The Hamptons is known as Hollywood’s summer playground, drawing stars from West to East as the temperatures reach their peak. But with all due respect to actors, writers and even Real Housewives, the true stars of summer are of the celestial variety. Away from artificial lights, these wide-open areas offer the best vantage points for Long Island stargazing.
Custer Observatory, Southold
Located in view of the Peconic Bay and Shelter Island, Custer Observatory faces some of the darkest skies on Long Island. Saturday night observing is open to the public from 8pm to midnight (weather permitting). Volunteers provide visitors with guided tours of the sky through huge telescopes (25 inches) and astro-binoculars in the dome of the building. Go.
Crescent Beach, Shelter Island
No streetlights and peaceful shores make Shelter Island the perfect place to curl up on a blanket and take in the beauty from above. Located on the North side of the island (just an eight-minute ferry ride from Greenport), Crescent Beach offers more than half a mile of remote paradise. Go.
Montauk Point State Park, Montauk
Approximately 120 miles from New York City, this park is far removed from all the hustle and bustle. Light pollution isn’t as prevalent at The End, which means more stars (permit required). Go.
Vanderbilt Observatory, Centerport
The rooftop observatory offers Friday night viewings (9-10pm) of the night sky. Guided by an astronomy educator, visitors can examine the world above them through the Vanderbilt’s 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope. Go.
Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park
At the park, visitors will find a sandy oasis that overlooks the Long Island Sound. Between the long boardwalk and grassy areas, let the calm waters provide the soundtrack to the evening (permit necessary, fields one and three only). Go.