Starry-Eyed Travel Predictions

‘Tis the season for travel trend predictions! With all the hype around space tourism, a more approachable trend may be to simply enjoy star-gazing from beautiful destinations here on earth. And with the 2017 total eclipse already making headlines, I predict the coming year in tourism is going to be one for the stars.

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Stargazing on Whidbey Island; photo courtesy of Camp Casey

While Washington may not be in the direct path of the 2017 total eclipse, we will still see the moon pass 90 percent in front of the sun for that brief moment on August 21. Hotels and campgrounds are already filling up in destinations under the path of the total eclipse. It’s time to plan ahead for where you’ll be for the momentous occasion, or explore new viewing opportunities.

When it comes to year-round star gazing, what better spot than Whidbey Island with countless beaches, state parks and bluffs, as well as Ebey’s Landing, a national historic preserve far away from the city lights and other light pollution?

  • Come to a star party at Fort Nugent Park for free education and access to telescopes. Depending on time of year and the weather, the experts of the Island County Astronomical Society help visitors spot the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, craters on the moon and much more. Parties are free, open to the public and take place the last Friday of each month.Details can be found here.
  • Students and groups at Camp Casey near Coupeville on Whidbey Island can partake in star gazing sessions at the on-site observatory with Douglas Downing, an associate professor of economics in the School of Business, Government, and Economics at Seattle Pacific University, who also teaches an Astronomy class inspired by his life-long love of star gazing. Students enjoy hands-on viewing of the moon, nebulae, and constellations year-round. For more information click here.

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