America’s 10 Best Stargazing Places

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To wish for a shooting star

Lying on a blanket under a sky so clear and full of stars that it feels like you could pluck them from the sky is a humbling thing. But to get a real taste of this experience, you need to escape the city street lights and find places where the sky turns pitch black and the stars shine their brightest.

Across the US, there are International Dark Sky Association-designated gems where the night sky comes alive and are a must-visit for any stargazing traveler. Here are the 10 best places to stargaze in the US

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va103 / iStock

1. Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park in Texas is a stargazer’s paradise and an astronomer’s dream, offering some of the darkest skies in the country. Located near the Mexican border, this vast park spans over 800,000 acres, acting as Texas’ own cosmic playground.

Recognized as an International Dark Sky Park with almost zero light pollution, it is one of the best places in the US to admire the Milky Way.

The best time to visit is from October to April when the skies are clearest and the weather just right.

Photo by Mandy Fuller / iStockPhoto by Mandy Fuller / iStock

Photo by Mandy Fuller / iStock

2. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Located near the Canadian border, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota is a hidden gem for stargazing enthusiasts.

Spread across 218,000 acres of interconnected lakes and dense forests, this Midwestern park is recognized by the International Dark Sky Association as an absolute stargazer’s delight.

The park attracts less than 250,000 visitors, meaning it is still largely isolated; there is low light pollution and incredibly dark skies, making it an ideal place to view the Milky Way and, if you’re lucky, even the mesmerizing aurora borealis.

3. Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, Idaho

The Central Idaho Dark Sky Preserve is a celestial wonderland spanning over 1,400 square miles, making it one of the largest dark sky preserves in the US

Located in Sun Valley, Idaho, this area is perfect for stargazers. It holds the prestigious title of the first International Dark Sky Reserve in the United States.

The reserve hosts themed Dark Sky dinners and events where you can learn from local astronomers. It’s an extraordinary experience perfect for avid stargazers and casual night sky enthusiasts alike!

Bonnie Nordling / iStockBonnie Nordling / iStock

Bonnie Nordling / iStock

4. Death Valley National Park, Nevada

Located 282 feet below sea level, Nevada’s vast Death Valley National Park is a stargazer’s dream come true.

As a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park, it offers some of the darkest skies you’ll find and unparalleled views of the night sky, free of light pollution. The park’s ranger-led programs offer guided tours of the night sky, and places like the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Harmony Borax Works and Badwater Basin are perfect spots for stargazing.

For the best experience, plan your visit around the new moon when the sky is darkest. Don’t miss the annual Dark Sky Festival each spring, where you can enjoy talks by NASA guest speakers and participate in hands-on activities.

lightphoto / iStocklightphoto / iStock

lightphoto / iStock

5. Arches National Park, Utah

You can wish upon a star of the 2,500 visible in the night sky at Arches National Park in Utah. Certified as an International Dark Sky Park, Arches offers some of the darkest skies in the US, making it a stargazer’s dream destination.

The best stargazing spots in the park include Balanced Rock Picnic Area, Windows Section, Garden of Eden Viewpoint and Panorama Point.

For an unforgettable stargazing experience, visit on a moonless night.

6. Great Basin National Park, Nevada

With some of the darkest skies in the lower 48 states, stargazers can marvel at thousands of stars, the Milky Way and distant galaxies like Andromeda at Great Basin National Park in Nevada.

Favorite photographers are the Astronomical Amphitheater near the Lehman Caves Visitor Center, Mather Overlook, and the Baker Archaeological Site.

The park also has a «Park to Park in the Dark» route, which connects the Great Basin with Death Valley National Park, providing incredible views of the night sky along the way.

Michael Matti / FlickrMichael Matti / Flickr

Michael Matti / Flickr

7. Glacier National Park, Montana

With night skies as pristine as mountain peaks, Montana’s Glacier National Park is a must-see for any stargazer.

During the summer, ranger-led astronomy programs make your stargazing experience even better with sophisticated telescopes and expert guidance. Join these programs in St. Mary and Apgar and don’t miss the special star parties at Logan Pass for an even more impressive celestial adventure.

Brent_1 / iStockBrent_1 / iStock

Brent_1 / iStock

8. Sedona, Arizona

For amateur Galileo enthusiasts and stargazers, the Sedona night sky will leave you mesmerized. Just 20 minutes from upper Sedona, over 200 terracotta-colored hiking trails and panoramic views of red rocks with a backdrop of sky will make you feel like you’re on another planet.

The best way to truly appreciate it is with an expert guide — Sedona Stargazing astronomers will welcome you equipped with powerful telescopes and a wealth of knowledge.

adogslifephoto / iStockadogslifephoto / iStock

adogslifephoto / iStock

9. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, famous for its high sandstone cliffs and narrow canyons, is also an international dark sky park with great views of the night sky.

Imagine the Milky Way towering over the dramatic landscape of Zion, with landmarks like Angels Landing and the Watchtower silhouetted against the night sky. Whether hiking by day or stargazing at night, Zion is breathtaking.

For an unforgettable experience, join a ranger-led night program at places like the Museum of Human History. Use telescopes and learn about stars, constellations and galaxies from expert guides.

Camping at Watchman or South Campground offers great stargazing opportunities.

lightphoto / iStocklightphoto / iStock

lightphoto / iStock

10. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Known for its deep blue volcanic crater lake, Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park offers one of the clearest night skies in the Pacific Northwest and is perfect for stargazing excursions.

Join the ranger-led astronomy program at Rim Village in the summer to see the planets, constellations and galaxies through telescopes. Camping at Camp Mazama is another great way to stargaze.

This article was created and published by MediaFeed.

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Wildnerdpix / iStock

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