The Top 10 Places to Stargaze in America

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Lying on a blanket under a sky so clear and full of stars that it feels like you can pluck them from the sky is a humbling affair. But for a real taste of this experience, you have to escape the streetlights of the city and find places where the sky turns pitch black and the stars shine their brightest. 

Across the U.S., there are gems designated by the International Dark-Sky Association where the night sky comes alive and every star-chasing traveler must visit. Here are the top 10 places to stargaze in the U.S. 

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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 border with Mexico, this massive park spans over 800,000 acres, working as Texas’ own cosmic playground.

Recognized as an International Dark Sky Park with almost zero light pollution, it’s one of the best spots in the U.S. to marvel at the Milky Way. 

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

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2. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

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

Spread across 218,000 acres of interconnected lakes and dense forests, this Midwestern park has been recognized by The International Dark Sky Association as an absolute delight for stargazing fans. 

The park attracts fewer than 250,000 visitors, which means it’s still largely isolated; there is low light pollution and incredibly dark skies, making it an ideal spot to witness the Milky Way and, if you are lucky, even the mesmerizing Northern Lights. 

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3. Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, Idaho

Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is a celestial wonderland spanning over 1,400 square miles, making it one of the largest dark sky reserves in the U.S. 

Located in Sun Valley, Idaho, this area is perfect for those who love stargazing. It holds the prestigious title of being 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 out-of-this-world experience that’s perfect for both avid stargazers and casual night sky admirers alike!

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4. Death Valley National Park, Nevada

​Sitting 282 feet below sea level, the vast Death Valley National Park in Nevada 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 anywhere and unparalleled views of the night sky, free from light pollution. The park’s ranger-led programs offer guided night sky tours,  and spots like Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Harmony Borax Works, and Badwater Basin are your perfect vantage points to gaze at the stars. 

For the best experience, plan your visit around the new moon when the skies are 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.  

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5. Arches National Park, Utah

You can choose to wish upon a star from 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 U.S., making it a stargazer’s dream destination. 

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

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

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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 in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park.

The photographers’ favorites are the Astronomy Amphitheater near Lehman Caves Visitor Center, Mather Overlook, and the Baker Archaeological Site.

The park also features the “Park to Park in the Dark” route, connecting Great Basin to Death Valley National Park, providing incredible night sky views along the way.

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7. Glacier National Park, Montana

With night skies as pristine as its mountain peaks, Glacier National Park in Montana is a must-visit for every starry-eyed traveler. 

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

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8. Sedona, Arizona

For amateur Galileos and star lovers, Sedona’s night sky will leave you spellbound. Just 20 minutes from uptown Sedona, over 200 terracotta-tinted hiking trails and panoramic red rock views with a backdrop of the heavens 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 meet you equipped with high-powered telescopes and a wealth of knowledge. 

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9. Zion National Park, Utah

Known for its towering sandstone cliffs and narrow canyons, Zion National Park is also an International Dark Sky Park with amazing night sky views.

Imagine the Milky Way arching over Zion’s dramatic landscape, with landmarks like Angels Landing and the Watchman silhouetted against the night sky. Whether hiking by day or stargazing by night, Zion is breathtaking.

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

Camping at Watchman or South Campground offers great stargazing opportunities. 

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10. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

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

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

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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