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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Garner

I Traveled to These Stargazing Spots in the Us, and Here Are My Recommendations!

Updated: Nov 28, 2023


If you’re the type of traveler who loves to explore the night skies, take a break from your everyday life and spend some time marveling at those twinkling stars – then these stargazing spots in the U.S. are definitely for you!

I recently journeyed with my boys across the states looking for great places to observe the starry night sky, and I'm here to give my top recommendations on where you should go if you're seeking an unforgettable experience seeing nature's cosmic masterpiece. From free campsites beneath galaxies of stars in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, to secluded mountaintops with tranquil mountain views in Arizona – these incredible destinations have something truly special waiting for all lovers of astronomy

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Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

 Stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park
Photo by Thirdman

When it comes to stargazing in the United States, most people think of the West Coast. However, there are some stellar spots for stargazing on the East Coast as well, and one of my favorites is Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania. This remote and wild park is home to some of the darkest night skies on the East Coast, making it an ideal spot for stargazing and astrophotography.


The Dark Sky Designation

Cherry Springs State Park was designated as a “Dark Sky Park” by The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) in 2000. This means that the night sky at this park is darker than other places due to its lack of light pollution from nearby towns or cities. As a result, it’s perfect for those who want to get an unobstructed view of all the stars and constellations in the night sky. It’s also one of only two parks in Pennsylvania with this designation—the other being Pine Grove Furnace State Park—so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a great place to do some stargazing on the East Coast.


What You Can See

When you visit Cherry Springs State Park, you can expect to see an amazing array of stars and constellations that you won’t find when viewing from a city or suburban area. Visitors have reported seeing up to 11 different planets including Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn; dozens of star clusters; Milky Way galaxies; nebulas; meteors; comets; and even shooting stars! This makes Cherry Springs State Park a great spot for amateur astronomers or anyone looking to explore our universe through astrophotography.


From amateur astronomers to photographers wanting to capture images of distant galaxies and nebulas, this remote state park offers something special that cannot be found anywhere else on the East Coast. If you love exploring our universe through astronomy or astrophotography, then make sure to put Cherry Springs State Park high on your list!


Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Have you ever wanted to experience the world-famous natural phenomenon of stargazing? Then look no further, as Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the ideal spot for star lovers. Located near the magnetic poles, Denali is known for its stunning Northern Lights and its darkness that stays until midnight even during summer time. Let me introduce you to this amazing place, one of my most memorable moments of them all!



The Dark Skies of Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali has some of the darkest skies in North America, making it an ideal destination for stargazing. In fact, on a clear night, you can see up to 15,000 stars! With such dark skies, it’s easy to appreciate celestial phenomena such as shooting stars or constellations like Orion’s belt and The Big Dipper. Plus, with no light pollution from nearby cities or towns, the darkness of these nights only adds to your experience.


The Northern Lights of Denali National Park and Preserve

Another popular reason people flock to this park is for their chance to see the awe-inspiring Northern Lights—also known as Aurora Borealis—which are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles released from the sun that enter Earth’s atmosphere. These lights illuminate the sky in bright hues such as green, pink, purple, yellow and blue; providing a breathtaking display for all who witness it. As one of Alaska’s most-visited parks, there’s no shortage of beautiful landscapes here that provide an incredible backdrop against which you can view this natural phenomenon.


The Wildlife of Denali National Park and Preserve

This one was truly a surprise to me! - In addition to its dark skies and vivid auroras, during your visit you will also get a chance to view some amazing wildlife while they’re there. From bears and caribou to wolves and moose—as well as over 169 species of bird—there’s something here for everyone who loves animals! If you’re lucky enough to catch sight of any wildlife during your visit then be sure to stay back so not disturb them in their natural habitat.


In my opinion, Denali National Park & Preserve truly offers something special for stargazers looking for an unforgettable experience under the night sky. Whether you come here solely for stargazing or plan on taking in some other sights too—like viewing local wildlife or admiring beautiful mountain views—you won't be disappointed with what this park has to offer!


Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona


Kitt Peak National Observatory from above.
Kitt Peak National Observatory from above. Photo credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

The world’s largest astronomical observatories, was a totally surprisingly amazing experience for me! I didn't know Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona is home to some of the most powerful optical telescopes in the world. Let me introduce you to this amazing location.


The Instruments at Kitt Peak National Observatory

Kitt Peak is home to some incredible instruments, including two of the most powerful optical telescopes in the United States—the Mayall 4-meter Telescope and the WIYN 3.5-meter Telescope. The Mayall 4-meter Telescope produces images that are twice as sharp as those produced by any other telescope in North America, while its WIYN counterpart has a wide field of view and can capture and analyze light from distant galaxies. Together, these two instruments provide an unparalleled opportunity for astronomers to observe and analyze stars, galaxies, quasars, and other celestial phenomena with unprecedented accuracy.


In addition to these two large telescopes, Kitt Peak also houses several smaller telescopes that are used for research by universities around the world. These small telescopes allow researchers to study a variety of topics, such as stellar evolution and extrasolar planets. And if that weren’t enough, Kitt Peak is also home to an impressive array of astronomical instruments that are used for spectroscopy (studying light spectra), photometry (measuring brightness), imaging (producing pictures), interferometry (creating highly detailed images), polarimetry (analyzing polarized light), astrometry (measuring star positions) and more!


Skywatch Programs for All Ages

Kitt Peak offers skywatch programs both day and night throughout the year for all ages! During these programs visitors can enjoy guided tours of the observatory grounds, learn about astronomy from experts on staff, observe through various instruments on site, participate in hands-on activities like creating their own constellations or star charts and much more! Whether you're looking for an educational experience or just want to explore our universe's secrets under clear skys—Kitt Peak National Observatory has something for everyone!

Kitt Peak National Observatory is one of the best locations in North America to experience the wonders of astronomy firsthand. With its impressive array of powerful optical telescopes and diverse range of research facilities—coupled with its engaging skywatch programs—it’s no wonder why so many people flock here every year! So my friends, if you're looking for a unique opportunity to explore our universe's amazing beauty under crystal clear skies—Kitt Peak National Observatory is your place to explore!


Big Pine Key, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida. Located 100 miles from Miami, this scenic island in the lower Keys offers some of the clearest night skies and least polluted air in the United States—making it the perfect spot for an unforgettable stargazing experience. Here’s my top tips for you, and all you need to know before planning your trip!


Big Pine Key, Florida



What You Need to Know Before Going

Before you go out into watching the night sky, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Big Pine Key lies within the subtropical climate zone, which means that nights are usually warm and humid. That also means that mosquitoes and other biting insects will be out in full force—so make sure that you dress appropriately with long sleeves and pants (and don’t forget to bring bug spray!). Additionally, while Big Pine Key is known for its clear skies, the occasional storm can roll through quickly so pay attention to weather forecasts before heading out. Finally, if possible try to plan your trip during a new moon phase; this will give you much darker skies and more stars visible with your naked eye.


My Experience

I recently had the chance to take advantage of Big Pine Key’s ideal stargazing conditions for myself. I packed up my telescope and headed out into the night sky around 10 PM on a clear evening with no moon in sight. As I scanned across the horizon I was amazed by how many stars were visible even without my telescope! After spending some time getting familiar with my surroundings I began searching for constellations—and soon enough I spotted one of my favorites: The Southern Cross! This iconic constellation is only visible in certain parts of the US—so being able to see it was truly an amazing experience!


If you’re looking for an unforgettable stargazing experience, look no further than Big Pine Key . With its clear skies and low pollution levels , it's one of only a few places where you can see constellations like The Southern Cross . Just remember to dress appropriately , check weather forecasts , and plan your trip during a new moon phase . With this guide as your reference , you’ll be ready for an incredible stargazing journey in no time !


Headlands of Michigan


Discover Michigan’s Only Internationally-Designated Dark Sky Park—The Headlands—in Mackinaw City

For those who are passionate about stargazing and astronomy, the Headlands of Michigan is a place you must visit. This International Dark Sky Park is located on the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and offers an incredible view of the night sky. With its old-growth forest, pristine beaches, and lack of light pollution, it is truly a magnificent spot to enjoy stargazing. Let me tell you why I consider this my top location for stargazing.


The Location

Located on Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Emmet County, The Headlands consists of 668 acres that have been preserved as an International Dark Sky Park. It has been designated as such for its exceptionally dark skies and minimal light pollution; perfect conditions for viewing stars with no interruption from any urban manmade lights. Aside from being one of the best places to view stars in Michigan, The Headlands is also home to a variety of wildlife and plants that make it a great destination for outdoor adventurers alike.


My Amazing Experience There

I had the privilege to visit The Headlands last year during the summer months with my family, when the nights were still warm but bright enough to admire the beauty of what lies above us in the night sky.We were able to see planets like Venus and Jupiter, constellations like Orion’s Belt, galaxies like Andromeda, nebulae like Lagoon Nebula (M8), star clusters like Pleiades (M45), and more! We were completly mesmerized by how clear it all was—it felt like we could almost reach out and touch them!


The experience left me feeling humbled by how vast our universe really is—it made me realize that there are things out there we may never understand or fully grasp but can still appreciate with wonderment. It was definitely an experience me and my familey will never forget!


With its old-growth forest, pristine beaches, and lack of light pollution, The Headlands in Michigan is truly one of my top locations for stargazing. It offers visitors an incredible view of the night sky free from any urban man made lights which makes it possible to observe planets, constellations, galaxies, nebulae, star clusters--and so much more! Visiting here left me feeling awed by how tremendous our universe really is; it's an experience I will always cherish!


Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah: Uncovering the Best Stargazing Spot


Natural Bridges National Monument

As an avid stargazer, I'm always on the lookout for the best places to view the night sky. On a recent road trip through Utah, I stumbled upon one of my favorite spots to date. Natural Bridges National Monument is home to some of the darkest patches in the skies, making it a perfect place for stargazing. Read on for my review of this fabulous location.


The View from Natural Bridges National Monument

As soon as I arrived at Natural Bridges National Monument, I could tell that this was going to be an incredible spot for stargazing. The canyon is dark and still, with no lights in sight for miles around. This means that you can get a clear view of all the stars without any light pollution detracting from your experience. The night sky here is truly remarkable!


The Darkest Patches in the Skies

One of my favorite things about stargazing at Natural Bridges National Monument is that it offers some of the darkest patches in the skies. This makes it possible to see stars and other celestial bodies that would otherwise be hidden because of light pollution. It's also possible to catch glimpses of planets like Mars and Jupiter if you're lucky enough!


My Trip To Natural Bridges Summary

There’s nothing quite like witnessing a star-studded night sky free from light pollution – and Natural Bridges National Monument offers just that! Overall, my visit to Natural Bridges National Monument was incredible! The night sky here is absolutely stunning and there's nothing quite like being able to witness all those stars without any light pollution ruining your view. If you're ever looking for an amazing spot for stargazing, then look no further than this national monument in Utah!


Death Valley National Park, California


stargazing at Death Valley National Park, California.
Death Valley National Park, California. Photo by Abhardphoto

When it comes to stargazing for beginners like me, few places compare with the majestic beauty of Death Valley National Park. Located in California’s Mojave Desert, this park is the third International Dark Sky Park, making it one of the best places in the world to experience the night sky. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert stargazer, Death Valley offers something for everyone. Here are my top tips for experiencing star gazing at its finest!


Choose Your Spot Wisely

When planning your trip to Death Valley, choose your location carefully. You should look for spots that are far away from light pollution, such as campgrounds or remote locations. Avoid visiting during the full moon when light pollution is at its highest. Make sure you also check weather forecasts before heading out; clouds can obscure your view and make star gazing difficult.


Pack The Right Gear

Be sure to pack everything you need for a successful stargazing trip, like binoculars and a telescope (if possible). Other essential items include a flashlight with red light filters that won’t ruin your night vision and plenty of warm clothes and blankets to keep you comfortable while viewing the stars. Don’t forget snacks too!


Learn About Constellations

To get the most out of your stargazing experience, take some time to learn about constellations before you visit. This will help you identify them more easily when you arrive and make it easier to point them out to others. Get familiar with popular constellations like Orion and Ursa Major so that you can recognize them quickly when looking up at the night sky.


So, believe me! - If you're looking for an unforgettable experience under the stars, look no further than Death Valley National Park! It's one of the best places in the world for stargazers of all levels - whether you're just starting out or an experienced astronomer - to explore our universe in all its glory. With these tips in mind, I'm sure you'll have an incredible time exploring what lies beyond our atmosphere! So pack your bags, grab your gear and hit the road - because tonight is going to be a starry night!


Go Out To The Stargazing Trip You Dreamed Of!

If you’re interested in seeing some amazing starscapes without having to travel too far, definitely check out these three locations. Each one offers something unique and wonderful to explore. With a little planning (and maybe even some research on when the best time of year is to visit), you can have an incredible stargazing trip right here in the United States. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring!


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