Places to Stay

5 Stunning Stargazing Towns Deep in the Heart of Texas

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All photos by Jason Weingart

We all know the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. This state has some seriously dark skies. But where are some great towns to go catch an awe-inspiring view of the night sky?  

5. Albany

The Milky Way behind ruins at Fort Griffin in Albany, Texas.

Albany is a town of about 2,000 residents in Shackelford County. The historical site of Fort Griffin is 15 miles north of the town. You need special permission to access the ruins after hours, but campsites are available across the street. There are also a few motels back in town.

4. Colorado City

The Milky Way over a cotton field outside of Colorado City

Colorado City, in Mitchell County, is home to approximately 4,000 people. The Baker Hotel sits abandoned downtown (not to be confused with one in Mineral Wells), but new lodging was built on I-20 in 2016. There are several dining options in town, so you can easily make an overnight visit. This cotton field was south of town off of Texas Highway 208.

3. Johnson City

The Milky Way setting at Pedernales Falls State Park.

Johnson City sits about an hour west of Austin. 1,600 reside in this Blanco County town on the Pedernales River. Nearby Pedernales Falls State Park offers overnight camping for an unforgettable view of the stars overflowing rivers and waterfalls. There are also two lodging options in town if you don’t wish to camp overnight.

2. Menard

The Milky Way over Fort McKavett in Menard, Texas.

Menard is the seat of Menard County and home to about 1,800 residents. There are two nearby historic sites, San Saba de Presidio and Fort McKavett, both close before dark and special permission is required to enter after hours. You can see both sites from the road, however. Lodging and dining options are available in town.

1. Terlingua

Star trails from Terlingua, Texas.

Terlingua is star lover’s paradise. Remotely located in Brewster County near Big Bend National Park, about 58 permanent residents call Terlingua, “home.” While there are several lodging and dining options in the national park, ghost town, and neighboring village of Study Butte, there are many abandoned structures including a historic church, authentic boot hill cemetery, campers, and vehicles.

US Census Bureau