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Dark Skies in Mendocino County

From views of Jupiter and its moons to the upcoming Perseids Meteor Shower and beyond, stargazing can add another element to the seasonal camp trip or fall scout around the coast of California.  Time the trip right and a wealth of evening activity is both free and fascinating.  Ideal dates are around the new moon phases when the sky is the darkest.  Essentials such as a pair of binoculars, a simple star chart or application and red flashlight (to preserve night vision) are all that’s required.  Once the sun sizzles, a celestial phenomenon is certain to wow!

Tours, Tents & Tiny Wonders

At Mendocino County’s Hendy Woods State Park, tucked deep with the wine-centric Anderson Valley, rangers get up close and personal with the seasonal constellations via night sky adventures, and you can too.  Star clusters, galaxies, nebula and a never-ending parade of planets are on tap for an evening of awe.

full moon lighthouse

Full Moon Tours

On the scenic California coast, Point Arena Lighthouse – originally built in 1870 – offers seasonal night tours certain to make any astral enthusiast swoon.  Tap into the (almost) Full Sturgeon Moon Tour (August 17); (almost) Full Harvest Moon Tour (September 14); (almost) Full Hunter’s Moon Tour (October 19) or (almost) Full Beaver Moon Tour (November 16). Note: reservations are required three full days in advance.

Stargazing Stays

Enthusiasts seeking a perch with a bit more comfort can check into the 65-room Little River Inn and check out the night sky via the Stargazing Package.  Bed down with a two-night stay, use of binoculars, a star guide, travel blanket, hot chocolate and Comet Corn to round out the evening.  From complimentary blankets and binoculars at Sea Rock Inn to the Star Bathing experience at Mar Vista Farm + Cottages, Mendocino County’s natural high can’t be beat!  

Astral Affair

With plenty of wide-open spaces, the options for booking a remote cabin in the redwoods, shoreline inn or top camp spot sporting a world view are plentiful.  For those who enjoy camping with the giants, snag a site at Navarro River Redwoods State Park, fronting a meandering river, or on a more rustic note, Jackson Demonstration State Forest, just inland from Fort Bragg.  Here the heavily forested area provides darker skies and a closer connection to the cosmos.  On the Pacific Coast, Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands offer stunning views with the added plus of tapping into the nearby lighthouse for seasonal tours. 

Keep Exploring the Magic!

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