According to the International Dark-Sky Association, Georgia is considered the best place for viewing the night sky. Dedicated to protect fragile ecosystems and minimize light pollution, IDA designates dark sky places for stargazing in Georgia with perfect sky visibility while conserving the nocturnal wildlife environment – so they are the go-to experts for knowing which stargazing spots are truly spectacular.
Thanks to Georgia’s good weather year-round, most of these stargazing spots can be enjoyed in every season. That includes the summer months – when the Perseids peak – or in the winter – for the Geminids. While most of us know Georgia for it’s largest city – Atlanta –, it’s worth escaping the city if you really want to see the night sky.
Urban light pollution, humidity, and hurricanes aside, Georgia’s a great spots to enjoy the night sky, and well worth exploring whether you call the “Peach State” home or are passing through. If you’re ready to start planning a trip to go stargazing in Georgia, here are thirteen of the best stargazing sites across the state.
Special thanks to Stephen Rahn for providing all of these photos for use via Flickr.
1. A.H. Stephens State Park
The A.H Stephens state park is among the top best-stargazing sites offering truly remarkable scenery. Located near downtown Atlanta, this particular park is a great option not just for stargazing in Georgia exploration, camping, horseback riding, and even historical sightseeing. Sky watchers have the privilege of staying at the park’s ground overnight, where they get to see the entire celestial body.
2. Amicalola Falls State Park
Located a few hours from Atlanta, the Amicalola Falls State Park is a great place for stargazing in Georgia. The park is also renowned for recreational activities such as guided hikes, zip-lining, and archery, mostly during the day. As the sun sets, stargazers are in for a treat as they get an opportunity to view the stars while at the comfort of their cabin or rooms at the park’s lodge.
3. Brasstown Bald
Brasstown Bald is considered to be the highest point in Georgia. The park is closest to the stars and is also one of the best spots for stargazing since it’s located far away from most major North Georgia cities. The park is situated between Helen, Clayton, and Hiawassee. Although the park’s visitor center closes every night, the parking lot is always open to allow stargazers to have the most amazing celestial views.
4. Cohutta Wilderness
Filled with lush forests, crystal clear rivers, and cascading waterfalls, this ragged untamed wilderness has one of the best Georgia stargazing spots. Considered to be one of the largest wilderness areas, it’s suitable for hikes and also camping. Stargazers can visit the grassy mountain tower trail where they’ll have the best view of the star at night and the best view of the landscape during the day.
5. Cooper Creek
Found in Chattahoochee national forest, cooper creek is a small region along Highway 60, south of blue ridge and Blairsville. The location has a campground, a motel, among other amenities suitable for visitors. During the day, you can go fishing while at night; it’s considered one of the Best Places to stargaze. The campground is also easier to access, making the entire trip worthwhile.
6. Deerlick Astronomy Village
Slightly over 100 miles and a 1 hour,30 minutes’ drive from downtown Atlanta, the astronomy village is the best spot for avid stargazers. Deerlick astronomy village leases amateur astronomer’s land, which they use to set up private observatories. Unfortunately, all plots are occupied; however, Deerlick Astronomy village hosts public viewing nights once per month.
7. Fort Mountain State Park
Close to Chatsworth and Ellijay’s city, the fort mountain state park is not just perfect for stargazing but is also suitable for outdoor activities. There are lots of activities you can engage in while in fort mountain state park. For instance, you can camp and hike with family and friends during the day and the night; there are numerous easily accessible spots perfect for stargazing in Georgia.
8. Hogpen Gap
Hogpen Gap is the closest site near town that takes about 15 minutes to reach and is also a short drive to most camping sites around Helen. The parks include the Vogel state park, raven cliff falls, Unicoi state park, Desoto falls, house trough falls, etc. Hogpen Gap also has plenty of locations ideal for stargazing that are closer to town and easily reachable.
9. Low Gap
Located between lake Rabun, lake seed, and Clarkesville, Low Gap is a truly remarkable site among the best Georgia stargazing spots. This particular region looks back westwards towards Helen; hence you’re likely to experience low light pollution.
The perfect site is straight up and back towards the lake along the right on low gap road. This destination has one of the best milky way views during the summer nights that’s truly remarkable.
10. Popcorn Overlook
Another amazing stargazing site in Georgia is the popcorn overlook. Located on Highway 76 between Clayton and Hiawassee, this destination is only 15 minutes away from the aforementioned cities.
Therefore, going to Popcorn Overlook is shorter and easier from town since there are only forest service roads as you head towards North Carolina. Therefore, the view at night is quite a spectacle since there are a few houses for almost 60 miles towards this magnificent wilderness.
11. Preacher’s Rock
Preacher’s Rock is located along Highway 60, located between Dahlonega and Suches. This expansive landscape is great for hiking, particularly along the Appalachian Trail. A short hike through the woody gap leads to a less light-polluted site and great for stargazing in Georgia. Additionally, you also get to see Mount Yonah, not far from Preacher’s Rock.
12. Rabun Bald
Considered among the dark zones in North Georgia, Rabun Baldis another phenomenal place for night sky viewing. Sitting in the northeast corner covered in total wilderness, it has one of the biggest horizons in North Georgia. Reaching Rabun bald entails going on a 3-mile hike to get to some of the darkest places, perfect for stargazing away from all the artificial lights.
13. Stephen C. Foster State Park
One of America’s dark sky parks and having the largest Blackwater swamp in the southeast of Georgia. Stephen C. Foster State Park is renowned for giving stargazers exceptional sights of the night sky. During the day, you go camping or get to see wildlife that includes alligators. The campground has over 60 campsites and 19 cottages for those who prefer comfort while stargazing.
Have you visited all of these places for stargazing in Georgia? Which ones do you still want to visit? Let us know in the comments.