Our former dark skies have become nearly extinct thanks to “light pollution.” But if you adore viewing the cosmic beauty, we’ve got the top ten sites to add to your list. Grab the binoculars and the telescopes!
10. Chemung Mine, California
The mine was operational until 1938 and visiting there today is like being back in the 1930s. Being removed from all the current activities and nuances, the large sheets of metal that remain, rustle in the breeze and provide haunting, creaking sounds that accompany your view of the beautiful dark skies.
9. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Astronomy rangers guide you on tour to see the heavens, and a reported 7,000 stars when the moon is cloud covered. Total darkness in all directions allows you to see to the horizon’s edge.
8. Death Valley National Park
One of the things that make this park so brilliant is that you can go below sea level and still enjoy night skies because of the dry air. For added serenity, head to the Eureka Dunes, wherein 360-degree directions, there are zero city lights. You will feel a million glorious miles away from the world.
7. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Known more for its canyons and daytime attractions, this park hides one deep secret, the best dark sky preserves ever. Huge elk wandering the area around you provides the awesome feeling of being in times long past our reach.
6. Mono Lake, California
More than 70 square miles are hugging the Great Basin and California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and this spot houses millions of migratory birds annually. The star gazing over the calcified rock that emerges from the lake offers a quality like no other you’ll experience. Postcard perfect rock towers over a beautiful dark sky background.
5. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Camping on Garden Key is a just one way to enjoy the view provided by the dry weather in this location.
4. Cosmic Campground, New Mexico
You can’t go wrong with the name like “cosmic.” View the entire milky way in all its grandeur. This campground is part of the Gila National Forest.
3. Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California
Yes, some of the world’s oldest pine trees live here along with the starry night skies. This view takes you back to how you might imagine pre-historic days when life was simple and the earth was largely untouched. This is a “can’t miss” sight!
2. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
The deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake was formed more than 7,000 years ago when a volcano first erupted and later collapsed. If you are not already a lover of the Pacific Northwest, you will be when you see this picturesque sight.
1. Bodie State Historic Park, California
An old gold-mining town, now a haunting ghost town that remains in a state of “arrested decay.” The park is a star-studded spot at night that requires permission from a Bodie foundation before you can wander and enjoy the nighttime air.