Walt Frerck/Associated Press
McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis
Distance: 997 miles one-way
The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas especially at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis. The observatory is home to the gigantic Hobby-Eberly Telescope.
This University of Texas observatory near Marfa ranks as one of the top astronomy facilities on the planet. It hosts nighttime star parties. Daily tours highlight the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. Its 433-inch mirror optical telescope, one of the world's largest, is used to explore black holes. Near Fort Davis. (877) 984-7827, website. $8 adults.