The stars are gazing, and it's the time when you can hang under the stars and spot planets, constellations, and even the Milky Way. You can find many regions across the United States that have become International Dark Sky Reserves. These are designated and protected land areas for stargazing that offer exceptional quality nighttime darkness.
If gazing out to see sparkling stars, planets, and galaxies is on your bucket list, you'll need to pick the right place and pack the right stargazing gear. It includes enough water, food items, safety gear, and a portable power source. Jackery Solar Generators are compact in size and portable charging solutions that can charge most of your outdoor appliances.
In this Jackery guide, we will reveal the best places for stargazing in the US and all the essential gear you'll need to pack in your bag.
Best Places to Stargazing
We have rounded some of the best places to stargaze in the US, including camping trip destinations and some of the most iconic national parks. All you need to do is choose the best place, pack your binoculars or telescope, and carry other essentials before heading out to explore the wonders of the universe.
Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Joshua Tree National Park is a popular, vast protected land located only 140 miles from one of the largest US metropolitan areas. This stargazing location, available in the west region, is a well-known hiker's destination and rock climber throughout the year.
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Sedona in Arizona is another place where you can look up at the stars and gaze upon the beauty of the cosmos. It's the perfect place to stargaze almost any time of the year. The only season where it can be difficult to see clear skies is July and August.
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Death Valley National Park, California
Death Valley National Park in California is a place that lets you explore nature and wilderness at the most immense. It's one of the largest national parks in the lower 48 states, and a vast majority of this desert is untouched by humans and undeveloped. It is designated Dark Sky Park, and the climate of this place is ideal for stargazing.
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Maui, Hawaii Stargazing
When you are miles out at sea in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it's easy to spot the stars with the naked eye. You can enjoy stargazing just by looking upward or via a telescope. You can also stargaze with a professional astronomer from the beach along the western coast of Maui.
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Rappahannock County Park, VA
Unlike its name, Rappahannock County Park is not a national park or state park. Instead, it is an International Dark Sky Park at the gateway to Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. It is just a few miles from the iconic Appalachian Trail, where the Milky Way shimmer and shine.
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Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
The Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah was first certified as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association. The area has some of the darkest and clearest skies in the world. The main attraction of the place is the river of light phenomenon created by the Milky Way when it rises over the Owachomo Bridge.
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Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, Sun Valley
The Dark Sky Reserve spans over 1400 square miles across Idaho and makes one of the largest pools of natural darkness in the United States. Here, you can enjoy the themed Dark Sky dinners and events to learn about the stars or even speak with the local astronomers.
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Big Bend National Park, Texas
The national park is near the Mexican border in southwest Texas, with no light pollution. Big Bend is one of the largest protected areas of the Chihuahuan Desert topography, so you can comfortably behold the beauty of stars.
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Canyonlands National Park, UT
Canyonlands is home to countless canyons and buttes, fantastically carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. It's a popular destination for stargazers and adventure seekers who love pristine panoramic views. Furthermore, the national park boasts one of the darkest skies in the US and is known as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park.
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Great Basin National Park, NV
The enormous national park covers much of Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and even some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, and California. You'll find many unpolluted land areas when you explore the Great Basin National Park. If you prefer a less populated land, head out to this national park with a footfall of less than 100,000 visitors per year.
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Stargazing Spots Near Me
If you have ever been drawn to see the beauty of the night sky but don't want to travel to the farthest location, you might be searching for some stargazing spots near me. Fortunately, you can stargaze at home or even around your town.
But stargazing from home does not always mean you'll have to use your laptops or any apps. Instead, you can stargaze with affordable binoculars and basic gear. Here are a few tips to follow if you are stargazing at home or around your town.
- Once you reach the stargazing location, turn off the lights and make your eyes "dark adapted." Within 30 minutes, your eyes will start adapting immediately.
- If you are stargazing through a window, make sure it is clutter-free and turn off the lights.
- Those planning to stargaze in a yard or garden must turn off lights on the side of the house and outside, too.
- Lastly, set up a camp tent and adjust your telescope to view the beauty of the stars.
Stargazing is one of the great ways to relax and explore your place in nature and the universe. It also adds a fun element to your camping or backpacking trips. The best part about the fun outdoor activity is that you can start it with minimum gear from your local area.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you cannot miss viewing the meteor showers, constellations, comets, and the moon. Here are a few must-have stargazing essentials for a comfortable experience.
Telescope: From small tabletop to computerized telescope, there is a telescope to fit any skill level or budget. If you plan to choose a computerized telescope, make sure you have a portable power supply by your side.
Flashlight: You'll need two flashlights during stargazing: a red one to preserve night vision during the viewing session and a bright white one for a gear cleanup.
Tent: Those who are planning to stargaze away from the hustle and bustle of city life should bring a camping tent with them. It should be spacious and water-resistant to keep you dry, cozy, and comfortable when the rain starts.
Electric Blanket: You'll need an electric blanket to keep yourself warm throughout the night. You can also carry a sleeping pad for a more relaxed experience.
Comfortable Chair: Bring a cozy chair to sit and observe the stars. Other creature comforts you should carry along include electronic hand warmers and some midnight snacks.
Hair Dryer: In fall or winter, moisture and humidity can pose a problem. That's why it's best to carry a small hair dryer that can zap water off the optics.
Power Source: Lastly, but most importantly, you'll need a power source to charge your small electronic devices such as smartphones, computerized telescopes, coffee machines, hair dryers, etc. Jackery Explorer Portable Power Stations are lightweight and compact, designed to supply stable electricity to the appliances. You can recharge them using foldable and portable Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels.
Jackery Portable Power Station for Stargazing
One of the most common questions of campers, backpackers, and stargazers is, "What portable power source do you need for stargazing." When deciding on an off-grid power system, you must think about battery life, power output, charging methods, and number of outlets.
Jackery has a reliable range of portable power stations with multiple output ports. They are designed with exploration in mind and have 30% less weight and size than other products in the market.
Below, we will reveal the popular compact Jackery Explorer Portable Power Stations for exploration.
Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station
Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station is one of the most portable charging solutions with a 518Wh capacity. The lightweight and portable design of the power station operates with less than 37.9dB of noise level, making it an ideal choice for night charging.
The power station features multiple outlets, including 1*AC outlet, 1*car port, 2*DC outlet, and 3*USB-A ports to charge most low to high-power-consuming appliances. If you plan a 1 or 2-day stargazing trip, consider this Explorer 500 Portable Power Station.
"This power station opens up a new world of camping and portable power. The small Explorer 500 model I have can go with me on motorcycle camping, truck camping, or RV camping. It's a battery, monitor, and inverter in one." — David.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Plus Portable Power Station
The Jackery Explorer 1000 Plus Portable Power Station features a LiFePO4 battery with a 1264Wh capacity and a 2000W output. It supports 99% of your outdoor appliances, ensuring you are always equipped with power.
The power station is compatible with the Battery Pack 1000 Plus to expand its capacity from 1.2 kWh to 5 kWh. Additionally, you can charge the power station with 4*SolarSaga 200W Solar Panels in only 2 hours. If you are planning to film the stargazing with a team, this expandable power station might be your best bet.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro Portable Power Station
Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro Portable Power Station has a 1002Wh lithium-ion battery that can charge 93% of your outdoor appliances. The solar charging power station supports intelligent BMS technology that provides 12 levels of protection against short circuits, high temperatures, and overvoltages.
The Explorer 1000 Pro weighs merely 25.4 lbs, making it 70% less in weight and size than other power stations of the same capacity available in the market. It has an ergonomic design handle that lets you carry the power station to camping, fishing, or stargazing sites.
"I love this thing! My Jackery 1000 Pro has proven helpful in many areas of my daily life. From camping (powering all my appliances and even my microwave), fishing, charging batteries, and my power tools, it even acts as my UPS for my computer. My Jackery 1000 Pro will usually charge back up in the truck when driving or a quick charge via a 120v outlet when needed, and it's ready to go again." — Christopher J.
Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro Portable Power Station
Jackery Explorer 2000 Pro Portable Power Station has a battery capacity of 2160Wh and a 2200W output. The compact and lightweight power station can satisfy all electricity demands for a team during camping or stargazing.
The main advantage of the Explorer 2000 Pro Portable Power Station is its multiple output ports that can charge eight devices simultaneously. It weighs only 53 lbs and has a portable handle design, which is relatively less given the large capacity.
"Great for short-term home backup and for camping/tailgating. I keep mine charged as a battery backup for essential home appliances and have used it while tailgating to keep a heater and hotpot going. The draw from the heater was strong but maintained power for the hour I needed it." — DJ.
AC Output (x1): 110VAC, 60Hz, 500W (1000W Surge)
DC Output (x2): 12V, 7A
USB-A Output (x3): 5V, 2.4A
Computerized Telescope (50W): 8.8H
Space Heater (350W): 1.2H
Phone (20W): 22H
Mini Refrigerator (60W): 7.3H
Drone (90W): 4.9H
AC Output (x3): 120V~60Hz, 2000W (4000W Peak)
USB-A Output (x2): 18W Maximum, 5-5V⎓3A
USB-C Output (x2): 100W Maximum, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 5A)
Computerized Telescope (50W): 21.4H
Space Heater (350W): 3H
Coffee Maker (550W): 2H
Phone (20W): 53.7H
Mini Refrigerator (60W): 18H
Drone (90W): 12H
Hair Dryer (800W): 1.3H
AC Output (x3): 120V, 60Hz, 1000W (2000W Peak)
USB-A Output (x2): Quick Charge 3.0x2, 18W Max
USB-C Output (x2): 100W Maximum, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 5A)
Computerized Telescope (50W): 17H
Space Heater (350W): 2.4H
Coffee Maker (550W): 1.5H
Phone (20W): 42.5H
Mini Refrigerator (60W): 17H
Drone (90W): 9.5H
Hair Dryer (800W): 1H
USB-A Output (x2): Quick Charge 3.0, 18W Maximum
USB-C Output (x2): 100W Maximum, (5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, 20V up to 5A)
AC Output (x3): 120V, 60Hz, 2,200W (4,400W Surge)
Computerized Telescope (50W): 36.7H
Space Heater (350W): 5.2H
Coffee Maker (550W): 3.3H
Phone (20W): 91.8H
Mini Refrigerator (60W): 30H
Drone (90W): 20H
Hair Dryer (800W): 2.3H
More Stargazing Beginner Tips
Now that you have the knowledge to start stargazing, here are a few other tips for beginners.
- Many national parks offer informative stargazing programs led by park rangers, identifying constellations and cosmic highlights.
- Avoid white lights, including flashlights, headlights, and headlamps, to let your eyes adjust for the best experience.
- Schedule the stargazing trip before or after the new moon when the moon is not visible.
- Purchase a star chart or constellation identification app on your smartphone and familiarize yourself with the location.
- Watch the weather forecast and pack the right clothing gear for your trip. For example, if you are going in winter, carry a proper coat, sweater, scarves, and other warm clothing layers.
You don't have to necessarily venture into the wilderness to see the stars. With some essential gear, you can start stargazing from your home or town. This ultimate guide to stargazing reveals everything you need to consider before heading out. Once you have decided on the best place, the next step is to buy and pack all the essentials.
The Jackery Explorer Portable Power Stations are available in different sizes and capacities, ensuring you can charge electric devices anywhere. With this type of reliable and portable power source, you are ready to view the night sky through telescopes.