State Stargazing Guide

9 Nice Spots for Stargazing in New Hampshire

For one of New England’s small states, New Hampshire sure has a lot to offer; some of these include historic sites, natural beauty, and – perhaps surprisingly – dark skies (scoring as low as 2 on the Bortle Dark Sky Scale!).

Whether you’re visiting New Hampshire for leaf-peeping in the fall and happen to catch one of that season’s many meteor showers or want to plan a summer trip up north out of the region’s major cities, New Hampshire is a strong contender for those who love stargazing and seeing a different part of the country.

Stargazing in New Hampshire Hero

Below you’ll find a list of some of the best spots for stargazing in New Hampshire, to help you plan your nights. These spots are in some of the darkest parts of the state, or take advantage of the expertise of the astronomers who call New Hampshire home to share their knowledge with you.

Ready to get out and enjoy some of the darkest skies in New England? New Hampshire is the place!

In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of the Wabanaki (Dawnland Confederacy) and N’dakina (Abenaki / Abénaquis) peoples. 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.

AMC Highland Center

Located within Crawford Notch State Park, AMC Highland Center is a stunning place to go stargazing in New Hampshire, especially if you also love hiking. The Highland Center serves as the headquarters for hiking the White Mountains.

For stargazers, it is also the perfect base to explore the night sky. The center is surrounded by nothing but forests and mountains. All you’ll see when the sun goes down is a dark blanket with countless stars shining above your head.

Stargazing in New Hampshire
Photo credit: Eric Kilby via Flickr

Castle in the Clouds

Moultonborough is home to one of the loveliest New Hampshire stargazing spots: Castle in the Clouds.

A historic old mansion, Castle in the Clouds is one of those places that seem taken out of a fairytale. The property enjoys a gorgeous location within the rim of an ancient volcano overlooking the picturesque Lake Winnipesaukee. There are well-defined hiking trails along water flows with spectacular waterfalls. In the fall, the changing of the leaves provides colorful vistas.  

Castle in the Clouds is temporarily closed, but make sure to check out their website to see if they reopen.

Crawford Notch Depot

Crawford Notch State Park has yet another place where you can go stargazing, the Crawford Notch Depot. This historic railroad station will provide the perfect background for your Astro portraits. Moreover, the station offers the perfect landscape for stargazers. There’s plenty of solitude around and the background of the forests and mountains creates a serene environment. 

Stargazing in New Hampshire

Francestown Barn

Another excellent location for astrophotographers, Francestown Barn is one of the most scenic spots for stargazing in New Hampshire if you’re looking to give your stargazing session a dose of countryside charm. Don’t confine yourself to this barn only. The Monadnock region is filled with picturesque barns that stand against the star-filled sky every night.

Lake Solitude

Lake Solitude is one of those places that make your jaw drop at the sheer beauty of nature. This hidden gem is a must-visit for stargazers in New Hampshire. True to its name, Lake Solitude lies just over the top of Mount Sunapee and provides a serene spot to marvel at the cosmos.

The landscape around is also stunning. The stars get mirrored in the pristine waters and the night sky looks even more beautiful against the shadows of the towering trees.

Stargazing in New Hampshire

Pemigewasset Overlook

The Kancamagus Highway is filled with overlooks. But none of them is as beautiful as the Pemigewasset Overlook. This lookout is famous for offering great views of the fall foliage and of the Osceola Mountain range. However, it’s also perfect for a sit-down dinner under the stars. You’ll find tons of parking and an incredible view of the galaxy. If the sky is clear enough, you can even catch a glimpse of the Milky Way!

Shattuck Observatory

If you’re taking your first steps in astronomy, Shattuck Observatory is an excellent alternative for going stargazing in New Hampshire. This observatory is a Hanover landmark, being one of the earlier buildings at Dartmouth College. They will be hosting public viewings every Friday night from January 7th to March 11th (weather permitting) between 8-10 pm.

Stargazing in New Hampshire - Shattuck Observatory - William J. Kaufman via Dartmouth
Photo courtesy of William J. Kaufman via Dartmouth

Umbagog Lake

Umbagog Lake is a little slice of serenity. Located in the Great North Woods, Umbagog Lake is a great place for camping, canoeing, fishing, relaxing, and yes, stargazing. Its remote location and the surrounding rural landscape have helped to preserve the quality of the night sky. The skies here are so clear that you won’t even need a telescope to admire the universe in all its glory.

White Lake State Park

Campers, hear me out. White Lake State Park stands out as a wonderful place for camping, but also one of the best places to go stargazing in New Hampshire. The property is immaculate and pristine wherever you look and offers excellent amenities.

The absolute best plan is walking down to the lake after a campsite dinner to watch the sunset and listen to the loons. Then, take out your binoculars or telescope and get ready to experience some otherworldly cosmic beauty. 

Know of any other great spots for stargazing in New Hampshire or have questions about these spots? Let me know in the comments below!

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Valerie is the founder and editor of Space Tourism Guide. She grew up in Alaska, has lived across the U.S., and traveled around the world to enjoy the night sky from many different perspectives. Join her on this journey to explore space right here on earth.

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