|The Milky Way|
Saint George, UtahSaint George is a comfortable mid-sized city (population about 75,000) only a short drive away from Cedar Breaks National Monument where you’ll see one of the most beautiful night sky displays in the world. Its remote location and 10,000-foot elevation virtually eliminate the light pollution that dampens most night skies. The nightscapes are so glorious, the park throws free Star Parties every Saturday night all summer long—telescopes included.
Boulder, ColoradoTake a quick trip to Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park for a breath-taking winter sky. Park rangers say the combination of elevation and atmospheric conditions transform the stars into twinkling clusters that illuminate the dark skies. The University of Colorado in Boulder has a robust astronomy community, and hosts Friday night stargazing at the Sommers-Bausch Observatory.
Key West, FloridaIf winter snow and mountains aren't your cup of tea, the warm autumn skies in Key West will delight you. Even if you aren't a sailor, you can still see the Southern Cross, a small but beautiful constellation located in the southern sky, where you can search for your astrology sign. These wide-open stellar displays are unique in the US, and are closest to an equatorial view. The balmy Florida weather means you can stargaze year-round in comfort.
Mackinaw City, MichiganMackinaw City is home to one of only ten dark-sky parks in the entire world, a designation that recognizes special measures to prevent light pollution. Headlands International Dark Sky Park, along the shores of Lake Michigan, is open all night for uninterrupted viewing of the Milky Way. The best time to see meteors and shooting stars is after midnight, so bring a warm blanket and come watch the starry display.
Elmira, New YorkElmira (population about 30,000), is a quaint rural town that offers easy access to one of the Northeast's darkest sky parks. Just across the state line in Pennsylvania, Cherry Spring State Park, the night sky is so clear, the Milky Way occasionally causes a shadow. Stargazers say Cherry Springs is one of the best places to see the nucleus of the Milky Way galaxy.
Borrego Springs, California
|Anza Borrego State Park, Borrego Springs, California|
Kalispell and Swan Lake, in northern Montana near Glacier National Park, and in southeast Maine near Acadia National Park earn honorable mentions for spectacular night skies. If you have suggestions for amazing stargazing, leave a comment below!