It seems the night sky has captivated us since the beginning of time.  From constellations drawn on prehistoric caves, to man first landing on the moon, nothing seems to spark inspiration more than exploring beyond the atmosphere.

 

My most memorable star gazing experience while traveling was gazing up at the Perseid Meteor shower on the beaches of Mexico.  I remember lying down at the end of a dock, relaxing while ocean waves splashed the pillars below, and watching stars fall out of the sky like rain.  It was spectacular.

 

Since then, I’ve decided to add stargazing to my must-do list for traveling and asked my friends on Twitter to recommend their favorite celestial viewing destinations.

 

So, since summer days are getting longer, and the evenings shorter, here are a few spots that are worth staying up late to see.

 

Recommended on Twitter by @kitwhelan and @deniselao, the Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii looks like an amazing place.  Above the clouds, you’re sure to see parts of the galaxy.  And while you may not get to look through one of their large telescopes, they have nightly stargazing programs at the summit, which puts you above the clouds.

 

Another must-see observatory that came highly recommended by @PTVagabond was Arizona’s Lowell Observatory in the city of Flagstaff.  There, he saw the rings of Saturn for the first time and that alone makes this location a trip worth planning.If you’re planning on visiting Phoenix, it is only a two and a half hour drive.

 

This next observatory is no stranger to the silver screen.  Surrounded by stars on land as well as the sky, the Griffith Observatory in California is the best place to see stars above the Hollywood sign.  Plan a star-themed party weekend and also get your picture with the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

Finally, a destination where you’re sure to catch a stellar show without any fancy equipment is Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania.  Cherry Springs is known as one of the darkest places in the United States.

 

They take light pollution so seriously that flashlights are not even allowed in the park.  Instead, you have to navigate the darkness using a red light.  It’s worth stumbling around in the dark just to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way.

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