April in Alaska is a beautiful time of year when the landscape comes back to life after a long and dark winter. The weather begins to warm up, the days start getting longer, and travelers can enjoy the breathtaking scenery without all the crowds of peak season.
If you’re considering visiting Alaska in April, aka “break-up season” if you’re chatting with a local, allow us to break down everything you’ll need to know. In this guide to April in Alaska, our travel experts are sharing insights on what to expect, how to prepare, and how to make the most of your next great Alaskan adventure.
What is the Break-Up Season in Alaska?
April in Alaska is not quite spring, but it’s no longer a true winter. During this time of year, many of our frozen lakes and snowfall begin to melt. As you can probably imagine, this causes an abundance of slush and ice that litter the roadways around Alaska. Many of the locals call this time “break-up season” because it’s the time when we slowly break up with the winter season and prepare for the warmer, sunnier springtime.
So, what does this mean for April tourists? Be ready for anything. We recommend packing plenty of layers and stocking your Alaskan car rental with both a winter emergency kit (temperatures can still drop pretty low at night) and a spring rain jacket. If you plan on hiking, stow a pair of winter-safe shoes with good tread alongside your sneakers and sunglasses.
When driving in April in Alaska, always exercise caution. It’s easy to become overly confident behind the wheel during the changing seasons (which is true whether you’re renting a car in Alaska or Oklahoma). However, we strongly advise you to remain vigilant, drive slowly, and anticipate slippery sections of roadway.
Our top piece of advice is to drive with the same caution as you would if the roads were iced over—because they might be!
April in Alaska Tourism
When you visit Alaska in April, don’t expect a bustling tour scene. Many tourism companies choose to close up shop during the winter months and stay closed until May, which is when many tourists start to return.
While you might be able to catch the tail-end of winter touring season for some companies, you will have more options for touring if you wait until springtime is in full swing. That being said, there’s still plenty to do and see on an April in Alaska trip that wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding during peak season when all the crowds come in.
Springtime Outdoor Recreation in Alaska
Alaska weather in April is somewhat of a catch-all, which means there are plenty of outdoor recreational activities to explore. While winter activities like ice fishing and skiing are still usually in session, traditional fishing exhibitions are also starting to kick off. April in Alaska is the perfect time to start fishing for halibut and cod—and you won’t have to sit in a warmed-up hut to do it!
Because the lakes are starting to melt, we recommend staying off the ice for your fishing endeavors (unless you’re accompanied by local professionals). It’s important to remember that just because the ice looks thick, that doesn’t mean it is. Spoiler alert: breaking through sheet ice is just about as fun as you can imagine.
Sometimes, April tourists make the mistake of assuming that all winter sports are viable options just because many of the ski resorts are still open. While you might get lucky and encounter some fresh powder in April, it likely won’t be enough snow to bring your snow-shoeing dreams to life. Stay open-minded and embrace whichever activities come with the weather that April in Alaska chooses to bring you.
Traveling to Alaska in April
Wondering if you should you travel to Alaska in April? Truthfully, it’s all a matter of personal preference. While you might not make a skiing trip out of it, touring Alaska in April is still a worthwhile experience. In addition to the vast array of scenic trails, vibrant cities like Anchorage will offer plenty of shows to see, museums to visit, and local bites to enjoy.
No matter when you plan on visiting, renting an Alaskan car rental will help you make the most of your experience. Not only will it ensure that you’re able to visit the incredible national parks, hiking trails, and excursions that Alaska has to offer, but you will be prepared to navigate any kind of weather that the Last Frontier throws your way.
If you’re looking for the best car rentals in Alaska, look no further than Avis Alaska. As the only statewide car rental agency, we have spent the last 60 years helping travelers explore all that this magical state has to offer. Contact our team to book your Alaskan car rental today.