How To Plan An Epic RV Stargazing Trip

Jason Takacs and his family sitting around a campfire under a starry night sky

RVing and stargazing seem to go hand-in-hand—you can escape the bright city lights and find yourself surrounded by dark skies and thousands of brilliant stars. But figuring out where to look and understanding what you’re looking at can be tricky. Regardless if you're a beginner or an experienced stargazer, this article will provide a comprehensive guide to planning the perfect RV camping trip for stargazing, offering insights into the best stargazing spots, equipment recommendations and essential tips to make your celestial journey truly remarkable.

  1. Use a light pollution map to find the perfect campsite

    Use a light pollution map to find campgrounds that are outside of major cities and away from bright lights. Most light pollution maps are color-coded to show where the darkest areas are located—look for places that are either marked in green or dark gray. You can also book campsites in or near an International Dark Sky Place, a Dark Sky Preserve or an UNESCO Starlight Reserve. Some popular campsite booking sites are now offering a dark sky search filter, such as the Dark Skies Map on Hipcamp. For optimal stargazing opportunities, make sure your specific campsite is free from obstruction, including tall trees, and away from campground facilities like bathrooms or cabins.

  2. Plan your RV trip around moon phases

    If seeing a lot of celestial activity is important to you, then be sure to plan your RV camping trip around the lunar calendar. The best time to stargaze is during a New Moon, which is when the sky is at its darkest. If you’re unable to camp during a New Moon, then try to travel when the Moon has an early set, a late rise or during a Waxing Crescent. Check out this list of celestial events to see if your next RV camping trip aligns with a meteor shower, solar eclipse or planetary conjunction.

  3. Keep your campsite as dark as possible

    For the best stargazing experience, try to keep any light at your campsite to a minimum. This is especially important if you’re staying at a Dark Sky campground. Some tips include turning off all exterior lights, avoiding any string lights and using low luminance or red-colored lights where possible.

  4. Pack for the night

    There are a few essentials you should bring with you on your RV stargazing trip. The first is a headlamp, lantern or flashlight with red light capabilities. Your eyes need about 20 minutes to fully adjust to darkness, and having a red light will not only help you see where you’re going but will also keep your eyes adjusted. The second item is a telescope or pair of binoculars. You can often see meteors and satellites with your naked eye, but having some sort of magnifying device can really enhance the experience. And lastly, we recommend downloading a stargazing app, such as Night Sky or SkyView. If you want to learn more about a cluster of stars or find the position of a certain planet, these apps are great for providing exact locations and additional information.

Travel Trailers

Travel trailers are the most popular type of non-motorized RV. No doubt you’ve seen one pulled down the highway hitched to a car or pickup. Travel trailers come in all sizes including tiny jellybean-shaped models with a chuckwagon kitchen in the rear to the massive house-on-wheels with picture windows and a sliding glass patio door.

Find Your Perfect RV

Whether you're new to the world of RVing or you're ready to narrow your search, we're here to help you sort through it all and find the RV that's right for you. Explore RVs based off of your lifestyle and the features important to you.

Find Your RV
An travel trailer RV parked in a green field.