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Perseid Meteor Shower

Great Viewing Spots

Camping Out

More Meteor Showers

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Telescope Shows

star gazers

California Meteor Showers

Usually the Perseid Meteor Shower is the best show of the year, unless there is a full moon present. New moon w/ darkest conditions are best for viewing meteor showers. Always buy wall calendars w/ full moon and new moon, as well as major holidays, so you can plan your outings around the night sky and 3 day weekends.

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Meteors also called falling or shooting stars occur when the Earth passes through debris fields left by passing comets. What we are witnessing when we see a shooting-star is a small piece of interplanetary matter, called a meteor, entering the Earth's atmosphere and 'burning up' at approximately 60 miles above our heads.

While most look bright white, some can appear blue, green, yellow, orange, or red. Some may even explode at the end of its visible flight.

Most showers produce about 20 meteors per hour but there are showers which can produce hundreds of meteors over a period of less than an hour. Such shows are, unfortunately, very rare. Meteor showers are named after the constellation from which they appear to radiate and can happen any month throughout the year.


night sky viewing

All you need to observe these celestial displays are a dark sky, a way to stay comfortable, and a little patience. Light pollution or moonlight will drastically reduce the number of meteors you see, so plan accordingly. This is a perfect time for a camping trip. A dark site with an open expanse of the sky is a supreme view. After all the flashlights are out & you get away from the campfire light - give your eyes at least 20 minutes to adjust to the dark. Settle in, look up, and relax.

Keep campfires low or do without one all together for this evening of stargazing. Make yourself comfortable with a reclining lawn chair, sleeping bag, coffee or hot chocolate. Have plenty of snacks on hand along with good music and the company of other stargazers. Remember keep your eyes turned toward the assigned NE direction of the sky.

awake and alert tips:

Start your watch no earlier than midnight or 2 a.m. or preferably later. The hour or two before dawn should be best of all for seeing some real action. Night owls should have an easy time of this. For some people this will be a 'wake early & view' not a 'stay-up-late & miss it' adventure. As ridiculous as it seems, bring a portable alarm clock with you to make sure you can get up when the time is right. Coffee will also help.

Plan Ahead! Meteor showers are the perfect time to plan your outdoor trips. Time to reserve that special cabin in the mountains or think about a camping adventure in the high desert, mountains or countryside.

Modoc Drive

Great Viewing Spots

First off - Get outta the City.
Light pollution from large cities ruins most all night skies. If you are gonna drive out, might as well camp out. Get a cabin in the mountains or reserve a room in your favorite remote central coast retreat. Most of the time the coastal regions may have too much moisture in the air for optimum viewing. The inland areas such as the Mountains & Deserts are the best spots

coastal California


California deserts


higher elevations cali


gold country California


coastal fog can sometimes spoil your stargazing fun, but if you are lucky...warm westerly winds could kick in for a clear night could be a little warm & toasty out here in mid summers heat, but the best star shows are in the winter months, so these are actually ideal locations perfect time of year for mountain visits, warm days, cool nights. whether its a cabin or camp out your sure to see the best stars up high warm country nights with hot days are to be expected. visit your favorite wine country region, stay in a cute little bed & breakfast
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Big Sur: Ridges

Red Rock SP

Huntington Lake

Santa Ynez

Figueroa Mtn

Joshua Tree



Mendocino NF

Panamint Springs


New Cuyama


Guadalupe Cyn.


Baja Calif

Anza Borrego SP

Sequoia NF

Los Padres NF

Mojave NP

Sierra NF

Stanislaus NF

California Lakes that are situated away from urban centers can be great places for watching the stars.

California Escapes Big Rivers inside California are also a good choice for enjoying night skies, as long as they are not located in a wooded canopy of vegetation.

Most waterways will have developed campgrounds or boat launch parking lots - which are both perfect for extended viewing. Reservations may be needed at the more popular lake destinations.

Giant Lake Davis, California

Camping with Space!

aspen groves

Summer is almost over & another year is about to pass you by..... & you have yet to go camping this season? Now is the time. End of the summer clearance sales for great gear deals; Warm nights; Plenty of great destinations await you.

Below are some of the best places in California to camp out and see the stars without the typically crowded campgrounds. Venture out to primitive camp sites down dirt back roads and be as secluded as you want. Don't forget your free fire permit.

silver canyon

Los Padres National Forest - This land north of Los Angeles is not densely forested in most areas, so finding a good dirt road clearing or open sage meadow is fairly easy. Plenty of dirt roads to explore out here. North of Santa Clarita, at least an hour up the I-5 and exit @ Frazier and head west; Close to Los Angeles for a quick overnighter, but far enough away from the big city lights.

Inyo National Forest - The Eastern Sierra area )US 395) is far enough from most city lights. Generally, high desert and minimally forested mountains - great stargazing country.

Sequoia National Forest - This prime forested area in the southern Sierras provides plenty of open spaces and old logging roads. These dirt roads are perfect to primitive camp along. Just remember your fire permit.

tent camping

Cleveland National Forest
- Close to Southern California but far enough from the cities.

San Bernardino National Forest
- Close to all of Southern California, some city lights may effect viewing.

Sierra National Forest - Western side of the Sierra. Escape the heat, well above the Central Valley.

Stanislaus National Forest - The mid-Sierra's best scenic drive, the Sonora Pass. Recent wildfires have cleared the way for epic stargazing, albeit inside a charred and blackened forest.

Mendocino National Forest - East side of coastal mountain range offers clearer skies than the western coastal areas w/ redwood forests.

Modoc National Forest - Far northeast corner of California has wonderfully dark skies w/ no big cities at all. Minimal population means wide open, uncrowded choices.

trail maps California tips: Best to get a National Forest Service Map of the area you wanna visit, before you start driving dirt backroads. Plan out your trip so you will not be driving in circles in the dark & getting lost.

Total Escape California Camping


California Weekends

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