7 Best Spots in Arkansas for Stargazing!

Thinking of experiencing the brilliant display of stars across the Arkansas sky this summer?

Looking for the best places in Arkansas to stargaze?

Look no more, because we have rounded up Arkansas’s best spots for stargazing!

The state of Arkansas is known for its natural beauty, sprawling vistas, and state parks.

The lack of urban development and meticulous care by the state authorities has left the state with large expanses of clear skies and pristine fields perfect for stargazing.

You need clear skies, free from cloud cover and light pollution.

Arkansas state parks and forests are thus ideal since these places are protected from the bright lights of urban design and cities.

Stargazing is a wonderful experience that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

Watching billions of stars twinkling in the boundless sky is a humbling experience.

It is an activity that can be enjoyed on a solo trip, a romantic getaway with your partner, or on a family trip to introduce your kids to the mysteries of the galaxy.

The following are some cool spots you should definitely check out.

Withrow Springs State Park

Withrow Springs State Park is located five miles north of Huntsville, right in the middle of the Ozark Mountains.

It is 786 acres of rolling hills and parkland surrounded by the bluffs created by War Eagle Creek.

It offers a few dozen campsites and three hiking trails.

The park’s pavilion is an excellent setting for hosting stargazing events.

As per the weather, star parties are arranged by the park staff and the Astronomical Society of Northwest Arkansas. 

You can bring your own or use one of the park’s telescopes and view the astounding views of the galaxies above.

You can check the parks’ website to check for any upcoming events and contact them on the day off to find out if the weather is clear enough to view the stars.

Address: 33424 Spur 23, Huntsville, AR 72740

Hobbs State Park

Every few weeks the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society and Hobbs State Park host star parties for newly interested individuals and avid astronomy followers alike, at least six times a year. 

These star parties are often accompanied by public lectures.

These lectures detail the intricacies of stargazing, constellation mapping, and more information on the constellations and other celestial bodies that will be visible during the star party.

The Hobbs State Park also hosts B.O.T (bring your telescope) events that encourage more people to take part in star gazing and the world of astronomy.

You can bring your preferred telescope or borrow one of the dozen telescopes set up by the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society.

You can even take part in photographing the brilliant night sky!

The closest upcoming star party at the Hobbs State Park is on Saturday, November 19, 2022.

Starting at 4:15 PM with a lecture and lasting till 6:00 PM.

Don’t miss the opportunity to observe the glorious blanket of stars across the clear Arkansas skies and meet more like-minded individuals.

Address: 20201 Arkansas 12, Rogers, AR, 72756

Lake Ouachita State Park

The state park is 360 acres of conserved land area used for public recreation.

The state park is built bordering the eastern edge of Lake Ouachita, the largest man-made lake about ten miles from Hot Springs.

The prime location of the state park, away from the stark lighting of cities and sheltered by the cover of the lake, provides several spots that offer dark skies protected by light pollution.

The Caddo Bend Trailhead is four miles of scenic trails circling the peninsula. 

Star gazing events are often held at the trailhead which also has a viewing podium. 

An interpreter guides you through the program and provides helpful information. 

Bring blankets and folding chairs and get comfortable as you watch the stars twinkle across the midnight skies.

Another location to stargaze is a marina on one of the many islands that are part of the state park. 

You will ride out on a boat to one of the islands. 

You will be accompanied by a state park interpreter who will point out the stars and constellations in the sky and explain further details about them.

Check online regarding their upcoming events.

Address: 5451 Mountain Pine Road, Mountain Pine, AR 71956

Lake Fort Smith State Park

There are stargazing events held at the Lake Fort Smith State Park marina. 

The events are great for kids and amateur astronomers, these events provide viewing equipment such as telescopes, binoculars, etc.

Members of the Astronomical Society are also present at these events.

These professionals help you get familiar with the equipment and also helpfully guide you through the entire experience.

There are also fun activities for kids such as craft time to get them involved in learning about the Solar System and constellations.

Address:15458 Shepherd Springs Road in Mountainburg.

Pea Ridge National Military Park

The Pea Ridge National Military Park is a national park spanning over 4,300 acres, conserving the site of the Battle of Pea Ridge. The park was built after purchasing neighboring farmland and private estates.

Over time, most of the buildings on the land were demolished, leaving only the structures such as the visitors center, museum, and a few other buildings.

This ensures the large expanses of even terrain including 2.5 miles of hiking trails and uninterrupted views of the sky above.

The Sugar Creek Astronomical Society organizes free star parties and solar programs at the national park. 

They provide telescopes for viewing and informative seminars about the constellation and the planets visible during the event.

Address: 15930 East, 15930 US-62, Garfield, AR 72732, United States

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

If you’re up for traveling out of state, in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, this park is one of the best locations for stargazing.

The Lake Michigan shoreline, the number three stop at Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, the parking lot of the Dune Climb, Thoreson Farm in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District, and Platte River Point are all excellent places for stargazing.

Even if you are just starting out with stargazing, all you need is curiosity and love for the stars and galaxies. 

You can begin for free by looking up into clear skies or using binoculars and a DIY red flashlight. 

Eventually, you can work your way up to telescopes.

But most of all, stay curious!

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