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52 Mood-Boosting Activities and Adventures


Long winters have a way of transferring their dreariness onto our mental health. There are only so many days of cold wind and gray skies a person can take before most of us get a little moody! Thankfully, spring has sprung, and the days are getting longer, so let’s explore some mood-boosting activities to get the feel-good chemicals pumping and get over our winter funks!

The Best Activities to Kick Your Bad Mood

Whether you love an organized fitness class to get your endorphins up, time alone outside absorbing Vitamin D, or a good night out with loved ones to cheer your spirits with some… umm… spirits, you’ll find it on this ultimate list of mood-boosting activities. From nature lovers to bookworms, we’ve gathered something for everyone. Let’s get to it!

52 of the Best Mood-Boosting Activities

If you’re stuck on ideas of what to do to boost your mood, we’ve got the ultimate list of 52 options for you to choose from! Whether you’re having a night in with friends and family or are feeling more adventurous, we guarantee you’ll find something you love if you keep reading!

1. Spontaneous Scratch-Off Adventure

Adventures From Scratch is a trusted companion when in need of a good time. We’ve compiled three editions now, so whether you’re craving a romantic night with your partner, a good time with friends, or a wholesome day out with the whole family, you can find a plethora of appropriate adventures on our fun-filled pages. Each book contains more than 50 scratch-off activities that are focused on bonding and having a fantastic time. Just consult the key. Pick an adventure, scratch to reveal, and get moving. Our well-crafted, spontaneous adventures, will have you in a good mood in no time!

2. Sightseeing Scavenger Hunt

If you need a little pick-me-up today, download the Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt App and sign up for a rousing hunt in your city. You’ll explore all the best sights on a short walk filled with fun trivia and photo challenges. You can also choose to compete against previous hunters to capture the top spot on the city leaderboard. Our hunts are super informative, slightly competitive, and sure to keep you laughing, and we all know laughter is the best boot to kick those negative thoughts. We’ve got hunts in over 600 locations, so find one near you today!

3. Urban Art Walk

Nothing fires up the nervous system like contemplating a unique and intricate piece of art—especially if that art is sprawled across a gorgeous bridge. Admiring the best urban art gives you a chance to get some fresh air, get your steps in, and activate those neurotransmitters for a while. Check out our list of amazing art walks in cities all over the United States!

4. Planning A Trip

There is nothing more exciting than planning for your next vacation! Looking at beautiful images, hunting online for the hotel with the best view, shopping for new trip clothes, and filling in the itinerary with every amazing tourist attraction within a 100-mile radius—it just feels good! In some ways, planning for your next vacation is as good for your well-being as actually going on it. Just looking forward to a break gets the happy hormone, dopamine, flowing and puts you in an instantly positive mood.

5. Nature Walk

Vitamin D, physical activity, fresh air, deep breathing, the beauty of nature…’ nough said!

6. Cold Water Swim

Want the benefits of aerobic exercise without all that terrible running? Just hop in a really cold river, lake, or ice bath. Cold-water swimming is basically a controlled induction of pain that increases cortisol levels and then releases a massive dump of endorphins, giving you that euphoric feeling. Just beware, some swimmers experience a rebound of symptoms that feel a bit like anxiety after their first few swims, as the body tries to get the core temperature back up. It would be wise to consult your doctor before starting this regimen.

7. Game Night

A night of board games with friends is sure to induce some friendly competition, a little smack talk, and a lot of laughter. It might be just what you need to shake off those negative feelings.

8. Family Member Phone Call

Sometimes just the sound of a soothing voice on the other end of the line can have mood-boosting benefits. Multiple neurological studies, including one by Stanford University, have indicated that the reward processing and emotion regions of our brains are highly activated when hearing our mother’s voice. While your mom may or may not be available, think of whoever that person is that brings the most calmness, the most peace, to your life, and call them. Maybe it’s mom, grandma, your best friend, or a sibling. Whoever it is, pick up the phone and hear their voice.

9. Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets offer a plethora of healthy mood-boosting foods, a chance to enjoy local crafts, and the opportunity to get outside, which can all help send the blues packing!

10. Orchard Visit

Similarly, a visit to the orchard often allows you to pick your own fresh fruit, take a long walk in a beautiful environment, and fill your refrigerator with mood-boosting goodies.

11. Petting Zoo

Animals bring joy. It’s a fact, and petting zoos have tons of animals—baby animals at that! We don’t know anyone who isn’t happy while petting a baby goat or a cuddly sheep.

12. Volunteer Day

One of the best ways to get out of a funk is to focus on something that gives you purpose. Getting your eyes off your own situation and looking towards the needs of someone else or your community can be an excellent form of self-care. Find something you feel passionate about, and make it happen. This could be helping with a litter pickup in your neighborhood, organizing a charity drive, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or helping at an animal shelter.

If this sounds like just the mood-lifter you need, then check out our list of “65 Community Service Ideas for Every Type of Volunteer” for more great ideas.

13. Charity Race

You get to raise money for a good cause. You get some exercise, and you get a beer with your race buddies after. Checks all the boxes, does it not?

14. Gardening

Did you know that getting your hands dirty may just have immense benefits to your mental health? While research is ongoing, some studies are showing that microbial material in soil may have the ability to act as a natural stress reliever, helping to alleviate anxiety and symptoms of depression. So, go ahead, get dirty!

15. Gratitude Journal

The positive effects of a thankful mindset are well-studied. People who actively focus on gratitude and mindfully journal those thoughts tend to be happier people. It’s one of the little things we can do to help give our bad moods a boost! There are multiple gratitude journals out there, but we suggest getting one that has daily prompts.

16. Weekend Road Trip

Have a favorite destination that you can reach by car? Go there this weekend. It might be a place on the lake where you enjoyed parts of your childhood, the park you got engaged in, or just a stunning landscape that makes you feel free. Take a few days and rest there!

17. Hammock Nap

A gently swaying hammock, on a nice spring day, might be the best sleep you’ve had in a long time!

18. Romantic Comedy

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Your partner will make fun of you, and all the while, your brain will be releasing the “love hormone” oxytocin, improving your mood by the minute!

19. Light-Hearted Read

If you prefer to get your kicks from a book instead of a screen, good on you! Pick up a light-hearted read that makes you giggle.

20. Long Hug

A hug that lasts at least 20 seconds has shown to release feel-good hormones, strengthen the bond between huggers, and lower stressors. When done on a regular basis, hugging can help lead to more intimate bonds, lower rates of heart disease, and even add a little boost to your immune system.

21. Deep Breathing Exercises

Your mom probably said it, “Take a deep breath, and calm down.” Momma was right. Taking just a few minutes a day to get in a comfortable position and take 3-5 deep breaths can be an instant game-changer. Just breathe in and out of your nose. Put one hand on your chest, and the other on your stomach, and feel them both rise as you fill your lungs.

22. Wildflower Picking

Wildflower picking combines all the elements. You are out in the fresh air. You get some dirt under your nails. Your body gets some physical activity, and you get a pretty flower arrangement that will brighten your mood for days. It’s an all-around win!

23. Playground Visit

If you have little ones around, take a day to go and play. They’ll get out some energy, and your mood will likely improve by watching them run, play, and giggle. Better yet, join in! Run, swing, twirl, or roll in the grass. You will look a little foolish to the other playground moms, but you and your kid will have a blast!

24. Bike Ride

There’s something cathartic about the wind in your hair and the smooth, repetitive, round-and-round motion of peddling. Get outside and take a ride today. Just remember to give those old tires a good check first.

25. Bar Crawl

While alcohol is never the answer to long-term mental health issues, if you are just having a rough day, a night out with the crew is just what you need to lift your spirits! Choose one of our app-guided bar crawls. We’ll have you belly laughing in no time as you challenge your besties to fun trivia and photo challenges, dance the night away, and turn down those stress hormones with a little dose of sedative.

26. Fancy Night Out

If you’ve been feeling a little under the weather, getting dressed up and going out with your partner can be a major self-esteem booster. Put on your best dress. Perk up your legs and booty with a nice pair of heels. Do your hair and makeup, and treat yourself and your partner to a nice dinner and dancing!

27. Spa Treatment

Facials, hot stone massages, foot spas, and a steam room—feeling more relaxed already aren’t you? (Unless you’re one of those who doesn’t like your feet touched. In that case, just stick to the sauna)!

28. Dip in the Hot Tub

A bubbling hot tub, with a big glass of wine, on a clear night where you can ponder the stars. There’s no better remedy for a stressful day.

29. Impromptu Dance Session

Dancing releases endorphins. Dancing makes you feel free, especially if no one else is around. So, crank up the Tay Tay, and do your thing like nobody’s looking!

30. Rock Climbing

If you’re afraid of heights, then obviously, this one will be anxiety-inducing for you. However, if you need a physical activity to get your mind off the stressors that are plaguing you, rock climbing is the perfect option. It takes concentration and intense focus on what every part of your body is doing, so there is no time for negative thoughts. Plus, once you conquer the wall, success is a thrill and a major boost for the self-esteem. Beware: you might get addicted.

31. Trampoline Park

Jumping on a trampoline just reminds you of the carefree days of childhood. If you weren’t lucky enough to have carefree days or a trampoline in your life, then you are going to have to trust us on this one. There is something so relaxing about bounding through the air, landing on your butt, and getting back up to do it all over again. Trampoline parks have become pretty popular in the last few years, and we’d be willing to bet there is one within a short drive unless you live in the Yukon or something, and then you’ll just have to settle for that cold water swim.

32. Lake Day

Water is a stress reliever for most people, whether it’s listening to the sound of the waves from a sunny beach, or feeling the spray from a motorboat barreling across the lake. Rent a pontoon boat and bring your friends. Hook up the tube and go for a ride. Camp out in the evening by the fire, and chow down on some s’mores. You’ll feel better in no time!

33. Art Class

Learning a new hobby, especially one that requires the creative portion of your brain can be quite relaxing. Take a guided art and wine class with a friend, or stay in your pajamas and paint along to a virtual one. Either way, you’ll learn something new and have a beautiful piece of decor to hang when you’re done!

34. Woodworking

Like painting, crafting something with your hands brings a sense of accomplishment. Plus, power tools are fun!

35. Spiritual Care

Perhaps your nemesis is something spiritual. If you are a spiritual person, take some time to meditate on it. Talk with your pastor, priest, or spiritual advisor, and get some advice.

36. Counseling Session

While many of the activities on this list are short-term fixes for occasional down moments, talking to a counselor regularly can be an effective tool for helping manage more persistent symptoms of depression and stress. If you’re feeling out of sorts on the regular, it might be time to get some professional help.

37. Free Writing

Free writing is a technique that allows your mind to run totally wild. Just sit down with a notepad, and begin writing in a free flow. Don’t think over words. Don’t edit out anything. Just write. It’s basically the written form of an emotional outburst, and you may find that you feel much better afterward.

38. Cleaning Day

Some people find solace in cleaning, and almost everyone’s stress is elevated by clutter. Taking some time to spruce up the place can occupy your mind and help reduce stress. Plus, the scent of lemon and orange (citrus cleaning products) has been shown to help reduce anxiety.

39. Dancing Flames

Like lapping waves, dancing flames are just mesmerizing, and they seem to have a calming effect on most of us. That’s why there are so many random YouTube music videos with a fireplace in the background. Light a fire in your hearth or outdoor firepit and snuggle up with a blanket and a good book, or invite friends over for a bonfire!

40. Spreading the Love

When you’re feeling down, turning your attention to someone who is in worse shape than you can be a rewarding and productive response. Take flowers to an elderly citizen in your local geriatric home. Send a care package to a friend who has been ill. Take a less wealthy friend out to lunch and foot the bill, or rake the leaves for your disabled neighbor. There is a myriad of ways to lend a helping hand. Pick one.

41. Goal Achievement

Whether you have a list on paper or in your mind, choose one goal that you can accomplish today, and put your mind to achieving it. Don’t stop until you’ve conquered it!

42. Sex

Pretty obvious one here. Sex reduces stress by releasing buckets of mood-altering hormones. It’s free (hopefully), and it usually doesn’t take too long either. It’s an easy way to get a quick fix of happy.

43. Productive Distraction

If your mind is consumed with worry for some reason, try distracting yourself with something mundane. Fold the laundry. Do a puzzle. Clean out a cabinet, or move the furniture. Making your brain focus on something spatial can be a healthy distraction.

44. Jaunt Down Memory Lane

Pull out the old photo albums and show your kids your puffy prom dress. Reminisce with your spouse over your wedding day, or text your bestie pics of that epic trip to the cape.

45. Redecorating

Just moving the furniture around a bit and splashing a fun color on the wall can liven up your home and your mood!

46. Luxury Hotel

Speaking of changing your surroundings, sometimes a stay in an incredible luxury suite, especially one with a hot tub and a view is worth every penny!

47. Scary Feat

Doing something that scares you a bit produces adrenaline at the moment, but there is a serene calm and sense of accomplishment once it is all over.

48. Arcade Day

Let out your inner child and relish in some fond memories by hitting up the vintage games at the arcade. Watching Pac-Man nom nom on those little dots is so dang rewarding.

49. Good Cry Session

There is no shame in a good cry. Have one every now and then. You might find you feel an immense sense of release afterward.

50. Aggressive Exercise

Get out some aggression with a contact sport. Use the boxing bag at the gym, join a sparring club, or start a martial arts class. Yes, we just suggested you join a fight club, but we can’t talk about it anymore. Shh.

51. Outburst

Go outside and scream. Do it loud, at the absolute top of your lungs. Do it until you feel better. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s crazy soothing.

52. Adult Coloring Book

Coloring isn’t just a way to keep your kids quiet. It can help keep your own thoughts from raging, too. Grab a swirly adult coloring book at your craft store and get busy.

Are you ready to decompress?

Everyone gets the funk every now and again. It’s normal, human nature. We recommend you save this list and try a few of these tips next time you feel a little down. Some may work wonders for you, and others won’t be your jam. That’s okay. Try until you find the option that fits you best.

Remember, these are quick mood-boosting activities for the occasional bad day. If you are consistently having anxiety and depressive symptoms, it’s time to talk to a medical professional for some help!

A romantic date can be a fantastic cure for a bad mood. Check out our list of “50 Romantically Sweet Spring Date Ideas” for some inspiration.

If your kiddos are the primary joy in your life, then celebrate their awesomeness with an adventure from “31 Exciting Ways to Celebrate Spring With Your Kids.”

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get out of my bad mood?

If you are looking for some fun mood-boosting activities, try doing something that scares you, going on a guided urban art walk, or hitting up a rock-climbing wall!

What are some easy stress-relieving activities?

If you need a quick fix for anxiety, take a minute for a deep breathing exercise, pull out an adult coloring book, redecorate a room in your home, or go for a spa treatment.

What activity is a reliable mood booster?

While each person is different, some of the tried and true mood boosters are taking a cold-water swim, partaking in aggressive exercise, or having a good sexual encounter.

What activities help fight depression?

Serious depression should be treated by a medical doctor, but if you’re just in a bad mood today, try going on a nature walk, taking an art class, or spending the day volunteering.

How do you help boost someone’s mood?

If you have a loved one who is feeling down, take them out for a fun day of exploring on a city scavenger hunt, go on a road trip together, or set up a spa day for a little pampering!

AdventuresThings to doTravel

Astronomical Adventures: The Best Places to See Stars


There’s nothing better than staring up at the night sky and getting lost in a sea of stars. Unfortunately, this is becoming less and less common as light pollution makes it harder to see the night sky in many parts of the world. Luckily, there are still many areas that you can go to that are great for stargazing and we’ve put together this list to help you access the best places to see stars.

Many of these places below are designated dark sky parks by the International Dark Sky Association which is dedicated to combating light pollution around the world and celebrating darkness as an important resource that should be protected and conserved. It was created as a non-profit organization back in 1988. There are currently nearly 200 dark sky parks on this list which have been chosen specifically for having the clearest and darkest skies around the world. 

Expert advice: Try to time your visit to go to the following places during a new moon rather than going during a full moon. This means that the sky will be the darkest and you’ll be able to have the best stargazing experience. You should also stay out for at least 30 minutes so that your eyes will have time to adjust so that you’re able to see the most stars while you’re out. It’s also important to note that many places on this list are at very high altitudes so it’s important to bring lots of warm clothes with you year-round so that you can enjoy the night sky without shivering the night away. 

Star in your own adventure!

When you scratch the surface of an Adventures From Scratch book, you’ll open your world to a whole new list of awesome activities! Discover new places, see interesting sights or familiar things in a new light, and connect with your friends, family, and partner like never before!

In North America

Below you’ll find a list of some of the best places for stargazing in the United States and Canada. Since many of them are national parks, it’s a good idea to invest in the National Parks Pass. For just $80 per year, this pass gives you access to all of the national parks and monuments around the country. It can help you save a ton of money on park entry fees, especially if you’re planning on hitting up more than a handful of parks in a given year.

Big Bend National Park, Texas

There’s a saying that everything is bigger in Texas and Big Bend National Park wants to prove it. Lying on the border of Mexico in Far West Texas, the park encompasses the rugged Chisos Mountains, part of the Chihuahuan Desert, and the enchanting Santa Elena Canyon that was carved by the Rio Grande. The park gets its name from the river’s big bend and is the largest protected area of the Chihuahuan desert in the United States. It’s home to 1,200 species of plants, 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals.

Besides its spectacular biodiversity, the park has also achieved Gold Tier status as a dark sky park, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of thousands of stars, planets, and even the Milky Way on a clear night. The best way to explore Big Bend National Park is by going on a drive along the lovely Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and there are plenty of opportunities for camping, hiking, river running, and horseback riding. Due to the remoteness of the park, it’s a considerable drive from most of Texas’ airports so it’s a good idea to plan on including this as part of a longer Texas road trip if possible so you can make the most of your time not only in the park but also in this fascinating state. 

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

Rather adorably named after a group of cherry trees that once stood at its heart, Cherry Springs State Park may be relatively small at just 82 acres but it’s surrounded by the much larger 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest which helps you feel like you’re off the beaten path (and helps keep the night sky free from light pollution). Thanks to this, it’s considered to be one of the best places in the eastern US for stargazing. 

The park is located about halfway between Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Scranton in northeastern Pennsylvania, making it one of the easier places to access on this list from East Coast cities like New York and Boston or Cleveland, or Columbus.

Death Valley National Park, California

With some of the most inhospitable temperatures and landscapes on the planet, you would imagine that Death Valley National Park would live up to its name. However, rather than being a land without life, instead, the park is home to many different thriving ecosystems. This mind-boggling diversity makes it an amazing place to explore during the day and has earned it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list but things begin to get even more fascinating at night. 

The night skies are considered some of the darkest in the world, giving Death Valley gold-tier status according to the International Dark Sky Association. The skies are so dark and so clear that you can often view stars and planets that aren’t visible anywhere else in the world. The best part of all is that as long as you aren’t right by one of the lodges or campsites, you have great views from pretty much everywhere! Death Valley National Park is located in southern California near the border of Nevada and can be reached via San Diego, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Located in the remote area near Lake Powell, the Natural Bridges National Monument was the first certified International Dark Sky Park designated by the International Dark Sky Association. People flock here for stargazing thanks to the river of light that was created by the Milky Way flowing over the Owachomo Bridge, a natural rock formation. The bridge creates a “frame” for thousands of stars that can be easily seen with the naked eye and creates a gorgeous photo opportunity. Some experts say that you can see up to 15,000 stars on a clear night and we challenge you to try counting them all!

There are plenty of campsites where you can pitch a tent and spend the night staring up at the stars before getting up early the next morning to hike through one of the park’s crisscrossing canyons. The park is located in southeastern Utah’s canyon country and a trip here can easily be combined with a few days in Canyonlands National Park or Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, both of which are just a short drive away.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

With the tallest dunes in North America and a diverse landscape mixed with forests, alpine lakes, tundra, wetlands, and grasslands, Great Sand Dunes National Park is much more than its name suggests. The dune field encompasses more than 30 square miles and the tallest dune reaches a staggering 750 feet high. You can unleash your inner children by sliding down the dunes, going for a hike, horseback riding, or going on a ranger-led nature walk.

While this is an amazing place to explore during the day, it comes into its own at night. The park is located at an elevation of approximately 8,200 feet and is very remote, making it a wonderful spot for stargazing. There are astronomy programs as well as Junior Ranger programs with tons of great activities for kids. If you want to stay the night (and don’t mind carrying all of your camping gear), you can even spend the night staring up at the dark skies from the dunes.

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Hawaii is famous for being an amazing destination thanks to its beautiful beaches and rugged landscape. Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, elevates this experience even more by providing its very own viewing platform 13,796 feet above sea level to see the stars as well as the world’s largest optical telescope. This spot is considered one of the best places in the world to view the stars thanks to the combination of the high altitude and almost no artificial light. The lofty height is high enough to cause high-altitude sickness but the spectacular stargazing opportunities and the colorful sunrises and sunsets make it worth it! This enormous volcano last erupted more than 4,000 years ago which also creates an interesting landscape and you can enjoy both this and the incredible views on a visit here.

Several tour operators are permitted to take people to the volcano summit where you can get near-perfect stargazing conditions but if you don’t want to spring for the high costs of a summit tour, you can still view the stars from a lower price point and for a lower price! If you have a four-wheel drive, you can also go up to the visitors center but keep in mind that there is very limited parking at the center and there is no space available when you arrive, you’ll be turned away. If you can’t decide whether or not it’s worth the price, keep in mind that so far 11 countries have established observatories here to take advantage of the incomparable stargazing opportunities.

Nova Scotia, Canada

Lying in the far eastern stretches of Canada, Nova Scotia is famous for its wild Atlantic coastline, charming towns, and friendly people. It’s also home to some of the clearest and darkest skies in North America including two official Dark Sky areas. While there are several places that you can go to see the stars at their brightest, the most popular destinations include the Acadian Skies and Mi’kmaq Lands Starlight Preserve, the first place in North America to earn a Starlight certification by the Starlight Foundation, and the Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, one of Canada’s dark sky preserves. Both of these places are located in southwestern Nova Scotia and are just a short drive from one another, making it easy to combine them both into one trip! They are also just a two hours drive from Halifax, which means that they are some of the most easily accessible places on this list.

If you want to try something unique, you can spend the night in a geodesic dome perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. This fun-filled version of glamping allows you to fall asleep underneath the shimmering stars and many of the different dome sites have all of the amenities and luxuries that you would expect from an upscale guest house. 

Around the World

If you’re planning on going a bit further afield, some amazing places around the world combine magnificent natural beauty and sparkling night skies. Our in-house team of travel experts have come up with an exhaustive list of destinations that are sure to delight even the most road-weary of travelers.

Atacama Desert, Chile

Nestled on the border of Argentina and Bolivia west of the Andes Mountains, Chile’s Atacama Desert ranks #1 on virtually every list of the best places for stargazing. Famous for being the driest place on Earth, this sprawling desert may seem a bit barren during the day but at night, the spectacular beauty of this place becomes apparent. Here, you have the delightful combination of clear skies, a high altitude, and virtually zero light pollution that all come together to provide the perfect backdrop for stargazing.

While visiting the Atacama Desert, you’re likely to see views of some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most well-known constellations including the Tarantula Nebula, the Southern Cross, the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Fornax Cluster of galaxies, and a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. The region is a popular tourist destination and it’s easy to join a guided stargazing tour or simply grab a rental car and head out on your own. 

However, the night sky isn’t the only thing to check out in the Atacama Desert. You can also explore the red rocks of Las Piedras Rojas, the saline lake of the Salar de Talar, or the colorful Rainbow Valley. You can even get a bird’s eye view of the desert from a hot air balloon. The easiest way to access the Atacama Desert is via the border city of San Pedro de Atacama which is just a short flight from the capital city of Santiago. 

Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, Japan

Located on the Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa in the East China Sea, the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park was the first place in Japan to receive International Dark Sky Places accreditation. Due to its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer, it’s possible to view up to 84 out of the 88 constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union. Before you make your way to the park, make sure to check the weather conditions as the visibility could differ drastically based on the season.

The easiest way to get to Iriomote-Isigahki National Park from abroad is by flying into Naha, on the main island of Okinawa, and then from there, taking a domestic flight to Ishigaki. You can then rent a car and explore the park on a self-guided tour. Before stargazing, you can spend the day exploring the island’s sandy beaches and beautiful coral reefs, the dense mangrove forests, or the gushing waterfalls,

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park is world-renowned for its amazing wildlife diversity. It’s one of the largest game reserves in Africa and has a high density of the Big Five. During a safari, you’re likely to see elephants, rhinos, leopards, lions, and buffalo plus countless other birds, mammals, and reptiles that call the park home. However, this is not the only thing here and when nighttime comes, the skies come alive with constellations and twinkling stars.

Kruger National Park can be easily accessed by flying into the South African capital of Johannesburg. Here, you can rent a car and drive a few hours to the park or get public transportation to one of the nearby cities or villages. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options offering options for all different travel budgets. However, if you want to get the best stargazing experience, it’s a good idea to book one of the camps within the park itself. Try to find the smallest one as it’s likely to have the least amount of light pollution. 

Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand

Far, far away from the city lights of Christchurch or Queenstown, the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is the largest reserve in the Southern Hemisphere and the second-largest dark sky reserve in the world. Like many of the national parks on this list, the reserve aims to create an international dark sky community protected from light pollution. 

The reserve is located in the center of New Zealand’s South Island and is relatively easy to access from many of the region’s most popular tourist attractions. This means that you can combine it with a fantastic trek on one of the island’s epic hiking trails or a boat ride through the fjords. Tour options range from “humble” observatory visits to dreamy nights spent swinging in hammocks under the stars. Keep in mind that New Zealand is a very expensive place to visit and if you want to go all-out with your stargazing experience, you may want to check your budget first!

NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

Situated just north of South Africa on the continent’s Pacific coast, Namibia has exploded onto the tourism scene thanks to its rolling red sand dunes, dramatic coastline, and cute German towns. The NamibRand Nature Reserve lies just south of Sossusvlei, Namibia’s most famous dune, and is a private reserve dedicated to protecting and conserving the unique biodiversity of the southwest Namib Desert. 

Thanks to its location far from pretty much everything, the NamibRand Nature Reserve was the 2nd place in the world to be awarded Gold Tier status and was the first dark sky park in the developing world. Since it’s in a desert, the air is very dry and cloudless for most of the year and from here, you can view the Milky Way, the Magellanic Clouds, and the Andromeda Galaxy throughout the year. The landscape surrounding the dunes can be a little rough to navigate so the best way to view the skies is by joining one of the many overland tours that traverse the country. 

Need more adventure?

We hope that this guide has left you inspired to plan a whole series of stargazing trips! And when you need more ideas for adventure, you know where to find us! Our blog is full of activity ideas for friends, families, and couples.

As always, we would love to hear your feedback, so please feel free to drop a note in the comment section.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best places for stargazing in the United States?

For a great stargazing experience, you can head to Big Bend National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania.

Where can I go stargazing in Africa?

Some of the best places to see stars in Africa are the Namib Desert and Kruger National Park. Both places are relatively easy to access and will offer a celestial experience!

What’s are the best places in the United States to see stars?

For the best stargazing in the US, try Death Valley National Park in California, Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania, or Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah.

What are the best outdoor adventures at night?

If you’re looking to explore the outdoors after dark, you can’t beat stargazing! Check out this list of the best places to see the stars! Keep Adventures From Scratch nearby for more ideas.