The Milky Way with silhouettes of pine trees
Breathe in the scent of pine trees and marvel at the sight of the Milky Way overhead.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

5 of the Best Stargazing Destinations in the World

How Many Shooting Stars Will You See?

There’s something incredibly spectacular about gazing up into a dark night sky filled with millions of stars, planets and constellations.

It makes you feel small and insignificant in a deeply philosophical way, aware of your tiny place in this incredibly vast universe.The best place to see stars in all their glory is somewhere far away from a large city, with very little light pollution.

This is why a designated dark sky park is one of the best locations you can go for stargazing. Of course most remote locations will do the trick.

When you get out in the middle of nowhere, you can see so many more stars and even the hazy sweep of the Milky Way across the sky. Most people can’t see the Milky Way from where they live and many will not see it in their lifetime, so this is a significant natural spectacle.

What are some of the best places in the world to see stars? Here are a few locations where the night sky is especially jaw-dropping. (Stargazing tip: try to visit during the new moon when the sky will be darker and you can see more stars.)

Headlands Dark Sky Park, Michigan

This stunning dark sky park in Michigan contains approximately 600 acres of pristine woodland and undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s known for its native wildlife (bald eagles, coyotes and black bears), its rare plant life and, of course, its dazzling night sky.

The park is free and open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are marked nature trails to explore and you’ll likely run into a few people with tripods, snapping photos of the incredible display above. If you visit during the Equinox in late March or September, you’ll have the best chance of seeing the sky light up with the shimmering hues of the Aurora Borealis.

Starry sky over Mauna Kea in HawaiiGet lost in the night sky when using telescope atop Mauna Kea.Photo Credit: Getty Imagesw

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

One of the best places to see stars in Hawaii is from the peak of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano. It is located over 13,800 feet above sea level and the climate is dry, creating excellent conditions for stargazing. Plus, it is the only place in the United States where you can see the entirety of the Southern Cross.

11 different countries have built 13 different observatories here to keep a close eye on the heavens. You can even catch a glimpse through the public telescopes at the Visitor Information Station, where volunteers will help you understand what you are looking at.

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Starry sky over lake and snow-capped mountainsThe conditions in the Atacama Desert are ideal for stargazing. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Atacama Desert, Chile

The conditions in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile are ideal for watching the stars. The skies are unpolluted, the air is dry and it’s located at a high altitude. Here you will find the ALMA Observatory, which is home to one of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world.

You can even stay in Elqui Domos, a hotel in the desert that features cabins with glass roofs and domed tents with open ceilings so you can lie in bed and gaze at the stars. Talk about feeling fully immersed in nature!


Starry sky over roadwayThe skies over Death Valley come to life at night.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley National Park is home to some of the darkest night skies in the United States. In order to be certified as an International Dark Sky Park, the park follows external lighting regulations to make sure any buildings produce as little light pollution as possible. Because of this, the park has received a “Gold Tier” certification, which is the highest level awarded to dark sky parks.

One of the best places to head in the park is the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, as you will be able to see a lot of the sky. Harmony Borax Works is another great location and the historic buildings there make intriguing foregrounds for night sky photography.

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The Northern Lights over snowy outdoor scapeTrysil is said to have some of the clearest night skies in all of Scandinavia.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Trysil, Norway

Located in Southeast Norway, Trysil is known for excellent skiing and is also famed for having some of the clearest night skies in Scandinavia, making it one of the best stargazing vacations. You can stay in a cozy cabin and spend the night gazing up at the stunning show above you.

If you are lucky, you’ll be able to see the heavens light up with shimmering swirls of blue, purple and green as the Aurora Borealis fills the sky. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you’re sure to have goosebumps — and not just from the cold!

These are just a few of the best places to stargaze in the world. Why not plan a trip so that you can escape the city lights and look up at the dazzling dome of stars above you. There’s nothing quite like it and you’ll come back with a renewed passion for the outdoors and sense of awe for the universe.

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