Some people travel for Michelin-star restaurants. Other people travel to see where their ancestors lived. Yet another group travels for the stars. Here’s the deal on the astrotourism trend.
“Astrotourism is any kind of tourism that involves the night sky or visiting facilities related to astronomy like observatories, and combining that with a broader sense of ecotourism where interaction with nature is what the visitor experience is about,” John Barentine, the director of public policy at the International Dark-Sky Association, a Tucson-based nonprofit organization, told The New York Times. Basically, it’s a fancy term for traveling somewhere with the express purpose of stargazing.
According to Airbnb, the current trend can be linked to 2017’s solar eclipse, which saw more than 50,000 Airbnb guests from 26 countries traveling to the U.S. to watch the eclipse. Plus, as of last summer, there were almost 3,000 homes listed on the platform offering telescopes.
In Idaho, the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is billed as the first dark sky reserve in the country. (A dark sky reserve is an area, usually surrounding a park or observatory, that restricts artificial light pollution, making for optimal stargazing conditions.) With three locations around the state, visitors can look up and see the Milky Way Galaxy, the Andromeda Galaxy, Messier objects, planets, satellites and more “wonders of the night sky.”
Walkway over the Hudson, in upstate New York, hosts a starwalk series, designed to be fun, educational and interactive outings for star-curious adventurers. Additionally, the National Parks Service has a list of Night Sky Events around the country.
An unforgettably dreamy trip? It’s written in the stars.