Q: My wife and I would like to visit Alaska for the first time. Is September OK? If not, what month do you recommend? I would like to travel within the U.S. only, as we do not have passports for Canada. Is this possible and, if so, what routing and places of interest would you suggest? —Bernie F.
A: Bernie, September is a gamble in the truest sense of the word. If the weather is dry and warm, it's a divine time of year to be here. There are no mosquitoes, the tundra is ablaze in color, and you even have a chance of seeing the northern lights. Hotels and operators often trim their prices, too, with the tourist season winding down for the year.
On the other hand, September can be cold and rainy. How much of a gambling man are you?
If not so much, then I'd recommend June. To see why, check out our page on When to Visit.
As for avoiding Canada, no worries. These days, it's cheaper to fly into Anchorage than it is to drive to Alaska, with gas prices as they are. Alaska Airlines flies from a variety of Lower 48 cities—or at least “codeshares,” meaning that it shares routes with other airlines. For a sense of which hub cities and airlines would offer you the most streamlined trip here check out our page on flights to Alaska.