Living in a city can be difficult with all of the light and air pollution blocking the night’s sky. One of the best parts of camping and backpacking out in the wild is the wide open view of the sky and the fresh air from the trees. Getting out into nature is the only way you can escape the noise and see what the mountain has to offer. If you want to plan an ultimate trip to go star-gazing, here are five of the best places to sleep under the stars! A trip to the great outdoors is what started our adventure. Check out our story to learn more.
Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
This California national park is famous for its unique cacti and boulders. The park has hundreds of campgrounds to choose from, each with their own fantastic hikes and trails. The dry desert weather makes for some perfect skygazing, and the Mojave desert is still fairly unpopulated so there isn’t much pollution to cover the stars.
Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand
Aoraki Mackenzie is one of the only four dark sky reserves in the entire world. It is without a doubt the best place to look at stars. If you want to do some serious stargazing, this place must be on your list. There is absolutely zero light pollution from cities and residents. The nearby town, Lake Tekapo, has such strict rules about the type of lights they allow and how strong they can be. The residents typically only use orange and red-glowing light to avoid polluting the sky. You can visit the Mount John Observatory and stay in town, or camp out nearby. Even on a night with low visibility, you’ll probably see more stars than you’ve ever seen before.
Denali National Park, Alaska, USA
Denali National Park is a perfect place to see the northern lights. It offers 6 million acres of wild land for you to explore and camp out on. This park is the ultimate backpacking dream. It also has North America’s tallest peak, the mountain Denali. It is beautiful to stargaze during summer, but even more so during winter when the northern lights appear. You can free camp on BLM land or stay at one of the many campgrounds in the park. The weather can be a bit fickle, though, so there might be clouds obstructing your view.
Namibrand Nature Reserve, Namibia
As Africa’s first international dark sky reserve, Namibia strictly regulates everything that goes on in this nature reserve. There are only a few lodging options to choose from–you can’t camp out on your own. This might deter some avid campers, but the money you spend will help support the reserve and contribute to its funds. Namib means “big open space”, which aptly describes this reserve. You’ll feel like a miniscule ant within a massive desert as the entire milky way peers down over you.
Atacama Desert, Chile
Chile is a long and narrow country tucked in between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean on its west. In the north you’ll find the Atacama Desert, one of the most beautiful places in the world to see the stars. The dry desert environment makes for cloudless nights for most of the year; perfect for stargazing. You can easily find secluded areas in the desert to free camp for the night. Chile is a country full of open spaces, so there is practically zero pollution here, meaning you’ll have uninterrupted views of the sky throughout the entire night.
Nothing is as awe-inspiring and peaceful as stargazing. You can easily sit and stare up at the sky for hours without feeling bored or tired. If you share our love of the great outdoors and sleeping under the stars, add these beautiful places to your bucket list. Check out our site, The Ninth Project for more stories on escaping to the mountains and preserving our earth!