Spend your star-studded astrotourism getaway at one of these 4 US destinations

Astrotourism is basically the
JOMO of wanderlusting vacations
—there’s very little to do
beyond simply looking up and watching. Furthermore, it’s on the
up and up. Airbnb
even named astrotourism a bona fide trend earlier this year

after seeing booking surges in accordance with celestial events,
like the
total solar eclipse in 2017
. (The platform reports that more
than 50,000 Airbnb guests from 26 countries traveled to the United
States to see the full eclipse).  

But what even is it? Well, as its name suggests, astrotourism is
rooted in all things astronomy and the stars; it’s about gazing
up and nerding out about the galaxies beyond us. You’d be right
to point out that this just sounds like
good old “stargazing,”
 but the uptick in people dedicating
their
precious vacation days
to chasing the best celestial sights
rightfully calls for a new name.

While there are plenty of gold-star (had to) destinations for
stargazing (hello,
aurora borealis views from Iceland
), our own United States of
America offers plenty of perfectly shiny locales for pausing and
taking in the literally out-of-this-world views.

Might sound like good old “stargazing,” but the uptick in
people dedicating their precious vacation days to chasing the best
celestial sights rightfully calls for a new name.

Ready to plan your own stargazing trip without having to dust
off your passport? We’ve got you covered. 4 cities in the US
perfect for an out-of-this-world astrotourism getaway. astrotourismGetty Images/Jingle
Photography: Fairbanks, Alaska 1. Fairbanks, Alaska

Known as a must-visit city because of its viewing opportunities
of the northern lights, Fairbanks is also a haven for both novice
and expert star peepers. The key to catching the best sights in
Alaska, however, is bundling up and visiting during the winter
months when
the skies are clearest
 and darkest. Include a visit to

Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium
to soak up some star-powered
knowledge. 2. Moab, Utah

Yet another dessert destination with peaks galore and natural
wonders, Moab boasts
several designated Dark Sky Parks
, per the
International Dark-Sky Association
, an organization that
targets light pollution. So basically, expect to see
everything.

Pick from viewing the stars at Dead
Horse Point State Park
, Arches National Park, or
Canyonlands National Park
for an unparalleled astronomical experience. Also, make sure to
pack binoculars for your visit; if you’re lucky, you may even get
a glimpse of
Saturn’s rings
. astrotourismPhoto: Getty Images/Eric
Lowenbach: Chaco Canyon, New Mexico 3. Albuquerque, New
Mexico

New Mexico as an entire state offers plenty of reasons worthy of
planning a trip (think: brilliantly blue skies, stunning sunsets,
unreal-looking rock formations ideal
for long hikes
). But Albuquerque has a special draw: the stars,
or rather being able to view them super clearly. The areas
surrounding the city are known for having low light pollution,
meaning less in your way when you gaze up at the sparkling orbs
above.

Road trip a few hours outside Albuquerque proper to Chaco
Canyon, a national historical park of
New Mexico
 that’s classified as an official
Dark Sky
Park
 (read: nationally recognized awesome stargazing
conditions). And your daytime itinerary is covered, too with
ancient ruins available for exploration. 4. Valentine, Nebraska

About a five-hour drive Northwest of Omaha sits Valentine, a
city of fewer than 3,000 people, and about 27 miles Northeast of
Valentine is the even more remote Merritt Reservoir Snake
Campground, which hosts the annual weeklong Nebraska Star Party.
While it might be generally unusual to seek out a vacation spot
that prides itself on being sparsely populated and poorly lit,
it’s kind of NSP’s claim to fame.

During the event, sky observation is on the nightly schedule
from dusk till dawn (obviously), but other programming—like
canoeing and photo contests—is available for registered festival
goers. And no sweat if you’re new to astronomy and simply got
roped into a summer road trip with buddies: There’s a Beginners
Field School that breaks down knowledge about the stars and how to
view them best. Intrigued? Mark your calendar for January 1, 2019,
when registration for the 2019 NST—from July 28 through August
2—opens.

Want more outdoorsy travel ideas? Check out the most

Instagram-worthy waterfall hikes in each state
. Or just beeline
to Joshua Tree for a
rock-climbing adventure
.

Source: FS – NewYork-W Fashion
Spend your star-studded astrotourism getaway at one of these 4 US destinations