Outdoor explorers always gush about summer’s long days, but the nights should never be overlooked. Mild temperatures, clear skies, and some of the most striking celestial phenomena—like the Perseids meteor shower, visible in August—all make summer evenings among the best for stargazing.
So, on your next free weekend, gather some friends and some popcorn, head to these incredible stargazing spots, and get ready to have your mind blown.
1. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument - Maine
One of the darkest spots east of the Mississippi, this official International Dark Sky Sanctuary is home to the famous Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Spend the day exploring the park’s countless trails, then either book a campsite (request a spot at Sandbank Stream when you check in) or head to the Katahdin Loop Road Overlook for the best celestial views.
2. Cherry Springs State Park - Pennsylvania
A designated astronomy field atop a 2,300-foot mountain offers visitors to Cherry Springs State Park an unparalleled view of the night sky. If you’re serious about your stars, camp in the field (white light is prohibited, so make sure your headlamp has a red-light mode). If you’d rather have more amenities, head to the park’s nearby Rustic Campground.
3. Stephen C. Foster State Park – Georgia
Another official Dark Sky Park, Stephen C. Foster is renowned as the entrance to Georgia’s legendary Okefenokee Swamp. As such, it’s an incredible place for wildlife viewing, including black bears, ibis, and alligators. Book a campsite online for a relaxing evening of stargazing. Or, if you’re feeling brave, book a nighttime boat tour and keep one eye on the stars—and one on the gators.
4. Dillon State Park - Ohio
Located in one of the darker corners of Ohio, Dillon State Park is a go-to spot for local astronomers. Snag a campsite at the Dillon State Park Campground. Then, as dusk falls, set up shop on the lakeshore or at the park’s designated observation deck near the nature center for the best view of the stars.