4 of the Best Stargazing Road Trip Destinations
You’ve seen plenty of museums, and you’ve had your share of world-famous food. Now, you’re itching for another road trip, but you want to try something new and different this year. Why not beat the crowds and head to one of the best stargazing destinations in the country? Check out our guide for help choosing the perfect stargazing destinations and preparing for an unforgettable trip.
Take a Road Trip to the Best Stargazing Locations in the U.S.
Cherry Springs State Park: Coudersport, Pennsylvania
If you’ve always wanted to see the Milky Way (and no, we’re not talking about the chocolate kind), Cherry Springs State Park is the place to go. Its clear summer skies make it one of the best stargazing locations in the U.S. for viewing the Milky Way, and at the right time of year, you can even see the Northern Lights from parts of the park. Set up your tent in the park’s rustic camping area, or reserve a spot at the Overnight Astronomy Observation Field for an all-night stargazing adventure you won’t soon forget.
Grand Canyon National Park: Arizona
It’s rare to find a place that’s just as beautiful in the dark as it is during the brightness of day, but the Grand Canyon fits the bill. Just a few years ago, the park overhauled its outdoor lighting systems to qualify as an International Dark Sky Park (a designation given by the International Dark-Sky Association to the best stargazing spots all over the world).
If the Grand Canyon is on your bucket list, now is the time to visit! Hike and take in the desert views all day, then wait for the sun to go down for a different — but equally stunning — view after dark.
Maryland Earth to Sky Park & Bare Dark Sky Observatory: Burnsville, North Carolina
Much like the Grand Canyon, the Maryland Earth to Sky Park is an International Dark Sky Park. In fact, it’s the first park in the southeast (and one of the smallest parks in the world) to earn that title. But unlike the Grand Canyon, it offers wooded, hilly terrain in the surrounding area. The observatory is part of Maryland Community College and sits less than an hour from the mountainous metropolitan area of Asheville, North Carolina. Plus, the park isn’t far from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the best road trip routes in the United States during the warmer months of spring, summer, and fall.
Newport State Park: Ellison Bay, Wisconsin
The midwest may be short on mountain ranges and ocean views, but it has no lack of stargazing destinations. Located at the tip of the Door Peninsula on Lake Michigan, Newport State Park has everything you could need: dark skies, mild summer temperatures, and interesting wildlife. Want to get to know a quaint midwestern community while you’re on the road? Stay in nearby Door County, Wisconsin to enjoy art, wine, outdoor trails, and miles of beachfront parks by day and endless starry skies by night.
Is Your Car Ready to Get You to the Best Stargazing Destinations?
Your car may not be able to take you to another universe, but it can help you see one! Before you hit the road toward one of the best stargazing spots in your region, make sure your vehicle is ready for otherworldly adventures with some pre-road-trip maintenance.
Need some extra help getting ready for the road? It’s time for a complete vehicle inspection. Before you trust your telescope to help you find constellations in the night sky, trust the pros at your Firestone Complete Auto Care to help you stay safe on your road trip. During your complete vehicle inspection, our technicians will inspect your vehicle’s essential systems and components to ensure you can enjoy the lights of the night sky — not the lights of a tow truck! Stop by your neighborhood Firestone Complete Auto Care today.