April 22, 2021
As we go about our busy lives in our busy communities, it’s easy to forget how amazing our planet really is. Think about the last time you were out at night…did you take time to glance up at the stars? Odds are, probably not or, if you did, you had to use your hand to block the light of a nearby streetlamp and had trouble seeing much of anything.
Sometimes seeing the beauty in the world requires a little intentionality—a conscious escape from the bright lights and big cities into the gentle embrace of nature. We want to inspire you make just such an escape—out into the wild where nature can’t wait to show off her majesty.
If you’ve never taken a camping trip with the specific intention of stargazing, we can’t recommend it enough! We’ve compiled a list of some of the top stargazing campsites in the US, and we hope at least one of them is close to you. And don't forget to bring your Internova 1000xl Lantern and switch it to red LED mode for stargazing at night
Let’s take a look.
Death Valley is considered a “gold tiered” star gazing sight by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), meaning you’ll be hard pressed to find more breathtaking views of celestial bodies.
The park’s low humidity also contributes to magnificent stargazing. Because the air is so dry, there is little in the atmosphere to distort your view of the stars.
This park is also recognized by the IDA as a “silver tiered” site and is committed to reducing light pollution in the park itself for the benefit of visitors and the environment.
You’ll be grateful for their efforts—the views of the Milky Way you’ll see here will stir your soul. Seriously, you won’t forget them any time soon.
The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the hearth of Texas…
There’s a reason Texas is the “Lonestar state”. The sky seems to stretch on forever here, and in West Texas there’s precious little light pollution to obstruct your view.
Big Bend National Park boasts the lowest light pollution of any national park in the lower 48 states and offers a variety of night sky educational programs. You can also just take a pair of binoculars, stretch out at your campsite, and take in the awe-inspiring view.
Could there be a more beautiful frame for a star-filled sky than the Ozark Mountains? At Buffalo National River, you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy during the day—from hiking one of more than 100 trails, kayaking, and horseback riding—and breathtaking skies studded with stars at night.
Reserve one of the many primitive campsites along the Buffalo and enjoy a show that will seem as if it’s put on just for you. The Milky Way often makes an appearance here along with shooting stars and meteor showers.
Check with park officials during your stay for star-centric events that may be offered.
And there you have it…five campsites that will provide unforgettable nighttime views. If you aren’t close to one of these parks, check out the IDA’s searchable database to see if there is a dark-sky-certified place near you.
Then get out there. Escape from the blinding light of the city. Find a remote campsite, wrap yourself in the soft, celestial glow of the stars, and enjoy a little soul restoration. I promise…you won’t be sorry.
Happy star gazing!
Virginia Dept. of Conservation & Recreation
July 23, 2021
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