Milwaukee Astronomical Society


Dark Observing Sites

"Near" Milwaukee

Obviously near is a relative term which is why it's in quotes. The three locations we present here are a minimum of a 40 minute drive from downtown Milwaukee. The furthest is 2 hours. It shouldn't surprise you that the farthest one is also the darkest. Why these 3? It's simply because these are the most popular sites used by members of the MAS.

  1. Harrington Beach State Park (On Lake Michigan between Port Washington & Sheboygan)
    2. Go to upper parking lot marked by star on map.

      Harrington Beach
  2. Ottawa Lake State Recreation Area (In the Southern Kettle Moraine north of Eagle, WI)
    2. Ottawa Lake Permission To use this area you will need to purchase a day pass or annual state park sticker. But this will limit you to leaving by 11:00PM. The MAS has secured special permission for this dark area of the park for our members to extend that time thru dawn. But it is a good idea to print out the permission letter and have it with you.
    3. Go all the way back around all beach & picnic areas to boat landing parking lot on the lake marked on the map.

      Ottawa Lake State Recreation Area
  3. White Mound County Park (Sauk County NW of Madison & north of Plain, WI)
    3. Go past park pavilion & campground around lake to boat landing parking lot marked on map.

      White Mound County Park


Observing Etiquette

  1. Please dim your headlights when entering/leaving the parking lot or observing area. Bright lights can ruin people's dark adaptation.
  2. For the same reason as above, please avoid the use of white flashlights. Lower brightness red lights are preferred.
  3. Please be considerate if using a laser pointers to point to areas of the sky. Ask if anyone is imaging and where they are imaging. If the beam crosses where they are imaging it will ruin that frame.