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Best time to travel to Pennsylvania

Stargazing

Pennsylvania offers perfect conditions for your stargazing adventure

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Last updated: by Nataliia Chaika
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It may come as a surprise, but most Americans have never seen a truly dark sky. Most cities in the US have too much light pollution and no conditions for quality star-watching. But sometimes, you can find a perfectly clear dark sky where you don't expect it. Let's see what Pennsylvania has in store for you.

Where to go stargazing

Pennsylvania is a state with multiple decent stargazing spots. Some of them are more popular, others are insider-kind-of-thing places. But all of them are great for sky-watching, whether you're a beginner or an experienced stargazer.

Cherry Springs Park

This park is most commonly known for having nothing there. Literally, there is a relatively small campground, a one-mile hiking trail, and a couple of fields. But before you ask, "Then why would you recommend it?" you should know that this absence of attractions is a good thing for a stargazing destination.

People intentionally go there for stargazing because a clear dark sky is just what you need to see as many stars as you can. Cherry Springs Park is actually one of the darkest spots on the East Coast and the darkest place in the state. Back in 2007, it even won the world's second international dark sky park award. What this means for you as a tourist is that you won't need any special equipment to see the stars. That's right, you don't have to bring a telescope, binoculars, or any other devices—watch the Milky Way and other stars with only your eyes.

Lyman Run State Park

Located only 18 miles from Cherry Springs Park, this place offers a clear stargazing spot. The park's territory is as much as 595 acres, meaning you can get a full view for your sky-watching endeavors. Lyman Run offers several camping options, some of them are modern, but others are rather rustic. During the day, you can also engage in other activities, like boating, hiking, swimming, and so on.

Raystown Lake

Raystown Lake, located in Huntingdon County, allows for escape from the bustling city life. Grab a blanket and relish the lake's panoramic views and the millions of stars on the dark-blue sky.

Ohiopyle State Park

Ohiopyle state park is mainly known for its rafting adventures, but its glory isn't limited to just sports. The park area offers overnight stay options for enthusiastic stargazers. You can watch the sky from your campsite or cottage, observing the fantastic constellations.

Michaux State Forest

Michaux State Forest is a more than 85,000 acre area, shared by Adams, Franklin, and Cumberland counties. Here, you can gaze at millions of constellations and, if you get lucky, you'll even spot the Milky Way. Just grab a blanket or a tent and choose an elevated spot to view the stars from.

When to go

The best season for stargazing in Pennsylvania is fall through spring. However, the best months for this experience are September through February. This time is commonly known as the "observing season." So take your loved ones, grab your favorite blanket, gas up your car, and head to Pennsylvania for a once-in-a-lifetime stargazing experience. And don't forget to book your accommodation beforehand!