It’s an amazing thing, to walk out your back door and be able to clearly see the stars, but as population and industry grows many of us have been losing sight of those sparkling orbs.
Light pollution is usually the culprit, especially if you live near a big city. The pollution is such a big factor that some places have even adopted outdoor lighting regulations or installed materials to block out some light.
While you might not have the best view from your back porch, there are still places across the U.S. where you can get a great view of outer space. Though the west is best known for their lack of light pollution and great views of constellations, the east also has some notable star sanctuaries.
A few tips for getting the best view include stargazing in the winter, when the skies tend to be dry and clear. The absence of moonlight also tends to help when viewing the stars, so try to spot stars during new moons and crescent moons. And finding a mountain or otherwise open space, away from artificial light is a big help too.
Now that you know when to go, check out these 10 amazing places to see stars in the east. From Florida to Maine, these spots provide jaw-dropping views of the world above.
Shenandoah National Park, Va.
With this popular park set just 75 miles from the epicenter of Washington D.C., it would surprise many to find out that you can still get a great view of the night sky. On clear, cloudless nights, though, the view is spectacular. The high elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains and relative remoteness in Shenandoah National Park offer visitors some of the best conditions in the area. Visit the park for 200,000 acres of pristine mountains, waterfalls and wildlife and then attend one of the special presentations on the night sky from adjunct astronomy professor and NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern.
The Headlands, Mich.
Set at the very tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, this 550-acre park is on the water and offers some of the best night sky views in the east. In 2011, The Headlands became a Silver-Certified International Dark Sky Park and the following year, the Dark Sky Discovery Trail was established to lead visitors from the entrance to the Dark Sky Viewing Area. The park is always open and always free—check out the calendar of events and visit to see thousands of stars and, if you’re lucky, a view of the Northern Lights.