5 Great ‘Dark’ Parks For Stargazing

Light pollution (the excessive use of unnatural light) is making it tougher to see stars, planets, the Milky Way and many other space wonders.

Luckily, the International Dark-Sky Association is working to protect the night skies, certifying dozens of parks with exceptional stargazing experiences. Here are five of them:

NEWPORT STATE PARK

Newport State Park in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, is a wilderness-designated area on Lake Michigan. It’s a fantastic spot to camp and see the night sky.

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK

At Capitol Reef National Park in Utah’s rugged red rock country, you can attend the annual Heritage Star Festival, track the movement of constellations and learn helpful tips for photographing the night sky.

ENCHANTED ROCK STATE NATURAL AREA

“The stars at night are big and bright, Deep in the heart of Texas.” This old song still holds true at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area near Fredericksburg, where a massive dome of pink granite is the perfect setting for Stargazing 101 programs and “Rock Star Parties.”

OBSERVATORY PARK

Observatory Park in Montville, Ohio, has two enormous telescopes, a planetarium and plenty of cool outdoor exhibits. Trail exhibits on the solar system are proportionally spaced apart to give you a sense of how far the planets really are from each other!

KISSIMMEE PRAIRIE PRESERVE STATE PARK

Step back in time at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park in Okeechobee, one of the most remote places in Florida. Sleep under the stars within the park’s immense grassland, where there are dedicated campsites just for astronomy buffs.

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