The 10 Best Places for Stargazing in the U.S.


If you’re wrapping up your national or state park adventure at sunset, you’re missing out on a breathtaking experience. The protected areas in America offer some of the most awe-inspiring and darkest night skies on our planet. From serene lakes to vast deserts, these locations are a haven for stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts.

To determine the best stargazing hotspots in the United States, Icelandair conducted an analysis of 84 places acknowledged by the International Dark-Sky Association for their exceptionally starry nights. Several factors, including brightness, elevation, and the Bortle ranking, which measures the visibility of celestial bodies from the ground at night, were taken into consideration.

Topping the list of the best stargazing spots is Capitol Reef National Park, boasting an impressive overall rating of 94 out of 100. This natural marvel is renowned for its stunning ridges and canyons carved into the Utah desert, providing unobstructed panoramic views of the horizon from its elevated areas.

Securing the second position is Goosenecks State Park, situated just north of Utah’s southern border. With five Utah parks making it to the list, along with representation from New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada, the Western region emerges as the ultimate destination for astronomy enthusiasts.

Even if the skies in your local area don’t offer the darkness you desire, there are still plenty of reasons to gaze up at the stars from your own backyard. On Thursday, December 14, mark your calendars for the annual Geminid Meteor Shower, which reaches its peak in the Northern Hemisphere. If you choose an ideal setting, such as one of the parks listed below, you can expect to witness up to 120 shooting stars per hour.

Here are the top ten stargazing locations in the United States:
1. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
2. Goosenecks State Park, Utah
3. Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
4. Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico
5. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
6. City of Rocks National Preserve, Idaho
7. Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado
8. Clayton Lake Street Park, New Mexico
9. Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
10. Zion National Park, Utah

For an enhanced stargazing experience, consider visiting one of these extraordinary destinations. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the night sky and marvel at the cosmic beauty that unfolds above us. Don’t forget to bring along your telescope or binoculars for a closer look at the celestial wonders that await you.

Remember, the universe is vast and ever-changing, offering endless opportunities for discovery and awe-inspiring moments. So why not embark on your own celestial adventure and explore the wonders of the night sky?



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