By Julia Hunter
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Scientists estimate there are more than 200 billion stars in the Milky Way. But sometimes, under the veil of street lights and the glow of our cities, it’s difficult to see even a few.
Luckily, there are still secluded Wisconsin escapes that allow the night sky to be viewed in all its splendor. You don’t even need to worry about finding a place to watch in the dark of night. Just check into one of these cabins, and look up.
Nestled along the Ocooch Mountains in southwestern Wisconsin, the Meadow House offers panoramic views and sleeps four. Glass walls allow guests to gaze upon constellations from the comfort of this magical cottage, perched atop a hill overlooking a sprawling meadow. In addition to the stars, be on the lookout for deer, rabbits and other wildlife.
If the Meadow House is booked, Candlewood Cabins has three other rentals on the land (including another made of glass). All are just a short walk from wide open meadows – perfect for laying down a blanket and feeling small under the speckled sky.
Some of the darkest skies in Wisconsin can be found on Madeline Island, and there’s no shortage of cabins to relax at while you take it all in.
Valhalla sits on a sandy beach at the island’s northern point, far from light pollution. This three-bedroom cabin with a screened-in porch is just steps from a private beach and dock that overlook Lake Superior, providing crystal clear views of the night sky. Book your stay in mid-August for ideal weather and phenomenal views during the Perseid meteor shower.
Washington Island sits six miles off the tip of the Door Peninsula and offers unobstructed views of the stars and, occasionally, the Northern Lights. Guests of Water’s Edge, a newer three-bedroom cabin that rests in the secluded woods of Figenschau Bay, only need to walk out to the shore to see the open sky. The private beach and dock provide a perfect setting to take in the show.
Bonus: You can also try Above & Beyond Cottage on Washington Island.
For southeastern Wisconsin stargazers not able to stray far, Point Beach State Forest offers a respite from Milwaukee’s city lights. Two rustic group cabins, Coenen and Ketchbaw, sleep 14 to 16 people and can be booked for just $60 a night. While guests don’t have access to electricity, each cabin has a boardwalk to six miles of white sand beach where you can seek out the Big and Little dippers, Cassiopeia and Orion. What better place to be in the dark?