The Milky Way has inspired us all since the beginning of humankind, but stargazing tourism is getting more popular in recent years. Searches for “national parks after dark” have soared 10,700 per cent in the last 12 months, and it’s not hard to see why. In 2022, many are looking for unforgettable experiences, and nighttime sights are already becoming the next big travel trend. To inform adventurous tourists (as well as locals looking for the best stargazing locations near them), Next Vacay reveals the top Instagrammable destinations to sleep under the stars in 2022 based on Instagram hashtags, air pollution levels, overall star visibility, and more. Here are the best places to stargaze in Canada. —Vita Daily
Is there a better place in the world to see the stars than Canada’s first national park, in Alberta? Known for some of the most picturesque views with the potential to see the Northern Lights, Banff National Park in Alberta takes the number one spot as the top stargazing hotspot in 2022. The best time for a stargazing adventure in Banff is during the winter, where you can get closer to the heavens for Stargazing at the Summit, a night of discovery at 7,500 feet. If you want to gaze up at the night sky in your home comforts, visitors staying at the Chateau Lake Louise also have views of the beautiful stars from their hotel rooms. With a whopping 1,300,577 photos under the hashtag on Instagram, it’s not hard to see why Banff should be on the top of your stargazing adventure bucket list.
Taking the second-place spot on our list for the most popular stargazing spots in 2022 is the Glacier National Park in British Columbia, internationally recognized as a hiker’s paradise and home to some of the darkest skies in the world. With minimum light pollution, this star dome provides jaw-dropping night sky views so stunning that they are surreal when the nightfall comes. With a 20-inch telescope, travelers can be mesmerized by high-resolution views of planets, galaxies, and constellations. The best time to stargaze at Glacier is during the winter months when the skies get darker, and visitors have a better chance of spotting the northern lights. With an impressive 957,482 photos under the hashtag on Instagram, you can see why this national park made it to the top of our list.
Known for its big blue skies and endless views, Jasper National Park is the third most in-demand stargazing hotspot in 2022. When the sun goes down, a whole new adventure begins at Jasper National Park. Pyramid Lake is the best-known stargazing spot within a short drive of the town of Jasper, while Mount Edith Cavell is a prime spot edged closer to the stars. The best time to stargaze in Jasper National Park is on crisp, clear winter nights or during a new moon – but be sure to wrap up! With 556,371 photos under the hashtag on Instagram, it’s easy to see why stargazing is increasingly becoming one of the more popular activities in this tourist hotspot.
The fourth most popular stargazing spot to visit in 2022 is the Yoho National Park in British Columbia, best visited during the spring and autumn months if you want to see the stars dance. With almost 30 mountain peaks that tower to the sky, this natural wonder offers some of the darkest, most breathtaking star-filled night sky views in the country. With Emerald Lake making a stunning foreground for the stars since there’s no urban glow in the sky, you can see why many travelers plan to stargaze here to spot an eclipse or the northern lights each year, with a whopping 154,449 photos under the hashtag on Instagram.
Rounding off the top five is the Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, known for its great night skies, breathtaking views, and pristine lakes. Enjoy a gaze up into the stars, and explore the cosmos and what lies beyond our planet in awe. Waterton Lakes National Park is one of the best national parks for stargazing in Canada, recognizing dark skies as a conservation priority. Visit Camerton Bay or Red Rock Parkway for the perfect places to stargaze. With 78,012 photos under the hashtag on Instagram, there’s no denying that this stunning national treasure on rugged mountain territory is a must-see stargazing spot in 2022.