The reality of living in Florida is the state's beauty causes so many people to want to move and live here - light pollution crowding our skies and blocking out the stars at night. But if you do a little searching, Florida is blessed with a few secluded areas that are perfect for stargazing and witnessing the beauty of our galaxy. At Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, you can actually see the Milky Way.
When you visit Kissimmee Prairie Preserve during the day, there's no denying that its beauty is truly something to behold - you may even see deer and other wildlife prance across the Florida landscape. With stretches of prairie and wetland giving gorgeous horizon views as you walk down a lush green and tree-lined path, you'd think that they couldn't be beaten.
Until the sun goes down that is. Enjoying Kissimmee Prairie in the daytime is a treat, but camping at this state park is truly spectacular. Due to its location, the prairie gets dark enough at night for visitors to enjoy some of the best stargazing the state has to offer - even receiving dark sky certification for amazing sky viewing conditions.
Under the right conditions, visitors can see the Milky Way with their own naked eye faintly sweeping across the sky - even if you don't camp here, people simply driving by the park with their camera have been able to snap a shot.
If you have a tripod, some long exposure photography skills, and want to truly capture the galaxy's magic, set up and wait for the sun to go down. Going on a night when it's a new moon and the weather is expected to be clear will leave you with the most breathtaking view of our Milky Way Galaxy from Earth, and millions of stars dotting an otherwise inky dark sky.
Being able to see the galaxy in the south isn't something most people know about - it's more common in less developed areas of the U.S, but if you do a little Florida explorin' you may just find a place like Kissimmee to see the wonders of our galaxy in the skies above.
As you camp under the Milky Way and escape the rush of the city at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, you'll feel the magic of the stars and leave with views you'll never forget.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
Price: $4 per vehicle
Address: 33104 NW 192nd Ave. Okeechobee FL 34972
Hours: 8 am to sundown, 365 days a year; unless you're camping here, of course! Camping reservations can be booked in advance here.
Why you should go: The most stunning sky views that you could possibly imagine; Many have seen the galaxy here unassisted with the naked eye. If you want to capture the magic, bust out your long exposure photography chops and take the sights with you forever - an absolutely beautiful nature preserve worth visiting day or night.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit a potentially hazardous location, you check for the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, always respect the environment.