View Meteor Showers From These Low-Light Oases
There's something so magical about watching the night sky explode with lights from a meteor shower. Unfortunately most urban areas are riddled with light pollution, so you’ll want to grab a Gig and drive out someplace dark to take in the show.
Don’t forget to bring your Gig Card to lock/unlock your ride outside cell service. If you haven’t received a card yet, you can request one in the app, order through Member Support, or pick one up at a AAA branch. If you've lost or damaged your card, request a new one by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You don’t have to go too far, really. Here are some of the best stargazing options in your area.
- Mount Tamalpais: Located just north of San Francisco in the heart of Marin County, you’ll be able to find a sweet spot at this park to witness the astronomical magic. The park closes after 7 p.m. – unless you're camping, so you’ll want to bring camping gear and snag a reservation or one of their first come, first serve sites.
- Point Reyes: Stargazing across the majestic Pacific Ocean is epic, and this beach is one of the best. You can pick up fire and camping permits at the Bear Valley Visitors Center.
- Grizzly Peak: A summit in the Berkeley Hills that boasts beautiful views of the Bay and is dark enough at night to really enjoy the show.
- The Chabot Space and Science Center often hosts meteor shower viewing parties. 🔭
For more Bay Area Gig destinations, check out our piece on the city's hidden gems.
- El Dorado Hills: Consider driving out to the El Dorado Hills; about 22 miles east of Sacramento, El Dorado Hills is an unincorporated area near Lake Folsom, and is filled with parks and recreation areas; some open as late as 10:00 pm.
- Ice House Observation Plateau (IHOP): A little more than an hour outside of Sacramento, you’ll find this large open space in El Dorado National Forest. According to darksitefinder.com, head north on Ice House Road a short ways, turn left on Peavine Ridge Road, and look for a clearing on the left.
- Genesee Park: This South Seattle park features a wide-open field. It is slightly darker than surrounding areas because it is located in a residential area. The park is open until 11:30 pm.
- Sunset Hill Park: Even if you don’t see meteors, this park offers a beautiful view of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Skyline. It’s open until 11:30 pm.
- Hamilton Viewpoint Park: Located in West Seattle, this park says it all in its name — viewpoint! Not only is it a great place to watch the sky, it offers stunning views of the harbor, the city, and of mountain peaks. It’s open until 10:00 pm.
Curiocity offers more ideas on their blog.
Meteor watching tips
Space.com offers some tips on the best ways to view a meteor shower, which include:
- Leaving the telescopes or binoculars at home.
- Letting your eyes adjust to the dark. Put your phone away so you won’t be tempted to look at the bright screen.
- Laying flat on your back so you can see as much sky as possible (bring a blanket!). Meteors can happen anywhere in the sky.
- Being aware that the glare created by the moonlight can wash out the faint meteors.