Looking to spot the brightest stars and constellations in Texas? Here are the 3 best spots near Austin to kick start your stargazing adventure!
As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. Well, the same holds true for the stars! I recently took a fun road trip across Texas Hill Country, which spans 41 counties, in search of the best views of the cosmos. Whether you’re exploring the countryside or atop an observatory, you’ll be sure to find and capture some awe-inspiring moments just an hour away from Austin. To help with your quest for the best spots to stargaze around Austin, Texas, here are my top three:
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Location: 16710 Ranch Road. 965 Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Price: $8 Entry Fee (Free for Children Under 12)
Where to Stay: The centrally located Winchester Lodge for a modern, yet cozy place to unwind after an evening of exploration.
As a designated International Sky Park, Enchanted Rock is arguably one of the best places in Texas to enjoy a natural star show. In fact, on a clear night it’s not uncommon for visitors to witness a shooting star as the grand finale! The park closes at 10pm, but if you want to do some stargazing, you’ll have to enter the park before 8pm. Be sure to bring your own water, a real flashlight, and wear appropriate hiking shoes. Check your favorite weather app for a detailed breakdown of the evening temperature drops, because you may need an extra jacket as well. I would suggest arriving before sunset to get a lay of the land if you aren’t an experienced hiker. The views are just as spectacular, with the rocks appearing to be varying shades of orange, yellow and pink depending on the position of the sun as it sets.
While its skies and scenic views are renowned by thousands who visit each year, Fredericksburg also draws tourists for several other reasons. From hiking to shopping and wine tasting, Fredericksburg offers endless things to do. If you enjoy a good glass of vino, then a visit to Signor Vineyards is a must! This sixth-generation boutique Texas vineyard has a laid back vibe that’s unique to Texas wine country, also known as Wine Road 290!
Reimer’s Ranch Park
Location: 23610 Hamilton Road, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
Price: $5 Entry Fee (Free for Children Under 12)
Where to Stay: For a luxurious place to lay your head down with top-notch amenities, book a cottage at Camp Lucy.
Located in the town of Dripping Springs, Reimer’s Ranch Park and surrounding areas are intentional when it comes to preserving its incredible night skies. In fact, its council even passed an ordinance aimed at regulating nighttime lighting and reducing pollution with the primary aim to preserve its clear skies. There is even an annual celebration every March known as the Texas Night Sky Festival! Aside from stargazing, Reimer’s Ranch Park is an idyllic destination for those who adore the outdoors. With hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities, and of course, its astronomical observatory, there’s no shortage of fun to be had here.
Other popular activities to do while visiting the area include spending a day at the Hamilton Pool and going bottoms up at Dripping Springs Distillery! Hamilton Pool is a natural water preserve just a quarter of a mile from the trails that will have you feeling like you’ve entered into another world. Pro Tip: this attraction is extremely popular, so book your ticket well in advance to make sure they don’t sell out!
Eagle Eye Observatory at Canyon of the Eagles
Location: 16942 Ranch Road, 2341 Burnet, TX 78611
Price: $20 ($10 Entry Fee + $10 Observatory Experience)
Where to Stay: For the full stargazing experience, stay at the Canyon of the Eagles Resort where they have an on-site astronomer and Observatory.
While national parks and natural landscapes are both incredible spots to stargaze with the naked eye, observatories are made for it, quite literally! Nestled in the Highland region of the Texas Hill Countryside, Canyon of the Eagles Resort sits on a near 1000-acre park far from any city distractions. Eagle Eye Observatory, in particular, is one of the best places to stargaze in Texas. With its sliding-roof design and two independently retractable roof sections, along with an impressive fleet of telescopes, you’re sure to see the biggest and brightest constellations.
The Observatory is open Wednesday-Sunday, but Friday and Saturday are reserved exclusively for overnight guests. Withstanding its world-class stargazing opportunities, the Canyon of the Eagles Resort offers several other enjoyable and entertaining attractions which you can learn more about in this full review.
Another must is the Vanishing Texas River Cruise! A fun day-excursion for the entire family, Texas River Cruises provide a scenic and eventful day exploring Lake Buchanan and its accompanying natural landscapes and wildlife. Whether in a kayak or a cruising catamaran, there are plenty of options to choose from. The best part? Cruise offerings are a year-round excursion!
Have you been to this part of Texas? Which stargazing spots would you add to this list? Comment below!
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