Discover the Night Sky at the Best Places to Stargaze in the US
Few people realize that on a clear night in the perfect spot, you can see stars up that are up to 2.5 million light years away without the use of binoculars or a telescope. Stargazing is one of the most relaxing and humbling outdoor activities you can do. Looking up at the vast night sky, we’re often reminded of how small our world really is. When you decide to explore these 5 best places to stargaze in the US, you won’t even need to help of an astronomy expert or expensive telescopes to enjoy the sight!
Learn more about some of the best places to stargaze in the US with our guide, plus gain valuable knowledge about how to identify perfect conditions and locations. If you consider yourself an outdoor adventurer, be sure to browse our other Select Registry properties boasting unique outdoor experiences.
What to Know Before Visiting the Best Places to Stargaze in the US
Best Conditions for Stargazing
- Clear skies. Little to no cloud coverage in the sky means more visibility, making it easier for you to spot stars without the use of a telescope.
- Dry conditions. Too much humidity can cause a subtle haze in the sky. Pick a night when there is very little moisture in the air for the best chance to spot stars and planets.
- During or right around a new moon. Choose a date that falls around the time a new moon occurs to prevent bright moonlight from obstructing your view at night. You may also be able to stargaze with a crescent moon, but you should try to avoid other phrases of the moon to prevent the additional light.
- Get out of the city. Buildings, people, and light pollution from big cities tend to spoil a clear view of the night sky. If you’re visiting one of these destinations known to have a big city nearby, try to drive a significant distance outside the metropolis.
- Go rural or near the water. Rural locations are the best option to avoid light pollution in addition to areas near large bodies of water like oceans or lakes.
If you follow these basic guidelines, you’ll have a much better chance of witnessing beautiful night sky phenomenon. Based off these necessary conditions, pick a night to stare up at the stars while visiting one of the best places to stargaze in the US. Follow our tips below for even better success.
6 Easy Stargazing Tips Anyone Can Try
- Pay close attention to the weather forecast. Try out your new stargazing skills on a night when there will be clear skies and dry weather. If you’re traveling somewhere you’d like to stargaze, keep an eye on the weather and ask your hotel or inn if they have any additional information on the best times of the year for stargazing.
- Download a mobile star chart app beforehand. Several great free apps exist that can help you identify everything from constellations to planets. Use this excellent resource to help you name stars and spot satellites that may be traveling overhead. Study the app before you head out to familiarize yourself with which stars and constellations you’ll be looking for.
- Wear comfortable clothing. Depending on the weather, the time of the year, and the place you choose to stargaze, you’ll need to wear something that will keep you warm and allow you to move around with discomfort.
- Turn off all lights. Any source of light will skew your view of the night sky, even the light from your cell phone, so be sure to exhaust all lights before stargazing.
- Be patient. Your eyes will need a few minutes to adjust to the dark before you can see much of the sky.
One of the most important stars you should attempt to locate first is the North Star or Polaris. Generally, the North Star is the brightest in the sky, and, unlike like other stars, it does not rise or set—it will remain in the same spot above the northern horizon all year round.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with these tips and recommendations, read on to learn about some of the best locations to stargaze in the US!
5 of the Best Places to Stargaze in the US
This Bedroom with a Glass Ceiling at the Sayre Mansion
Stargazing from the Conservatory room at the Sayre Mansion in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is one of the most relaxing and unique ways to take in the night sky. As you fall asleep each night, you can enjoy an unparalleled view of the stars above.
The Conservatory room features a glass ceiling offering stargazers 180-degree views. Try setting an early morning alarm to catch a gorgeous view of the night sky before sunrise each morning. The best part about stargazing here is that you don’t need to leave the comfort of your room to get one of the best views!
During your stay at the Sayre Mansion, plan to spend a day at the French Creek State Park. An oasis filled with wildlife and stargazing opportunities, the park is just over an hour away from the inn. Located in Schuylkill Highlands, the state park has 7,730 acres of forests, fields, wetlands, and lakes to explore. Known as the largest block of continuous forests between Washington DC and New York City, French Creek State Park is so dark at night that it earned a spot on OnlyInYourState.com’s list of 8 Best Places to Stargaze in Pennsylvania.
At the World’s First Certified Starlight Hotel in Nova Scotia
Though this destination may not be located in the US, the Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia is just off the shore of Maine. When you stay at this inn in Kemptville, Nova Scotia, you’ll find almost no light pollution when stargazing.
Awarded the title of First Certified Starlight Hotel by the Starlight Foundation, the Trout Point Lodge is located in a certain area of Nova Scotia known to be unusually dark, creating the ideal stargazing conditions. With an expert astronomer on the premise, this unique lodge is designed for those looking to explore the night sky on the stargazing platform equipped with telescopes, including a daytime device.
Situated in the heart of the Tobeatic Wilderness in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, the lodge is less than an hour from the Yarmouth International Ferry Terminal and about three hours from the city of Halifax, making it the perfect hideaway for nature lovers and stargazers!
This Tub Overlooking the Oregon Coast
The Channel House in Depoe Bay, Oregon is located right along the water offering outstanding views of the area. Book a room with an outdoor tub on the deck and take in the night sky while enjoying a relaxing bath. Located away from major cities, the Channel House area is free of light pollution, and the Oregon coast's climate is usually ideal for stargazing conditions.
Under the Clear Skies in Galena, Illinois
Situated on 500 acres of quiet countryside, the Inn at Irish Hollow is one of the state’s most popular areas for stargazers. This rural location is perfect for dark, clear nights allowing you to see much of the night sky. Though the inn does not actually offer outdoor beds, many guests will settle into a spot on the property to stay up and gaze at the stars.
By the Water at the Inn on Lake Granbury
Sit back, relax, and gaze up at the starry night star over a peaceful lake in Texas! The Lake House is a 1,800 square foot guest house at the Inn on Lake Granbury in Granbury, Texas. It has two king bedrooms, two private bedrooms with large showers, a full kitchen, its own living room, dining room, and several fireplaces.
If you're planning to stargaze with another couple, the Lake House is the perfect size to accommodate everyone. In addition to this inside area with floor to ceiling windows, the guest house also has an outdoor patio for stargazing!
If you’re looking for even more unique properties to stay at during your next vacation, be sure to browse our other Select Registry properties located throughout the country! After you’ve checked out some of the best places to stargaze in the US, try visiting one of our other properties offering proximity to natural wonders or visit the coast at one of our beach destinations.