With so much light pollution, it can be hard to find the best places to go stargazing in Florida. If you’re having trouble seeing the night sky, then you’ve come to the right places.
If you’ve never seen the unblemished night sky, you’re missing out. Even if you don’t live in a big city, the lights from your neighborhood, like street lamps, are obscuring your view!
So where can you go to get the best view? The general rule of thumb is to get as far away from the city as possible. The deeper in nature, the better. It’s also easier to see stars in Florida during the winter months when the skies are clearer.
When you do, you will have the chance to see a multitude of stars! If things are aligned just right, then you might see planets and celestial bodies. You can even see the Milky Way, all with just the naked eye.
You don’t have to be an astronomer to appreciate the stars. The night sky is something we can take for granted, so consider making a voyage to stargaze in Florida. The beauty and brilliance of the stars will be unforgettable.
We’ve compiled a list of the best places to go stargazing in Florida. So pack some folding chairs, bring some hot cocoa, maybe a telescope, and get ready to go to the best places to see stars in Florida!
11 Dreamy Places To Go Stargazing In Florida
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
About 25 miles north of Lake Okechobee and to the south of Kissimmee, you’ll find one of the prettiest state parks. Full of open grasslands with bison and horses, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is also one of the best places to go stargazing in Florida.
In 2016, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park was awarded Dark Sky Designation by the International Dark Sky Association. The only park in the state to be given the honor, you won’t find a better place for stargazing in Florida.
Even though all State Parks close at sunset, there are still ways to see the night sky! You can reserve a campsite to stay overnight or reserve an astronomy pad site. Note that with either of these options, you will have to arrive before sundown.
If you hold a Florida State Parks Family Annual Pass, you can also simply go to the ranger’s office and sign up for an after-hours permit. This would grant you access to the park’s common use areas after dark!
Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory
When you think of the Space Coast, you might think of the Kennedy Space Center and shuttle launches. So of course, the Space Coast is one of the best places to go stargazing in Florida!
In Brevard County in the small town of Cocoa (not to be confused with Cocoa Beach), you’ll find the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory. The Brevard Astronomical Society holds free and open viewings to the public.
On weekend nights, you can go watch a planetarium star show! Afterwards, climb up to the rooftop observatory to see the stars in real life.
While you can definitely see the stars with the naked eye, you can also look through one of the largest telescopes in Florida! You can crisply see things like Venus and Mars. Look out for the Orion Nebula, a newly forming cluster of stars.
St. George Island
In between Panama City Beach and Tallahassee, you’ll find St. George Island. During the day, the island’s beaches provide family fun on the water. At night, it becomes a mecca for stargazing in Florida!
On one of the prettiest islands on Florida’s forgotten coast, the Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park has little light pollution. As a result, you’ll be able to experience breathtaking opportunities to experience a truly dark sky!
You won’t find better stargazing in Florida than this spot on the panhandle. The park’s staff is currently working with the International Dark Sky Association to become Florida’s second Dark Sky Park!
Because the park closes 15 minutes after sundown, you will have to make special accommodations to experience the night sky. Reserve a campsite through Reserve America or go to the ranger’s office to obtain an after-hours permit to see the stars!
Santa Fe River
If sitting around looking at stars seems a little boring, we’ve got you covered. What if you could experience the night sky while paddling one of the best kayaking trails while stargazing in Florida?
In the charming town of High Springs, just outside Gainesville, you’ll find the Santa Fe River, a unique waterway. It actually flows underground in O’Leno State Park through an intricate cave system before emerging in River Rise Preserve State Park.
Here, you can find the Santa Fe Canoe Outpost! Underneath the Santa Fe River’s dark sky, you can take kayaking trips departing from High Springs! You can bask in the moonlight while having a terrific view of the stars above.
If kayaking and canoeing aren’t your thing, no worries! You can always rent a campground site in O’Leno State Park or River Rise Preserve State Park. You can also obtain an after-hours permit from the ranger’s office!
T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Northern panhandle beaches, in general, are perfect for stargazing in Florida! Near Panama City, you’ll find the T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.
By day, the park is teeming with native Florida wildlife. The beach provides important habitats for sea turtles, nesting birds, and the endangered St. Andrews beach mouse.
By night, the park becomes a haven for stargazers! The park is far enough away from major cities to provide a dark sky perfect for catching a glimpse of the heavens.
You can reserve campgrounds or obtain an after-hours permit. Then bring your own firewood or purchase logs at the ranger station to cozy up under a blanket and gaze up into the night sky!
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Florida, bar none. A tropical paradise, home to Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas is one of the best places to see stars in Florida.
Stargazing here can be tricky. Most of the park is actually underwater. Dry Tortugas is the only tropical reef in the States and the third-largest in the world. It is also only accessible by boat.
Because of this, you will have to camp overnight to see the stars at Dry Tortugas. But, wow is it worth it. Because there is no fresh water in the area, there are absolutely no mosquitos!
70 miles away from Key West, the nearest city, Dry Tortugas provides a perfect dark sky opportunity to see the stars in all their glory. For more information, check out our full guide for exploring Dry Tortugas National Park.
Everglades National Park
The Everglades National Park is a 1.5 million acre wetland located in southern Florida. Compared to a swamp the everglades is comprised of mangroves, sawgrass marshes, and home to alligators, birds, and other species.
Because areas of the park are so far secluded from civilization, the Everglades are the perfect place to go stargazing in Florida. Whether you’re camping out, or just want to visit at night, you can see the night sky very easily here.
Choose between Tiger Key or Picnic Key in the Ten Thousand Islands for a view of the brilliant night sky from your own private beach! Overnight camping sites on the island are limited and must be reserved in advance.
You can also go the Shark Valley at the northernmost entrance to the park. Admission is free, even after dark. Just walk along the Tamiami Trail and you’ll reach a 65-foot-tall concrete observation tower! We highly recommend using bug spray before stargazing here.
Chiefland Astronomy Village
If you’re in Gainesville, you can actually go stargazing in Florida with real astronomers and life-long star enthusiasts! Don’t worry, of all the stargazing groups in the state, the Chiefland Astronomy Village is the most friendly for amateurs and beginners!
Founded by the Chiefland Star Party Group, the Village aims to promote astrology in the community. Here you can stargaze with likeminded individuals who love looking at the night sky!
Camping is easy here with 30A/50A electric and water hookups available on site! There are permanent observatories on the grounds, even though you can see more than plenty of stars with the naked eye.
Keep in mind that the land is privately owned and can be monitored at all times. When the dark sky approaches, all lights must be turned off or switched to red to avoid light pollution. You can also bring your pets, as long as they are leashed and behaved!
What’s better than enjoying the beach? Walking the beach at night under a dark sky with stars twinkling above. At Pensacola Beach, you can experience the wonder by yourself or join an organized group of stargazers just like you!
On Friday and Saturday nights, you can join the Escambia Amateur Astronomer’s Association for free stargazing in Florida! Find them at the Gulfside Pavillion and the Fort Picken’s Battery Worth parking lot.
Volunteers will set up around 30 telescopes. Each of them range in strength and size. There’s even a duplicate of Galileo’s original telescope in addition to today’s modern devices.
If the skies are cloudy or there’s rain, the stargazing events will be postponed to a different date. For more information, call Dewey Barker at (850) 450-7767.
Bahia Honda State Park
The original Bahia Honda Bridge remains standing today, a testament to the innovative engineering of yesteryear. In the Florida Keys, the stunning panoramas by day turn into brilliant star-studded wonders at night. This is one of the best places to see stars in Florida!
Found on Big Pine Key, the area is at the very southernmost tip of Florida. Thanks to its location, the skies are frequently clear especially in the winter.
You can camp out on the beach or stay overnight in the marina! Or you can simply layback in your lounge chair on the beach and take in the mesmerizing night sky.
We highly recommend taking the short, scenic hiking trail that will take you up to the bridge itself. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled. Bahia Honda is one of the few spots in the United States where you can see the Southern Cross Constellation in the winter!
Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve
Five miles east of Cedar Key, you’ll find some of the darkest skies in the state. At the Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve, you can have one of the clearest views of the night sky.
Over 5,000 acres, Cedar Key is home to the rare Florida scrub including a variety of wildlife including the Florida scrub jay, Florida mouse, gopher tortoise, and bald eagle.
When you enter you will drive by countless pine trees, horses, and even cow pastures! As the sun sets behind the scrub trees, the stars come out. The combination of the nature surrounding you makes for a truly amazing experience.
To gain access to the park after hours, you can book a camping site through Reserve America. You can also go to the ranger office and obtain an after-hours permit so you can enter the park to see the night sky.
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