A 10 day independent land trip to Alaska will most likely cost more than $3,000 per person (double occupancy, ground services only - not including airfare). An average hotel room costs around $250 per night during peak season, before tax. The cost is highly affected by the choice of excursions; tours that require flights will drive your trip cost upwards (but in most cases, are well worth the expense).
High season in Alaska is summer, and summer in most of Alaska is between mid-May to mid-September. Things to consider: June has the most daylight and sunny days, but it's also peak mosquito season; In most of the state salmon don't go into the rivers before early July; July is when many of the wildflowers reach full bloom; In August (especially the second half) daylight hours get shorter and aurora can be seen again; and September has less visitors, shoulder season rates, amazing fall colors, good chances to catch the aurora. Weather wise September is a bit of a gamble but it's common to get a nice stretch of good weather, although a bit chillier than peak summer.
If you want to see bears, time your visit from July to September, when you can see the bears fishing for salmon. If you want to see the bears in Brooks Falls, most of the action is during the month of July. For humpback whales, it's best to visit between June and August. If you want to spend much time in Denali, early September is fantastic - wildlife looks great after a season of feeding, and the fall colors background is superb.
Alaska is big. We recommend at least 10 days, but if you have 14 days - even better. Anything above that is a welcome addition, as it allows you to take your time in each location, travel slower and reach farther into more remote areas of the state.
Downtown Skagway with five mega ships docked in port.
Driving the Seward Highway near Turnagain Arm behind three RVs.
Crossing a cow-parsnip meadow on a sunny day wearing shorts.
Camping on private property.