Ways to Enjoy the Stars at Georgia's Dark Sky Park
It's official! According to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), Georgia is home to the most brilliant view of stars in the South. Dedicated to protecting the night sky and fragile ecosystems from light pollution, IDA designates dark sky places by measuring factors such as conservation of nocturnal environment for wildlife, minimal impact from light pollution and visibility of observable sky phenomena.
Surrounded by the Okefenokee, North America's largest blackwater swamp, Stephen C. Foster State Park achieved the organization's highest gold-tier ranking. This is the only gold-tier dark sky park in the Southeast, ensuring that visitors have an exceptional view of the heavens. Dark Sky Parks also offer a wide range of activities encouraging conservation and enjoyment of the night sky.
Here are some ways to experience the breathtaking celestial beauty of Stephen C. Foster State Park.
Paddle Under the Stars
Join a ranger paddling the glassy waters of Okefenokee at sunset. As the last rays of sunlight fall below the horizon, twinkling stars and a glowing moon guide the way.
AH Stephens State Park (Note, this picture was not taken in the Okefenokee) | Photo courtesy of Arthur Stiles, Georgia Nature Photographer Association
Swampers Guide to the Galaxy
Gaze at the heavens, unaided or with telescopes, in search of meteors and planets during this educational astronomy experience. Throughout the year, the park will offer various opportunities for amateur astronomers to gather and learn more about night sky phenomena.
Camping & Cottages
A typical suburban view may reveal 500 stars, but visit a gold-tier dark sky park like Stephen Foster, and you may see upwards of 5,000 stars! Sleep under the stars at the park's campground. More than 60 campsites offer anything from primitive camping to full-service RV hookups. The campground includes restroom and laundry facilities, as well as a playground and easy access to hiking trails.
If camping is too rugged, stay the night in a cozy cottage with all the comforts of home. The park's 19 cottages include separate bedrooms, living areas with televisions, and kitchens with basic supplies.