Indiana, fondly known as the Crossroads of America, holds more than just the lure of its rich history and vibrant cultural tapestry. Beneath its canopy of night, the skies above the Hoosier State offer an opportunity to experience astronomy first-hand, whether on your own or as part of a guided experience with one of the state’s many astronomy clubs.
Whether a seasoned astronomer, brand new to spending time under the night sky, or call Indiana home, here are some of the best spots for stargazing in Indiana. Embarking on an astronomy adventure, you’ll soon quickly realize that Indiana’s beauty isn’t just grounded on earth, but is also mirrored in the stars above.
In this post, I promote traveling to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Myaamia, Kaskaskia, and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) peoples, among many 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 Indiana
By popular request, I’ve added a map to this post to help make it easier to understand where each of the best spots for stargazing in Indiana can be found. I hope this helps you plan the ultimate stargazing trip!
Calumet Astronomy Center
Located in northwest Indiana, Calumet Astronomy Center is a fantastic place for stargazing in Indiana. The helpfulness of the members explaining what you’re looking at through their telescopes is just amazing; you’ll learn so much about the stars and planets. Its rural location benefits from its distance from urban lights and you get super clear night skies.
Eagle Creek Park
Eagle Creek Park sits near Indianapolis. It is one of Indiana’s best gems – I would say that this park has all the activities you would like and many more! Miles of wooded, dirt paths wind you through pines and other new and old-growth trees.
This park provides a serene escape for stargazers; its expansive lake and wooded surroundings shield it from city lights, creating a wonderful environment for stargazing.
Goethe Link Observatory
The Goethe Link Observatory is a little gem of a place that is tucked away so well you might not even know it’s here, but it’s worth a visit. With its rich astronomical legacy and commitment to public outreach, it stands as a prime spot for enjoying celestial marvels. The first Saturday of every month they let you look through it for free.
There’s also a daffodil garden to get away from it all for a while and enjoy the serenity of nature. Who’d think that daffodils and observatories would go together?
Indiana Dunes National Park
If landscapes are important for your astronomy experience, the Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the best places for stargazing in Indiana.
Located on the southern shores of Lake Michigan, this national park offers a diverse landscape with sandy beaches, towering sand dunes, forests, and wetlands. The beaches are pristine and perfect for setting your telescope, while the sand dunes provide stunning panoramic views. Oh, Beverly Shores is by far the best spot for setting your telescope!
Nestled within Indiana University in Bloomington, Kirkwood Observatory is known for public open houses where visitors can peer through its historic telescopes. Their tours offer an informative and captivating stargazing experience and the volunteers are really excited to show you cool things.
Kirkwood Observatory is rarely open so take advantage if your visit overlaps with those dates. As of right now, it is open to the public each Wednesday evening from Spring after Break until before Thanksgiving, weather permitting. No reservations are required.
Robert H. Rivers Planetarium
Housed at the Challenger Learning Center, the Robert H. Rivers Planetarium stands out for its educational focus – of course it’s not a traditional spot for stargazing in Indiana, but you can “see” the “stars” there…
The planetarium has tons of astronomy shows for every age and interest; it features state-of-the-art technology to simulate the night sky and celestial phenomena. Right now they have four programs: Earth, Moon and Stars; Dawn of the Space Age; Stars; and One World, One Sky.
Shades State Park
Back to parks, Shades State Park is a cool Indiana stargazing alternative. Tucked away in central Indiana, Shades State Park benefits from its remote location and is one of the state’s lesser traveled parks.
Its rugged terrain and scenic canyons shield the area from urban lights. Oh, and unlike other parks, the campsites have much more privacy – good to know if you’re planning an overnight stay.
Tippecanoe River State Park
Tippecanoe River State Park is a northern Indiana park that boasts some of the darkest skies thanks to its rural surroundings. You can explore the 10 hiking trails that run through a beautiful wooded landscape to find a suitable stargazing spot.
The campsites are big, clean, with tall trees, fire pits with electric outlets, and a decent bathhouse nearby. However, there’s not a lot of delineation between campsites so be sure to communicate politely with your neighbors about any personal space concerns you have.
Turkey Run State Park
Finishing my Indiana stargazing list, I have the Turkey Run State Park. This is Indiana’s second state park and is popular for being a hiking paradise. But, stargazers can also benefit from the clear skies due to its distance from urban areas.
The Wabash Valley Astronomical Society used to gather her occasionally; check their website to see if they’ll be holding any events when you plan to visit.
Have any questions about these spots for stargazing in Indiana, or do you know of other great ones you’re willing to share? Let me know in the comments below!