This is a semi-humorous take on all the fake date night stargazing articles out there full of fluff with my own spin as an avid stargazer.
Being the very romantic man that I am, it makes me happy to share with you tips and tricks to make your next camping trip under the stars more romantic. I will share with you decades of stargazing experience so you can “win” on your date night with your special lady.
(Now just imagine my wonderful wife Alison looking over to see what I am writing and rolling her eyes at this over-the-top narcissistic opening.)
Someone has to get you those brownie points! I’m here to help. That’s why I created this guide to romantic date night stargazing for all of my dudes out there.
Let’s start off with the basics.
Is stargazing considered romantic?
I read somewhere that a certain percentage of people consider stargazing to be romantic, but I can’t remember where. Maybe it was in an old Cosmopolitan poll people used to quote back in the day when magazines were a bigger thing. That’s besides the point where I first heard about it. Stargazing is definitely considered romantic and has been for as long as I can remember. It can be one of the more intimate ways to spend some time with the woman of your dreams while camping or just going out for a few hours on a date night.
You might be wondering: “Jason, what’s the secret to making it romantic?”
Guess what? It’s time to dive in and let you know just about everything I’ve learned.
How to Stargaze on a Date:
How do you pick a romantic stargazing spot?
First, you’ll need some stars…the more usually the better. It’ll give you more to talk about so you’ll both want to stay outside longer. So, the first step would be to plan a stargazing spot to visit.
Try using our stargazing map to find some dark sky areas near you. It will give you an idea of where to go that is dark enough to enjoy together, so you can see more stars. Most good stargazing spots will be away from major cities that are more rural. If you can, aim for places on the map that are at least green in color. Blue, purple, and gray on the map are the best for stargazing, but if they are too far away, it might be too much of a hassle and your lovely love might not want to drive that far. Definitely get a feel for what she wants and have a couple of places picked out.
You should also think about finding a quiet place. I’ve tried stargazing by a noisy major road before, and it was fine but definitely tough to make it “romantic”. Maybe it’s just a psychological thing, but car lights and engine noises don’t really send too many positive signals to most women when trying to get away from it all. So, make sure that dark area you selected is away from most busy roads and secluded so you won’t be bothered with romance.
What do you wear on a stargazing date?
When you head out on a stargazing date, it’s typically best to dress in layers. As the night rolls on, it usually gets colder and colder, so having a sweater and jacket on hand is a good idea. This of course depends on where you are stargazing and what time of the year it is. You might not need a jacket for yourself, but it’s a smart idea to be prepared and bring one anyway in case your lady gets chilly. Plan ahead, and you can be the hero (or gentleman or whatever else you want to call it). I always bring an extra jacket for Alison on our trips…brownie points.
Read the evening weather report, and use your common sense when it comes to knowing what you wear while stargazing. If it’s going to be cold, bring a hat and gloves. If it’s not going to change much, then maybe don’t bring as much. Keep in mind that drier places like the desert tend to have larger day to night temperature swings where a 30 degree or higher swing is not uncommon. There is no specific “stargazing date outfit” you need. Use good judgement and you’ll be fine.
Like they say, you can always put more clothes on than you can take them off. (Cough. Cough. Ahem. You can insert your own date night joke here.)
What items should you bring on a stargazing date?
This is the section where I’ll share some tips to earn you even more brownie points with your date. These are my stargazing date night essentials!
When on a stargazing date, you should have at least the following items at a minimum:
It goes without saying, you might want to do some research before you plan what kind of food to bring on your date. Make sure you know if they are allergic to anything before heading out. Nothing would be worse than having your date that might be allergic to nuts or shellfish have a bad reaction somewhere dark and isolated. Also, I personally would avoid anything gassy. Yes, you heard me. You might want to avoid beans and cabbage if you plan to have a fun night.
Think of “romantic food” that is visually exciting to your partner. I wouldn’t make a full meal and bring it, but rather more like a snack or picnic with foods like strawberries, cherries, chocolate, figs, bananas, cheese & crackers, dried meats that can all be eaten with your hands. Also remember that your goal is to send a subconscious message to your date while eating with your hands, so try not to be gross while stuffing your face.
Warm drink or cold drink
If it’s cold outside, it might be a smart idea to pack something to warm up your lady. If it’s warm outside at night, obviously pack a cold drink. Just use your common sense.
During cold nights, you can go with something simple like hot cocoa or apple cider, or you can try to get fancy and make a maple chai tea latte or a cardamom rose hot chocolate. Just do a quick Google search and see what kind of drink looks interesting to you and might fit your loved one’s style. Creativity goes a long way. You’ll find they really love when you put in a little extra thought into these kinds of choices.
Also, you can usually add a little something extra to a warm drink to make it “warmer” if you catch my drift.
I know what we like to drink while we are stargazing and it’s warm…so…
Blanket or chair
Depending on where you want the night to go (if you catch my drift) can be directly impacted by your seating selection. If you are trying to send a strong signal to your lady, definitely bring a blanket. For a weaker signal, grab a set of folding chairs.
Sitting on the ground on a blanket allows for more romantic stargazing options: sitting up next to each other, one in front of the other while sitting, leaning back to back in opposite directions, laying down next to each other, and so on. Sitting in separate chairs only really allows you to sit next to each other or face to face. Any other option seems kind of weird to me.
If you have a truck, remember to make good use of the bed. Just throw a mat and some blankets back there, and you’re good to go!
Once you get situated outside and are close to the lady of your dreams, try turning on a little chill music. You might normally be into heavy metal or trap music, but this time go for something a little softer like smooth jazz or soft R&B.
Your goal is to make it a relaxing time gazing up at the stars one-on-one. Also, keep the music low so you can talk and not have to fight the music volume. Again, trust me. Your partner wants to hear you talk. This isn’t a dance club.
Don’t skip this step! Amateurs will just bring a normal flashlight that has a white light. You can show your lady you are a pro by having a flashlight with a red light light setting and that you understand what it’s for.
If you didn’t know, red lights are easier on your eyes at night and prevent light blindness. Red allows you to see what is around you without temporarily messing up your eyes like white lights do. When you are stargazing, you absolutely should have a red light.
Telescope or binoculars
I highly suggest either bringing a pair of binoculars or a telescope. Both not only allow you to stargaze better and see celestial objects in the sky easier, but they also provide you the chance for more intimate contact.
If you are a smooth operator, you can find a star or planet, and make an excuse to “help” your lady find it too. If you are smart, you’ll read the moment and possibly use some body contact. See? Stargazing can be romantic!
This part isn’t a very romantic part of stargazing with your partner. It’s just putting on bug spray. Since you are outside, you should probably bring some bug spray. Over the years, we have found the bug situation very hit-or-miss based on where Alison and I have stargazed. Some nights we’ve had hundreds of mosquitoes, no-see-ums, or other flying pests bug us relentlessly until we applied some bug spray. Other nights there were none. So, come prepared.
You have tons of options from all natural to 100% DEET to fight them off. Do your research and see what you prefer.
Tent or RV for overnight
Here’s an advanced tip: Make it an overnight trip. Even if you didn’t intend to stay out all night, it’s a good idea to come prepared with a sleeping bag and a tent. This way if it gets too late, you and your lady can always just crash out at your stargazing spot assuming you planned smartly in the first place and it’s an actual campsite. With that being said, it’s a great idea to stargaze at a state or local park clear of any light pollution so you have this option.
If you have an RV, this option is a no-brainer. You are probably farther along in your relationship if you are inviting someone to enjoy the stars with you on an overnight trip and staying in your RV. The only reason I bring this up is because I use an RV for all my romantic stargazing trips with my wife. Right, Alison?
Stargazing app or star chart
It’s a great idea to download a stargazing app onto your phone before heading out and understanding how to use it. There are plenty to choose from on both Android and iOS. I have over a dozen of these apps on my phone, but that’s only because I’m a dork, and I dig this hobby.
A stargazing app will allow you to see what is in the night sky when you are currently stargazing and as the night progresses. It also allows you to see if there are any special celestial events occurring in the sky, learn some little facts about objects in space, and also discover constellations you might find interesting.
Try a few out, and see which you like best before you go on your stargazing date. I actually have an article I’m currently writing on the best free stargazing apps for Android that I should be publishing on here pretty soon. It’s an extremely in-depth article breaking down every part of just about every available app. Stay tuned!
Even though you can get plenty of information about the night skies from stargazing apps, it’s always a good idea to do a little research on the stars in advance so you can impress your date. Do you know the significance of Polaris, the North Star, and its role in ship navigation? It actually has been a very historically important star even before the days of sailing.
Also, most people can point out the Big Dipper, but most people don’t know it isn’t actually a constellation. It’s an asterism. Sorry for getting technical, but many women find intelligence in a man to be an attractive quality. (I wonder if that’s why Alison married me? Probably not.)
Pick a few objects in the sky, and learn about them before heading out on your stargazing date. Just remember that what you see in the night sky can change based on the time of night, the current season, and if you live in the northern or southern hemisphere. So plan ahead when learning.
Stargazing poetry or stories
Maybe you’re not one to learn facts about the night sky, and you aren’t into science. Maybe art is more your style. Then try some poetry or stories.
Here’s one you can share:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Stargazing is amazing
And so are you!
(It’s a work in progress.)
The stars have inspired humans to write legendary stories going back thousands of years in human history. If the stories worked to get couples together on their date nights long ago, I’m sure some of them could still work. Don’t quote me, I’ve never tested this before.
How do you cuddle while stargazing?
I’m only including this little section because someone actually asked this question online. I also thought about creating some infographics on how to cuddle while stargazing, but then I realized I had better things to do with my time. I also thought about taking some stargazing pictures with Alison on a blanket and modeling them, but that would be dishonest because we like to chill out in our chairs.
So, if I actually did use a blanket, this is how I would cuddle stargazing:
- Put down a blanket.
- Lay down on the blanket.
- Ask your partner to lay down on the blanket next to you.
- Get closer to your partner.
- Scoot even closer to your partner until you are holding each other.
- Now you are in a cuddle position.
- Look up at the stars while cuddling.
- Switch sides when your arm falls asleep.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 throughout the evening.
(I can’t believe someone actually asked this in a Google search. You guys are too funny!)
Here are some other related questions from the web I decided to answer to help you plan your stargazing date.
Is stargazing a good second date?
In my honest opinion, stargazing has potential to be a very bad or very good option for a second date depending on a couple of factors:
How did the first date go?
If there was no chemistry on the first date, I probably wouldn’t try it.
I went hiking with my future wife on my second date, and I don’t know if we were ready to really stargaze together even though we had pretty good chemistry. Now, if you lived in the 1950s as a high school student with a convertible, you could go on a stargazing date without blinking an eye (see the movie Grease). It seems like they were always outside stargazing long ago.
Does she like being outside?
If she doesn’t, skip it. If she does, it could be an option.
Is it a really long drive to get to your stargazing spot?
You might creep out the lady you like by driving to the middle of nowhere late at night. It could be good if it’s closeby…maybe. If it’s on a dark beach that’s nearby with minimal light pollution, this could be a good option. Stars + beach = very romantic to most people.
Where do you go for date night stargazing?
Since every night stargazing is basically a date night for us when we RV, we like to go wherever we have parked our RV. This is usually in a campground with dark skies and low levels of light pollution so we can see as many stars as possible.
Like I mentioned earlier in this article, use a dark sky map to find good areas close to you. It doesn’t have to be a campsite though, you can go out to an empty field, a quiet beach, the dead end of a country road, a lake you reach from going off-road, or any number of spots. Just use a dark sky map and make sure you are actually allowed to be in the location you found.
Do a little research when planning your date and don’t just Google “stargazing date near me” or “stargazing date reddit”. I found some pretty lousy results that way. Ask around and use that dark sky map we made to help you!
‘What can you see when on a stargazing date?
Depending on how far you can get away from city lights will determine what you can see on a stargazing date. If you are in a heavily light polluted city such as a Bortle 8 or 9 sky, you might only be able to see the moon, a handful of constellations, and several of the brightest planets.
As you travel away from bright city lights, you’ll start to see more and more stars. With darker skies, you’ll start to see the Milky Way core when you get around Bortle 5 skies, and it’ll be easier to see meteor showers if there is one taking place at the time.
I recommend you get to an area as dark as you can (within reason) on your date. Just use your best judgment as to how far away makes sense. If you get really lucky, you might get the chance to even see a comet if it’s a dark enough spot and one is visible at the time.
Should I go on a stargazing date during a full moon?
If you live somewhere that is already heavily light polluted, I would not go on a stargazing date during a full moon. You probably won’t see many stars, so it won’t be a good date for looking up at the heavens above. If you are in a less light polluted area or can get to one, you’ll be able to see some stars but not as many as when a new moon is out.
When the moon is in a crescent phase or half full, you will also be able to see a good amount of stars in an area with lower light pollution. If the moon is filling up in the gibbous phases, and you are in this same area, it can also impact your star viewing. I recommend new moon or crescent moon phases for the best stargazing.
There is one exception to this rule. It’s when a lunar eclipse is occurring. It can actually make for a fun date just being able to look up at an amazing red moon that doesn’t happen all the time. Yeah, that can be a pretty memorable time shared together.
Seriously, if any of these tips worked for you on your stargazing date (and enough time has passed), you should definitely check out our article on stargazing with your kids.
I hope you had as much fun using these tips as I had writing them up!
About the Authors
We are avid stargazers Jason and Alison Takacs also known as “Roadtrippin’ with Takacs”. With our two boys Preston and Grayson, we seek out some of the darkest skies in the country while also going on many incredible hiking and other outdoor adventures. As part-time RVers, we try to see as much of this amazing world as possible in our spare time and hope you will join us through this blog and other forms of social media as we explore the night sky and other natural wonders as hardcore astrotourists.