Here Are the Best Places to Watch the Spectacular Perseid Meteor Shower in Every State
The Perseid meteor shower has arrived and will reach its spectacular peak on the night of Monday, August 12. Despite a nearly-full moon, it's the best time of the year to see meteors streak across the night sky in no small part because of the potential for beautiful warm weather. In addition to the Perseids, you will also be able to spot Jupiter and Saturn in the sky near the moon, and you may even see some of the last gasps of the Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower.
There are innumerable places to see the display. You only need clear skies and to get away from the lights of the city and suburbs. But if you don't have a backyard far enough from the lights and you're not sure where to watch the gorgeous show, there are also public viewing parties taking place all over the country. Many of those events involve experts who can guide you through the night sky.
You can probably find a viewing party at just about any national or state park. But if you need a hand, below you'll find places in every US state where you'll be able to head to check out the Perseid meteor shower over the next several days. Just be sure to double-check the weather. Many events may be delayed or canceled if the weather isn't cooperating.
When: August 10, 10pm-6am
The Weeks Bay Foundation is hosting its second Alta Fish River Star Party. It's a ticketed overnight event. The gates will close at midnight and not open until the morning, according to the event's Facebook page. It's like a lock-in at the roller rink, only it's a star party.
There are a whole lot of places to track down a slice of dark sky in Alaska. Kincaid Park offers the convenience of being close to the city but far enough to get sufficiently dark skies.
When: August 11 and 12
The Sedona Rouge Resort is hosting a two-night event called "Mars and Meteor Madness." There will be a Dr. Sky-themed dinner as well as viewings of Mars and the meteor shower using telescopes and binoculars, which will be provided.
When: August 9, 9-10:30pm
One of many Perseid-related events offered by the state park system, the Night Owl Perseids Prowl costs $6-12 for a boat ride under the stars. There are also similar boat rides and kayaking excurions in the area on other days.
Little Rock, Arkansas
When: August 11, 9-10:30pm
The Meteor Shower Mania! Lake Cruise will take you out on Lake Maumelle to watch the Perseids in a small group.
When: August 10, 9-10:30pm
For $6-12, you can join a park interpreter and kayak under the meteors on Bear Creek Lake.
When: August 10, 10-11pm
A park interpreter will join stargazers at Cameron Bluff Overlook to view the display. Bring your own chair or blanket. (That's the case with most events on this list.)
When: August 10, 8-11pm
The Central Arkansas Astronomical Society is hosting a watch party at the Pinnacle Mountain State Park visitor center.
Santa Rosa, California
When: August 9, 6:30-9:30pm
Meet up by the Umbrella Tree at North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park for a bilingual hike. You can register online at SonomaCountyParks.org.
When: August 12, 7-10pm
The Canterbury Public Library is hosting an all-ages star party with games, popcorn, and ice cream.
When: August 10, 8-10pm
At Coogan Farm, you'll find "stories and stars" in a relaxing setting. The event is $5 for non-members and $4.25 for members.
When: August 13
Cape Water Tours and Taxi will take you on a Perseid Meteor Shower Cruise. You'll head out into the Delaware Bay, departing from Harbour Marina. The non-guided tour is not recommended for kids and costs $30.
Ft. Pierce, Florida
When: August 11, 11:30pm-6am
Head to the Ft. Pierce Inlet Jetty Park (at the south side of the inlet) for a late-night viewing party. This is a great option if you're committed to being out late and seeing the best part of the shower.
When: August 23, 9-9:45pm
The Swampers Guide to the Galaxy tour at Stephen C. Foster State Park offers a late opportunity to catch a few Perseids among other celestial wonders.
When: August 10, 9pm-1am
For $5 you can head to Hard Labor Creek State Park for concessions, music, and fun with meteors. There will also be a limited number of telescopes available for use. Alternatively, there's a Paddle Under the Stars event where you can hop in a boat and watch the meteors. This is available on August 12, 13, and 14.
Haleakalā National Park
There are many great places to enjoy the night sky in Hawaii, but Haleakalā National Park has wonderful night sky conditions. You can rent binoculars at island dive shops and get a star map at the Park Headquarters Visitor Center or the Haleakalā Visitor Center if you're looking for more than meteors.
Sun Valley, Idaho
There's no event on this one, but the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is one of the best places in the country to stargaze. If you're nearby, this is a perfect place to watch the Perseids.
When: August 12-14, 8:30pm-midnight
The Byron Forest Preserve's Weiskopf Observatory is hosting a free stargazing event for three straight nights. They recommend you bring lawn chairs or a blanket.
When: August 17, 7:30pm
The Fox Valley Astronomical Society will be hosting an event later in the month that includes a lecture and stargazing. The topic is undetermined at the moment, but you'll probably still be able to catch a few Perseids despite being almost a week from the shower's peak.
When: August 12, 8pm
At the Lewis and Clark Confluence Center, you can join astronomer Steve Sands for a viewing of the Perseids with telescopes. The event costs $5 per person.
Sugar Grove, Illinois
When: August 13, 6:30pm
Northern Illinois University's next STEM Café will have a meteor shower theme. NIU experts will host a Perseid party and viewers will have the opportunity to check out moon rocks and meteorite samples from NASA. The event will take place at Open Range Southwest Grill in Sugar Grove.
When: August 11, 9:15-10:45pm
Head to the Deer Run Shelter at Paynetown State Recreation Area to watch the meteors, "munch on an astro-shaped treat," and partake in crafts. The event is free, but parking is $5 for Indiana residents and $7 for out-of-state vehicles.
When: August 11, 8:30pm-midnight
The annual event at Indiana Dunes State Park will feature naturalists sharing telescopes for deep-sky and constellation viewing, in addition to the search for Perseids. Also, the description says, "due to incidents in 2016, overnight sleeping will not be allowed on the beach this year." Yikes.
When: August 11, 7-10:30pm
Wesselman Woods' Canoe Evansville will be hosting a viewing party on the water, per the Courier & Press. You can take a guided canoe trip at Hovey Lake to see the spectacle.
When: August 10, through midnight
The Quad-Cities Astronomical Society will host a meteor shower party at Pleasant Valley Junior High School. The party starts shortly after sunset, and they recommend you bring snacks and something to sit on. Members of the organization will be on hand to answer questions and help guests use the provided telescopes. They'll also hold a raffle for a free beginner's telescope.
When: August 13, 8pm
The Prairie Heritage Center will host a meteor viewing party.
Great Bend, Kansas
When: August 9, 9pm
Spend the night at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and check out the Inflatable Planetarium Show, crafts, glow-in-the-dark Wiffle ball, s'mores over a campfire, and much more.
When: August 10, 9-10:30pm
The Prairie Park Nature Center is hosting a viewing party and talk about the Perseids. It costs $5 per person and attendees must be at least 8 years-old.
When: August 12, 11pm
The Gheens Science Hall & Rauch Planetarium will host a watch party.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
When: August 12, 10pm-2am
Join the Highland Road Park Observatory for a meteor watch party. The Observatory requests that all visitors come into the building for instructions before setting up chairs or blankets outside.
Acadia National Park
When: August 10 and 12, 9-10pm
Stars Over Sand Beach is a weekly event at Acadia. This week ought to provide better than average viewing in the gorgeous National Park.
When: August 10, 9pm-1am
The Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory will host a movie night followed by meteor viewing. They'll screen The Dish about the Apollo 11 launch and moon landing. The Observatory requests you do not bring a flashlight unless it's a red light.
French Camp, Mississippi
When: August 9, 7pm
Rainwater Observatory is hosting an event called "EXOPLANETS: Worlds Beyond Our Own!" After the discussion, you can use the observatory's telescopes and hopefully lay outside to see some meteors.
Glacier National Park
One of only a handful International Dark Sky Parks in the US, just about anywhere at Glacier National Park is sure to provide one of the best meteor viewing experiences you'll find. The Dark Sky designation runs up through Canada into the Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. It was the first cross-border designation given by the International Dark Sky Association. (If you're looking to enjoy the night sky at Glacier at another time, check out events held by the Big Sky Astronomy Club.)
When: August 9, 6:30pm-11am
Farrington Nature Linc is hosting late-night meteor viewing with the option to spend the night in the park.
Boyne City, Michigan
When: August 13, 9pm
At Young State Park you'll find a great view of the shower. Meet at the baseball field across from Loop 4. Like most of the Michigan events listed here, s'mores and a campfire will be part of the festivities.
When: August 10, 7-11pm
Local astronomy experts from the Ford Amateur Astronomy Club will lead this viewing party at the Island Lake Recreation Area, meeting up at Spring Mill Pond. Only red lens flashlights will be permitted. Also, s'mores will be involved.
Grass Lake, Michigan
When: August 9, 9:30-11pm
Telescopes, a campfire, and s'mores will be provided during this viewing party at the Waterloo Recreation Area. They suggest parking at the Portage Lake Day Use Beach.
When: August 13, 9pm
At Negegon State Park, a Dark Sky Preserve, you'll find a campfire with s'mores and "a pristine stargazing opportunity." Meet up at the main beach.
When: August 9, 10-11pm
Meet up at ranch ball field in the Rifle River Recreation Area for meteor viewing and s'mores. If the weather doesn't cooperate for Perseid viewing, there will still be s'mores. You can't lose.
When: August 9, 9-11pm
Head to the Marl Lake Boating access site in South Higgins Lake State Park for stargazing and s'mores.
When: August 10, 8:30-10pm
Over at Whitewater State Park, the Hiawatha Valley Astronomical Society is bringing in exerts, slides of the solar system, and telescopes to help you enjoy the arrival of the Perseids. This event is happening rain or shine.
Center City, Minnesota
When: August 10, 9-10:30pm
The party at Wild River State Park will be led by amateur astronomer Kenny Bahmer, who will share telescopes and knowledge about the Perseids. The event will meet at the amphitheater.
When: August 10, 8:30-9:30pm
The free event at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park will feature a slideshow program and viewing. A limited number of binoculars will be available for use.
When: August 9, 9pm
Head to Broemmelsiek Park's Astronomy Viewing Area for a watch party hosted by members of the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri. It's free, and you're welcome to bring a telescope.
When: August 13, 8:30-10:30pm
The Neale Woods will be the location for an "easy walk" through the woods and viewing of the bright lights. You'll need to preregister if you want to join.
Carson City, Nevada
When: Night of August 12-13, midnight-2am
The Carson City Parks, Rec, and Open Space Department is hosting a free viewing at Western Nevada College's Jack C. Davis Observatory. They ask that you wear closed-toed shoes for the hike. Flashlights and headlamps are permitted.
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
When: August 11, 7:30-11:45pm
This event hosted by the Appalachian Mountain Club takes place at the Highland Center and starts with a barbeque, followed by a viewing party. The event is free, the food is not.
Hope, New Jersey
When: August 10, 8-10:30pm
The United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey hosts its Astronomy for Beginners night at the observatory in Jenny Jump State Forest, which coincides nicely with the meteor shower. A short presentation is followed by night sky observation.
White Sands National Monument
When: August 12, 9pm-midnight
There will be a designated area for the watch party at the Dune Life Nature Trail. You won't be able to access the rest of the park after 9pm. The program is free, but normal park entrance fees still apply.
Fire Island, New York
There isn't a guided tour provided by the National Park Service for the Perseids, but Fire Island is an outstanding place to spend time looking up.
Creswell, North Carolina
When: August 13, 8:30pm
Head to Pettigrew State Park for a viewing party that will meet in the office parking lot. Don't forget a chair, blanket and probably a little bug spray.
Durham, North Carolina
When: August 12, 9-11pm
The Duke Teaching Observatory is hosting an open house for you to check out the show.
Rosman, North Carolina
When: August 10
The Learning Center at Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) will host its second Perseids event. Packages include camping on its campus, educational programming, and meals.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
When: August 10, 9-9:45pm
A free hike through the Badlands at night comes at a perfect time. It's a bit before the peak of the Perseids, but you're probably going to see some meteors.
When: August 10, 4pm-9am
About 45 minutes outside Cincinnatti, the Caesar Creek State Park Meteor Shower Camp Out will be taking place into the next morning. The meteor shower viewing party starts at 4pm with games, a beach bonfire, geocaching, movies, and more. Tickets are required.
When: August 11, 9-11:30pm
The Tulsa Botanic Garden will provide a beautiful backdrop for this star party. Telescopes will be available and you can make your own star chart. The Coffee House on Your Street food truck will be there with drinks and snacks. Regular admission fees apply.
Buxton & Corbett, Oregon
When: August 12, 9pm
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is hosting two star parties on Monday. One will be held at Rooster Rock State Park east of Portland and one will be held at L.L. "Stub" Stewart State Park west of Portland. OMSI staff will be offering talks about the constellations and the Perseids, and there will be telescopes available for your use. The event is free, but parking is $5 at both locations.
When: August 10, 8-11pm
At the Nez Perce National Historical Park visitor center, you'll find park rangers and David Eberle, a guest volunteer NASA solar system ambassador, talking about the meteor shower and the night sky. There will be an opportunity to use a telescope as well.
When: August 9-11, 9-10:30pm
Cherry Springs State Park will host a free Moon & Meteor Watch three nights in a row in the park's Night Sky Viewing Area. Telescopes will be available as park staff discusses the Perseids, constellations, and the moon.
When: August 12, 6:30pm
The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will be hosting a Perseids watch party at the Mingo Creek County Park observatory. (There will also be star parties on August 9 and 10.) You can come early for safe solar observation at 6:30pm and then night sky observation will start around 8:45pm. There will also be Planetarium presentations and the observatory is accessible. It's a free event, but the group does accept donations from participants.
When: August 9-10, starting at 8pm
The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia will be hosting a meteor viewing party. You'll be able to see meteors, the moon, and constellations with the Center's telescope and enjoy s'mores around the campfire. Tickets are $15 or $10 for members.
Charlestown, Rhode Island
When: August 9, 6-11:30pm and August 14, 8-11:30pm
Stop into the Frosty Drew Observatory and Sky Theatre's summer stargazing nights. They aren't specifically for the Perseids, but you'll probably catch some of the meteors streaking across the sky. There is a $5 suggested donation for anyone over the age of 5. The event on August 9 starts early with solar observation.
Westerly, Rhode Island
When: August 11, 8-10pm
An astronomy guide will be on hand at the Weekapaug Inn for a relaxed viewing as you kick back in the Inn's Adirondack chairs.
Capers Island, South Carolina
Just a few miles off the coast, Capers Island is a vaunted place to see the night sky. You can see the Milky Way, meteors and more. But you do need a boat or kayak to get out there.
Garretson, South Dakota
When: August 10, 10pm-midnight
On the upper road at Palisades State Park, you'll be able to use the park's telescope for a tour of the night sky. As with most events, flashlights are welcome if you're using a red light.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
When: August 10
Head to Good Earth State Park for a great view of the Perseids during this free event. Use the park telescope to see other celestial attractions, take a tour of the night sky with park staff, and walk to overlooks for an outstanding view.
Big South Fork is a great place to look up at the stars. The next viewing party with the University of Tennesse isn't until August 24, but you can head to the park on your own to get a great view of everything happening in the night sky this week.
When: August 13, 10pm
Join the party at Cooper Lake State Park's boat ramp to talk about the star, meteors, and constellations. The program is free with standard park admission of $5.
Johnson City, Texas
When: August 16, 9:30-11pm
The Star Theater at Pedernales Falls State Park will play host to a half-hour presentation followed by an hour of gazing up.
When: August 10, 11pm
Head out to a part of the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area that is not generally accessible to the public for a special installment of Stars on the Prairie. It will run you $5 per person.
Wills Point, Texas
When: August 10, 8-10pm
At Lake Tawakoni State Park, you can watch the meteors at the Group Primitive Camping area. The event is free, but the park asks that you fill out the self-pay envelope and write "stargazing" on it.
When: August 9, 8:30pm and August 23, 8pm
The Canyon Country Discovery Center is hosting two Dark Sky Discovery Series events in August. On August 9, it's an event focused on Mercury. (Though if you're outside, you'll probably be able to catch some of the Perseids since this one is closest to the peak.) On August 23, they're hosting a program focused on the Perseids.
When: August 15, 6pm
The Equinox Resort is hosting another dinner in its Full Moon Dinner Series. It's not the best night to see the Perseids, but you may still be able to catch a few fireballs at the tail end of the shower, peaking through the bright moonlight. The dinner includes a hike and a sunset dinner for $85.
When: August 16
The next public stargazing event held by the Vermont Astronomical Society won't be until August 16, but you should still be able to catch a few Perseids during the meetup at the Ainsworth Library.
When: August 10
Drinks go well with stargazing. If that sounds like your kind of evening, head to James Charles Winery in Frederick County on August 10. They'll be hosting a meteor viewing party with food from Sexi Mexi, live music, and plenty of wine.
When: August 12, 7pm-midnight
The Wild Horse Renewable Energy Center will be open for tours, snacks, and kid's activities. An RSVP is required. The Center asks that you arrive no later than 9pm, and keep your headlights pointed away from the building.
Davis, West Virginia
When: August 12 and 13, 9pm
You can take in the Perseids at Black Water Falls State Park. The Nature Center will host Catch a Shooting Star with Paulita Cousin at 9pm. The naturalist will be around until midnight, and you can obtain a permit to stay longer if you'd like. Coffee and cookies will also be available.
When: August 11, 8:30-11pm
Meet up at the North Shore Boat House at Devil's Lake State Park for a relaxed viewing party that will include s'mores and a campfire. Score.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
When: August 17, 8pm
This isn't a Perseids-specific event, but the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society is hosting another installment of its Astronomical Series at the Hobbs Observatory. The lecture takes place at 8pm with a public viewing of the sky and stars at 9:08pm.
Ellison Bay, Wisconsin
When: August 12, 8:30-10pm
Meet up with guest astronomers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. They'll host a presetnation and share the view from a high-powered telescope at Newport State Park, Wisconsin's only International Dark Sky Park.
When: August 10, 9:30-11pm
Over at the Pringle Nature Center, you can join in a short, informal talk and viewing outside. Pre-registration is requested.
When: August 13, 8-10pm
Get out to Lakeshore State Park to watch meteors over Lake Michigan with one of the park's naturalists. The group will meet at the park's south entrance.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
When: August 12, 10pm
Wyoming Stargazing, which hosts events every Friday when weather permits, will host an event focused on the Perseids. Tickets are on a sliding scale from $0-15. The group meets on the lawn next to the Center for the Arts. Educators are on hand with a large aperture telescope and iPads that can show you details about the night sky.
More meteor shower parties?
If we missed some that you think should be included here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add 'em here.