With the nickname “The Show-Me State,” it comes as no surprise that Missouri is full of natural treasures. Although the state has several large, densely populated cities, its abundance of wide-open public land and clear skies makes it a wonderful — if not pleasantly surprising — destination for stargazing.
Whether you’re on a solo journey seeking solitude or camping with your family, there’s nothing quite like taking some time to unplug and simply marvel at the night sky. Here, we’re sharing the best places for stargazing in Missouri and some tips to make the experience even better.
Tips for Stargazing in Missouri
- For the best viewing opportunities, head out of town. There’s often substantially less light pollution just 20-30 minutes outside major cities.
- Pay attention to the moon cycle and avoid stargazing in Missouri when there’s a large, bright moon. Instead, aim for the first few days of the cycle when the moon is in a new phase.
- Dress in layers and always bring a packable rain jacket — Missouri has notoriously unpredictable weather.
- Bring bug spray. Many of the best locations for stargazing in Missouri are near water and oftentimes, water = bugs.
- Missouri has made a special effort to get more people out stargazing. You can rent telescopes or binoculars for FREE through many city and county organizations, like the St. Louis County Library.
- Consider camping in your RV overnight so you can stargaze in comfort and not worry about driving home in the middle of the night.
Best Locations for Stargazing in St. Louis
It’s often difficult to find skies free of light pollution in major metropolitan areas. Thankfully, however, there are actually several places to go stargazing in St. Louis.
You can’t talk about stargazing St. Louis without mentioning Brommelsiek Park. Just 40 minutes from downtown St. Louis, this one-of-a-kind park has a large dedicated Astronomy Viewing Area. The viewing area is open 24 hours a day year-round, and the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri (ASEM) hosts free public viewing parties every Friday night.
Gateway Arch National Park
One of the most iconic landmarks in the country also happens to be one of the best destinations for stargazing in Missouri. Every summer, Gateway Arch National Park hosts a series of educational and interactive Gateway to the Stars events. Most events are themed and feature an astronomy lesson and tour. There are several telescopes set up for attendees to use.
Washington State Park
About an hour from St. Louis on the Big River, you’ll find skies dark and clear enough that you can regularly see the Milky Way with the naked eye. Washington State Park is unquestionably one of the best places for stargazing near St. Louis, but it’s also renowned for its abundance of ancient petroglyphs.
Danville Conservation Area
With wide-open views and fantastic scenery, it’s easy to see why Danville Conservation Area is a favorite for stargazing in Missouri. In fact, this heavily wooded area is a wildly popular destination for astronomy enthusiasts and photographers. It’s about 80 miles from St. Louis, but it’s easily accessible as it’s right off Interstate 70.
RV Parks Nearby: Jellystone Park Resort at Six Flags and the Historic Route 66 KOA Holiday
Consider picking up a Cruise America rental RV in Kansas City and road-tripping across the state, stopping to boondock along the way!
Best Locations for Stargazing in Kansas City
Much like St. Louis, it takes just a bit of effort and planning to find some of the best stargazing in Missouri in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Weston Bend State Park
According to DarkSkyMissouri.org, Weston Bend State Park is one of the darkest areas in the state — perfect for stargazing near Kansas City. Situated on the Missouri River just 30 minutes outside of Kansas City, this picturesque park offers a paved hiking and biking trail, plenty of picnic and campsites, and incredible unobstructed views of the stars. The best stargazing spots are along the riverbank and at scenic overlooks.
Although technically in Kansas, the Powell Observatory is just 25 miles from the heart of the metro area and offers up some of the best stargazing in Kansas City. The observatory is owned and managed by the Astronomical Society of Kansas City (ASKC), and events are held year-round, both indoors and out.
Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site
If you’re up for an easy day or overnight trip, Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site has something for everyone. It’s widely considered one of Missouri’s most scenic areas, and it has plenty of expansive viewing areas perfect for stargazing. The park’s crown jewel is Williams Creek Lake, which you can fish or paddle. Or, make use of the trail encircling it — but keep your eyes open for wildlife, as deer and wild turkey sightings are extremely common here!
Battle of Lexington State Historic Site
Aside from being a fascinating place to visit in general, the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site is an exceptionally dark, wide-open area with clear skies perfect for stargazing near Kansas City. So perfect, that the ASKC hosts regular stargazing programs here open to the public.
RV Parks Nearby: Worlds of Fun Village and Smith’s Fork Campground
Picking up a Cruise America RV in Kansas City will make your Missouri stargazing experience even easier and more comfortable!
Best Locations for Ozarks Stargazing
The Ozarks offer visitors an abundance of natural beauty. From winding roads to the Lake of the Ozarks there is plenty to explore. It also is known for clear night skies making it a great place to go stargazing in Missouri.
Situated in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways where the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers flow, you’ll find the tiny community of Alley Spring. Here, there is practically no light pollution and the night sky seems to stretch on forever. If you’re looking for Ozark stargazing, here it is! Simply bring a lawn chair and find a patch of grass, or attend one of the NPS “Stars in the Night Sky” programs during the summer.
Robert E. Talbot Conservation Area
Just outside one of Missouri’s major metropolitan areas, Springfield, you’ll find some of the darkest, clearest skies in the state. The Talbot Conservation Area, located right along historic Route 66, is a major birdwatching area with several wide-open, preserved spaces. Bring a flashlight or headlamp and pick any one of the many trailheads for some of the area’s best stargazing opportunities.
RV Parks Nearby: Riverview RV Park and Cooks RV Motor Park
With so much to see while you’re stargazing in Missouri, it makes sense to pick up a rental RV in Kansas City and road-trip your way down to the Ozarks!
Enjoy Your Missouri Stargazing Adventure in a Cruise America RV
So, when and where exactly are you planning to go stargazing in Missouri? It’s clear there are several great options, regardless of which part of the state you want to visit! Any one of Cruise America’s modern RV rentals will only enhance the experience, keeping you warm and comfortable — and allowing you to stargaze right from camp! Contact Cruise America today!