20 RV Campsites and Dark Sky Parks for Stargazing

Winter night in Joshua Tree National Park
••• Joshua Bury Photography/Getty Images

The romance of an RV trip is that you can park up almost anywhere in the country and enjoy the natural surrounding, including a gorgeous starry sky. Here are some campsites that offer spectacular views of  thousands of stars in the night sky.

The Best RV Destinations for Stargazing

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

The campsites in this state park are nice, but it is the dark skies here that make it attractive to stargazers, and you will often find plenty of others coming here for the beautiful night skies too.

Surrounded by a state forest and being above 2,300 feet above sea level on a plateau, this is ideally located for those looking to go hiking during the day, while there is plenty of wildlife in the area too.

Clayton Lake State Park, New Mexico

High in the hills of New Mexico, this state park benefits from dark skies and an observatory near the lake itself, and there are some lovely campsites for you to relax and enjoy the skies above. Another benefit of visiting the park is there are actually the tracks of dinosaurs that have been preserved in prehistoric mud that can also be seen here.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico

This park is mainly located around the ruins of an indigenous civilization where you can see some of the historic buildings and the petroglyphs on the rocks surrounding the campsite. The night skies here are dark and clear for stargazing, although it is worth noting that only RVs up to 35 feet can be accommodated on this rural site.

Gilbert Bay Campground, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona

Although Kitt Peak itself doesn't allow any camping, the Gilbert Bay campground is a great option nearby that has the benefit of good stargazing surroundings. To keep the surroundings dark, there are no wood fires allowed. However, there are electricity hook-ups and water available on site.

Black Rock Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, California

The campsites at this national park will only accommodate RVs of 25 feet or less, and there are no electrical hook-ups here, but this campground does have flushing toilets and potable water. The altitude of over 4,000 feet makes for a good stargazing spot, and with the nearest city over 300 miles away, there is very little light pollution to impair the view.

Schoodic Woods Campground, Acadia National Park, Maine

This coastal area of Maine enjoys beautiful coastal cliffs and some great mountain peaks that make exploring during the day a great experience, while the campground offers some good sites for those traveling with RVs. The remote location provides good low levels of light pollution, although the coastal location means that there are quite a few cloudy nights here.

Mackinaw City / Mackinac Island KOA, The Headlands, Michigan

This rural coastal park doesn't have any camping, but the nearest RV spot is less than five miles away, and you can enter this national stargazing area 24 hours a day, so camping a short distance away isn't too much of a problem. Internationally recognized for great stargazing, the minimal light pollution and quiet surroundings make for a magical place to enjoy the stars.

Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley National Park

There are great views of the Milky Way to be enjoyed from the park, and there are stargazing programs offered by park rangers during the winter and spring when the sky is at its best from the park. The RV sites range from the basic ones to those with water and electrical hook-ups, while there is a package that you can take with the ranch's resort for access to activities and facilities during the day too.

Point Supreme Campground, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

This beautiful area is great for hiking in spruce forests at lower areas and in open rocky areas higher up, while the presence of a Dark Sky Park means this is ideal for those looking to enjoy some great stargazing conditions. Over the summer, the campground also has ranger-led educational programs between Fridays and Sundays at 9 pm, which can include a guide to the astronomical sights as well as the natural surroundings.​

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, Borrego Springs, California

Located in an area of California which has over 600,000 acres of desert, and 500 miles of desert roads, this is certainly a good spot to get a dark sky at night, and even the local authorities try to minimize light pollution with dimmed road lights too. The campground has some running water and showers and provides a nice spot to park up your RV.

Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge, Big Pine Key, Florida

One of the only places in the United States where you can see the Southern Cross constellation, this is a wonderful spot for stargazers and is in a location that is beautiful both day and night. As the name of the campground suggests, plenty of people also come here for the fishing, with the waterfront sites here being particularly nice.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

13 campgrounds are located around the park, with each having a maximum size of 26 feet for any RVs staying here, and at an average of around 6,500 feet above sea level, provides a good spot to get a look into the atmosphere. This was the first International Dark Sky Park in the world, and provides world-class stargazing, with the rocky surroundings providing some great photographic opportunities too.

Riley Creek Campground, Denali National Park And Preserve, Alaska

The big draw for this national park is that not only is it great for stargazing, but the chance to view the Northern Lights in the sky in Alaska is much better than the chances of seeing the lights in the other forty-nine states. The campground is free in winter, and the woods in the area offer some privacy to most of the sites here.

Chisos Basin Campground, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Located in a basin surrounded by high rocky cliffs at 5,400 feet above sea level, this campground is near some great hiking trails if you are here for the day and night, along with being great for stargazing. The park has one of the lowest rates of light pollution in the country, and the view of the Milky Way on a clear night makes this a stunning place to enjoy the night sky.

Sunset Campground, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Those who have the patience have counted over 7,500 individual stars visible from the park on a moonless night, and there are regular nights hosted by the Astronomy Rangers of the park if you are looking to learn more about stargazing. There are no hook-ups for RVs available in the park, but there is potable water and a dump station.

Rocky Knob Campground, Blue Ridge, Virginia

This site is actually located on a road section of over 450 miles with several great stargazing outlooks where the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye on a good night, and passing from Virginia into North Carolina there are plenty of places to enjoy the sky here.

Many Glacier Campground, Glacier National Park, Montana

Near the border with Canada, light pollution is almost eliminated, and even the nearest town has rules about light pollution to maintain the conditions here. The skies are amazing on a clear night, and reveal many constellations, while there are also 700 miles of hiking trails. Sites can deal with RVs up to 33 feet in length, and there is potable water and flushing toilets available.

Parashant National Monument, Arizona

Home to the newest Dark Sky Park in the United States, this site near the Grand Canyon offers some spectacular surroundings from which to enjoy fabulous stargazing, with over 150 clear nights every year. Camping here is primitive, but visitors can choose their own campsite, meaning true peace and quiet in the spots that you can find.

Cedar Pass Campground, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Offering electrical hook-ups and with showers and toilets available, the campground is a nice place to relax in a very rural area. Stargazing is great here, and there are even programs run by the park that will allow you to join a group and use their telescopes if you do not have your own available.

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

There are five campgrounds within the park, all of which have simple sites but no hook-ups, with all of them offering good options for enjoying the night sky. There are regular astronomy events held in the park if you would prefer to share your stargazing, while the panoramic views of the sky are truly spectacular.