This year in Summer 2021, finding the best places to stargaze in the US is something that glampers should be considering during their glamping getaways. With tent camping, it’s easy to bring along a couple of telescopes for stargazing and to look up and feel inspired by the cosmic dance that unfolds before your eyes in the best international dark sky parks across the country – these are natural areas that are of exceptional standards when it comes to starry nights and nocturnal activity – in short they are some of the darkest places with which to observe the skies. Here in the US, there are a huge number of these to visit, from Arizona to Utah, but we’ve whittled down the list to some of our top recommendations around to give you an idea of what to look for.
For those aren’t necessarily in the know as to “what is stargazing?” – it is simply the act of observing the skies for astronomical activity. From professionals to amateurs, everyone can go stargazing and even if you don’t have the equipment, all you need to bring is your eyes! Particularly with meteor showers, this is one of the best ways to observe this cosmic phenomenon. Of course as people become more interested in the field, they can invest in telescopes, binoculars and other equipment to better track and observe the activity of the night sky.
Where is the Best Stargazing in America? Find the darkest places in the US for viewing the skies in Summer 2021!
So let’s begin with some of the best recommendations around for those who want to enjoy the best stargazing in America! This fantastic destination needs no introduction as one of the best natural destinations, night or day, it’s the Grand Canyon National Park! Designated in 2016 as a dark sky park, this natural marvel serves as one of the darkest places in the US with which to go and view the Milky Way and beyond! It is quite a moving and astounding sight, to see both the enormous canyon sprawling below, lit up by the stars hanging in the skies above. When you visit the Grand Canyon, you can be sure that this is not just one of the best places for stargazing, but an awesome Arizona getaway all rolled into one – it truly is one of the best places to stargaze in the US.
In a thematically consistent transition, why not visit Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in Idaho? These huge craters were created over 2,000 years ago when a volcanic eruption changed the landscape forever. Covered in black, volcanic rock, as the name suggests the landscape here seems like something otherworldly and these gigantic craters create a frightening sense of scale. As with the Grand Canyon, this is not just somewhere to visit in the daytime, but in the much quieter state of Idaho, light pollution is low, making Craters of the Moon a candidate for one of the best stargazing spots in the US!
Enjoy the best stargazing spots in the US here with a Texas vacation or a Pennsylvania glamping getaway
One of the most oft-mentioned names in relation to the best stargazing in the US is Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania! Crafted as a separate area inside the Susquehannock State Forest, this remote part of the state is named for the black cherry trees to be found in the park. With 85 miles of backpacking and hiking, it’s a great idea to organize your own Pennsylvania glamping experience during your stay and overnight turn your attention to the skies to see the best sights up above, with some unobstructed, 360-degree views of the skies of one of the candidates for one of the best places to stargaze in the US. There are two parties hosted annually, such is the parks’ reputation as one of the best stargazing spots.
If you’re looking for somewhere in the south to enjoy a Texas vacation whilst visiting great stargazing locations, then come and check out Big Bend National Park – close to the border with Mexico, this area is named after the turns of the Rio Grande river that run through it, carving their way through the towering rocks either side of it. With some seriously great spots to see the night sky, we’d also advise some caution when visiting as it can get seriously hot and there are some animals in the area that are known to be venomous and not particularly friendly to tourists trampling them.
More places to go stargazing in the US and beyond with International Dark Sky Parks
Whilst these are some of our favorite places to go stargazing domestically, you can find many more in the US in other destinations, with Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park in Florida, Glacier National Park in Montana, Death Valley National Park in California, Great Basin National Park in Nevada and many, many more. Generally, if you find a nearby State Park, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to view a pretty decent night sky, providing that it’s big enough to have some distance from civilization and the lights that will pollute your view of the stars. So go and check out the best stargazing in America when you visit your nearby site! For those outside the US, there are always options abroad with International Dark Sky Parks the world over, so no need to restrict yourself just to the best places to stargaze in the US.
For more information and to get some tips for stargazing, have a look at this space center article.