Camping Under the Stars: The Ultimate Guide

Camping Under the Stars: The Ultimate Guide

woman cooking marshmallows on a bonfire

Living in a major city has its perks: There are countless options for restaurants, entertainment, and activities, which means you never seem to run out of things to do. Additionally, cities come with their own unique beauty: a skyline illuminated by sunset, large art installations, and detailed architecture are truly sights to behold.

However, no matter how much you love your city, we understand the feeling of looking up at night and craving something more. Admiring a sky full of stars instantly warms your soul, and it’s a wonderful way to feel connected to nature. While the light pollution from cities can block the light shining from stars, more rural areas don’t have to struggle with this issue.

If you don’t typically choose to camp but still want to be wowed by the sight of millions of stars, there is no need to worry. There are plenty of ways to make an outdoor getaway exciting while staying in luxurious comfort.


Planning Your Trip

You can choose any weekend to retreat to a rural area and admire the stars. However, your trip will be enhanced if you can try and plan your stargazing trip around a celestial event. There are a variety of events every year, but here are some of the most common.


Meteor Shower

If you want to sit back, relax, and watch a picturesque scene of bright shooting lights dance across the sky, try to plan your trip around a meteor shower. There won’t be any telescopes required, just a cozy spot to admire the wonders of space.

A meteor is a space rock that enters Earth’s atmosphere. As it falls into our atmosphere, the speed at which it is traveling causes it to get extremely hot and leave a trail of glowing hot air behind it. This is what we are looking at when we point out a shooting star.

Sometimes, Earth passes through the orbit of these space rocks, which allows us to see many meteors at once! When this happens, you can see a meteor shower, which consists of many shooting stars marking the sky within a short time period. It is truly a magical experience you won’t want to miss.


Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse is the opposite of a supermoon, meaning a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun. This doesn’t happen often, but it is guaranteed to be a memorable experience when you see it.

When the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, the moon casts a shadow on Earth and partially or fully blocks the sun from our perspective. You can look up a map of the eclipse online and find out where you need to be to witness the sun being partially or fully blocked. If you are planning to view the solar eclipse, remember to wear eclipse glasses to protect your eyes.


Lunar Eclipse

Similar to a full moon, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth passes in between the moon and the sun. However, during a lunar eclipse, the moon is directly across from the Earth and the sun. Lunar eclipses do not happen as often as full moons because the moon is often tilted five degrees above or below the center of the Earth.

Regardless, when a lunar eclipse occurs, Earth’s shadow falls onto the moon, and you will be able to witness either a partial or a full eclipse. If you are witnessing a partial eclipse, you will see a full moon partially shadowed, giving it a unique shape.

If you are witnessing a full eclipse, the moon will look like it’s ablaze with orange and red light.


Full Moon/SuperMoon

Having a baseline understanding of the phases of the moon and knowing what you can expect to see on your trip is important. For example, you might want to book your trip during a new moon or full moon when it is at its biggest and brightest.

A full moon is halfway through the cycle of moon phases and happens when Earth is located in between the sun and the moon, which is why we can see it fully illuminated. As long as it is a relatively clear night, you should be able to see the moon as a bright circle in the sky.

A supermoon is even more impressive to see. A supermoon occurs when the full moon phase of the moon’s cycle aligns with the point in the moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth. The closer proximity will give us a closer look at the moon, making it appear larger and brighter in the sky.


What Should I Bring To Stay Under the Stars?

Once you have planned your trip, you’ll want to make sure you are bringing the gear you need to get the most out of your stargazing excursion.


A Telescope or Binoculars

Even though you won’t have trouble seeing the stars outside of the city, it’s still nice to get an up-close look at what you are viewing. Especially if you are camping on a day when the moon is illuminated, a pair of binoculars or a telescope will help you see minor details on the moon’s surface.

You shouldn’t feel pressured to buy a high-tech telescope if it’s not something you will use frequently. There are plenty of smaller telescopes that will fit in a large duffle bag and will still give you an up-close view of the night’s wonders.

Additionally, a pair of binoculars can also give you an up-close look at the sky. Especially if you are trying to spot specific constellations, binoculars will help you see the formation of the stars more clearly.


An Astronomy App

Technology has done wonders for stargazing. If you have ever looked up at the sky and seen a particularly bright star, it might be a planet or part of a beautiful constellation.

With an astronomy app, you can point your phone to the sky and discover the locations of planets, important stars, and constellations.

If you are trying to witness a specific celestial event, an astronomy app can also give you updated information on what time to expect the event to occur.


Where Should I Go Stargazing?

Now that you are ready to use your astronomy app to map out constellations, it’s time to choose a beautiful natural locale where you can enjoy the stars.


Hill Country 

Texas Hill Country sits between Austin and San Antonio and is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the entire state. Rolling hills and gorgeous foliage sit below a sky full of stars without any issues with light pollution.

If watching a meteor shower or a lunar eclipse from the comfort of a lounge chair on a private deck sounds relaxing, Collective Retreats may be your ideal stargazing getaway.

Our Hill Country Collective Retreats ranch gives you access to private tents that come with full electric hookups, an en-suite bathroom, and a king-sized bed.

Additionally, there is a nightly communal fire pit and other activities that take advantage of Texas history and charm.

When you stay with Collective Retreats, you don’t only benefit from luxurious accommodations. You also have access to gourmet culinary offerings, wellness experiences, and outdoor adventures tailored to the beautiful world around you.



If you would rather watch meteors streak across the sky above the Rocky Mountains, you can book your stay on the Collective Retreats ranch located in Vail, Colorado. Here, you will also have access to a tent that comes with luxurious amenities, as well as Colorado-specific activities such as mountain biking and fly fishing.

Here, you can warm yourself fireside as the sun sets with the option to sip on a complimentary craft beverage as you prepare to take in the majesty of the night sky.


Vacation Full of Stars

It’s easy to get used to the night sky in the city, with just a few clusters of stars visible here and there. However, you should make it a priority to pencil in time to explore the outdoors outside of the city and admire the views that can only be seen without light pollution.

Nothing will fill you with as much wonder and appreciation for the universe as looking up to see millions of stars, and we believe that you should be comfortable while you do it.

After roasting a marshmallow over the fire and snuggling up on your private deck to find constellations in the sky, you can rinse off in your rain shower head and tuck yourself into a king bed dressed with high-quality linens. At Collective Retreats, you never have to choose between exploration and comfort.



Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events 2022 | Sea and Sky

What Is a Meteor Shower? | NASA Space Place | NASA Science for Kids

Solar and Lunar Eclipses |

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