Scattered across the US are pockets of dark skies that offer some of the best stargazing experiences in the world. Within these often protected and designated areas luxury hotels are catering to the astro-tourism market with expert lead stargazing experiences. Situated in areas with low levels of light pollution and excellent air clarity, the night sky over these properties is so pristine you can enjoy it from the comfort of your hotel room or balcony. But these stargazing hotels have stepped it up by offering a range of astrological events, in-room telescopes and binoculars, outdoor skybeds, and even an on-site observatory. With a focus on the outdoors, these are not only some of the best resorts in the US, they run some of the top dark sky experiences in the nation.
13 Luxury Outdoor Hotels With Otherworldly Stargazing Experiences
ADERO Scottsdale Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona
Once the desert sun has set over Scottsdale, the ADERO Scottsdale Resort becomes a stage for some unmissable stargazing. In part due to the natural screening effect of the neighboring McDowell Mountains, you can enjoy the night sky right from the comfort of your accommodation with the use of in-room telescopes and binoculars.
They also offer a signature night sky program, “Find Your Way”, designed to guide stargazers through the infinite expanse of our universe. The hotel’s resident “Star Dudes” provide guided stargazing events, offering a wealth of knowledge and insights and guests also receive exclusive complimentary use of the Star Walk 2 mobile app.
ADERO Scottsdale Resort : 13225 North Eagle Ridge Drive, Fountain Hills, AZ, 85268
Alila Ventana, Big Sur, California
This resort sits in a stunning location between the mountains, redwood forests, and the Pacific Ocean. Its spectacular position and over 160 acres of land offer some of the best views in Big Sur. It’s also just off Highway One, which is considered one of the world’s most scenic and cherished routes. It’s also one of the best places in California to stargaze and is a wicked stop on a coastal road trip.
For those interested in astronomy, the resort runs a few experiences. Star bathing sessions are popular and are run by expert guides who educate guests about the dark sky and local flora and fauna found on the property. You can also partake in an astrology reading that will explore your birth chart or the cosmic yoga experience. The grounding practice is said to encourage a personal connection between body, mind, and spirit with the land and universe.
Alila Ventana Big Sur in California : 48123 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, Utah
Set in perhaps the most dramatic desert landscape in the US, Amangini Resort is minutes from Lake Powell and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The drive to its almost hidden location is part of the draw. As are the dark skies that blanket this remote region of Utah.
The resort oozes exclusivity and luxury. The exterior of the resort was inspired by the rugged landscape, so much so, the buildings blend harmoniously into the red rocks.
Many of the guests go to Amangiri with wellness in mind. There’s a holistic focus on health and wellbeing with an extensive (and exciting) menu of Navajo-inspired treatments, and complimentary yoga and hiking sessions.
Every room at the resort has panoramic views over the desert. The most exciting, however, are Amangiri’s Mesa Pool Suites and Desert Pool Suite. These feature a skybed that allows guests to sleep under the stars on a private terrace. The experience is topped off with cozy blankets, champagne, s’mores, and a firepit.
Amangiri Resort, Canyon Point, Utah : 200 Nohea Kai Dr, Lahaina, HI, 96761
Castle Hot Springs, Morristown, Arizona
Castle Hot Springs is located around 50 miles from Phoenix and offers an all-inclusive getaway from the pollution of city lights. The secluded destination has a stunning backdrop of the Bradshaw Mountains and is set on an expansive 1,100-acre property. Avid stargazers don’t need to venture from the grounds to enjoy an assortment of constellations, which can be seen with the naked eye.
There are 30 private bungalows and cabins to choose from, but the hotel suggests booking one of the Luxury Sky View Cabins. These have the benefit of an elevated position with a “front-row seat to the incredible night sky.” The accommodations also feature a sprawling deck with a telescope and a luxurious outdoor tub. Another great spot to enjoy the night sky is the estate’s rejuvenating and naturally occurring geothermal hot springs.
Castle Hot Springs : 5050 N Castle Hot Springs Rd, Morristown, AZ 85342
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Kihei, Hawaii
The Four Seasons is one of the best resorts in Maui, if not Hawaii. It’s located in Wailea, an area of Maui known for having pristine sand beaches and exceptional dark skies.
In the summer of 2023, the resort launched a new stargazing experience: “A Wayfinder’s Journey.” Five years in the making, the private luxury catamaran sailing adventure celebrates the island’s cultural heritage and traditions that are intertwined with astronomy and their respect for the ocean. The three-hour voyage departs at sunset and is led by Hawaiian navigator, Kala Baybayan Tanaka. On-board guests will learn about her Polynesian ancestors who used to stars to navigate the waters and will be treated to a five-star plant-based culinary journey under the constellations.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea : 3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753
Hotel Jackson, Jackson, Wyoming
Stargazing has become a significant part of Jackson’s cultural identity and tourism industry. The high altitude and low light pollution in town make it a superb site for astronomical observation.
Hotel Jackson is just steps away from downtown. The hotel was built by the Darwiche family, who have deep ties with the local community spanning three generations. This strong sense of community has undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping the hotel’s welcoming, personalized service which extends to it’s additional experiences.
It is ideally located close to several spots known for their clear, star-filled skies, so you can enjoy the night sky from the properties balconies. They also run guided stargazing tours with iPads (with the Star Walk App) and high-spec telescopes. Operated by Wyoming Stargazing, a local organization, guests are picked up at reception and taken on a three to four hour educational excursion. Departure time will be confirmed depending on the weather, but they normally leave about 7:30 PM.
Hotel Jackson, Jackson, Wyoming : 120 North Glenwood Street, Jackson, WY, 83001
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Maui, Hawaii
Among the Hawaiian Islands, Maui stands out as a premier destination for stargazing. Its clear and unobstructed skies, coupled with the stable atmospheric conditions created by the trade winds, provide near-perfect conditions for observing the cosmos.
From Hyatt Regency Maui Resort you can enjoy the night sky for your private lanai, but if you’d like a little guidence, you can head up to the property’s rooftop and join their famed astronomy program, Tour of the Stars. It runs three times per night, five nights a week (Thursday to Monday). From this unique position on Earth, you are able to see 80 of the 88 constellations. There’s also an exclusive nighttime photography workshop on Monday nights piloted by NASA solar system ambassador, Eddie Mahoney.
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa : 200 Nohea Kai Dr, Lahaina, HI, 96761
Price per night: $934
Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, Copper Harbor, Michigan
Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is a historic resort in Copper Harbor at the end of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The year-round outdoor adventure lodge is also the headquarters for the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park.
There’s a busy calendar of events from stargazing parties to night-sky photo workshops and guests can enhance their viewing experience by borrowing a telescope and a red light from the Outdoors Activity Center. The best spots are marked on an easy to follow map which can be downloaded and studied at the stargazing headquarters. The top of Keweenaw is well known for sighting of the aurora borealis. If you are visiting between October to April, you may be lucky enough to spot the lights from the shores of Lake Superior and from atop Brockway Mountain.
Keweenaw Mountain Lodge : 14252 US Hwy 41, Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Price per night: $350
Mauna Kea Resort, Kohala Coast, Hawaii
Hawaii Island, specifically Mauna Kea, provides stargazers with world-class clarity. The island’s elevation and geographic isolation result in incredibly clear skies. The conditions are so good that Mauna Kea houses some of the world’s most advanced astronomical observatories.
One of the best places to stay to experience the dark sky is Mauna Kea Resort. The resort is comprised of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and nearby sister property, The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. The companies have partnered with Star Gaze Hawaii to offer an extraordinary experience to stargaze at sea level with finely-tuned telescopes and highly-trained astronomers. Every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, guests are taken through an educational program touching on the star lore narrative on the history of astronomy.
Mauna Kea Resort : 62-100 Kauna’oa Drive, Kohala Coast, HI 96743
Primland Resort, Meadows Of Dan, Virginia
Located on 12,000 acre estate in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Primland Resort, is a year-round opulent mountain retreat. The five-star is an all-season outdoor playground. Regardless of the time of year you visit, there’s a wealth of activities from the outstanding kids’ club, championship level golf, fishing on the river in Kibler Valley, archery, clay pigeon shooting, craft cocktail evenings in the Tabacco Barn, to mountain biking on Old Appalachian Trail. A stay here is pricey, but it’s overall one of the best outdoor resorts in the US.
The accommodations don’t disappoint either. They range from pretty standalone cottages to log cabins and treehouses. Opting to sleep in the trees sounds absolutely magical. Due to the altitude of the estate and the clarity of the night sky, Primland is cloaked in a heavy blanket of stars. Take it in from the room or head to the resort’s fully-equipped observatory. There you’ll find the property’s Celestron CGE Pro 1400 and CPC 800 telescopes, and an on-site astronomer to help guide the session.
Primland Resort : 2000 Busted Rock Rd, Meadows Of Dan, VA, 24120
Sage Lodge, Pray, Montana
Montana is known as Big Sky country for a reason. One of the best places to take it in is Sage Lodge in Paradise Valley. Spanning over a mile of Yellowstone River, and just 35 minutes from Yellowstone National Park, the property is one of the top tier luxury resorts in Montana. It’s a perfect blend of organized outdoor sports (take your pick) and an upscale rural stay. Despite the level of exorbitance, it’s far from pretentious. The welcoming nature of staff coupled with the coziness of accommodations (from their standard rooms to private ranch houses) make for an un-fussy warm ambiance.
Paradise Valley is blessed with clean air and low light pollution making conditions here, some of the best in the state for star gazing. One of the most popular activities at the resort is the guided tour of the night sky with astrophysicist Dr. Thomas Rust. This program is suitable for new-bee stargazers and those who have prior experience and knowledge. Night sky activities are included in a stay at Sage and are held year-round.
Sage Lodge : 55 Sage Lodge Drive, Pray, MT, 59065
Summit at Big Bend, Terlingua, Texas
With an unbeatable combination of luxury and natural beauty, the Summit at Big Bend glamping resort is the perfect destination for enjoying the night sky. Spread out over 1,000 acres of desert land, the Summit’s location is renowned for offering some of the best stargazing experiences in the lower 48 states.
The resort perfectly balances glamping with the amenities of a regular hotel. The most popular rooms are the luxury caves. The Summit is the only place in Texas offering fully furnished cave hotel rooms. The mountain retreats are located halfway to the summit of Tres Cuevas Mountain in Terlingua and look out over the pristine night sky. Another excellent way to immerse yourself in the wilderness (without compromising on comfort) is sleeping in one of the Summit Domes. These feature large bay windows that provide an unobstructed view of the Milky Way.
Summit at Big Bend : 2500 N Lone Star Mine, Terlingua, TX 79852
The Inn at Death Valley, Death Valley, California
Built in 1927, The Inn sits in core of the Death Valley National Park. Over the years, it has seen a significant evolution, with a recent over $100 million renaissance bringing new life to the grande dame. Its design carries the charm of its original adobe-brick-and-stone architecture, while the recent renovations have restored it to its former glory that once attracted the likes of Marlon Brando and Clark Gable.
The resort, alongside the National Park Service, has taken measures to greatly minimize light pollution in the area. One of the major draws of the property is that it’s close to major cities in the Southwest, but remote enough to provide unobstructed views of the night sky.
It’s the perfect luxurious base if you are interested in attending one of the many stargazing events Death Valley National Park rangers hold in the winter and spring months.
The Inn at Death Valley : Highway 190, Death Valley, CA, 92328