10 Great Destinations For Star Gazing
Being able to see the sky full of stars, is no longer something that can be achieved just by simply going outside. Due to the economic growth of our population all around the globe, cities are expanding, which means more city lights filling our night skies. However, places where light pollution does not obstruct our view of the stars are still spread across the country in bouts of wilderness. This article lists ten of the best places still left in the united states for some incredible star gazing. You’ll be adding these to your bucket list by the end!
Table of Contents
- Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
- Denali National Park And Reserve, Alaska
- Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Big Bend National Park, Texas
- Mauna Kea, Hawaii
- The Headlands, Michigan
- Death Valley National Park, California
- Chaco Cultural National Historic Park, New Mexico
- Big Pine Key, Florida
Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
Lying about 50 miles northwest of the Four Corners boundary in Utah, Natural Bridges National Monument is said to have some of the darkest skies in the world, consisting of almost zero light pollution from any other cities. This was the first international Dark Sky Park certified by the IDA. The IDA, International-Dark Sky Association, is an organization that is fighting to continue to protect a clear night sky.
Denali National Park and Reserve, Alaska
Denali has some of the most incredible star gazing in the country, if not the world. Alaska is the best place in the US to catch unparalleled views of the Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis. The incredible sight of the reds, blues, greens and purples that seem to dance across the sky is something everyone should see once in their lifetime. The phenomenon that is the Northern Lights is due to the magnetic poles above the northern and southern hemisphere’s that react with the earth’s atmosphere, which cause the burst of lights throughout the sky. The Northern Lights happen year-round, but there is too much sunlight in Alaska during the Summer for the lights to be viewed with the human eye. Fall, winter and early spring are the best times to visit Denali, so that you can see the Aurora Borealis and mark that off your bucket list.
Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
This 82-acre park is known as being one of the darkest spots east of the Mississippi. Cherry Springs is a gold-certified IDA state park, and is relatively known for its star gazing opportunities, to say the least. The park gets zero light pollution thanks to the surrounding Susquehannock State Forest. This one of a kind park provides some of the most iconic, 360-degree views to be seen of the night sky. And the park continues to encourage avid star gazers to visit with regularly scheduled sky tours in the summer months.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Known as one of America’s darkest places, Bryce Canyon makes for a great stargazing destination. The high elevation, remote location and lack of light pollution are what make this park one of the best places to see the stars. During the week of a new moon, the skies are the best in Bryce. They provide views of the Milky Way across the horizon, and more than 7,500 stars can be seen!
Big Bend National Park, Texas
This park, located on the Texas/Mexico border, is known for its dark skies, and remoteness, which makes for the perfect place to stargaze. The park continued to enhance their darkness, and desire to keep out light pollution by undergoing a reduction in light and energy consumption project, which in turn it achieved them the rank of being gold-certified by the IDA. On a clear night in Big Bend, you can see up to 2,000 stars, planets and meteorites. Winter is the best time of the year to see the most stars in Big Bend since the nights are longer and the skies are clearer.
Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Mauna Kea, a 13,803-foot, dormant volcano is the highest point in Hawaii, and also home to the world’s most advanced and largest observatory. Astronomer’s favor this observatory and some claim it has the best star gazing in the world. There is just about zero light pollution, due to Hawaii’s location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as well as an island-wide lighting code that has been set. This is a favorite stargazing location for many, so make sure it’s on your list.
The Headlands, Michigan
This Michigan park, located on the Straits of Mackinac, and at the tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula is one of the darkest spots in the Eastern US. Many flock to this IDA certified park not only to catch some of the most incredible views of the night sky filled with stars, but there is also the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights.
Death Valley National Park, California
As one of the most remote parks in the country, makes Death Valley one of the best places for star gazing. Of the 3.5 million acres, 91 percent of it is still wilderness and has yet to be developed. This means, little to no light pollution in this gold-certified IDA park. In turn, this makes for some astounding star gazing and meteor showers to be seen in the vastness of the desert. Throughout the summer, Death Valley is known for reaching record temperatures, averaging around 110 degrees. So, make sure to plan your visit during late fall, winter, or early spring so that you can get the most out of the park.
Chaco Cultural National Historic Park, New Mexico
Home to over 4,000 archaeological sites, and protected in the San Juan Basin of northwestern, New Mexico, Chaco Cultural National Historic Park is one of the best places for stargazing. The remote darkness in this area makes it a prime spot for many to come explore the history of our early ancestors, and stay to see the beauty of the night sky in all its glory.
Big Pine Key, Florida
Big Pine Key is known for its clear night skies. Due to the small population, and it being located 100 miles south of Miami helps to make for some of the clearest night skies in the Southern part of the country. What also makes this place a destination spot for star gazing is that Big Pine Key is the only place in the US where Southern Hemisphere constellations, such as the Southern Cross, can be seen.