Sandwiched between the alligator-infested swamplands of the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean, Miami is a slice of culture on the U.S. East Coast.
Unfortunately, with such a narrow geography, the city has become highly developed and stargazing activities are pretty unheard of – even by locals who’ve called Miami home for years. While it is not easy to see the stars in Miami, it is possible. There are some pockets of greater darkness (or perhaps it’s more accurate to say “less light pollution”) where you can get a pretty good view of the night sky. And, if you’re willing to head out of the city a bit, you can find some of the nation’s darkest skies twinkling with more stars than you can imagine.
The Best Spots for Stargazing in Miami
Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach Florida all blend together a bit on the map; the goal with this list was to provide a comprehensive set of stargazing locations, most of which are in Miami proper. Farther down this post, you’ll find better stargazing options further afield.
Pollution makes it difficult to see the stars on most beaches in Miami. However, North Beach is a good place to get away from the lights, making it easier to see the sky. Try to find a secluded area if you can, lean back, and get a glimpse of the night sky from the heart of the city.
North Beach, Miami Beach, FL 33141, miamiandbeaches.com
Matheson Hammock Park
This park is in one of the darkest spots in Miami, making it a truly perfect spot for stargazing. Keep in mind that the park itself closes at 5:00 pm. That said, the nearby Red Fish Grill restaurant is open much later. Just be sure to park to one side, and you can look at the stars as long as you like.
9610 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables, FL 33156, miamidade.gov
Oleta River State Park
This is another one of Miami’s more natural areas, which makes it a great place to get a look at the sky. There are even Full Moon Kayak tours available once a month for a unique stargazing experience. Or you can simply camp in the park and enjoy the night sky.
3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach, FL 33160, floridastateparks.org
Bill Sadowski Park & Nature Center
This particular spot is actually an observatory site for the Southern Cross Astronomical Society. Observation events are open to the public every Saturday. You’re welcome to bring your own telescope, or you can use those brought by the SCAS.
17555 SW 79th Ave., Palmetto Bay, FL 33157, miamidade.gov
Photo credit: TierraLady via Flickr
Buehler Planetarium & Observatory
The domed theater at Broward College features some of the most state-of-the-art technology available for stargazing. There are planetarium shows held every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. It has twenty telescopes for you to use in all, all of which are great for taking a closer look at the universe.
3501 Davie Rd., Davie, FL 33314, broward.edu
The stargazing experience at the Miami zoo is unlike anything else because it takes place in the daytime. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to see the stars while the sun is still up, this is your chance. On top of this, these events are also held by the SCAS who can assist you with any questions you might have.
12400 SW 152nd St., Miami, FL 33177, zoomiami.org
Stargazing Spots Within One Hour of Miami
If you’re willing to hop in the car, there are some great stargazing locations within one hour of Miami; most are within half an hour.
Fox Observatory at Markham Park
Markham Park happens to be the main base of operations for the South Florida Amateur Astrologers Association. Events are held on a weekly basis, some of which last throughout the entire night. The park itself is in the perfect position for stargazing as much of the pollution is filtered out.
160001 W. State Road 84, Sunrise, FL 33326, sfaaa.com
Everglades National Park
This particular park offers one of the clearest views of the night sky to be seen anywhere in South Florida. There are two campgrounds with running water available here for those who’d like to stay the night. It’s one of the best places around if you’d like to sleep under a sky full of stars.
40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034, nps.gov
Shark Valley Trails & Observatory Tower
Shark Valley is a popular entrance to the Everglades and offers a very clear view of the night sky. Although the park officially closes at night, you’ll still be allowed to enter for free for stargazing. Be careful though. Alligators have been known to hang out here at night.
36000 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33194, nps.gov
The Loxahatchee Refuge contains over 145,000 acres of the historic Everglades habitat. A number of different types of events are held there on a regular basis, including stargazing events. This is appropriate as the Loxahatchee Reserve’s dark skies and isolated position make it perfect for viewing the stars.
10216 Lee Rd., Boynton Beach, FL 33472, fws.gov
Kirby Storter Roadside Park
This park can be found in the Big Cypress National Reserve and is a certified Dark Sky Park. For this reason, it’s among the best places in Florida for stargazing. It’s isolated position and lack of pollution provides one the clearest pictures of the night sky you can possibly see.
48900 Tamiami Trail E., Ochopee, FL 34141, nps.gov
Photo credit: TierraLady via Flickr
Stargazing Spots Within Two Hours of Miami
If you hope to enjoy a long night of stargazing or to make a weekend of it, there are a few great options where you can get way away from the city lights and see how dark the sky can truly be.
As you might guess from the name, Alligator Alley is deep in the heart of Everglades National Park. If you’re willing to drive a little further into the national park, you can find deep darkness and a sky full of stars – just be careful about straying from your car as there are alligators in the Everglades!
Everglades Parkway, Everglades National Park, nps.gov
From a Boat
One of the best ways to see the stars in Miami is to actually get away from Miami – out on the water east of the city. If you’re up for a night cruise, book one in advance and you can see the sunset over the city, then the stars popping out in the dark sky above.
How Good is the Stargazing in Miami?
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to see the stars in the city of Miami itself. The lights from the city make it difficult to get a clear view of the sky. However, the parks and beaches mentioned here are far enough from the city that you can get a surprisingly good view of the stars – but close enough that you can reach them with a short drive. Most of the “within one hour” spots on this list were 40 minutes or less from the center of Miami.
Also, South Florida, in general, is a magnificent area for stargazing once you get outside the city. Therefore, if you really want to get the best view of the stars, you might consider traveling to a few of the spots outside of Miami.
Best Times of Year to Go Stargazing in Miami
Although you may be tempted to go looking at the stars during the summer, this actually isn’t the best time for stargazing in Miami. Because of the high humidity levels, you can actually get a hazy effect that can obscure your view. For this reason, you want to wait for a cool, winter night before you go stargazing. The months of late November through February are ideal, as hurricane season has come to an end, but the heat of the new summer hasn’t arrived.
You’ll also want to avoid stargazing on a night when the moon is full if you can. This is because the light of the moon can make it difficult to see the stars and planets surrounding it.
Can You See the Milky Way in Miami?
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to see the Milky Way within the city limits of Miami. The light pollution is simply too intense. Even in places where stargazing is ideal, you won’t be able to catch a good view of our galaxy.
That said, there are spots in Florida close to Miami that are fantastic for seeing the Milky Way. The aforementioned Kirby Storter Roadside Park has taken all necessary steps to remove the use of any unnecessary light. The same can be said for Everglades National Park. With that in mind, either of these places is great spots to get a look at the Milky Way.
Other Space Related Experiences in Miami
By daylight hours, there are several other space-related experiences you can enjoy in Miami. These will allow you to enjoy some of the unique aspects of life and culture in Miami.
- Frost Science Museum is home to a permanent exhibit on the history of flight: from birds to space shuttles. They also have a planetarium with 12 shows daily; shows include ‘Journey to the Stars’ and ‘Asteroid: Mission Extreme.’ (website)
- Arguably one of the coolest parts of visiting Miami or any part of Florida’s eastern coast is the ability to watch a launch! While Miami isn’t particularly close to Kennedy Space Center, it is possible to see rocket launches from Miami with the right plan and knowledge of which direction the launch will go. Use our Launch Calendar to see if a launch is happening during your time in Miami.
- Club Space isn’t space-related per se, but it is a beautiful open-air club that can help you pass a cloudy night in Miami. (website)
Where to Stay When Visiting Miami
Unfortunately, Miami is not home to any of the famous space hotels we know you really want to stay at. There are some other nice, futuristic, luxury hotels you can enjoy a stay at:
- The Kimpton Hotel Epic is located in the heart of downtown Miami. While you won’t be able to stargaze from your room, you will feel like you’re living in a future city with all the high-rise buildings around. We’ve included Kimpton Hotels on other stargazing guides too! Rooms start from $319 per night. Click here to book: TRVL.com or Hotels.com
- 1 Hotel South Beach. When you visit Miami, South Beach is one of the top destinations. Grab a room at futuristic 1 Hotel South Beach; it’s a quick uber up to North Beach for stargazing. Click here to book: TRVL.com or Hotels.com