At RWT Adventures, we’ve turned stargazing into our main hobby as RVers, and we’re not alone in this passion. Astrotourism is not just a trend; it’s a growing movement among travelers. 

Whether it’s the Milky Way, a meteor shower, or the Northern Lights, the celestial world offers an awe-inspiring experience that is capturing the hearts of so many.

What is Astrotourism?

Simply put, astrotourism is traveling to marvel at the universe’s wonders in space and the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. Whether it’s the Milky Way, a meteor shower, or the Northern Lights, the celestial world offers an awe-inspiring experience that is capturing the hearts of so many as they travel to see them.

But it’s more than just looking up; it’s an adventure into nature, away from the city’s hustle and bright lights. It’s one of the main reasons why we RV…to escape light pollution.

Example of Astrotourism with RWT Adventures

Imagine being in a place so dark that the stars light up the sky like a glittering canopy. This contrast between the night sky of our ancestors and the one we see today is stark, highlighting the need for places where the universe still feels within reach.

Why Astrotourism is Gaining Popularity

Once upon a time, you could step outside and see a sky brimming with stars. Now, for many of us, this is a luxury. Light pollution has dimmed the celestial lights in many parts of the world but has also sparked a newfound appreciation for the night sky. 

People like us are now seeking out dark skies not just for their beauty but as a way to reconnect with nature and our cosmic heritage. It’s a journey back to the wonders that once filled our ancestors with awe.

You can say people are trying to connect to the past and a piece of history that is now almost all but lost. Which brings us to this next section.

Archaeoastronomy and Astrotourism

landscape photo of stonehenge
Photo by Stephen + Alicia on Pexels

In astrotourism, we don’t just look up; we also look back. Archaeoastronomy takes us on a journey through time, exploring ancient sites like Stonehenge, Chichen Itza, or Machu Picchu, where our ancestors aligned their structures with celestial events. These sites offer a tangible link to past cultures and their understanding of astronomy. 

By visiting these places, we’re not just tourists; we become part of a continuum, connecting with the ancient knowledge of the stars and planets. It’s a fusion of history, culture, and science, offering a unique perspective on humanity’s relationship with the cosmos.

From Remote to Urban

view on griffith park and the city from above
Photo by Geminiiphotographs gemini on Pexels

Astrotourism isn’t limited to remote wilderness. Sure, we love venturing out into the desert or mountains for an unobstructed view of the cosmos. But city dwellers, you shouldn’t feel left out. Urban astrotourism is on the rise too even if you don’t want to go camping or travel. 

Places like Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and Hayden Planetarium in New York City offer a stellar experience right in the heart of the city even full of skyglow and light trespass. Check your nearest city planetarium or stargazing community to see what they have to offer. It might inspire you to actually go visit a dark location and get a feel for “real darkness”.

Also, thanks to organizations like Dark Sky (formerly the International Dark Sky Association [IDA]), even urban areas are finding ways to celebrate the night sky. They are helping spread awareness of dark sky communities all over the world you might not know about.

Astrotourism’s Economic and Ecological Impact

Astrotourism isn’t just a stellar experience; it’s a catalyst for local economies. Consider the dark skies all across the Colorado Plateau, where astrotourism could inject billions into the economy over the next decade, creating thousands of jobs annually. 

If you look back to the 2017 solar eclipse: states like Wyoming, South Carolina, and Nebraska collectively earned hundreds of millions from astrotourist spending. But, this isn’t just about money; it’s about sustainable tourism. Astrotourism encourages us to preserve dark skies, supports local communities, and provides an eco-friendly way to explore our world, making a positive impact both environmentally and economically.

How to Get Involved in Astrotourism

what is astrotourism aurora borealis
Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels

Going on an astrotourism adventure is an enriching experience. We suggest you begin by exploring Dark Sky Parks, where the night sky shines in its full glory. National parks offer more than just beautiful landscapes; they host educational stargazing events and are sanctuaries for dark skies. 

Sure, urban settings have their charm too. Cities like Los Angeles and New York City have observatories and planetariums that bring the cosmos closer to you if you can’t make it out to more remote locations. 

For a truly immersive experience, seek out phenomena like the Northern Lights, join a star party, or attend an astronomy festival. Each opportunity is a chance to deepen your connection with the universe and to share in a communal appreciation of the night sky. There’s just so much to do in this hobby, so try a bit of everything, and we’re sure you’ll be hooked!

Astrotourism is at the heart of what we love at RWT Adventures. It’s more than a pastime; it’s a way of life that brings us closer to the cosmos and each other. 

So, when planning your next journey, consider making it an astrotourism adventure.

What is the meaning of astrotourism?

Astrotourism refers to the practice of traveling to destinations specifically for observing astronomical phenomena, such as stars, planets, and meteor showers, often in areas with minimal light pollution to enhance the experience. This form of tourism typically involves journeying to remote, dark sky locations or visiting observatories and planetariums.

What are the benefits of astrotourism?

The benefits of astrotourism include boosting local economies through increased tourism, promoting ecological awareness and conservation of dark sky areas, and providing educational and recreational opportunities for participants. It also helps in preserving natural nightscapes and offers a unique way for people to connect with nature and the universe.

Related Pages

Takacs Family in front of Jayco RV
The Takacs Family

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 on RWT Adventures and other forms of social media as we explore the night sky and other natural wonders as hardcore astrotourists.