Spanning more than 1,400 square miles across Idaho, the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve makes up one of the largest "pools" of natural nighttime darkness in the U.S. You can take in the stars from many parts of the state. Still, one of the best is vacationing in Sun Valley or Ketchum. Throughout both towns, you'll find themed Dark Sky dinners and events where you can learn about the stars and even speak to local astronomers.
Few things can humble you more than looking up at the dark night sky. Gazing out to see sparkling stars, planets, galaxies—and maybe even the International Space Station—can be a spectacular reminder of the vastness of the universe. But for much of the country, it’s no longer possible. Today, nearly 80% of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way from where they live.
To help protect the natural nighttime environment, many regions across the United States have become International Dark Sky Reserves, designated and protected areas of land that have exceptional quality of nighttime darkness and advocate for a reduction in light pollution. Today, more than 60 dark sky parks are across the United States.
We have rounded up the best places to stargaze in the US: hit the road to experience these stunning spots, including within some of the most iconic national parks and camping trip destinations. Pack your telescope or binoculars and download a stargazing app before heading out to take in the wonders of the universe.