You know how the song goes: “The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas.” Well, maybe you’re too young to remember that tune, but it’s true, the stars ARE big and bright at night in Texas! Which is why Texas is one of the best places for stargazing. Take a look for yourself. First, you need to get out of the light-polluted cities and into some perfect dark-sky spots in the Lone Star state to see the brightest twinkles. A great resource is the Dark Skies Program, from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
For all you astronomy lovers, constellation watchers, and just folks who love stargazing, here are some of our favorite spots for stargazing in Texas. Don’t forget to check the weather!
1. Garner State Park
In the city of Concan, next to the chilly (great swimming on hot Texas days) spring-fed Frio River, is Garner State Park. This is a picturesque park with plenty to see and do! This is easily one of the best places for stargazing in Texas. You can also have a late-night dinner picnic with friends, or do a guided hike with one of Garner’s expert rangers, which will include some vivid night sky views as you ascend some of the trails. Garner has been a favorite camping and hiking destination for Texans far and wide.
Address: 234 RR 1050, Concan, TX 78838
2. Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site
Located in Comstock, Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site is home to quite a variety of hiking and mountain bike trails. With some spectacular rock overhangs caused by erosion, the night sky makes it even more spectacular! At the Fate Bell Shelter site, check out some of the oldest Native American petroglyphs in the country, but stay until nightfall to catch a night sky so rich, dark, and deep it almost feels like time has stood still here.
Address: US-90, Comstock, TX 78837
3. Big Bend Ranch State Park
For THE darkest night skies in the state, Big Bend Ranch State Park, another West Texas favorite and near the border of Mexico, is a must-visit. This park literally sits in the darkest area of the state. The International Dark-Sky Association designated the large park a gold tier Dark Sky Park in 2018. The best spots for stargazing in this Texas location are along River Road, at the West Contrabando Trailhead, Big Hill and the Hoodoos. These spots offer explosive views and are accessible by any vehicle. Come visit!
Address: 1900 South Saucedo, Presidio, TX 79845
4. Devil’s River State Natural Area
For peace and solitude and some of the best, clearest, and darkest night skies in Texas, head west again. Devils River State Natural Area in Del Norte, just over 30 miles from Del Rio, sits on vast acres and miles of… nothingness! That’s why, with barely any light pollution from anywhere, the stargazing is among some of the most stunning in the state. Set up camp and marvel at the views, lovely hikes, and stargazing at the vastness of the Texas night sky. You’ll want to return again and again.
Address: 21715 Dolan Creek Rd, Del Rio, TX 78840
5. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
In Fredericksburg, Central Texas, is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. This is a beautiful park with photo ops around every corner, and hiking trails and views to die for. Enchanted Rock is designated as a Dark Zone so the night skies are vast and deeply dark, and the stars you see are amazing. You’ll see bright twinkles and constellations you’ve never seen before. With clean and well-maintained campgrounds, Enchanted Rock is a great choice for families with children. Come camp!
Address: 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
6. Copper Breaks State Park
In Quanah Texas, go check out Copper Breaks State Park, a sweet little park and the perfect place to “get away from it all,” and escape the noise of the cities. The nice clean facilities make it a great choice for camping. With easy walking and hiking trails, and a picturesque little lake for swimming and fishing. It’s also a great place for families to connect with nature. Of course, the night hikes and Texas stargazing are a must! With dark skies and vivid star-watching, bring your blankets and gaze into the twinkling sky!
Address: 777 State Hwy Park Rd 62, Quanah, TX 79252
7. Lake Livingston State Park
North of Houston is Lake Livingston State Park. Nestled among the pines on the shores of Lake Livingston, this picturesque and lovingly maintained park is another must-visit! You can camp here or rent one of their cute cabins. You may go stargazing on your own as you stroll and hike the scenic Texas trails, or take one of their guided tours, “Star Stories,” with one of their experienced rangers. Rangers will show you some of the most visible constellations and tell the stories behind them. There may even be an opportunity to view any visible planets or nebulae through a telescope!
Address: 300 State Park Rd 65, Livingston, TX 77351
8. Dinosaur Valley State Park
Walk the same paths as the dinosaurs in this 20 miles of scenic hiking trails and walking paths. You can also camp, picnic, mountain bike, swim and fish in the river, watch for wildlife, look for a geocache, ride your horse, or visit their fascinating interpretive center. With so many things to do, this park is a must for families and people with a spirit of adventure. Want to find dino tracks? Just head to the river! Once the sun sets, get cozy and gaze at the bright stars that twinkled overhead millions of years ago.
Address: 1629 Park Rd 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043
9. McDonald Observatory
In Fort Davis, on Mt. Locke in West Texas, is the McDonald Observatory. This large observatory is a part of the University of Texas Austin. The facility aims to educate, inform, and inspire visitors to the wonders of our vast universe. The Visitors Center is your starting point for all public programs. Inside, exhibits explain what astronomers do at the observatory. Fascinating programs include daily tours of the large research telescopes and Star Parties under some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States!
Address: 3640 Dark Sky Dr, Fort Davis, TX 79734
10. Lost Maples State Natural Area
In Vanderpool, stunning Lost Maples State Natural Area is a must – day or night! Just as the name implies, this park is home to some of the most gorgeous big tooth maple trees around. With the explosive color change, Autumn is the best time to check out these giants, (proving Texas does have seasons!) but the park is gorgeous at any time of the year. With very dark skies the stargazing in Texas is divine here.
Go out on your own, or attend a “star party” with helpful and experienced staff, who will provide helpful free tools, like maps and sun and moon data to assist with finding the best vantage points for sky and stargazing.
Address: 37221 FM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885
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