Van Gogh’s “Starry, Starry Night was surely inspired by the darkest of skies with the brightest of stars. When it was painted in June of 1889 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, there wasn’t such a thing as light pollution or the ‘Bortle Scale’ which rates evening skies on a scale of 1 to 9 for optimal star gazing darkness. The whole East Coast lights that can be seen from space, scores a dismal 7 with the exception of northern Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains with an impressive darkness rating of 2!


Northwestern Pennsylvania night skies have been rated among the darkest in the Northeast. PC Tioga County CVB

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Part of the romance of camping is the chance to sleep under the stars. But due to the ever-growing light pollution in this country, campgrounds with really stellar stargazing are rare. On average, city residents can only see a handful of stars. People living in really rural areas may be able to see a couple thousand. But there are a few spots left in the country where you’ll be able to see up to 10,000 stars (and maybe even some planets!) with just the naked eye. It can hardly be surprising that the best sites can be found within our national parks, where civilization is kept at bay. One of best ways to choose a stargazing destination is to find a Dark Sky Park. Parks can be certified a Dark Sky Park on a national and international level. With that in mind, here are a few of the best spots in the US to see the stars:


Pennsylvania’s Cherry Springs State Park


Image Courtesy here


This Pennsylvania State Park is the darkest and most remote spot east of the Mississippi. The high elevation and the fact that the viewing field is on a plateau means that you’ll have a 360-degree view of the skies around you– perfect for stellar stargazing! It was the first park to be certified as Dark Sky in the US and the second in the world. On a clear night, you’ll be able to see ten thousand stars and have a vivid view of the Milky Way. There are easily accessible viewing areas if you only want to visit for a few hours, or you could spend the night in one of the park’s campsites. One of the most popular events is the Black Forest Star Party, which attracts hundreds of astronomers every year.


California’s Death Valley National Park


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We began the first leg of our trip through the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state with a visit to the Waterfront at Potlach RV Park. Today we continue on with our trip visiting Grayland Beach State Park. We arrive after a leisurely 80-mile drive and still have the majority of the day ahead of us. This is the beauty of exploring the Olympic Peninsula, as camping destinations and places to visit are within short proximity to one another.

After we set up camp, we hop into the truck and make our way down the road to the city of Westport.  According to the Chamber of Commerce, we learn that Westport bills itself as the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World.” That was not surprising to us as the marina was full of some pretty big fishing boats. The Westport Marina is also a great place to set your crab pots and pull in buckets of Dungeness crab. Crabbing, not fishing was our activity of the afternoon and we could hardly wait.


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