The enchanting landscapes of Alabama beckon travelers with a wealth of natural beauty, rich history, and genuine Southern hospitality. As you delve into the heart of this charming state, you’ll discover a myriad of experiences that showcase its unique character and captivate your senses.
One such experience is stargazing in Alabama, where the night sky reveals an awe-inspiring celestial tapestry that connects you with the infinite wonders of the cosmos. From the serene shores of the Gulf Coast to the rolling hills of the Appalachian foothills, Alabama’s diverse landscapes provide an idyllic backdrop for stargazing enthusiasts of all levels.
If you’re curious about stargazing spots in Alabama, you’ve come to right place. Below you’ll find a list of some of the best – near the bigger cities (for convenience) and farther from them. Ready to get out there and see the stars above the Heart of Dixie?
In this post, I promote traveling to a destination that is the traditional lands of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), Chikashsha I̠yaakni’ (Chickasaw), Mvskoke (Muscogee), S’atsoyaha (Yuchi), and Shawandasse Tula (Shawanwaki/Shawnee) peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
Map of Where to Go Stargazing in Alabama
Located in the suburb of Hoover, Bluff Park offers stunning opportunities for stargazing in Alabama.
This park sits on the summit of Shades Mountain, at 500 feet above sea level. Besides the altitude, one of the perks of stargazing in Bluff Park is the lack of light pollution. The property is surrounded by Shades Valley and Red Mountain to the north and the land slopes to the south. This means there’s virtually no possibility of the pesky city lights making their way into the park.
Cahaba River Park
Cahaba River Park is an unassuming park just south of Birmingham. Very few know that the park offers some of the best Alabama stargazing opportunities. Governing 1,500 acres, the park is nestled at the confluence of the Cahaba River and Shades Creek, meaning there’s no sign of light pollution. There’s no shortage of decent stargazing spots, but the areas down River Road near the park entrance are your best shot.
For some, Cheaha State Park is the best spot to go stargazing in Alabama, mainly because of its altitude. The park houses the highest point in the Yellowhammer State, the Cheaha Mountain at 2,407 feet above sea level. There’s also an observation tower that provides an unobstructed view of the night sky, making it ideal for stargazing.
The only downside is that the park closes at 9 pm. However, you can spend the night in one of its campgrounds or rock cabins.
Conecuh National Forest
Conecuh National Forest is located in southern Alabama and covers over 83,000 acres of land. The forest offers numerous stargazing spots, with two standing out as the best.: the Open Pond Recreation Area and Nellie Pond.
Open Pond is a popular fishing destination. There might be some lighting for campgrounds, but it’s still darn enough to view stars and meteor showers. Plus, the nights are quiet and you can hear the frogs. Nellie Pond sits on the northern side and is a lot darker. The spots along the bank are some of the best to gaze at the stars.
Horse Pens 40
Perched atop Chandler Mountain, Horse Pens 40 is a park known for its unique rock formations and boulder fields. Sure, it’s a popular destination for rock climbers. However, it is also an ideal location for stargazing, with its clear night skies and low light pollution. You can access the park anytime during the night or spend the night in one of its primitive camping sites.
James Wylie Shepherd Observatory
Located in Montevallo, the James Wylie Shepherd Observatory is a great place to carry out your Alabama stargazing adventure. The observatory has several telescopes, including a state-of-the-art 20-inch PlaneWave CDK20 telescope, and a robotic dome. It hosts regular events where visitors can observe the night sky and learn about astronomy. Make sure you check their website to learn the latest updates!
Moundville Archeological Park
Anyone interested in astrophotography will love stargazing at Moundville Archeological Park. This archeological park is one of the country’s premier Native American heritage sites and preserves 326 acres where Mississippian Indians constructed 28 massive mounds 800 years ago. Needless to say, the mounds will add a dramatic touch when you shoot your night landscape.
Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama’s largest state park. It’s huge, covering over 9,000 acres of land. The park is veery popular for primitive tent camping. But, it also has some good nooks to set up your telescope and get lost in the stars. Just bear in mind that the park closes at 7 pm, so you’ll have to stay overnight to see the stars.
Paul M. Grist State Park
Located on the outskirts of Selma, Paul M. Grist State Park is a one-of-a-kind property. The park spans 1,080 acres and has a 100-acre lake as the centerpiece. But what makes this park truly special is the design. Each site and facility has been carefully designed to showcase the unique terrain and water courses in the Canyon sites. Feel free to explore the grounds and find a suitable spot to set your telescope!
Roland Cooper State Park
Roland Cooper State Park is another great place to go stargazing in Alabama. This little park sits six miles north of Camden. Most people come here for great fishing opportunities, thanks to the Dannelly Reservoir. You can find many stargazing spots near the campgrounds or by the lake if you want to get a few artistic shots of the night sky.
Von Braun Observatory in Monte Sano State Park
The Von Braun Observatory is located in Monte Sano State Park, about 20 minutes east of Huntsville.
You’ll love their astronomy programs. both for their quality and friendliness. Here’s what you can expect. A great group of volunteers who are passionate about astronomy welcomes you. Your astronomy professor will engage the audience in demonstrations, then give you a “tour” of the current constellations, and coronate the experience by inviting you to view the sky in multiple telescopes outside.
Vulcan Park and Museum
Last on my list of Alabama stargazing spots is Vulcan Park and Museum. Located in Birmingham, Vulcan Park and Museum is one of the city’s greatest pride. And even holds a famous title as being home to the world’s largest cast iron statue!
You can’t beat the views from here. The park is perched on top of Red Mountain, offering stunning panoramic views of the city, and, you guessed right, the sky above. The only downside is that the park closes at 10 pm, but you can still catch a glimpse of the night sky.
Have any questions about these spots for stargazing in Alabama, or know of other places you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!