New campaign highlighting the state’s endless stargazing opportunities
International Dark Sky Week is April 15 – 22 and event runs through the summer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. –– The West Virginia Department of Tourism has partnered with the International Dark-Sky Association to launch a new campaign highlighting the state’s endless stargazing opportunities. This promotion of West Virginia’s star-studded skies began this morning in conjunction with International Dark Sky Week, April 15 – 22, and will run through the end of the summer.
“With more and more travelers looking to escape the crowds for a peaceful retreat, stargazing has become a sought after experience,” said West Virginia Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby. “We wanted to make it easier than ever for folks to plan their dark sky getaway to West Virginia. Since we’re a day’s drive away from two-thirds of the U.S. population – and we have dark skies in every corner of the state, West Virginia is perfectly positioned for travelers to come see the stars from one of the darkest spots on the East Coast.”
West Virginia is home to one of the largest and darkest skysheds within the Eastern United States, which is why Travel + Leisure dubbed West Virginia one of the “most under-the-radar stargazing destinations” last year. Additionally, the International Dark-Sky Association has designated Watoga, Calvin Price, and Droop Mountain Battlefield state parks as “Dark Sky Parks,” which is the highest honor available for stargazing parks. Designations are based on the quality of the night skies, stringent outdoor lighting standards, and innovative community outreach, and the organization has designated less than 200 parks around the world.
The Department of Tourism is sharing resources on its website and social media platforms to help travelers plan the ideal starry sky getaways to Almost Heaven this summer — including trip guides, a packing list, a constellation guide, exclusive discounts & deals, and photography tips. Additionally, 100 lucky winners will have the chance to win dark-sky-themed prizes, including 15 grand prize winners who will receive a GoPro Hero 11. These prizes are the perfect accessories for any starry sky getaway in Almost Heaven.
“Stargazing is a perfect activity for a trip in any part of West Virginia, and our website will give you all the information on how to get started,” Secretary Ruby said. “After spending a night under the stars, folks will surely understand how West Virginia got its nickname as Almost Heaven, West Virginia.”
To celebrate International Dark Skies Week, the Department of Tourism and its partners around the state will be posting dark-sky photos on social media all week. Those looking to plan a trip or enter the giveaway should head to WVtourism.com/stars.