Get Cozy Under the Stars and Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower in North Texas
Alternate headline: where to wish upon a shooting star.
In a big city like ours, often the only lights we see in the night sky beam down from towering office buildings, Southwest Airlines flights zooming overhead, and neon signs luring us into cocktail dens for a stiff barrel-aged Negroni. So when a major celestial event unfolds in the heavens above, our urban disadvantages make themselves known. Light pollution limits not only the number of planets, stars, and adorable extraterrestrials riding in bicycle baskets we can see in the distance, but it also dulls the brightness of the ones we actually can see.
Fortunately, places exist across DFW—and within a two-hour drive or less—where the comparative remoteness brings out the best of our little corner of the cosmos. While we only have one officially designated Dark Sky Community in North Texas, you can always road trip to one of nearly 20 Dark Sky Sanctuaries, Reserves, Parks, and Communities elsewhere in the Lone Star State.
This weekend, the Perseids meteor shower bursts into the northern hemisphere with up to 150 meteors per hour at the peak, which is expected to occur early in the morning hours of Sunday, August 13. A handful of star parties allow you to mix and mingle with fellow stargazers, as well as get a bit of insight into the science behind what you’re witnessing from local astronomers. Options begin the night of Saturday, August 12 at Dinosaur Valley State Park, Frisco Commons Park, Lewisville Lake, Cooper Lake State Park, or Hubbard Lakes.
We’ve gathered 10 nearby options for escaping the bright lights of the big city to stargaze and arranged them according to distance from downtown Dallas. Caffeinate sufficiently because you could be in for a really late night, but a truly memorable one to be sure.
The Best Spots to Stargaze in and Around Dallas
Located on the White Rock Creek Greenbelt, this park has a few fields with slightly higher elevations. Nearby tree canopies and open spaces in these sections make for one of the best spots in the heart of the city to get a better view of the night sky.
Distance: 9.9 miles
If you only visit Cedar Hill State Park once in a blue moon, you’re in good company. The state park offers regular night hikes during the blue moon and the darkness of the area makes for excellent constellation hunting. Book a campsite, take a boat out onto Joe Pool Lake, or lie back on the shoreline to get three completely different perspectives.
Distance: 18.2 miles
Home to the Texas Astronomical Society’s Frisco Starfest on the second Saturday of each month, this 63-acre park has become popular for stargazing. Unfortunately, the park closes 30 minutes after sundown on non-star party nights, so you may have to find a spot on the outskirts to avoid any kind of fines or stern reprimands.
Distance: 28.5 miles
This 155-acre complex of contiguous parkland offers great hiking and chances to fawn over flora during the day, but the southernmost remote sections lend themselves well to night viewing. In cooperation with the Fort Worth Astronomical Society, the park presents frequent Prairie Sky and Star Parties throughout the year.
Distance: 29.4 miles
Not to be confused with the shopping center in East Dallas, Lakewood Village lies to the north of the city on the shores of Lake Lewisville and Little Elm Creek. The town holds the honor of being the only International Dark Sky Community in the immediate DFW area, a designation it earned in 2019. Watch from the park, or venture toward the water in nearly any direction for unobstructed views of the sky and minimal light interference.
Distance: 35.3 miles
Every first and third Saturday of the month, this University of North Texas College of Science/Department of Physics-run observatory hosts public star parties. On other nights of the year, you can head toward the astronomy center and park off-property to find your own place to look toward infinity and beyond.
Distance: 49.4 miles
With a large beach featuring unobstructed views to the north, Lake Tawakoni’s remote location and darkness make it a stargazer’s dream. Consider camping overnight (or all weekend) at Spring Point Campground so you don’t have to haul yourself back to Dallas in the wee hours of the morning.
Distance: 64.4 miles
The Central Texas Astronomical Society hosts star parties at various locations in Central Texas, occasionally right here at Hubbard City Lakes Park. Featuring some of the darkest skies in the region, on a clear, moonless night you can see an incredible amount of stars and other things that go twinkle in the night.
Distance: 74.9 miles
Make a full day or weekend of your visit to the land where dinosaurs once roamed (presumably with prehistoric cowboys saddled atop). Hike, swim, fish, watch for wildlife, and hunt for dinosaur tracks during the day then stick around after sunset for the show in the sky. Stay overnight in a campsite with electricity or rough it a little less with a bed and air-conditioning in one of Glen Rose’s many lodging options.
Distance: 79.6 miles
For the best views of every light the night has to offer, take a boat or float out onto Jim Chapman Lake and stare skyward. And if you just so happen to have a horse, you can bring him, too, for a higher vantage point to see what you came to see.
Distance: 87 miles