10 Dark Sky Campgrounds in Arizona

Each year, more and more of our population make the move to the city life. Finding dark sky campgrounds or locations, while living the urban lifestyle, allows you to enjoy the night sky.

Light pollution along with busier lives can prevent any stargazing experience, but with some planning and choosing a dark sky campground or place near you will still be able to enjoy the stargazing experience.

Space is infinite. Gazing up at the night sky and knowing that you’re looking at dead stars, new stars, planets, and galaxies can be an incredible and even scary feeling.

Both of those emotions combined can get your adrenaline going, making the experience always unforgettable. 

Dark sky campgrounds

More than we may realize, anyone could use this type of activity. Some may think staring into the sky is unproductive, however, use it as a mental break.

Relaxing your mind and clearing your headspace can all way do your body well.

Let the curiosity of the unknown of what else is out in the universe get the wheels turning again. Also, use stargazing as a fun pastime by taking in the beauty.

Introduction To Stargazing Video

Point out the planets and constellations. Create your very own constellations and stories.

The simple activity can leave you with the best memories.

6 tips to make the most out of stargazing

  1. Check the weather forecast in your area. You’ll want to avoid nights with precipitation, clouds, and dust or smoke in the air.
  2. Also, check the moon calendar. If the moon is fuller with a strong glow, it will be tougher to see surrounding stars. If you are specifically moon gazing, then this condition will be great. Be sure to go on nights with a blood, blue, or harvest moon for those who may have trouble in a dark area and the moon being hard on their eyes.
  3. Invest in a red flashlight. Since some of these spots can be tricky to find in the dark, a red flashlight will be easier for the eyes to adjust.
  4. Become familiar with what planets and constellations will be visible to you. For those with smartphones, there are actually several apps that can help you out. You can just simply point your phone in the direction of which you are looking, and in a dark mode, it will identify what exactly you are looking at. Also, it can notify you what will be visible to you each day.
  5. Take a blanket. While sitting in a chair can be fine to gaze in, laying down will prevent neck strain if you ever have to look straight up to see that meteor or ISS flying by.
  6. For those who want a closer look, bring a pair of binoculars or invest in a telescope.

Let’s check out the best dark sky campgrounds to stargaze in Arizona.

Stargazing at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is known for being one of America’s staples to visit. During the day is the peak tourist time to enjoy all that the canyon has to offer with its incredible bands of red rock. Stargazers claim this to be a prime location for the absolute, unparalleled stargazing experience.

Bright Angel Point

Bright Angel Point is located at the North Rim, which only 10% of the Grand Canyon tourists actually visit. There is a paved trail to pick out your prime spot for gazing.

Mather Point

Located on the South Rim, Mather Point is very close to the visitor’s center. Visit the campgrounds to make camp and discover some of the Navajo tribe’s constellations.

Surrounding RV Parks: Grand Canyon Railway RV Park; Trailer Village RV Park

Flagstaff is also a part of the Dark Sky community. This location offers great stargazing opportunities with its higher elevation and being so open and rural. 

Arizona Snowbowl

Many will recognize Snowball as a prime skiing location in the winter, however, with its parking lots empty in the summer, it makes a spectacular location for stargazing. Just head north of Flagstaff to find it.

Lowell Observatory

Here you will find it to be one of the best opportunities to really check out what is in the night sky. There are 6 high-powered telescopes to take advantage of. Also, Pluto happened to be originally discovered in this very spot!

Surrounding RV Parks: Flagstaff KOA Holiday; J & H RV Park

Stargazing in Phoenix

Phoenix is a popular and highly populated location, so you may be wondering how this mad the list. Believe it or not, the Valley of the Sun state has a variety of perfect spots away from the city to check out for a memorable stargazing experience.

Estrella Mountain Regional Park

The title makes it a given. Check out Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Goodyear, just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix, to enjoy all that the universe has to offer.

Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch

This lake park has an observatory to make the most of your gazing. The metro area town of Gilbert ensures that the light pollution is very low, giving it a spot in the top ten.

Surrounding RV Parks: Twin Palms RV Park; Desert’s Edge RV Park

Stargazing in Sedona

Sedona is known for its beautiful red rock buttes and vortex tourism. Being part of the Dark Sky community basically gives it away as an ideal stargazing area. Head to some numerous trailheads to enjoy the nighttime views. 

Turkey Creek Trailhead

Head just south of Sedona to Oak Creek to find this trail. The parking lot is next to a very isolated area making it perfect for stargazing.

Jordan Trailhead Observing Area

There is a very large open field just off of the parking lot here. Make your NASA dreams come true and set up a stargazing post.

Surrounding RV parks: Sedona View RV Resort; Rancho Sedona RV Park

Tuscan Stargazing

Tuscan just so happens to be the home of the International Dark-Sky Association. That alone screams the amazing opportunities for stargazing that can be had here.

Oracle State Park

This International Dark Sky Park is located just north of Tuscan. Most nights here will offer incredible nighttime views, and on the clearest of nights, the perfect Milky Way.

Flandreau Science Center and Planetarium

At the University of Arizona campus, Flandreau hosts a 16-inch telescope for visitors to undertake at the observatory. Call and check to make sure it is open since it is run by Volunteers.

Surrounding RV Parks: Tuscan/Lazy Days KOA Resort; Sentinel Peak RV Park

Here are some other activities you can do with your RV in Arizona and to help you on your journey some cool RV apps you can use.

Photo of author

Ray Roman

Ray Roman is the co-owner/author of Go Travel Trailers. He is the main contributor of content and an avid researcher of travel trailers and the RV lifestyle. He loves fly fishing, vacationing in Red River, NM, and spending time with family and friends.