The vibrant city of Nashville, Tennessee, famed for its legendary music scene and rich cultural heritage, reveals a surprising facet of its allure as night falls and the heavens above come to life. Most people aim for a different kind of nightlife, but if you’re on this post – you want stars. The Milky Way. The universe!
Stargazing in Nashville and the surrounding area of Tennessee offers a mesmerizing escape from the city’s bustling energy, as the glittering tapestry of constellations, planets, and celestial phenomena unfolds against the backdrop of the rolling hills and verdant landscapes that define the region.
Whether you’re exploring the night sky from a tranquil urban park or venturing out to the serene countryside, the wonders that illuminate the darkness will captivate your imagination and inspire a deeper connection with the universe – a perfect pairing for great food and great music back in the city’s urban glow.
In this post, I promote traveling to a destination that is the traditional lands of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), 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.
Stargazing Spots in Nashville
Nashville is the biggest city in Tennessee. And all my fellow stargazers know that big cities aren’t exactly the place where you go to explore the night sky. Nonetheless, there are a few cool spots for stargazing in Nashville you should try on your next astronomy adventure.
Bells Bend Park
Located just 30 minutes away from downtown Nashville, Bells Bend Park is a rural preserve with very little light pollution – considering how close it’s to Nashville. It’s a prime location for stargazing, offering an unobstructed view of the sky. You will find many decent spots for setting up your telescope on the banks of the Cumberland River. The parking lots are good alternatives, too.
Radnor Lake State Park
Radnor Lake State Park is one of the best Nashville stargazing places you’ll find. The park sits in the south of Nashville and is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts. During the day, visitors can enjoy hiking trails, birdwatching, and even catching a glimpse of a deer or wild turkey. At night, this park transforms into a stargazing haven. With its serene atmosphere and limited light pollution, visitors can witness the beauty of the cosmos and spot celestial phenomena.
Edwin and Percy Warner Parks
If hiking and stargazing sound like a good combination to you, then Edwin and Percy Warner Parks is a great alternative.
This property is an amazing place to escape the city and busy life. It has 5.8 miles of paved trails that are just awesome for zoning out and just moving. Many people don’t know that the parks also offer an excellent location for stargazing. The natural beauty of the area and the limited light pollution make it an ideal spot to observe the stars.
Percy Priest Lake
I don’t know about you, but the landscape adds a lot to your stargazing adventure. Many stargazers love to gaze at the stars with a lake or the sea in the background. If that’s you, head to Percy Priest Lake for your next Nashville stargazing session.
Located 25 minutes from downtown Nashville, Percy Priest Lake is a popular destination for water activities during the day. But at night, the lake’s shoreline transforms into a stargazing hotspot. You can set up camp on the lakeshore and enjoy the beauty of the stars reflected in the water.
Stargazing Spots within 1.5 Hours of Nashville
If you’re willing to drive a few more miles outside of Nashville, you’ll find excellent places to get your astronomy fix. Here are two great stargazing spots within 1.5 hours of Nashville.
Bledsoe Creek State Park
Located about an hour from Nashville, Bledsoe Creek State Park is a popular location for stargazing in Nashville. The park has a rich native heritage, having been a prime hunting ground for the Cherokee, Creek, Shawnee, and Chickamauga Native American tribes.
Today, it’s a prime spot for families and nature lovers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city here. The park has excellent campsites where you can spend the night and enjoy a clear view of the sky and stars.
Edgar Evins State Park
Nestled on the banks of Center Hill Lake, Edgar Evins State Park is a popular destination for water activities and wildlife viewing – tons of different owl species and wintering bald eagles call this park home. But the park has equally tuning views at night. Thanks to the isolated location, the beauty of the night sky can be witnessed in all its glory. Bear in mind the park closes at 10:30 p.m, so you’ll have to rent a cabin or a campsite.
Montgomery Bell State Park
Montgomery Bell State Park is a hidden gem for stargazing. This park is nestled in a rural area, which helps mitigate the glare from the urban centers surrounding the property. Want to hear the best news? The park is open 24 hours! So you can access the property whenever you want or camp for the night. There are many full hook-up sites, and the most scenic ones are along the 4-mile Creek.
Stargazing Spots within 2.5 Hours of Nashville
The further, the better. Grab your car keys and drive to one of these five stargazing spots near Nashville to catch the best views of the night sky.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park is by far one of the best places near Nashville to watch the stars – NASA states it, so you know it’s good.
The park, famous for its waterfalls, has excellent viewing conditions. It hosts astronomy weekends and star parties throughout the year and also welcomes local and regional astronomy clubs, which offer many astronomy-related activities. As a heads up, if you don’t want to participate in any of the vents, you’ll have to spend the night in one of the park’s cabins or campsites.
Not every stargazer is a fan of camping. For those who crave comfort and luxury, Stillwater Farms is a great option. Located two hours from Nashville, Stillwater Farms invites everyone to glamp in a remodeled 1982 Airstream or their two-bedroom cottage. Needless to say, the properties are gorgeous.
The best thing is that this 150-acre farm is also a nature preserve, meaning they try to keep pollution at bay. Bring a blanket outside and soak up the night beauty. Don’t forget to check out the Silo Farm store. They have some of the creamiest and best-smelling handmade soap bars!
Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area
If you ask locals for the best Nashville stargazing spot, Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area is bound to be mentioned a lot. This is one of Tennessee’s Dark Sky Parks. The 3,000-acre natural area has dedicated tons of efforts to preserve the area’s darkness. There’s no shortage of great spots but head to the astronomy field at the parking lot on Highway 154 for the best views. It’s open to the public for stargazing year-round. Also, check Pogue Creek’s website to learn about their star parties throughout the year in the field.
Pickett CCC Memorial State Park
Pickett CCC Memorial State Park is one of the prime stargazing destinations in the southeast. In 2015, the park was named a Silver-tier International Dark Sky Park along with nearby Pogue Creek. I don’t have to tell you the views from here are out of this world. You can drive to the astronomy field in Pogue Creek or find a site with clear horizons and a wide expansive view of the night sky.
Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park
They say save the best for last. Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park is for many the best place for stargazing in Nashville. The park was designated as an IDA International Dark Sky Park in 2017, but their efforts to preserve the night sky started way before that year.
The park has offered year-round astronomy and dark sky interpretive programs since 2013. Moreover, there’s no permanent outdoor lighting in the park, and the Park management has agreed to a total prohibition on any future installations of lighting to keep the dark at night.
Have any questions about these spots for going stargazing in Nashville, or the surrounding region in Tennessee? Let me know in the comments below!