allow you to bring a handbag or backpack. They provide lockers at the airport for all your personal items. However, you can take a camera or smartphone to capture your memories.

Glaciers can be 15-20 degrees colder than ground level. Factor in wind chill, and it feels even colder. During my dog sledding tour, freezing rain fell the whole time. Although I wore the appropriate layers, I still felt cold.

A sled dog team on the glacier
My dog sledding team on Herbert Glacier

If you plan to snorkel in Alaska, you’ll need a towel, bathing suit, shorts, and an extra pair of socks. While snorkeling in Alaska might seem like a crazy idea, it’s a tour that’s growing in popularity.

In Ketchikan, the tour operator, Snorkel Alaska, supplies 7mm wetsuits thick enough to tolerate the 55F water. In the tidal areas, you’ll see sea cucumbers, sea urchins, jellyfish, sea stars, and varieties of fish.

While you won’t see vibrant corals or tropical fish, the cold water snorkel provides a contrasting but exhilarating experience.

What To Wear At Glaciers

Depending on where you reside, you may find a day of glacier viewing cool, cold, or frigid. While the outside temperature may not be really low, the wind off an icefield can chill you to the bone.

Bundle up to protect against cold winds and cold weather next to the ice on glacier viewing days. 

Dressed for the cold at Hubbard Glacier
Dressed for the cold at Hubbard Glacier

While you won’t need long underwear in June, starting with a thermal base layer will help to keep out the cold. I found my hands froze at Hubbard Glacier, so having gloves and a hat is essential.

Hand warmers are excellent if you plan to spend hours on deck. Whether you have a balcony or not, the best place for viewing is outside.

Layering is essential because it gets very cold near glaciers. Start with a base layer like you’d use for skiing and add long sleeves over the top.

While you won’t need a heavy winter coat, a waterproof outer layer, coupled with a sweatshirt or sweater, will suffice. I recommend North Face or Columbia 3-in-1. The outer layer has waterproofing properties, and the inner layer provides warmth.

You can wear them together or separately, handy in port where you may have sunny days or wet weather. The 3-in-1 allows you to add or remove layers as needed. 

Wearing my Columbia 3-in-1 jacket at Hubbard Glacier
Wearing my Columbia 3-in-1 jacket at Hubbard Glacier

A hat, gloves, and sunglasses are also essential. Sunglasses help reduce the glare from the ice and provide wind protection.

Alternatively, you can opt for a puffy jacket that provides warmth and packs nothing in a suitcase. However, these down and synthetic material options don’t have the much-needed waterproofing properties. So, some people carry a plastic poncho, too.

We found moving around to different areas and decks gave interesting perspectives. Don’t forget the Promenade deck. It often lacks people and provides excellent photos with the ship in the foreground.

The captain will rotate the cruise ship in front of a glacier, so you don’t need to worry about where to get the best views.

Traveling To Denali National Park?

If you’re booked on a cruise and tour, it’s essential to know that Mosquito season starts in June at Denali National Park. These bugs are big, abundant, and always searching for their next meal. 

They’re even joked about as the “Alaska State Bird.” Mosquitoes are more prevalent at dusk and dawn, so avoid being outdoors at these times. To prevent bites, choose tight-weave clothes made from light-colored fabric, as mosquitoes are attracted to darker hues.

Long pants and tops with full-length sleeves are best. Skip scented shampoos and lotions as they attract mosquitoes. Always carry insect repellent and use it often. 

The temperatures in Denali National Park and Fairbanks may be much warmer than coastal ports. While ditching the long sleeve and long pants might be tempting, you’ll have to weigh the odds of being bitten against being overly warm.

Denali, Alaska
Denali

Alaska In June Conclusion

As you can see, packing and choosing the proper clothing for an Alaska trip in June is mind-boggling. Will you be warm enough? Will you stay dry? How can I pack for three seasons in one suitcase?

Believe it or not, some travelers do a 7-day Alaska vacation in just a carry-on. I’m not sure how they do it, but I’m convinced they forego the main dining room and always eat in the buffet, eliminating the need for dressier items.

Laundry can be a savior, allowing you to travel with fewer clothing pieces by doing a wash halfway through your journey. 

By choosing multi-purpose items, you can take fewer items than you think. Wearing pieces for more than one day will also save on space.

Our Alaska cruise packing list is constantly evolving. After every trip, we assess what we used most and didn’t need. You may find your list slightly differs from what others use.

If you’re from Florida or Texas, you may need more layers than someone from Colorado. In a nutshell, prepare for every weather scenario, and you can’t go wrong.

People in coats in Glacier Bay National Park, Hiking in shorts in Alaska and Brian wearing a rain jacket in the rain