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Dark Sky Vacations that will Delight the Family
Dark sky is not something most children growing up in the city or suburbs are familiar with, even low light pollution levels create a lot of glow. Wide open spaces during the day are beautiful places to enjoy the view, but at night the star littered sky and Milky Way steal the show. Dark sky locations all over the world have been recognized for their work to both recognize and preserve these locations, and it is important that children know of them and can see the beauty in the sky for themselves. If you are interested in taking kids to an astro-destination, dark sky vacations are a great way to introduce them to stargazing, astrophotography, nature and space.
NATURAL BRIDGES NATIONAL MONUMENT IN UTAH
The Natural Bridge National monument and the park around it make up some of the darkest skies in the United States. Groups of photographers regularly head out to this are to take advantage of the absence of light in order to capture the magnificent views of the sky at night.
The viewing here is so good, there are several national and research observatories set up in the field all around here. Because of its status as a national monument there are several camping and outdoor recreation activities that can be enjoyed nearby. Telescopes and binoculars are not needed because there will be plenty to view with only the naked eye.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK IN TEXAS
Another nationally protected dark sky designated apace, Big Bend National Park is part of the Chihuahuan Desert that extends deep into Mexico. Viewing can be enjoyed from several great vantage points all along the canyons. Day hikes, horseback riding, rafting or canoeing on the Rio Grande and dinosaur excavation finds can all be used to put together a great vacation where everyone says the stars shine brightest.
The list of dark sky vacation communities is short, because where there are more people there is more light. Sedona (pictured above) however, is one of the newest additions to the list and its natural beauty and easy to find cultural and outdoor recreation possibilities make it a great dark sky destination with kids. You don’t have to go far to reach a spectacular viewing spot, but if you enjoy hiking or biking, there are several well established trails that kids of all ages can use to reach the best nighttime stargazing areas with rock formations in the background that leave you feeling like you are in outer space.
THE HEADLANDS IN MICHIGAN
If a lake vacation sounds appealing, head out to The Headlands, a county park located in northern Michigan, along the Lake Michigan Lakeshore. This protected coastline has resulted in little development and incredible viewing conditions. When near, or out on the water for stargazing at night, the reflection is magical. During the days, beaches abound, lake islands wait to be explored and country towns cater to guests passing through.