Ever wanted to spend a night sitting under thousands of twinkling stars? Well, that’s what stargazing is all about! Thousands of summer vacationers take advantage of stargazing sites around the country each year. Many states have vast, wide-open areas that allow for a brilliant night sky, and Pennsylvania stargazing is amongst the best. Of the 10 most amazing places for stargazing around the world, Cherry Springs State Park stargazing in North-Central Pennsylvania actually comes in at magnificent #5.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to book your Pennsylvania stargazing road trip
and experience the breathtaking views of the night sky.
Tips on Making Your Stargazing Experience Memorable
Most summer vacationers are stargazing beginners
. Our best advice? Start by just looking up. See what you can take in with your own two eyes and go from there. For additional assistance, here’s a quick list of some of the basics
- Bring proper tools. This includes your clear vision and powerful binoculars or telescopes.
- Know what to look for. Research common stars, constellations, planets, the Milky Way, and the moon before heading out.
- Move away from city and street lights. Excess light can dim lesser stars and planets.
- Find a clear spot. A good tip for finding a location is to set up camp where you can see the horizon.
- Check the weather. Stargazing is best on clear nights.
Those traveling across the state may want to make a whole vacation out of stargazing in PA and stop at several venues. Luckily, we have a list of the best stargazing spots across Pennsylvania for you to visit along your journey.
Best Locations for Stargazing in Philadelphia
Finding a great site for stargazing
in a major metropolis isn’t always easy. However, despite the radiant light coming from the city, there are still plenty of locations to view the cosmos in the night sky.
New Hope-Lambertville Bridge
Pennsylvania stargazing and Philadelphia’s revolutionary past come together in this quaint spot. Besides Philadelphia being home to our revolutionary government, it has the famous Delaware River that George Washington crossed on Christmas night in 1776.
The specific stargazing spot in PA is on the bridge that connects New Hope, Pennsylvania to Lamberton, New Jersey. A person standing on the bridge gets a breathtaking view of the night sky while looking down on the powerful beauty of the mighty Delaware.
The Franklin Institute
Novice stargazers may enjoy interacting with the celestial night sky by using some serious astronomical equipment. If that’s the case, head on over to the Bloom Observatory located on the Franklin Institute
This observatory features the 10-inch Zeiss refractor and four Celestron CPC 800 GPS computerized telescopes, along with an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain model. This gear provides vacationers with outstanding views of stars, planets, and even galaxies while stargazing in PA. Set up camp nearby at the Philadelphia South / Clarksboro KOA Holiday
for an all-immersive experience.
Best Locations for Stargazing in Allentown
The Lehigh Valley is Allentown’s best area for stargazing. Many stargazers prefer to be outdoors under the night sky, but there are a couple of sites here that offer a slightly more “professional” experience.
South Mountain Big Rock Park
This site is home to the Lehigh Valley Astronomy Society. The park itself is 77 beautiful acres that house the South Mountain Observatory
and have plenty of areas for RV camping
. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the excellent views of the entire night sky as well as nearly all of Southern Lehigh County.
Allentown School District Planetarium
This refurbished planetarium is now referred to as the Learning Dome. In addition to occasional opportunities to stargaze, it offers shows about the night sky, the moon, and the oceans. The professional staff of school board members, administrators, and teachers direct all the shows. You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to learn more about the night sky!
For the best RV rentals in Allentown, head to the nearest Cruise America location and get the transportation you need for stargazing in PA.
Best Locations for Stargazing in Pittsburgh
When people think of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is often the first city to come to mind. This popular location comes with its own set of unique and interesting fun facts.
- The city has been dubbed “Steel City” for its rich history in the steel business.
- It’s known as the “City of Bridges”, boasting over 400 of these stunning structures.
- You’ll find three mighty rivers converging here — the Allegheny, the Monogahela, and the Ohio.
And last, but certainly not least, it has a couple of perfect spots for Pennsylvania stargazing.
Carnegie Science Center
The Henry Buhl, Jr. Planetarium & Observatory
offers an excellent stargazing experience. There are sessions several days a week at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Even on cloudy days, you can enjoy a virtual tour of the stars from this beautiful observatory. Park your RV at the Washington / Pittsburgh SW KOA Journey
and head to the observatory for the day.
A neighborhood located between the 15212 and 15214 zip codes, Perry North is a good general area for stargazing. Home to the highest point in Pittsburgh, you can enjoy the landscape of the city in Riverview Park. Located 1,370 feet in the air, you’ll find the Allegheny Observatory
. It provides outstanding views of not only the starry skies but also of downtown Pittsburgh and the Ohio River Valley.
For these locations, check out Cruise America’s nearest location to get the RV that’s right for stargazing in PA.
Best Locations for Stargazing in Harrisburg
Pennsylvania stargazing is even a popular pastime in the state capital. It’s a city rich in history, having played important roles in the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. Located on the banks of the Susquehanna River, there are several areas where the night skies open up to stargazers.
Astronomical Society of Harrisburg (ASH)
The Naylor Observatory
is broken into four separate observatories and provides more of a professional experience. It’s home to a variety of telescopes with different kinds and strengths. Admission to these locations is free, so your family can affordably view the night sky
. There are ASH members at every telescope to assist stargazing beginners along the way.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park
This stargazing location is less than an hour from downtown Harrisburg and away from the glare of the city lights. In addition to being a perfect Pennsylvania stargazing location, this park is a tribute to the nature and history of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It consists of two beautiful mountain lakes and the Appalachian Trail
, which a person can hike or explore on a bike. It also includes several family-oriented campsites
You can find great RV transportation near these locations with Cruise America.
Best Locations for Stargazing in Erie
The dark skies above Erie
are great for stargazing. Most of the area is set back from the excessive lighting of the cities, so you don’t have to worry about city lights distorting the view. The combination of the dark skies and the celestial clarity brings to life thousands of stars and astronomical phenomena.
Cherry Springs State Park
Cherry Springs State Park
stargazing is simply the best that Pennsylvania has to offer. This location consists of 82 beautiful acres of land surrounded by the Susquehannock State Forest
, perfect for an RV camping trip or trying your hand at dispersed camping
. Erie’s dark skies over this wide-open vista make for unmatched views of stars, planets, and galaxies. The state park trail is nearby, allowing visitors to hike and backpack as part of their experience as well.
No stargazing PA road trip would be complete without a stop at Sara’s Campground
. Located on the shores of Lake Erie, it has one of the signature stargazing experiences in the state. Visitors can watch the sunset and reflect over the lake as the dark skies, star clusters, and galaxies take their places. This location has over 100 campsites, public beaches, and many other attractions that make it a must-see destination.
Head Out on a Starry Adventure in a Cruise America RV
Pennsylvania has some of the darkest skies on the entire eastern seaboard. As such, there are numerous first-rate stargazing spots throughout the state. Cruise America has the transportation and all the information you need to make Pennsylvania stargazing a part of an epic family road trip. Contact Cruise America
today and get your RV pointed in the right direction!