15 Terrific Spots for Stargazing in Tennessee
Tennessee, a state known for its rich musical heritage and picturesque landscapes, offers a celestial stage where the wonders of the cosmos unveil their mesmerizing beauty. As you explore the enchanting night skies of the Volunteer State, you’ll be captivated by the brilliant array of glittering stars, planets, and meteor showers that create a spectacle rivaling any chart-topping hit.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the serene shores of Reelfoot Lake are just a couple of the awe-inspiring locations in Tennessee where you can embark on a journey through the cosmos and indulge your inner astronomer.
Whether you’re an experienced astronomer or new to the world of stargazing, Tennessee’s night skies offer an unforgettable experience that will leave you spellbound and inspired to explore the vast wonders of the universe.
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.
Big Hill Pond State Park
Located in the southwestern part of the state, Big Hill Pond State Park is a hidden gem for stargazing in Tennessee. This park boasts miles of trails and camping areas, and the activities available here are countless. From kayak rentals to disc golf, this park has everything.
Stargazers will find a peaceful and serene environment for viewing the cosmos. Also, the park enjoys low light pollution thanks to its remote location away from cities.
Big South Fork
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, located in the Cumberland Plateau, is one of the top Tennessee stargazing spots. The park offers exceptional opportunities for stargazing and their night sky programs are among the most popular.
There’s no shortage of places to see the stars, but the East Rim Overlook is a prime spot to see the Milky Way. O & W Bridge and the Blue Heron Overlook are another two great spots to soak in the night sky.
Bledsoe Creek State Park
Situated on the shores of Old Hickory Lake near Nashville, Bledsoe Creek State Park is relatively small as state parks go. But its size doesn’t stop it from offering endless opportunities for outdoor lovers.
The park’s open fields and waterfront areas provide unobstructed views of the night sky, making it a great spot for setting up telescopes and observing the stars. It also offers camping facilities, so you can extend your stargazing experience and spend a night under the stars.
Blue Bank Resort
Located on the shores of Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee, Blue Bank Resort is a unique destination for stargazing. This resort offers guided stargazing tours led by knowledgeable astronomers who provide telescopes and help you explore the wonders of the night sky.
With its peaceful surroundings and dark skies, Blue Bank Resort is a perfect getaway for stargazing enthusiasts seeking a blend of comfort and nature.
Edgar Evins State Park
Edgar Evins State Park is nestled on the shores of Center Hill Lake, and for some, it’s the best park outside of Nashville. The park’s highlight is the lake – perfect if you want an artistic shot of the night sky against the water.
Fellow astronomy buffs will love this place for stargazing in Tennessee if what they want is peace and quiet. The park also hosts stargazing events and programs, where you can learn about the constellations, planets, and other celestial objects while enjoying the beauty of the night sky.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
There’s a reason why Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of Tennessee’s most popular state parks. From breathtaking waterfalls and rock formations to swinging suspension bridges, this state parks it all. But its beauty isn’t confined to stunning waterfalls only.
The dark sky this park sits under is out of this world. Fall Creek enjoys a remote location and features designated stargazing areas make it a perfect spot for observing the night sky.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
As one of the most visited national parks in the United States, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also a fantastic Tennessee stargazing destination. The park offers endless stargazing areas, including Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park and in Tennessee! The Foothills Parkway and the Newfound Gap Trailhead are another two great places from where to see the stars.
Harrison Bay State Park
Located near Chattanooga, Harrison Bay State Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. But it’s also a great spot for stargazing!
The park offers several areas where you can set up your telescope or lay out a blanket to gaze at the night sky. The shoreline of Chickamauga Lake is a prime spot.
The park also hosts stargazing events and astronomy programs throughout the year, making it a perfect place for both beginners and experienced stargazers.
Henry Horton State Park
Henry Horton State Park is in Chapel Hill and is another fantastic spot for stargazing in Tennessee. The park’s dark sky provides an ideal setting for observing celestial bodies. It is quite popular and can get a bit busy on holidays, so I wouldn’t come here if you enjoy solitude for your stargazing endeavors.
You can join their astronomy programs and stargazing events led by the park rangers. Of course, you can also bring your own telescope and find a suitable spot.
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park sits near Memphis. It is a beautiful park with diverse landscapes, including forests, lakes, and wetlands. It’s also a great destination for stargazing, thanks to its location away from major cities. The park offers numerous spots where you can set up your telescope to watch the stars twinkle in the night sky. Bear in mind the park closes at 10 p.m., so you’ll have to stay overnight in one of the lodges or campgrounds.
Natchez Trace State Park
Natchez Trace State Park is nestled between Nashville and Memphis. So if you’re known for its picturesque scenery and natural beauty. But it’s also a hidden gem for stargazing enthusiasts. The park’s remote location and dark skies make it an ideal spot for observing celestial bodies. There are no designated areas for stargazing, but you can set up your telescope along the Tennessee River. Also, you’ll find some great spots along the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park
Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park offers a unique Tennessee stargazing experience. This remote park is known for its rugged landscapes, towering cliffs, and pristine rivers.
The minimal light pollution and clear skies make it a perfect location for soaking in the night sky. If you want complete solitude, Fairfield Glade is a good option. It’s far off the beaten path and will take you a good hour to get there, but you’ll only see a few hikers here and there throughout the day.
Pickett CCC Memorial State Park
Located in Jamestown, Pickett CCC Memorial State Park is a gem for stargazing enthusiasts.
This park was constructed in the 1930s and was named a Silver-tier International Dark Sky Park in 2015. You’ll find an astronomy field on Highway 154 that’s shared with Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area.
Also, the park hosts stargazing events and astronomy programs throughout the year, providing educational and immersive experiences for visitors of all ages.
Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area
Nestled in the heart of the Cumberland Plateau, Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area is an unbeatable destination for stargazing in Tennessee. The natural area is known for its unique geological features, including stunning sandstone cliffs and breathtaking waterfalls. Talk about a dramatic backdrop for stargazing adventures, huh?
There’s an astronomy field located at the Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area’s parking lot. Bring your telescope and enjoy a starry treat!
For a more luxurious stargazing experience, head to Stillwater Farms in Henderson. This private farm offers cottages nestled in the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains, providing a secluded setting for observing the night sky. The remodeled 1982 Airstream is de-light-full.
There’s barely any lights surrounding the farm, meaning light pollution isn’t a major concern. Don’t succumb to the comfort of your cottage and set out to explore the hills to find the darkest skies.
Know of any other spots for stargazing in Tennessee, or have questions about these ones? Let me know in the comments below!