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Sunny conditions, fewer crowds, and more chances to spy the northern lights are among the reasons to time your Alaska trip to spring.

The wild majesty of Alaska inspires embracing an explorer’s spirit. And one of the best ways to explore its off-the-beaten-path places is on a small-ship cruise that will get you up-close access to rugged fjords, vast glaciers, dense rainforests, and a wealth of wildlife. That’s where UnCruise Adventures comes in, with its commitment to enriching experiences and sustainability.

With the where and how decided, the only question is when to set sail for Alaska. While long days make summer a peak time to visit, springtime produces a bonanza of conditions that make the season a worthy alternative. Spring is something of an insider favorite, giving savvy travelers a deeper experience than one they might have while waiting in long lines and getting elbowed by selfie-taking crowds.

Here’s a closer look at the many reasons to take a small-ship expedition cruise this April or May. 

Out on a skiff tour. Photo by Glen Petrie/UnCruise Adventures

Dry and Sunny Weather

With an average total precipitation between only 2.5 and 3 inches, April and May are the driest months of the cruise season, which runs from April through September. And low precipitation means more sun—making colors pop, lending clarity to the scenery, and making your time on deck mild and cozy instead of too damp to handle.

Aurora Borealis Sightings

For increased chances to spy the undulating neon hues of the Aurora Borealis, some darkness is required. Spring’s shorter days (compared to peak summer) allow visitors plenty of chances to gaze at the nighttime sky in search of the northern lights while the lack of precipitation keeps clouds away from the vast palette of clear sky.

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Bears spotted on a kayaking excursion. Photo by Cameron Zegers/UnCruise Adventures

Nature’s Awakening

Spring is a time of rebirth, and nature’s newness is especially visible in Alaska. Snow-covered peaks give way to gushing waterfalls. Dense forests are cloaked in the bright green of new growth. Vibrantly colorful spring flowers begin popping up in meadows and hillsides. Baby animals frolic during the longer days and bears visit the shoreline with more frequency, making it easier to see them up close. Not only do spring happenings make your experience richer, but they also allow you to share them more readily in the photographs you take.

Fewer Crowds and Lower Prices

Despite the fact that spring is an ideal time to cruise Alaska, it’s still relatively crowd free. That means fewer ships jostling for the most spectacular views and fewer people on land excursions and in ports. As a result, it’s easier to connect with locals and to see animals close up, since fewer humans are encroaching on their habitats.

Lower demand also impacts airfares and cruise pricing. How often are you able to save money and get a high-value experience at the same time? Springtime in Alaska is one of those special opportunities.