Stay & Stargaze

By: Teresa Bitler

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October 30, 2017

View Arizona’s starry skies at accommodations with astronomy programs and amenities.

About the author

Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Sunset and Valley Guide magazines. She is the author of Great Escapes Arizona as well as four Arizona-related iPhone travel apps and is currently working on her second guidebook, Backroads & Byways of Indian Country. She can be reached at www.teresabitler.com.

You don’t have to be a professional astronomer to appreciate Arizona’s amazing night skies, but a telescope, celestial map and experienced guide can certainly help. These resorts, hotels and other accommodations throughout the state offer stellar stargazing amenities like these and more.

Bright Angel Lodge

At the Grand Canyon, the night sky rivals the views during the day. Time an overnight stay at Bright Angel Lodge with one of the National Park Service’s frequent astronomy talks (check the park’s calendar for dates), or attend the annual Grand Canyon Star Party. Held each June, the weeklong event features free nightly astronomy talks, constellation tours and telescope viewing.

L’Auberge de Sedona

Farther south, Sedona has been an official Dark Sky City since 2014. Take advantage of the darkness on weekly, astronomer-led stargazing tours while staying at L’Auberge de Sedona. The resort also offers star bathing – a fully clothed, guided session under the stars that encourages you to use your senses to appreciate the night – as well as a two-night Written in the Stars package with a stargazing map and heavenly amenities.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Light from the nation’s fifth largest city makes stargazing in Phoenix-proper difficult, but you don’t have to venture too far from downtown for that to change. In the foothills of north Scottsdale, resort guests can enjoy complimentary stargazing on Thursdays or arrange for a celestial picnic complete with a private stargazing session with a local astronomer at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North.

Boulders Resort & Spa

Also in north Scottsdale, the Boulders Resort & Spa offers several stargazing options. You can view planets, stars and the moon’s surface with the help of the resort’s professional astronomer or pick out celestial points of interest on your own using the constellation app installed on each guest room’s iPad. The resort also offers starlit dinners and moonlight yoga and bicycling.

Miraval Resort & Spa

The resorts and hotels tucked along the foothills surrounding Tucson enjoy darker-than-normal night skies and several have stargazing opportunities. Miraval Resort & Spa regularly offers nighttime sky-watching programs, such as a recent one hosted by the resort’s astrologist focusing on zodiac constellations and another about the mysteries of the dark side of the moon.

Westward Look

At Westward Look – a renovated, 80-acre ranch and the oldest resort in Tucson – you can peer into deep space using the Celestron 2000 telescope near the main pool. Staff can help get you started from dusk until midnight every night.

Down By the River B&B

Strict light ordinances in Cochise County make it a prime destination for stargazing, too. At Down By the River B&B, just 15 miles north of Tombstone in St. David, guests have access to the property’s stargazing area with a fire pit on the San Pedro River. Believe it or not, the sky is so dark here, you’ll be able to see the planets and constellations with the naked eye.   

Kitt Peak National Observatory

One of the premier stargazing regions in the country, Southern Arizona boasts several observatories, including Kitt Peak National Observatory south west of Tucson. You can tour Kitt Peak during the day or participate in an evening viewing program. But to really appreciate the facility, book an overnight stay, which allows you to stargaze until dawn.  When you get tired (or when the sun comes up), you can bunk with researchers in the observatory’s dorms.

 

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