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Michigan is lucky to play host to both dark sky preserves and parks that offer stellar celestial landscapes. These locations are specially designated because they have qualities that complement nighttime viewing, such as the ability to limit the amount of artificial light. There are also plenty of excellent night-sky viewing opportunities across more than 15,000 square miles in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
* To take full advantage of your night sky experience, make your Michigan state park camping reservation at MiDNRReservations.com.
Dark sky preserves
Stargazers can visit areas of state parks, specially designated by state legislature as dark sky preserves, 24 hours a day (may not be consistently plowed in the winter). These areas are signed and located in the following state parks:
- Lake Hudson Recreation Area (Lenawee County)
- Negwegon State Park (Alcona County) - No winter plowing.
- Port Crescent State Park (Huron County) - No winter plowing, visitors can hike from the parking lot to the preserve.
- Rockport Recreation Area (Presque Isle County) - Plowed in the winter.
- Thompson's Harbor State Park (Presque Isle County) - Plowed in the winter.
- Wilderness State Park (Emmet County) - No winter plowing; however, area near park headquarters is plowed.
Internationally designated dark sky parks
Dark sky parks are designated by the International Dark Sky Association. They are located in the following places in Michigan:
- Headlands Dark Sky Park (Emmet County park)
- Keweenaw Dark Sky Park (Keweenaw County)
- Dr. T.K. Lawless Park (Cass County park)
Other stargazing opportunities
International Dark Sky Week
International Dark Sky Week, which takes place each spring, is hosted by the International Dark-Sky Association to encourage discovery of the night sky. The week-long event promotes worldwide stargazing opportunities and the negative impacts of light pollution.
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are created by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere. Clear, winter nights provide the best viewing, so gazing upward and toward the north might just provide you with that outdoor experience you've been waiting. They are best seen late August through early April.
2023 meteor showers
- Quadrantids: Jan. 3-4
- Lyrids: April 21-22
- Eta Aquarids: May 4-5
- Delta Aquarids: July 29-30
- Perseids: Aug.11-13
- Draconids: Oct. 8-10
- Orionids: Oct. 20-21
- Leonids: Nov. 17-18
- Geminids: Dec. 13-14
The Perseid meteor shower is one of the biggest astronomical events of the year, taking place each August.
View dark sky events