Death Valley National Park, California
Badwater Tyler Nordgren/country extra
Death Valley is an International Dark Sky Park, which means it restricts light pollution and can claim an exceptional number of starry nights. Death Valley also benefits from being the driest place in the country. “That means the chances of a cloud-free night are very good,” notes Abby Wines, park management assistant. “This is a great place to see the Milky Way, which most Americans have never seen.”
Wines also suggests taking in the full moon from the salt flats in Badwater Basin or Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, an experience she calls “otherworldly.” Plan to visit during the next few months—in summer, nighttime temperatures often top 100 degrees.
Here are some more of America’s national parks that will leave you awestruck.
Acadia National Park, Maine
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Acadia is blessed with some of the most beautiful coastlines in the United States and, park Public Affairs Specialist Christie Anastasia says, “some of the last pristine, star-filled night skies in the eastern U.S. The combination of rocky coastline, ocean reflections, and star-filled skies is quite magical.” Anastasia says September is prime viewing time in the park, thanks to early nightfall and the annual Night Sky Festival. Find the best spots to view astronomical features like the Milky Way along the Park Loop Road, in particular Ocean Drive, which gives a glimpse of those magical reflections.