No matter where you are on Earth, you don’t have to travel far to see one of the worlds most beautiful night skies.
“All you need to do to enjoy the night sky is find some darkness and tilt your head back.” – Melissa Breyer, Mother Nature Network
But, not all skies are created equal. Some places on Earth offer a view that can knock you off your feet.
Go ahead and make a travel bucket list, and add these 15 breathtaking night skies to your list.
La Palma, Canary Islands
Stargazing in La Palma from NikonRumors.
The entire volcanic island of La Palma, part of Spain’s Canary Island, is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Currently, the worlds largest telescope, the Gran Telescopio de Canarias, is located in La Palma. It’s become one of the premier night skies observatories on Earth.
Atacama Desert, Chile
Atacama Desert stargazing from National Geographic.
The Atacama desert is home to several observatories- and for good reason. It offers unbelievable views of the night sky. While walking around the red-rock desert and looking into the universe, you may just feel like you’re exploring Mars.
The Sahara Desert, Egypt
The Sahara Desert takes up a whopping 10% of the African continent. It’s so big and so hot, that it’s one of the largest uncivilized places on Earth. That means it’s a stargazers heaven, with no intrusive light to be found.
Namibia-Naukluft National Park, Namibia Desert
Namibia Desert sky via Epic Road.
Do you see the pattern here? Being far away from civilization means a purer way to see the night sky. This desert is perfectly flat, and offers a 360 degree view of the horizon.
The Empty Quarter, Arabian Peninsula
The Empty Quarter photo from BBC.
This desert takes up the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It gets its name because, you guessed it, it’s almost completely empty of people.
The Himalayas, Kuari Pass India
The Himalayas under the stars via National Geographic.
Imagine the peaks of the world’s largest mountains up against a backdrop of a billion stars. That’s what you get on the Kuari Pass, a popular trail known because it’s the meeting place of five rivers.
Observatory Photo of Hawaii Island from Space.Com.
The island of Hawaii is the tallest sea mountain on the planet, giving its night skies a unique feel. No where else on Earth are you so high, surrounded by water, AND the heavens. That’s why this star gazing location is home to 11 different countries’ observatories.
Gingin Observatory, Western Australia
Gingin Observatory from Robert Ozod.
Western Australia is a big place. But the best place to see the night skies is only an hour north of Perth’s city centre.
Gingin is the largest public observatory in Australia.
Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Photo from Photos From Earth.
This park was the first listed in Newsiosity’s list of “The 20 Most Spectacular Places on Earth to See the Stars.”
The distinct features of this state park make it ideal for those seeking out serious night skies. Most importantly, the location of the park is perfectly positioned to view the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Photo of Connemara, Ireland from Connemara Journal.
One of the most western sites in Europe that isn’t spoiled by urban growth. Connemara has become a hotspot for sky gazers because of this, and a lot of accommodation exists here. This is the perfect European destination for a quaint life and seeing the best night skies.
Wiruna, New South Wales, Australia
A comet in the Australia sky from WikiPedia.
The second site from Australia to come in on this list has an annual party for stargazers. Yup, whether you’re an amateur or an astrologist, every year in May you’re invited to the South Pacific Star Party. Which is a pretty adorable name for a festival.
Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
The Canary Islands aren’t big in the grand scheme of Earth. However, they still hold two of our top 15 spots for stargazing. For a different kind of star gazing experience, check out Tenerife.
Rather than going deep into the wild, or on a secluded mountain top, Tenerife happens to be a luxurious vacation spot that happens to have one of the worlds best observatories.
Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah, USA
Natural Bridge in Utah via Places Under the Sun.
In 2007, Natural Bridges National Park was named the first dark sky park in the world by the International Dark-Sky Association. What does that mean for non-astrologists? It means that this is the first park in the world recognized by an international star-gazing group for its beautiful night skies.
Monte-Magantic Park, Quebec, Canada
A photo of the observatory in Quebec, Canada via ricemm.org.
If urban-exploring is your type of trip, but you still want to see a breathtaking night sky, then Quebec might be your next vacation. Located not far from Quebec City, this park has an observatory, offers cabins, and stargazing activities. It is also a hot spot for families who just want to be under the night skies.
Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
A photo of Joshua Tree State Park via Flickr.
Joshua Tree National Park boasts some of the darkest nights in Southern California. It also offers some of the best views of the Milky Way on Earth.
Whether you live in California, or you’re just visiting, this is the best place to see the night skies in the southwestern corner of the US.