Stars, Meteor Showers Dazzle at Florida State Parks

Dark Skies

Throughout August, you’ll want to keep a steady eye on the night sky.

The Perseid meteor shower will be putting on a show as meteors streak across the sky as shooting stars. Florida's state parks offer some of the best places to watch meteor showers and marvel at the stars, where the light of cities fades and the dark accentuates the celestial bodies. Here are four great parks for watching the night sky.

Camping under the night sky at Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park
Stars shine at night over Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park.

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Known for its vast prairie and rare wildlife, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is an astronomer’s paradise. Far removed from city lights, the night skies above the prairie are some of the darkest in the entire state. In fact, the park is the first recognized Dark Sky Park in the Florida, as determined by the International Dark Sky Association.

Stargazers can see the Milky Way with the naked eye, and planets and stars are a constant visual treat. For those looking to go that extra mile, specialized astronomy pad sites can be booked along with regular campsites to ensure you have a front row seat to the show.

Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park

Tucked away in the Florida Panhandle, St. George Island State Park’s stunning beaches provide year-round fun in the sun. But those who stick around until the sun sets are treated to one of the darkest night skies in the Panhandle, offering unparalleled stargazing in this part of the state.

From a specialized platform built specifically for stargazing, visitors can watch passing space stations and shooting stars while surrounded by the dunes and waves.

Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park

Stretching out to the horizon, vast saltwater marshes welcome visitors to Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park. Besides its excellent fishing and breathtaking vistas, Waccasassa Bay is a great place to check out the stars at night, away from Florida’s larger cities.

Several primitive campsites allow paddlers to spend their evenings gazing up at the night sky, enjoying the solitude of this expansive preserve.

Ochlockonee River State Park

Nestled on the shores of its namesake, Ochlockonee River State Park is perfect for both those who want to get on the water and those who prefer being on dry land. Miles of tidal creeks and rivers give paddlers chances to explore, while beautiful pine forests ensure hikers have opportunities to see our native wildlife.

For those who stay the night at the park’s campground, the night sky is sure to delight, far from the lights of Tallahassee and other nearby cities.


This article was published in the Real Florida ℠ Connection, the Florida State Parks e-newsletter. Sign up to get updates and stories from your state parks the first week of every month.