This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy.

RV Astronomy Tips, Resources, and Dark Sky Campgrounds for Stargazing

Published on July 19th, 2023 by Marilyn McMeyer

Do you live an extraordinary RV life? Camping hobbies like stargazing can help make that happen. These basic RV astronomy tips will bring you closer to the stars and planets so that you can make the most of your RV lifestyle.

How Camping Under the Brilliant Stars Gets You Closer to Nature 

I hit the open road recently, and now the sky is the limit! That’s because RVing is living life to the fullest, wild and free. We get up close and personal with nature. When the day is done, we sit quietly in awe and wonder under the brilliant stars as amateur astronomers. 

No matter what stage of RV life you are in (full-timer, part-timer, or week-ender), you know you will be out under the stars on a clear night at some point. It’s what we do! Now is the time to incorporate yourself as an official amateur RV astronomer. Bring this camping hobby into your wheelhouse of things to know and do while you’re RVing. Here are some simple RV astronomy tips to get you started with a new, fascinating camping hobby.

Sign up for the newsletter today!

Please enter a valid email address.

An error occurred. Please try again later.

× logo

Thank you for subscribing to the RV Living newsletter, keep your eye on your inbox for updates.

RV Astronomy Tips for Your New Camping Hobby

Under the amateur astronomer umbrella, you’ll seek out stargazing subjects such as:

Observing solar eclipses safely
Understanding lunar eclipses
How to Find “Hubble News” about building a telescope that can see the unseen Universe.

Find out what RVers are saying about amateur astronomy
join the iRV2 Star Gazing Forum

Take time to learn about upcoming observation events like lunar and solar eclipses, meteor showers, comets, and conjunctions, and how to observe and photograph them. Find your inner astronomer and then reach out to others by joining an astronomy club. Join meet-ups as you travel.

Visit Astronomy Clubs in the USA to find local stargazing groups while you travel

Are you excited to be an official Amateur Astronomer yet? You are already halfway there just by living the extraordinary RV Life under the brilliant stars. Learn more about astronomy to redefine how you experience the night sky. Exploring the solar system can be very educational with or without a telescope.

You can use a smartphone stargazing app to explore the stars, planets, and constellations.

woman stargazing with smarphone app
Many great startgazing smartphone apps are available.

Later, maybe you’ll level up to your first portable telescope.

best portable telescope for beginner RV astronomers

Or at least check out the 7×50 binoculars, the best viewing you’ll get (range is similar to a small telescope).

beginner RV astronomer 7x10 binoculars

Then, when the day is done, we sit quietly in awe and wonder under the brilliant stars, we can call ourselves “Official Amateur Astronomers.” Remember to make a wish when you see that shooting star (or is it a meteor?). Let’s go!

Dark Sky Campgrounds Near the Best National Parks for Stargazing

Ever wonder where you are going next, or why? Are you bored with the same spots over and over? Have you lost your sense of purpose, excitement, and adventure? When you do a little research, and try out your new skills as an amateur RV astronomer, your new camping hobby will inspire you to follow the stars to darky sky parks and stargazing destinations. 

When we experience the joy of stargazing while RV camping, we can literally plan a trip based on things like the best time of year to see the stars, where to go to find the darkest skies at night, and the best-rated campgrounds for the experience.

Here are just a few RV campgrounds listed as known dark sky areas based on proximity to national parks that are considered Certified International Dark Sky Parks. You’ll find more dark sky RV parks in Under Lucky Stars, which features a national park ranking and stargazing score.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Shutterstock)

Pine Springs Campground. Salt Flat, Texas

Headed to Guadalupe Mountains National Park? This dark sky RV campground is big rig friendly. Call to verify the spot you want doesn’t have height restrictions due to tree overhang. Hiking trails are available at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park Visitors Center.

No hook-ups, but it does have clean bathrooms and potable water. This campground is located very close to Carlsbad, NM where a free dump station is available.

Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park (Shutterstock)

Stargazer Inn. Baker, Nevada

You know it’s a great stargazing spot just by the name of it! This dark sky RV destination (formerly known as Baker Fuel & RV) is another big rig friendly destination ranked as the #1 national park for stargazing. The campground has gravel parking and camping areas for guests During the cooler times of year, you can enjoy great trails to hike and bike during the day. In addition to RV sites, there is a general store and a little hotel.

Go inside the park to enjoy the best celestial viewing at Mather Overlook, located on a section of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Just don’t try it in winter, since the drive is closed from November to June. There’s a special stargazer treat if you go: The International Space Station flies overhead approximately every 93 minutes!

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde cliff dwellings (Shutterstock)
The park’s cliff dwellings are also spectacular.

Mesa Verde RV Resort. Mancos, Colorado

What a bonus for RV astronomers! Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park has over 32 nearby RV parks and campgrounds to choose from for your dark sky stargazing enjoyment. According to RV LIFE Campgrounds, Mesa Verde RV Resort tops the list. It’s big rig friendly with many premium spots for guests.

You’ll enjoy so many things to do during the day at this campground. Trails, art collections, archeological sites, cliff dwellings, and then the stars at night. It may be the best place to camp in Colorado!

More RV Astronomy Tips for Newbies

Before you go out under the stars as an Amateur Astronomer be sure to do the following:

  • Call the park to verify visitor center hours
  • Check for moon phases. The new moon phase is the best for stargazing, and the full moon phase is the worst.
  • Watch the weather forecast for cloudy skies, which make terrible stargazing nights.
    Wear your clothing in layers to keep warm at night.
  • Bring blankets or chairs (pillows for the RV roof perhaps?)
  • Carry 7×50 binoculars (the closet to a small telescope)
  • Get a star chart at the park’s visitor center or bookstore
  • Buy flashlight or headlamp with a red light setting to prevent light pollution at night
  • Check for road closures to dark sky destinations, which tend to be remote.
  • Finally, check for the best RV campgrounds both inside and outside of the park and reserve your campsite before you go.

Are you excited to get started as an official Amateur RV Astronomer? You are already halfway there as it is, just by living the extraordinary RV life under the brilliant stars!

Plan your next RV route to star-gazing destinations with RV LIFE Trip Wizard

RV LIFE Trip Wizard is the best RV trip planning app to find amazing resorts, campgrounds, RV destinations, and great dark sky destinations.

About the Author: