By Lea Lane
Since the pandemic I sense an increased awe about the sky, and more interest in traveling to appreciate it. Whether you travel to see the northern lights, to dark-sky destinations to see the galaxies, or schedule time to see a once- every-so-often celestial phenomenon, our mysterious sky offers pleasure and wonder.
On November 8, visible across the western and central U.S. states, and from the Pacific, Japan, Australia and Russia, the moon will experience a total lunar eclipse. It will turn a notable reddish color for 84 minutes, as the light from the sun passes through earth’s atmosphere to reach the moon’s surface. This “Blood Moon” will be the final total lunar eclipse visible from North America until 2025.
And if the dark sky is cloudless you will be able to see stars, the planet Uranus just above the eclipsed moon, and perhaps bright meteor showers — even a “fireball” meteor.
Here are some of the best dark-sky U.S. destinations for an astrotourism camping trip through outdoor accommodation booking website Pitchup.com. Warning: You will have to get up really early, and dress in layers to stay cozy warm. But this sky experience can be heavenly.
At Fossil Valley RV Park in Vernal, Utah, campers can see the lunar eclipse in the early hours of the morning from 3:16 a.m. to 4:41 a.m. MT. The area’s night skies are as clear as can be, and protected under the neighboring International Dark Sky Park, Steinaker State Park.
Sage View Ranch in Paonia, Colorado features a variety of accommodations for all types of campers, spread across 11 acres of the North Fork Valley, including a gypsy wagon, refitted school buses and a spacious two bedroom lodge, all with views of the Rocky Mountains.
At Terry RV Oasis in Terry, Montana, located down the road from the Yellowstone River, stargazers can stay warm on the November night in their own RV, or rent a mobile home or cabin offered by the campground.
On the East Coast, the Blood Moon is visible from 3:02 a.m to 7:04 a.m. ET and Fort Wilderness RV Park and Campground in Whittier, North Carolina offers a peaceful, wooded retreat to watch the night sky over the rust-colored mountains.
Moon in the Pond Farm is located on an organic farm in Sheffield, Massachusetts with sweeping views of the lush greenery and Berkshire hills. There’s a quaint cabin to rent.
Greeter Falls Campground in Altamont, Tennessee features cozy bell and safari tents that provide an autumnal glamping experience, and borders the Savage Gulf State Natural Area, known for its waterfalls and over 50 miles of hiking trails.
Lone Mountain Riverfront Campground in Andover, Maine is a secluded campground along the Appalachian Trail that features uninterrupted views of the mountain range and rents tent, RV sites and cabins.