CABBI Travel Blog

Night skies at Courtwood Inn, photo by Jon van Bronkhorst

Summer Stargazing at California’s Secluded Inns

Dark summer nights set the stage for celestial brilliance in remote regions throughout California. From isolated coastal and wine country getaways to hidden mountain retreats and secluded desert oases, stargazing travelers will find several opportunities to indulge their inner astronomer at these boutique California inns located far from bright city lights.

Fire pit at Stanly Ranch
Fire pit at Stanly Ranch

Stanly Ranch

Stargazing is a main event at the 700-acre Stanly Ranch in Napa Valley. On summer Fridays at sundown, guests are invited to meet on the Great Lawn for a guided journey under a canopy of stars. Through a powerful telescope, guests can view the season’s unique display of constellations, planetary movement, and other celestial phenomena. For a wide-angle view, guests can spread out on a picnic blanket and enjoy the presentation with a signature Shooting Star cocktail and Cosmic Brownie dessert. Guests can also enjoy world-class stargazing from the sanctuary of their luxury accommodations which feature private terraces.       

Stars agaisnt the backdrop of Timber Cove Resort's iconic peace totem
Stars against the backdrop of Timber Cove Resort’s iconic peace totem

Timber Cove Resort

Perched on a rugged bluff along the Sonoma Coast, Timber Cove Resort is a stunning setting for watching stars soar high above the horizon. The resort’s two miles of hiking trails provide numerous vantage points for guests to find a secluded spot for stargazing. Guests can also sit back and gaze upward from the resort’s oceanfront fire pit ringed with Adirondack seating. For a deeper dive into galactic wonders, guest rooms are equipped with binoculars and a communal telescope is available for check-out at the front desk. 

Aerial view of Sensei Porcupine Creek
Aerial view of Sensei Porcupine Creek, photo by Chris Simpson courtesy of Sensei Porcupine Creek

Sensei Porcupine Creek 

Situated at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Rancho Mirage, Sensei Porcupine Creek is a 230-acre desert oasis for soulful refuge. The luxury resort’s secluded location offers prime night-sky viewing from numerous points on the property, including the lagoon-style swimming pool fringed with chaise seating and towering palms. It’s the perfect spot for lying back and staring into the sky. For guests interested in venturing beyond, a short drive away is Joshua Tree National Park, which is a designated International Dark Sky Park. The night sky here is among the darkest in Southern California.  

Stargaziing at Litle River Inn
Stargazing at Litle River Inn

Little River Inn

On a sprawling bluff above the ocean, Little River Inn offers a splendid starlight setting on the Mendocino Coast. From inviting outdoor seating areas, to the private trail that leads to the beach, to guest rooms with private decks, guests will find their perfect spot for night sky observation. For a celestial-themed getaway, the inn’s two-night Stargazing Family Fun Package includes a loaner stargazing kit with binoculars, a star map, a star guide, and a flashlight. A keepsake travel blanket, hot chocolate, and Comet Corn popcorn are also included. Reserve the package at least 5 days in advance by calling 707-937-5942 or 888-INN-LOVE.

Fire pit at Highlands Ranch Resort
Fire pit at Highlands Ranch Resort

Highlands Ranch Resort

Just four miles from the southwest entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Highlands Ranch Resort offers an immersive experience into nature’s wonders. While myriad outdoor pursuits from hiking and horseback riding to fishing and birdwatching fill guests’ daylight hours, it’s the star-lit afterhours that deliver a stunning impression. Guests can capture the nighttime’s cosmic display from numerous corners of the resort, including Childs Meadow which opens to unobstructed views of the alpine sky or from the restaurant’s expansive wraparound deck. For a personal stargazing experience, guests can count their lucky stars from the cozy seating of their room’s private patio.         

Night skies at Courtwood Inn, photo by  Jon van Bronkhorst
Nighttime skies at Courtwood Inn, photo by Jon van Bronkhorst

Courtwood Inn

Sitting on a five-acre hilltop with commanding views of the Sierra Foothills and unobstructed views of the skies overhead, Courtwood Inn is a grand cedar lodge nestled between Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. There are plenty of prime stargazing sites at this tennis-themed inn, including a 2,500 square-foot deck that wraps the entire length of the lodge, the balcony of the upper room, or even the unlit championship tennis courts that serve a very different purpose during the day.

The fire pit at Oceanpoint Ranch
The fire pit at Oceanpoint Ranch

Oceanpoint Ranch

When the sun melts into the Pacific horizon, Cambria’s sky slowly darkens to an effervescent display of shimmering light. At Oceanpoint Ranch boutique hotel, located across the street from Cambria’s famous Moonstone Beach, guests can enjoy unobstructed views of the starry show above. The inn features communal fire pits with Adirondack seating as well as an expansive lawn where guests can roll out a blanket or set up chairs for a reclined view. For a more intimate stargazing experience, guests can follow a private path that leads to the beach and its quiet corners.   

Night sky views from the Inn at the Lost Coast, photo by Humboldt Girl Photography
Nighttime views from the Inn of the Lost Coast, photo by Humboldt Girl Photography

Inn of the Lost Coast

Unparalleled beauty, stunning sunsets, and incredible celestial views surround the charming fishing village of Shelter Cove. Near the water’s edge at the west end of town, the Inn of the Lost Coast is nestled on a cliff, where the night skies can be seen for miles with hardly an end in sight. Whether from their own private balcony, the tub in their spa suite, in front of an outdoor fire pit, or walking along the bluffs hand in hand, guests have endless opportunities to wish upon a star on the Lost Coast.

View of the Klamath River from Historic Requa Inn
View of the Klamath River from Historic Requa Inn

Historic Requa Inn

Perched above the banks of the Klamath River, about a mile from where the river meets the ocean, the Historic Requa Inn has been welcoming travelers for over 100 years. Once a bustling commercial center for fish canneries, the region today is the sparsely populated home to expansive co-managed state and federal redwood parks. As such, stargazing opportunities are as protected as the surrounding wilderness. Guests at the inn enjoy access to it all. Gazing up, it’s a wonder to imagine how mariners and the region’s ancient Yurok people may have used the stars to navigate their paths.      

Nighttime skies at Eden Vale Inn
Nighttime skies at Eden Vale Inn

Eden Vale Inn

Tucked into the Sierra Nevada foothills on 10 acres, Eden Vale Inn offers endless opportunities for perusing the night sky. Extensive gardens, outdoor living areas, and a year-round swimming pond make the property one-of-a-kind. The inn is even offering a Star Gazer’s Delight package that provides everything guests need for a memorable night of sky-watching. For $79, the romantic experience includes tripod-mounted stargazing binoculars, a star guide, ambient lighting, table and chairs, blankets, a bottle from the house wine list, and plenty of Sierra starlight.

Council Bluff at The Inn at Newport Ranch
Council Bluff at The Inn at Newport Ranch

The Inn at Newport Ranch

Few destinations enjoy the vast seclusion found at The Inn at Newport Ranch on the Mendocino Coast. Situated on 2,200 acres of private ranchland comprising old-growth redwood forests, rolling meadows, and over a mile of coastal bluffs, the inn is a sprawling escape back to nature. By night, the ranch transforms into a stargazing dreamscape ablaze in celestial awe. A favorite viewing spot is the inn’s blufftop kettle-style fire pit and seating area where guests can make their own s’mores and enjoy front-row seating to Mother Nature’s double feature – stunning sunsets followed by nighttime’s star attractions. 

View of the stars at Elk Cove Inn & Spa
View of the stars from the beach at Elk Cove Inn & Spa

Elk Cove Inn & Spa

Perched on a secluded bluff overlooking a mile of beach below, Elk Cove Inn & Spa on the Mendocino Coast feels worlds away. The historic property winds through native forest and manicured gardens, offering numerous viewpoints for gazing up at star-filled skies. Near the inn’s main building, a blufftop fire pit and seating area provide an inviting setting for counting shooting stars overhead. Guests can also follow the private staircase to the beach below and build their own bonfire for cozy warmth under the stars.     

View from a guest room deck at Inns of Mendocino's JD House
View from a guest room deck at Inns of Mendocino’s JD House

Inns of Mendocino

JD House Inn is the Inns of Mendocino’s modern interpretation of a Mendocino ship captain’s home, complete with sweeping ocean views and dramatic English gardens. It’s a heavenly spot for stargazing, especially the Grand King with its deck facing the ocean. On clear nights, there’s no city light to interfere with the stars above the Pacific. The innkeepers recommend checking the Clear Sky Chart for the best stargazing nights before heading to the inn’s website to book.

Nighttime skies at the McCaffrey House
Nighttime skies at the McCaffrey House, photo by Joseph Guillory

McCaffrey House Bed & Breakfast Inn

Nestled among towering pines off a winding mountain road, McCaffrey House Bed & Breakfast Inn in Twain Harte is a haven for stargazers. In this corner of Gold Country, the night sky glows with shooting stars, meteor showers, constellations, and other astronomical wonders. Guests can enjoy the views from the inn’s expansive deck and stone patio areas, or venture to popular natural attractions nearby, including Pinecrest Lake, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, and Yosemite National Park. 

Kit Carson Lodge
Kit Carson Lodge

Kit Carson Lodge

Situated at 7,300 feet above sea level, Kit Carson Lodge is located on the secluded shore of Silver Lake in the Sierra Nevada. Far from city lights obstruction, the night sky here is a black backdrop for jaw-dropping celestial performances. Whether staying in a cabin or the historic lodge, guests can enjoy the evening spectacle from the cozy comfort of their private deck. Another popular way to see the stars is to pull up a chair or rest against a boulder along the shoreline. Soft sounds of water rippling ashore provide a soothing soundtrack to the show above.    

Nighttime skies at Mar Vista Farm & Cottages
Nighttime skies at Mar Vista Farm & Cottages

Mar Vista Farm + Cottages

When the sun goes down at Mar Vista Farm + Cottages, bright stars command attention against a sky away from city lights, offering guests a chance to see the night sky as they’ve never seen it before. A small farm on nine acres along the “secret coast” of Mendocino County, the inn offers guests a restorative nighttime journey as the sea crashes in the distance. The innkeepers have designed the campus for minimal light pollution, leaving only the Milky Way, the North Star, and the moon to guide stargazers as they ponder what’s just beyond our world.

Skies above Donner Lake Inn
Skies above Donner Lake Inn

Donner Lake Inn

High in the Sierra, Donner Lake Inn offers prime stargazing from its hammock, hot tub, or outdoor seating areas scattered among the pines. The inn is located at the west end of Donner Lake, far from the lights of town, and provides clear views of the dark night sky.  For those who are more adventurous, take the five-minute drive to the top of Donner Summit, and view the skies in the absence of all manmade light from the parking area by Rainbow Bridge. Visitors may catch sight of the international space station or orbiting satellites passing right overhead, or even a meteor streaking across the sky.   

Fire pit at the Inn of the Presidio
Fire pit at the Inn of the Presidio

Presidio Lodging

Stargazing in San Francisco is a celestial delight from the vantage point of the Lodge at the Presdio and Inn at the Presidio. The historic hotels are uniquely situated within the Presidio of San Francisco national park site, set back from the neon markers of a city lights skyline. Guests can enjoy clearer views of the night sky from here while open spaces within the approximately 1,500-acre park present myriad opportunities for unobstructed viewpoints. Guests can also cozy up with a blanket around the properties’ shared outdoor fire pit and watch for stars falling over the bay. Adding to the experience, the Presidio hosts special free astronomy programs and stargazing events

Secluded views of the ocean and Big River from the gardens of Alegria Oceanfront Inn & Cottages
View from the deck of Alegria Oceanfront Inn & Cottages

Alegria Oceanfront Inn & Cottages

Mendocino is a historical preservation district with a population of under 1,000, which means it casts little light to compete with the dazzling nighttime sky. From decks overlooking Big River Beach, guests at Alegria Oceanfront Inn & Cottages enjoy private views filled with stars. Down a private path to the river, the sky is even darker, making the views truly stunning alongside the soundtrack of waves against the sand. For a truly dark site, guests can drive just a couple of minutes south to the Spring Ranch barns.