best parks for stargazing

8 Best Dark-Sky Parks in the United States for Dreamy Stargazing

Grab your binoculars and gaze up at the galaxy at one of these dark-sky parks.

As urban light pollution gets worse, public lands are some of the last places you can enjoy stargazing in truly dark night skies. In 1988, astronomers Dr. David Crawford and Dr. Tim Hunter formed a global non-profit called the International Dark-Sky Association with the goal to preserve and protect communities, parks, and other areas from artificial-light pollution, which disrupts wildlife, impacts human health, and wastes energy. They also helped form the concept of dark-sky tourism, to encourage people to get out and go stargazing, track eclipses, and view the northern lights.

Today, the U.S. has 88 national and state parks designated as dark-sky destinations: places with exceptional starry nights and nocturnal viewing opportunities. But where exactly should you set up your telescope or binoculars and put your galaxy- and constellation-spotting skills to work? Here are eight star-studded, dark-sky parks to set your sights on visiting.