This Hidden Gem State Park Is One Of The Best Stargazing Destinations In Texas

As the seasons change and the weather grows warmer, outdoor enthusiasts begin dreaming about their summer camping trips each year. Camping is a quintessential summer pastime and the perfect way to connect with friends, family, and the natural world. For some of us, camping trips are the only time we allow ourselves to leave our laptops at home, put our cell phones on airplane mode, and fully unplug. If you're planning a summer full of outdoor adventures and long, starlit nights spent swapping stories around a campfire, consider adding Copper Breaks State Park

One of 80 state parks in Texas, Copper Breaks has somehow managed to remain under the radar despite being one of the loveliest places to enjoy nature in the expansive state. It's located under four hours from Fort Worth and Dallas. As the park is somewhat remote, you'll need a car rental, which you can find for around $25 per day. Entrance to the state park costs $3 per day.

Copper Breaks State Park encompasses nearly 1,900 acres in northern Texas, near the Oklahoma border. Indigenous people lived in the area for thousands of years, and there are several sacred sites within the park. The landscape features rugged red rocks and sparkling lakes that offer hiking, fishing, and camping opportunities. Best of all, Copper Breaks State Park offers some of the best stargazing in Texas and is a top-ranked place for incredible views of starlit skies. 

Enjoy the twinkling of celestial bodies without light pollution

Dark Sky International began a movement to preserve the beauty of the night sky back in 1988, which is a critical mission considering an estimated 80% of people in the United States have never seen the Milky Way. Since then, more than 200 places across the globe have been certified Dark Sky Parks. There are 60 places designated by Dark Sky International in the United States, seven of which are located in Texas. 

Copper Breaks State Park is one of the state's five Dark Sky Parks. The Bortle Dark-Sky Scale is a tool that measures how well you can observe stars, planets, and other objects in the night sky based on light pollution. One represents the darkest skies on Earth, and nine represents extreme light pollution found in urban centers. Copper Breaks State Parks is ranked at two, making it a spectacular place to camp under the stars in the U.S.

Copper Breaks was designated by the Dark Sky International organization in 2014, and since then, the park has created a variety of events and attractions for amateur astronomers. If you're interested in learning more about the night sky, consider planning your visit to the state park around one of the monthly Star Parties, which take place between April and November. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Website offers excellent resources for hopeful stargazers, including star maps, sun and moon information, and weather forecasts to help you plan your trip.

Planning your trip to Copper Breaks

Copper Breaks State Park is a dream camping destination. There are plenty of options for tent campers and those traveling in a camper van or RV. Primitive campsites, in which you hike in with your gear, start at just $12 per night. Keep in mind that you won't have access to water or electricity, and the sites don't feature fire pits or tables. Also, you are not permitted to build a fire on the ground, although camping stoves are allowed. 

Sites in the designated campgrounds offer less privacy but more amenities for the same price. You will have access to water, and each site has a fire ring and a picnic table. Bathrooms and showers are also available. If you plan to bring your horses, equestrian campsites are also available in the park. Sites with electric hookups for RVs or camper vans are $20 per night and feature picnic tables, fire pits, and water.

If camping isn't your thing, several cabins are available for rent within Copper Breaks State Park, accommodating groups of up to six people. Rustic cabins with bunk beds, outdoor fire rings, and grills cost $60 per night. They do not have bathrooms, but guests can use the nearby bathroom and shower houses. The largest cabin, which accommodates six people, has a kitchen and restrooms and costs $125 per night. All cabins have heat and AC for your comfort and convenience.