7 Luxury Stargazing Experiences In The U.S. To Book Now

Summer nights may be great for August’s Perseid meteor shower, but it’s hard to beat fall for stargazing. Longer, darker nights and the earlier rise of the bright stars of Perseus, Taurus and Orion make it the ideal time to indulge in one of the hottest trends in travel—astro-tourism.

Some planning is required. All stargazing trips should be taken only in the 10 or so nights before a new moon (and four nights after, no later!)—otherwise you’ll find the night skies feature a lot of bright moonlight, which makes stars hard to see. Always check the moon phases—if you don’t you’ll be underwhelmed.

Here are five luxury stargazing experiences across the U.S:

1. Castle Hot Springs, Arizona

When: Sept. 16, October 7.

Where: Natural hot springs in the Sonoran Desert

This luxury spa resort on a hill overlooking Lake Pleasant—one of Arizona’s largest—is holding stargazing events close to the next couple of new moons complete with an on-site astronomer and a powerful telescope. Or you can stargaze from the on-site geo-thermal hot springs. Castle Hot Springs is accessed via a seven-mile dirt road, though a private car service or helicopter can be arranged. Arrival and departure days are on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday only. From £1,800 per night, minimum stays apply. More information.

2. Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, Arizona

When: Every weekend, Friday and Saturday from 8-10 pm.

Where: Sedona, northern Arizona.

Sedona—an International Dark Sky Community where light-pollution is banned—has a reputation in astrotourism. Every weekend at Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock guests can enjoy complimentary stargazing sessions followed by fireside “S’more & Pour” pairings.

3. Desolation Hotel Hope Valley, California

When: anytime.

Where: south of Lake Tahoe in Alpine County in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

A rustic wilderness retreat with minimal light pollution, Desolation Hotel Hope Valley offers the “S’mores and Stargazing package” that equips guests with a an star chart, a telescope and the ingredients to make campfire s’mores. Daytime brings hiking, mountain biking, wildflower walks, kayaking and fly fishing.

4. The Drake Oak Brook, Illinois

When: anytime.

Where: west of Chicago

An English-style estate with huge gardens, The Drake Oak Brook offers a “Dessert by Starlight” experience with a star map, telescope, blankets and chairs beneath the wide-open, twinkling night sky. Plus a chef-inspired dessert and wine pairing, of course. It’s $75/person and reservations can be made here.

5. AutoCamp, Utah

When: October 14.

Where: Natural hot springs in the Sonoran Desert

A great place to stargaze is Zion National Park, but just to the south is Airstream glamping resort is AutoCamp Zion, which on Oct. 14 will have Zion Stargazing on site offering guided tours of the night sky. Earlier that day an 87% partial solar eclipse will be viewed, though just 100 miles or so to the north—at Panguitch or Parowan—a “ring of fire” will be visible (here’s a map of the “ring of fire” solar eclipse).From $450 per night.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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