15 Best National Parks for Stargazing

When did you last take your eyes off your phone and look up at the stars? It’s easy to get lost in the entertainment offered…

Stargazing people using binoculars MSN

When did you last take your eyes off your phone and look up at the stars? It’s easy to get lost in the entertainment offered by the modern world, but look around—see our stunning world with your own eyes.

If you’re ready for this wonderful experience, get your binoculars or telescope! The next step is to choose among these incredible national parks perfect for stargazing. 

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1. Death Valley National Park

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The Death Valley National Park, located between the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin, collaborates with NASA for the Dark Sky Festival. The national park has a high darkness classification that makes it easier to see the stars. It also hosts the Death Valley Starcamp with telescopes and outdoor arcades to encourage everyone to a fun stargazing event. 

2. Joshua Tree National Park

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Joshua Tree National Park in Southeast California offers a natural aesthetic view that will make you want to stay. Besides the variety of wildlife in the area, it also takes pride in being the perfect venue for stargazing. The areas in the park where the stars shine the brightest are around Cottonwood and Cholla Cactus. You can plan your trip in October to catch the Night Sky Festival.

3. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Cruise at Glacier Bay National Park MSN
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Montana’s Glacier National Park has joined Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park to create the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. It’s the first of its kind in the world and has been recognized by UNESCO as an International Dark Sky Park, making it an ideal destination for stargazing. Visitors can also check out the St. Mary’s Visitor Center and its observation dome for a closer look at the stars.

4. Denali National Park and Reserve

Sunrise view at Denali MSN
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The Denali National Park and Reserve in Alaska has the perfect remoteness and dark skies for stargazing. In this state, it’s important to choose the right season or you might wait for a long time before the darkness descends in the sky. From late September to late May, you can enjoy stunning dark lights littered with stars in this national park. Visit the Riley Creek Campground during winter, and you’ll get to see the stunning aurora Borealis for free.  

5. Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake, Oregon in the morning MSN
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Crater Lake National Park in Oregon was formed by the transformation of a high mountain over 7,700 years ago, creating one of the world’s deepest lakes. The park is home to the Oregon Dark Sky Sanctuary, located at an elevation of 6,178 feet. Due to its high altitude and the lake’s stunning reflection, the park is an ideal destination for stargazing at night.

6. Zion National Park

Zion National Park entrance monument MSN
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Visit Zion National Park in Utah and ride through the Canyon Scenic Drive for a private night with the stars. If you’re up for an adventure, get out of your vehicle and walk on the trail of your choice—Kolob Canyon, Kolob Terrace, and Pa’rus Trail are the top choices. To retire for the night and finally rest, you have the Zion Lodge to help you. 

7. Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park entrance sign MSN
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If you’re from Texas, you don’t have to go too far with the Big Bend National Park for stargazing. The park has mountains, deserts, and hiking trails stretching hundreds of thousands of acres. It is also considered one of the international dark sky parks in America. You can go glamping in the expansive area or book a room at Summit in Big Bend. 

8. Great Basin National Park

Stella Lake at the Great Basin National Park MSN
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Nevada’s Great Basin National Park takes pride in its various programs dedicated to stargazing. The Star Train out of Ely, a collaborative project with the Nevada Northern Railway, takes guests on a journey. The moving stargazing activity features the same route the ancestors took six hundred years ago, with only the stars lighting their paths. It’s only available on selected dates, so take note of the schedule. 

9. Canyonlands National Park

Sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park MSN
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Utah also has Canyonlands National Park, which qualifies as one of the dark sanctuaries in the U.S. The national park covers over 300,000 acres and offers a stunning view of the Colorado River. Look into Ulum Moab and the possibility of booking a sport and glamping in the desert under the light of the stars. 

10. Arches National Park

Family at Arches National Park MSN
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The popular Arches National Park is one of the perfect destinations for stargazing. The park’s rock formations look stunning together with the night sky and glitter in the dark. Some ideal spots to set your blanket on are Balanced Rock, Double Arch, and Delicate Arch for a gorgeous sight. 

11. Acadia National Park

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Located east of the Mississippi River, Acadia National Park is the biggest area conquered by the dark sky. Spend the day with fun activities like hiking and biking and end the day at the summit of Cadillac Mountain to see the bright stars more clearly. You can even take your vehicle to the summit for convenience. 

12. Badlands National Park

Dusk at Badlands National Park MSN
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The Badlands National Park is nestled in the rural area of South Dakota. You can stay at the Cedar Pass or Sage Creek Campgrounds. For the former, make sure you make a reservation first; for the latter, come early to get the best spot. Cedar Pass Lodge also offers a cabin you can book for the night. 

13. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Sunset at Great Sand Dunes National Park MSN
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Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve features magnificent dunes at 750 feet. If you want to feel the desert while looking up at the stars, this is the national park to go to. You’ll feel like you’re on the set of Dune, especially on a moonless night. 

14. Big Cypress National Preserve

Skillet Strand Trail at Big Cypress National Preserve MSN
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The Big Cypress National Preserve is the perfect spot for stargazing in South Florida. The Big Cypress Swamp extends to 729,000 acres, with around eight campgrounds surrounding the freshwater. Choose the perfect spot in this massive area and ensure your backcountry permit is ready.

15. Grand Canyon National Park

A hiker sitting on the Grand Canyon MSN
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Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is one of the named dark sky parks in the U.S. It offers the opportunity to witness the wonder of the Milky Way, a sight not everyone can see. Among several spots in the park, the perfect areas for stargazing are Yavapai Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point, and Mather Point.

The Best National Parks in the US That May Not Be on Your Radar

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Whether you’re a budding environmentalist or just looking for a new national park to add to your bucket list, there are some fantastic parks out there worth visiting.

We think these are the best national parks you should add to your list when you travel through the U.S.

17 Unforgettable Road Trips That Show the Best of the US

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Ever cruised down the highway with the wind whipping through your hair and your favorite song blasting? Those are the road trips that stay with you. The perfect destination can make all the difference, and with stunning views and great company, it’s an unbeatable adventure. Here are some recommendations for your next road trip in the United States.

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