With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, check out these twelve of the best stargazing spots in the USA for romantics to enjoy. Whether it’s hiking in the great outdoors away from light and obstruction, or finding a quiet spot of solitude in an otherwise busy city, these stargazing destinations will leave you hungry for more.
The twinkling lights of Aspen create minimal light pollution, and on a clear night, constellations, the Milky Way, and even the occasional meteor are visible in the sky. The Little Nell Hotel offers private stargazing tours with an astronomy expert. Stargazers are guided from the base of the Ajax as they climb aboard one of the Aspen Mountain Powder Tours’ snow cats. Under the star-strewn sky, this private powder cat ascends the slopes on Richmond Ridge to arrive at a cabin for refreshments and sweet treats from The Little Nell to enjoy with spectacular views of the mountains and stars.
Greater Palm Springs, California
From summer 2018, visitors can stargaze from Greater Palm Springs’ first Observatory. The Rancho Mirage Observatory will be a research level facility that will allow visitors of all ages to explore the universe. Professors in the field of astronomy and novice stargazers alike are sure to be amazed at the level of exploration that will be available. Completion of the Rancho Mirage Observatory is expected in summer 2018. Located between desert and mountain ranges, Greater Palm Springs has a recognition for its dark skies, with nearby Joshua Tree National Park recently becoming certified as the 10th International Dark Sky Park in the USA.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California
90 miles North East of San Diego, California’s largest state park is home to more than 600,000 acres of palm oases, slot canyons and cactus-studded hills. Travellers can sign up to a stargazing tour, learn about colourful stars, stellar clusters, planets, star-forming nebulae, earth-orbiting satellites and distant galaxies whilst gazing at the sky illuminated by millions of bright stars. The Springs at Borrego is an RV resort with a small observatory housing an 11-inch diameter telescope, holding public viewings and lectures. For more details, visit www.borregonightskytours.com.
San Francisco, California
The San Francisco Bay Bridge is the essential bridge connecting San Francisco to Oakland. The now-permanent art installation of the Bay Bridge lights features 25,000 LED lights spanning the whole length. At night, the glistening lights reflecting over the water provides the perfect backdrop for a night of stargazing. Waterbar, located at the end of the Bay Bridge, offers a full lounge overlooking the bridge and the night sky.
If that doesn’t convince you, then our six reasons to visit San Fransisco will.
Mammoth Mountain & Lakes, California
Minaret Vista View Point and Hiking Trail is a must visit spot when you’re in Mammoth Lakes. The Vista becomes the perfect stargazing spot with no obstruction from buildings, lights or trees due to its high elevation cutting through the atmosphere. The view point offers panoramic views of the mountains where visitors can enjoy a breath-taking sunset followed by one of the most beautiful star displays you have ever seen.
Newport Beach, California
Natural beauty and contemporary architecture define the picturesque area of Newport Coast. Located at the southernmost tip of Newport Beach, visitors will find the newest urban developments in the city including the luxurious Resort at Pelican Hill, an array of world class restaurants and a view overlooking the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The 3.5 miles of uninterrupted coastline at the Crystal Cove State Park becomes the most relaxing stargazing spot where travellers can sit under the stars and listen to sound of the waves rolling in with nothing but the view of sea and sky.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
Perhaps one of the USA’s most underestimated national parks, Black Canyon of the Gunnison attracted just 0.29% of the total National Park visitation in 2016, making it the perfect location for reflecting under the stars. Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a designated International Dark Sky Park, which sits on the edge of great open spaces shared by western Colorado and southeast Utah, encountering little light pollution. The park offers night sky viewing opportunities throughout the year, with rangers and local astronomers presenting evening talks between May and September, as well as a dedicated astronomy festival taking place 13th – 16th June. The park has 116 campsites to enjoy the night skies from, at both the north and south rims, as well as the East Portal.
Yosemite’s Tuolumne County, California
Yosemite Family Adventures offers a Starry Night Tour to experience the night sky around Yosemite. Get personal with the craters of the moon, Orion Nebula, rings around Saturn and Milky Way with special guides that use the latest tracking telescopes to tour guests around the night sky. Private tours last two hours and take place between 8.00pm and 10pm. No Astronomy experience needed. Stargazing Tours are available from 1st April to 31st September.
There’s more to Tuolumne than Yosemite and stars. Discover our favourite sites in Tuolumne County.
West Hollywood, California
Heading to one of West Hollywood’s rooftop bars will take travellers to two kinds of stars – the twinkling stars in the sky, or some of the world’s top music and film stars. E.P. & L.P. is located on La Cienega Blvd. and from here you can enjoy the spectacular views of the Hollywood Hills and the Sunset Strip can be enjoyed from one of the largest roof decks in LA. Imagine sitting by the fire pit enjoying a drink as you watch the sun go down and see the stars come out…
Pittsburgh’s skyline creates the perfect backdrop to any stargazing experience. The view from Grandview Park atop the iconic Mt. Washington looks towards the breath-taking city skyline and the point at which all three of the cities rivers meet. Close to the city limits, the Park offers accessible parking and a dedicated area to set up for the night.
While you’re in Pittsburgh, check out our Things To Do in Pittsburgh Before You Die.
Yosemite Mariposa County, California
Miles from the nearest city lights, and with a very dark night sky, Yosemite National Park makes for a perfect spot to watch the stars. Glacier Point is renowned as one of Yosemite’s top viewing locations during the day offering unbeatable views of Half Dome and Nevada Falls. As the night comes in and the light is finally gone the twinkling stars will start to appear.
With the combination of sunny days and cool evening breezes, the nights in Sacramento bring skies unobstructed by clouds. Walking alongside the Sacramento River within the city reveals open skies and a beautiful reflection in the water, but for more unobstructed views, taking a short trip out of the city within the Sacramento region makes for the ideal stargazing setting where the lights of the city would otherwise take detail out of the night sky.