Located near the Mexican border in southwest Texas, Big Bend's massive surface area and little-to-no light pollution makes it one of the best spots to stargaze in America. Make yourself comfortable amongst the cacti — Big Bend is the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States — as you behold the stars, or find a spot in the Chisos mountain range to get an even better vantage point.
For most of us, stargazing in the USA feels slightly out of reach. We know what we need — low light pollution and dark, clear skies — but those qualities are hard to come by (especially if you live in a city that never sleeps). But when we have the chance to road trip out of the city and escape to one of the best national parks in the USA, it’s worth taking the time to stay overnight and keep our gaze turned to the glittering skies.
Of course, not all national parks are equal when it comes to the best places to stargaze in the country. Some of the best stargazing destinations, in fact, aren't even national parks at all; national monuments, state parks, and even humble county parks are among those certified as International Dark Sky Parks, where stars are guaranteed to be brighter than anywhere else in the world.
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While Maui or Big Sur are popular destinations for stargazing, you'll find the clearest skies in less-traveled forests, prairies, and deserts in states with wide open space like Colorado, Texas, and Utah. But even if a trip out west isn't in the stars, dark skies may not be far away. From Florida to Virginia and California, some of the best spots are all within driving distance of major population centers. So find your binoculars and pack the car — it's time to see some scary nights at the best places for stargazing in the USA.