As the awareness to protecting night sky increases, being a member of International Dark Sky Association and an advocate of Dark Skies, I wanted to explore the available remaining dark skies close to home and close to cities that could still be enjoyed and preserved. I was 25 when I first saw milky way, and I wanted to create awareness to others to not miss this spectacle in their life time and preferably experience it at a younger age. The following is my effort in identifying areas and locations in the state of California with a collection of pictures constituting of beautiful landscape combined with enviable dark skies which are not too far from where the masses live but devoid of dark skies due to city lights. I also believe with summer time people should take advantage and take their kids to such places and show them the nights how our ancestors enjoyed.
Davenport, CA is a quaint town in the coast of CA with near proximity to big cities like San Jose, San Francisco. The quality of dark skies is completely enviable in the south – Southwest where the Milky Way will be visible at this time of the year. The skies are so dark that you would not even find light domes in the horizon from the beach .
Scotts Creek, CA is a beautiful beach area on the road side few miles north of Davenport CA where the Scotts creek merges with the ocean, this is a beautiful spot to enjoy the stars which demands just getting down from car got out and look up.
Pescadero, CA – Pigeon point light house is again a short drive from Half Moon Bay getting out of all hustle bustle and touristy crowd to enjoy the peacefulness of country side with really dark skies despite the light from lighthouse tries to take the darkness away. This would definitely be a nice spot to enjoy the stars with family learning about planets, stars, galaxies providing kids chance to see the occasional shooting stars aka meteors.
Majors, CA is on the way to Santa Cruz and any where getting out of the car to look at the beaches will provide you with stunning views of beaches as well as a pretty good dark skies. As we are near to another big town Santa Cruz, we will start seeing a light dome of light pollution but its a beautiful few miles drive away from city to enjoy the Milky Way.
Yosemite, CA – Yosemite and high sierras is a 3-4 hour drive from San Francisco Bay Area which gives a nice weekend retreat away from city life to the wild beautiful mountain landscape with plenty of opportunity for night skies as the area has the best chances of having clear nights in Summer.