With everyone stuck at home, looking for entertainment and a way out, the best thing we can do right now is plan for future trips. One easy way to make that happen sooner rather than later is by spending some quality time in the great outdoors.
One destination East Coasters can easily look to is Pennsylvania. With so many rural cities where light pollution rarely affects the night sky, it’s perfect for stargazing.
Take your family on a road trip through Pennsylvania to observe beautiful night skies with this list of the best places to stargaze in the state:
Located along the shores of Lake Erie, Sara’s Campground is a perfect home base for family summer camping. Spend the day splashing and playing around the lake, relaxing on the beach and exploring the surrounding Presque Isle State Park. When it’s time for night fall, watch the sunset reflect over the beautiful lake, then stick around to observe the stars. There will be no trees in the way, and that provides the best stargazing experiences.
Cherry Springs State Park is located in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, a small town on the cusp of the state border. Coudersport has little light pollution, allowing for the skies to get exceptionally dark at night, making it perfect for stargazing — it’s one of the darkest places on the East Coast. The Park’s Astronomy Field is the place to go, offering breathtaking, unobstructed views of thousands of stars and constellations.
Although Ohiopyle State Park is mostly known for some of the best whitewater rafting on the coast, the night’s dark skies make it a great place to stargaze. Go whitewater rafting during the day then camp overnight under the stars. Plan to take the guided star tour where you can learn how to identify some constellations while hearing the stories behind them.
Navajo Nation is an area of land in the southwestern United States. Covering about 27,000 square miles, the region in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah currently makes up the largest area of land retained by a tribe within the United States. Home to the Navajo people, the area boasts monuments, parks, markets, trails and historic sites.
Wearing sunscreen at the beach is a given, especially for little ones running in and out of the water — and anyone who forgets that usually regrets it with a vengeance the next day. One aspect of sunscreen I admittedly didn’t think about until just a few years ago is how detrimental its impact is on marine life and reefs. Oxybenzone is a chemical found in most mainstream sunscreens — it works to prevent sun damage, but is also carcinogenic and harmful to coral. The chemical makes coral more susceptible to bleaching and damages its DNA, interfering with reproduction and killing dependent marine life in the process.
An interesting and accidental beneficial side effect of recent travel bans is that large swaths of the world affected by over-tourism are beginning to heal themselves. Major cities from Los Angeles to London and Beijing are reporting their best air quality in years with less nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide emitted by cars and industry. The canals in Venice are so clear, schools of fish and even a dolphin were easily spotted by locals — all of this and more taking place before Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in April.
By Hainan Airlines
When you want to get away without getting behind the wheel, Amtrak has news for you — and budget-friendly news, at that. Enjoy the ride this summer to your next destinations from the comfort of a private Roomette room on Amtrak with a two-for-one deal on select one-way routes.