Every year the Perseid meteor shower provides some of the most spectacular heavenly lightshows to grace the night skies of the United States - unfortunately if you’re in the city, you may only catch a dim ghost of the glory that the Perseids can display, but you don’t have to live out in the sticks to get a great view of this once-a-year wonder. Picking up an RV rental from somewhere like Las Vegas, Phoenix or Salt Lake City and heading out to one of America’s many remote national parks will give you front row seats, so to speak, to one of the greatest shows on earth.
This year the Perseid meteor show is particularly spectacular with some of the best shower visibility in several years, so it’s worth making an effort to go somewhere you can really appreciate the show. Not all national parks are created equal when it comes to stargazing however. Below you’ll find a handful of spots which have been acknowledged as official Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association - perfect for enjoying the Perseids in all their splendour. Don’t wait long to book your stargazing trip though - the Perseid meteor shower won’t be visible for too much longer.
If you’re really committed to finding the best skyscape in the country, you can’t do much better than Big Bend National Park. This Texan park set in the Chihuahuan Desert is one of the largest, most remote and least visited national parks in the US and its distance from major centres means that the stargazing here is absolutely phenomenal. There are three different campgrounds to choose from, all of which accommodate RVs: Rio Grande Village, Chisos Basin and Cottonwood Campground.
Can you imagine anything more majestic than stars raining down from the sky above the Grand Canyon? Neither can I. Most visitors to the Grand Canyon head there during the day, but if you can manage to grab a spot for an overnight stay, a whole new side to the Grand Canyon National Park will reveal itself. Picking up an RV rental in Las Vegas will have you at this internationally famed spot in just a few hours.
It’s not just the western deserts that have all the good stargazing opportunities. Set in the expansive Susquehannock State Forest of Pennsylvania, Cherry Springs State Park is one of the best places in the eastern US to gaze up into the night sky. There are a number of campsites available, but don’t expect fancy electric hookups - they’d just ruin the view anyway.
Although it’s possibly more famous for having the second-largest natural bridge in the world, Natural Bridges National Monument in southeastern Utah is also known for its near-total lack of light pollution. There’s just one 13-site campground available so don’t forget to call ahead to make sure you can secure a spot. An RV rental from Salt Lake City will have you arriving at Natural Bridges in about half a day.
This is another one for East Coast residents. Staunton River State Park is a beautiful place of forests and meadows set in the heart of southern Virginia, and has been growing in popularity with stargazing aficionados. Even if you can’t make it to the see the Perseids this year, put the Staunton River Star Party on your calendar - you won’t want to miss the chance to get together with fellow stargazers and see some of the best sights that the heavens have to offer.