Stargazing for Beginners: How to Camp Under the Stars

Fun fact: the vast majority of stars visible from Earth are brighter and larger than the sun. Not only that, but stars are between one and 10 billion years old on average. That means every time you look up at the clear night sky, you’re seeing enormous, billion-year-old stars!

Even if you don’t know how to distinguish stars from planets or identify constellations other than the Big Dipper, there’s nothing quite like being outside on a starry night. And camping enhances the experience even further! If camping under the stars appeals to you and you’re interested in learning more about stargazing for beginners, you’re in the right place. 

Stargazing 101

One of the best things about stargazing is that it’s for everyone. You can decide to try it for the first time ever and be stargazing just minutes later! You also don’t necessarily need any special equipment. You can use a telescope or binoculars, but you’ll see fantastic results (literally!) using just your naked eye. A comfy blanket or chair wouldn’t hurt, though!

Still, there are a few tips and tricks that can enhance your experience, especially as you learn how to start stargazing. 
  • Learn about moon phases. One of the best (and simplest!) stargazing for beginners tips is to learn the moon’s phases. Begin by simply observing it around the same time each night for several nights, making note of its position and when it gets bigger and smaller.
  • Use a star chart to get the lay of the land. A paper star chart is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the night sky. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll quickly learn to identify specific constellations, planets, patterns, and more. SkyMaps has an excellent free printable monthly version that’s easy to follow. 
  • Open a book. Along the same lines as a star chart, a good old-fashioned book can go a long way in helping you as you learn how to start stargazing. Check your local library for astronomy guidebooks and magazines. 
  • Attend a star party. If you’re interested in finding like-minded people to share your new hobby with, look for astronomy clubs in your area. They hold regular nighttime viewing meetings (“star parties”) and are a wonderful way to meet people, whether they’re astronomy veterans or also learning about stargazing for beginners.
Now that you’re prepped with the best tips and tricks for stargazing, it’s time to plan your trip and hit the road. But when exactly is the best time for a stargazing adventure? Let’s find out!

Best Time of Year To See the Stars

Stargazing-for-Beginners-1.jpgIn addition to how to start stargazing, you may be wondering when to stargaze. You can find excellent stargazing in autumn, winter, and spring, with the best opportunities being in the fall and winter. There are a couple of reasons for this: fewer daylight hours mean longer, darker nights, and haze and fog don’t hang in cold air very well. That means, generally, there are far more crystal-clear nights in the cold months versus summer. 

Where To Go To See The Stars

Regardless of the time of year, there’s a bit of strategy involved with planning where to stargaze. Even on the clearest nights when conditions are the most optimal, light pollution can drastically limit the number of stars you can see. To counteract this, seek out remote locations well outside city limits. State and national parks are often some of the best areas for stargazing, even in major metropolitan areas.

Along the same lines, renting an RV for stargazing can enhance the entire experience. It allows you to eliminate much of the hassle involved with tent camping — packing a bunch of gear, loading up a heavy cooler, pitching a tent, and setting up camp — while still enjoying being immersed in The Great Outdoors, under a blanket of stars. 

View Breathtaking Starry Nights With an RV Rental

Stargazing-for-Beginners-2.jpgStargazing for beginners is educational and fun, especially when you build camping trips around it! Whether you go on a solo adventure, travel with your family, or even bring your pooch along, you’ll stay comfortable in a Cruise America RV rental while you learn to very literally navigate the night skies. 

With several RV models and over 130 convenient rental locations to choose from, all you have to do is decide which stargazing destination you want to visit first and when to go! Contact us today to learn more about our amenities and begin planning your stargazing trip!