Travel Tips 

Best Places to Stargaze in the US

Stargazing is one of those underrated, often forgotten outdoor activities. In a world where extreme sports like skydiving and white water rafting get all the attention, we overlook the simple act of observing the incredible wonders of the world around us. Night skies educate us about our solar system while providing a dazzling display of wondrous light. The best places to stargaze in the US strike the perfect balance of serenity and spectacle, perfect for family bonding time, romantic outings or moments of self reflection.
Prepared By:

Shannon Lowery

Adventurer & Writer

Star light, star bright! We’ve rounded up the best places to stargaze in the US. From US dark-sky parks to where to see the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, there are plenty of places to enjoy a sky full of stars. Grab your telescope or just a blanket and your sense of wonder and enjoy an evening of stargazing.

Where to Stargaze

Stargazing is one of the easiest outdoor activities because you can do it literally anywhere! From backyards to beaches to balconies and everywhere in between, the stars come out each and every night to be admired, even if they’re sometimes hidden by cloud cover. Another factor, known as light pollution, can drastically impact your stargazing experience too. Luckily, there are places all over the world where the purity of the night sky is actively being preserved.

Need a soundtrack for your stargazing? Scroll to the end for the ultimate stargazing Spotify playlist!
Best Places to Stargaze in the US

US Dark-Sky Parks

Dark-sky parks are officially accredited by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), the recognized authority on light pollution and the leading organization combating light pollution worldwide. Many of the parks and places accredited by the IDA also provide educational experiences, guided outings, seasonal events and more. A few hidden gem national parks that double as dark-sky parks are Capitol Reef National Park, Great Basin National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park and Voyageurs National Park. Other IDA-accredited spots for unbeatable stargazing include numerous state parks and nature preserves as well as communities and urban night sky places. When you’re not sure where to stargaze, anywhere with the IDA stamp of approval is sure to impress.

See the Northern Lights in the US in Alaska

Where to See the Northern Lights in the US

Did you know you can see the Northern Lights in the US? Most people associate Aurora Borealis sightings with far-north destinations closer to the Arctic Circle, like Norway, FinlandIceland and even northern Scotland. However, there are several spots where you can see the Northern Lights in the US, too. Naturally, Alaska comes to mind first as the most northern and arctic of all fifty states. Try Kobuk Valley or Gates of the Arctic National Parks. In the continental US, try your luck in Maine or Michigan’s upper peninsula. Acadia National Park and Isle Royale National Park are both great places to visit in each respective state.

Best Places to Stargaze in the US

Stargazing Tips

Whether you’re casually keeping watch for shooting stars or voyaging out on a dedicated Northern Lights adventure, there are few ways you can make sure the experience is enjoyable for you and those around you.

  1. Be sure to allow your eyes time to adjust. Remember that when you first begin stargazing, your eyes will need some time to adjust to darkness and reveal the incredible night sky above.
  2. Use caution when turning on lights after being in darkness for long periods. If you’re walking past other people in a popular stargazing spot, keep your flashlight pointed down.
  3. Utilize infrared or red-light flashlights as often as you can. Most phones even have a handy red-light setting! Red lights not only protect human eyes, but also those of surrounding wildlife.
  4. Download an app like SkyView or Stargazer to help you better understand what you’re seeing in the night sky.
  5. Remember that no matter where you stargaze, be sure to practice Leave No Trace habits.
The best places to stargaze in the US are conveniently spread all over the country. Count your lucky stars and go enjoy nature’s most dazzling nightly display while listening to our stargazing playlist.

 

Best Kept Road Trip Secrets

Sign up to receive our newsletter and get road trip ideas and tips to help you plan your next American road trip!

Find out the location of the hidden gem pictured below in our next newsletter!

Photo credit: @trip_with_hari via Instagram

Grinnel Glacier Hike in Glacier National Park has incredible hiking

Agree

Thank you for signing up for the "Best Kept Road Trip Secrets" newsletter coming to your inbox soon!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share Your Adventure