There is potentially no better activity to reset and reconnect with nature than stargazing, especially as people try to soak up the last of summer with the change of seasons on the way.
Below, are four overlooked private campgrounds in the U.S. and across the world that offer one-of-a-kind experiences for admiring the dazzling galaxy above and are a stone’s throw away from designated Dark Sky Parks.
Little Heaven Ranch – Grand Canyon, Arizona
Little Heaven Ranch is an off-the-grid campsite outside of Grand Canyon National Park, a Dark Sky Park known for its exclusive views of faraway planets like Saturn, Mars and Jupiter, and other galactic phenomena. The remote campground is meant for adventurers looking to soak in the wilderness and detox from modern life, as power is not provided and quiet hours are implemented between 10 PM and 6 AM, so campers can truly tune out and take in the constellations above. Primitive tent and trailers sites start at $50/night on Pitchup.com.
Bryce Pioneer Village – Tropic, Utah
Nestled along Utah’s sprawling Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce Pioneer Village is a family-friendly campground open year-round that features a swimming pool, hot tub and bonfire perfect for sharing ghost stories and s’mores while gazing at the epic night sky. Known for its giant natural amphitheaters and “hoodoos,” ancient crimson-colored, spire-shaped rock formations that span throughout the entire park, Bryce Canyon is a Dark Sky Park that celebrates its prized dark skies with endless astronomical educational programs and entertaining events, and even the Annual Astronomy Festival. Tent sites at Bryce Pioneer Village are instantly bookable online at Pitchup.com for $30/night.
The High Desert Ranch – Moffat, Colorado
Campers at The High Desert Ranch, a laidback campground that boasts unpolluted skies amidst Colorado’s towering mountains, can take a picturesque drive to the lesser-known Great Sand Dunes National Park, a designated Dark Sky Park filled with otherworldly sand dunes and clear skies – visitors can even bring a sand sled to surf the dunes beneath the interstellar glow for a once-in-a-lifetime experience straight from a sci-fi movie. The High Desert Ranch is a working ranch and home to Colorado’s second largest herd of elk, renting tent and trailer sites for $28/night until October 1st on Pitchup.com (pro tip: late summer and fall is the best time to catch unforgettable views of the Milk Way at Great Sand Dunes).
Selina La Fortuna – La Fortuna, Costa Rica
The cool and carefree glamping site Selina La Fortuna is minutes away from Costa Rica’s active Arenal Volcano and near the equator so visitors can catch a glimpse of both northern and southern constellations, as well as the rare Magellanic Clouds. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the two irregular and distant dwarf galaxies, which campers can see from December to April, in the 16th century, and stargazers have sought them out ever since. Selina La Fortuna is designed for free-spirited travelers with their heads in the stars, featuring a mural-splattered co-working space, outdoor pool, and A-framed tipis that rent for $40.68/night on Pitchup.com.