8 Places to Explore the Stars

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Looking for a change of scenery? Look up to the stars! There is something intriguing about the night sky that draws you in, putting you in a reflective mood or making you yearn to reach further into the vast unknown. These 8 places are perfect for doing just that.

The Tellus Observatory gives visitors a view of the night sky through a 20″ telescope perfect for viewing the moon and planets in our solar system. Tours of the observatory are available during special workshops and events such as National Astronomy Day.

Visit Tellus Museum online to purchase advance tickets. (All outdoor activities are weather permitting.)

For those who stay overnight at one of these state parks in Northwest Georgia, you are sure to see the stars as the night sky comes to life.  

* Fort Mountain State Park – located on top of Fort Mountain between Ellijay and Chatsworth.
* Cloudland Canyon State Park – located on Lookout Mountain off Hwy 136 from Trenton.
* James H. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park – located off US Hwy 27 south of Summerville. Walk down by the lake for open skies.

At the top of Fort Mountain near the entrance to the State Park is a wide pull-over in the bend of the road where the view is spectacular. During the day you can see the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains stretching southward, but at night the sky is wide open with nothing blocking your view. Take in the sunset and remain for the star show.

On the outskirts of Rome close to the Chattahoochee National Forest is the perfect place for camping under the stars: The Rocky Mountain Recreational Area. There is plenty to do during the day with two lakes for fishing and paddling, bike and hiking trails, geocaching, archery and wildlife viewing. Settle into camp after a full day and enjoy the stars above. No light pollution here!  

Explore the universe at Sunrise Planetarium. Field trips and public showings reveal the solar system, galaxy, and beyond. Explore space at one of two planetarium shows, ride a mini-train and relax with a picnic lunch. Located off Hwy 53 east of Calhoun.  

Walker County Schools in features Smith Planetarium just outside the city of Chickamauga. There is room for 92 people under a 40’ dome where the night sky is presented. Regular monthly shows are open to the public in addition to groups by appointment. Be sure to check with the Planetarium for current hours. The planetarium normally operates Oct–Dec and mid-Jan through mid-May. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for updates!