Not all Alaska weather is the same! In Sitka, visitors will find moderate to cool temperatures most of the year. Due to the oceanic climate and currents, Sitka experiences most of its precipitation in the form of rainfall instead of snowfall at sea level. The seasons, however, are distinctive and knowing what to expect can help in planning your outdoor activities and packing appropriate outerwear.
Spring in Sitka is especially beautiful and generally our driest months of the year. Bald eagles are spotted year round but are especially abundant March through early July. Although locals rarely use umbrellas we have a good supply available by the main entrance for guest use. April and May are typically the driest months of the year.
Visiting Sitka at any time of year is a pleasant experience but June is especially rewarding since world class musicians from five continents travel to Sitka to present the finest in chamber music concerts. Sitka Summer Music Festival concerts are held throughout the month of June and the first week of July. Average temperatures from June through August are in the high 50’s to low 60’s. Record highs, however, have been recorded in the mid to upper 80’s!
With average precipitation amounts around eleven to thirteen inches, fall is typically the wettest time of year to visit Sitka. But visitors shouldn’t let that deter them from planning their vacations during this season. Fall is full of excellent Alaska whale watching opportunities. Whales are commonly seen from shore at Whale Park. Whale enthusiasts find the Sitka “Whalefest,” an annual early November event, fabulously informative and festive.
Sitka is referred to as, “Alaska’s Winter Banana-Belt” since it infrequently drops below freezing for extended periods; the warm ocean current and the cloud cover maintains pleasant wintertime temperatures at lower elevations.
Yet, snowboarding, snowmobiling, extreme skiing and sledding are popular winter activities in the mountains at Sitka’s back door where the higher elevations receive a heavy snowfall.
When the clouds move out, the temperature plummets, and tiny Swan Lake freezes. Families enjoying ice skating presents a picture reminiscent of the past from Currier and Ives. The clear skies offer the opportunity to view one of the most famous Sitka Alaska attractions, the elusive, colorful, dancing, celestial curtain known as the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).
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