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National park tips: See the drama unfold at Ford's Theatre in D.C., where Lincoln was assassinated

Palomar Observatory

Distance: 132 miles one-way.

At any campground in the world, gazing up at the universe with the naked eye is a rush that eclipses the pleasures of cocoa and a roasted marshmallow. But on Palomar Mountain, peering at intensely magnified bits and pieces of the heavens through a 25-inch Newtonian telescope is something else entirely.

-- Jordan Rane

Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times
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