The Best Places to Stargaze in California
Do as we say and you'll have stars in your eyes across the deserts, valleys and even cities of California.
There’s another kind of star in California, even if it doesn't get quite as much press and recognition as the glitzy Hollywood celebs in Los Angeles. And where Hollywood stars are all noise, fame and entertainment, the stars we’re talking have a quiet and unassuming nature. Well, not if you were to get up close, as they consist of raging balls of fire. But from the serenity of the Californian desert, there is nothing more peaceful and all-consuming than looking up at the quiet night’s sky, replete with powdery, milky dots. Lie on your back in the Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs, Lake Tahoe or even parts of Los Angeles, and search the stars of the sky.
Of course, for the best views of the sky, you’ll need to find the darkest places in California. Luckily, we have clusters of Plum Guide homes dispersed like galaxies across the state’s varied terrain. Here, we bring you the best places to stargaze in California.
Bordering Nevada right on the eastern edge of California lies the vast Lake Tahoe, a shimmering basin of water reflecting the galaxies above. And you’ll feel like you can almost reach out and touch them at the altitude of 6,200 feet (1,900 metres) at the lake’s surface. Stay into the evening one fine, cloudless night or take a night-time boat tour on the water for a romantic date with your partner (or a ruined evening with your kids). Look up to see the sky painted black and white. This spectacular setting easily makes Lake Tahoe one of the best places to stargaze in California.
Once back on land, head back to one of the many Plum Guide homes we have in Lake Tahoe. Hit up the casinos on the Nevada side and head out for some fine-dining. Maybe you’ll even spot some of that other kind of star we referenced at somewhere exclusive, such as Evan’s American Gourmet Café or the Italian Café Fiore. By day, the stars might disappear (don’t worry, they’re still there, you just can’t see them), but there are plenty of fun things to do in the area. Visit the Emerald Bay State Park, hike around South Lake Tahoe and embark on a boat cruise. In winter, take to the slopes of the Heavenly Resort.
Joshua Tree National Park
You’re in the middle of the desert, surrounded by nothing but cacti, red rock formations and occasional scuttling of whatever survives out here. Miles from the bright lights of Los Angeles and San Diego, this otherworldly plain makes for a natural observatory; a secluded spot for you and your family to have the cosmos to yourselves. Just look up and you'll see why this is one of the best places to stargaze in California. After filling your boots with a sufficient amount of stargazing, stay at one of our impressive homes scattered across the desert plains. Then, by day, embark on the Indian Cove Nature Trail and go rock climbing in Echo Cove. The Cholla Cactus Garden, the Arch Rock Trail and the Keys View are among the top highlights in the park.
It may be the case… just maybe… that the vast open expanse of the desert at night scares you. You’re a city bird. Luckily, the charming Palm Springs makes for an idyllic destination right near the Joshua Tree National Park. And we have a great range of deluxe homes in a city known for its excellent shopping and dining. Pick out the best brands in the Corridor shopping mall and head to the Revivals Stores. Main Street runs through the centre of the city, its flanks adorned with all manner of shops and restaurants, including the Mexican Las Casuelas restaurant and the Tropicale Palm Springs bar. As night falls, step outside the city to stargaze in Mt. San Jacinto State Park or the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. Just north of Palm Springs lies the North of Desert Hot Springs at the foothills of the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Pull over to the side of the road and watch shootings stars electrify the sky.
The City of Angels is also the city of stars: two kinds, although, admittedly, we’ve done that metaphor to death. After a day at Universal Studios and checking out the stars on the sidewalk for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, turn your gaze skyward for a glimpse of the eternal black carpet. Drive up to a bend in the Templin Highway, on the edge of the Angeles National Forest. Then head back to one of our stunning homes in Los Angeles. Other top stargazing spots are the Saddleback Butte State Park and the Antelope Valley.