One of the coolest things about RVing is the ability to hop off the beaten path and fall asleep to starry-filled skies that aren’t visible to urban dwellers. Roadtripping the U.S. puts a plethora of authentic Dark Sky Places at your fingertips. Dark Sky Places are internationally recognized spots where you can see the most universe anywhere on this side of planet earth.
And with astronomical autumn upon us, there’s no better time to start planning an RV trip to a Dark Sky Place. Astronomical autumn begins in late September and brings with it perfect opportunities to spot stellar night skies. One big example is Jupiter because Jupiter reaches opposition in late September. Opposition happens when a planet appears opposite of the sun from the perspective of the Earth. This means you’ll be able to see the planet more brilliantly than at any other time of the year — even more so if you hang your hat at a Dark Sky Place.
We put together this ultimate road-tripping list of dark sky spots because we think RV trips are the best way to take in these night skies. Let’s dig in to see where to catch the Milky Way and more from coast to coast.
- Big Bend National Park — This desert oasis at the southern tip of Texas combines huge surface area with spectacular canyon formations. Its remote location coupled with crystal clear air make it an ideal night sky viewing spot — it’s little wonder this park tops most any stargazer’s list.
RVing to Big Bend affords you the opportunity to camp in remote spots where it’ll just be you and the stars. Check out these RVs for rent near Big Bend.
- Glacier National Park — Known as the Crown of the Continent, this alpine national park combines high elevations with totally remote settings for some of the world’s best night sky viewing.
As an RVing and camping paradise, there are plenty of places to park and take it all in. These are some of our favorite RVs for rent near Glacier.
- Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument — Located in north central Maine, this monument is also home to the state’s tallest mountain. This remote area is 87,550 acres in size and features many spots to park your RV near rivers, forests, and scenic roadways.
- Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota — This park doubles as one of the best places in the country to see the Northern Lights and pristine night skies.
On top of epic skies, Voyageurs is a web of intertwined waterways that make this place an outdoorsy dream. Be sure to pack your paddleboard or kayak on the RV to fully take this place in!
This hip teardrop camper for rent near the park can be towed by just about anything while you soak in Voyageurs.
- Rappahannock County Park, Virginia — This county park is one of the few places on the heavily populated east coast where you can see shimmering night skies. Though a county park, its location at the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains and proximity to the Appalachian Trail make it a must for a dark sky road trip.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado — This park in south central Colorado boasts the tallest dunes in North America and some of the lowest light pollution anywhere in the world.
You could park your RV in one of the thousands of camp spots in this vast park to enjoy star-filled night skies with full moonlight and massive dunes as a backdrop.
Go full retro by renting this 1986 Blue Bird Wanderlodge to enjoy the dunes in style.
- Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Florida — As one of the few dark sky locations in Florida, this enormous stretch of grassland is dominated by blue skies that turn into a sea of stars at night.
The park has well-developed RV sites, equestrian camping sites, tent-only locations, and even astronomy sites where you’ll be able to see planets, stars, and other celestial bodies right over your camper.
Here are some RVs for rent near the preserve.
- Crater Lake National Park, Oregon — Imagine looking out over one of America’s deepest lakes while it reflects a starry night sky.
Crater Lake’s skies — combined with diverse wildlife, beautiful vistas, and mind-bending hikes — are what make this such a special place for a night-sky road trip.
Soak it all in from the windows of something like this Chevy Roadtrek camper van for rent on Outdoorsy.
- New Mexico Cosmic Campground — Located in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, this campground is one of the few places recognized as a Dark Sky Sanctuary. Designation as a sanctuary means it is in one of the most remote locations of any of the dark sky spots.
Cosmic Campground was established specifically for campers to enjoy the natural wonder of this space. These RVs are available for rent near the Cosmic Campground.
- Death Valley National Park — Death Valley was the backdrop for Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine in Star Wars, so it’s little wonder that it’d make our ultimate list of dark sky spots.
Spend the day enjoying hot springs, sand dunes, or hiking through the desert backcountry before you retire for an awe-filled night of star-packed vistas.
Rent something like this cute teardrop to enjoy it all in comfort and style.
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado — The result of two million years of natural weathering, this highly-underrated national park offers a breathtaking canyon, epic hikes, and raging rivers all in one spot.
The park’s abundance of camping opportunities means you can park it in various locations to soak in a galaxy-filled sky.
Rent a self-contained motorhome like this one for a star-packed trip.
- Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado — This 211,000-acre monument spanning from Colorado to Utah is as remote as it is vast. It’s packed with scenic canyons, dinosaur fossils, and campgrounds where you can post up for night sky viewing.
Rent this Jeep Gladiator with a Rooftent to get anywhere and everywhere in this vast monument.
- Mammoth Cave National Park — Situated in a remote part of Kentucky, Mammoth Cave is one of the world’s newest International Dark Sky Parks. It’s also home to one of the longest cave systems in the world.
After a day spent enjoying the caves and the park’s beautiful rolling country hills, soak in stars that are unobstructed by city lights. The park also features two campgrounds large enough to fit RVs up to 40 feet in length.
This fifth-wheel for rent on Outdoorsy would fit in perfectly at Mammoth Cave!
- Boundary Waters — This system of interconnected water highways in Northern Minnesota is a canoeing and camping paradise. It also happens to be one of the best places in the world to enjoy night skies.
After a full day on the water, retire to your campground to soak in views of the northern lights and the Milky Way.
Check out these RVs for rent near the Boundary Waters.
RVing offers the opportunity to sleep in places that would otherwise go unseen because of their remoteness. Dark Sky Places are prime examples of the sorts of spots that are best explored via a camping road trip. The list above is your ticket to taking in things like the Milky Way in all its glory, planets like Jupiter in opposition to the sun, and a universe of stars that city dwellers don’t see at home.