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Crazy for stargazing? Best places to see meteors and more this summer

Go hotel stargazing in the California desert with La Casa del Zorro package.

It wasn't just you. Almost everyone was disappointed last weekend when the Camelopardalid meteor showers failed to put on the promised dazzling show. But take heart, the Delta Aquarids are coming up July 29 and 30 and the Perseids from Aug. 10 to 13.

That leaves plenty of time to plan a trip to dark place far from city lights, where you can stay up late and watch the stars. Here are four places to go, some with festivals and star parties around the meteor showers.

The locations will be hot by day but cool at night. Take layers of warm clothing and a flashlight, and plan on staying up past your bedtime.

La Casa del Zorro, Borrego Springs: The hotel this month launched a Summer Stargazing Package that features use of telescopes at the hotel all summer. Special stargazing parties with music and an on-site astronomer will be held July 28 and 29 and Aug. 12 and 13 during the meteor showers. Rooms start at $189 plus tax and $25 resort fee. The price includes early check-in, late checkout and breakfast for two.

Info: La Casa del Zorro, (855) 402-2272

Great Basin National Park near Baker, Nev.: This is one of the darkest spots in America, and the park flaunts its celestial reputation with a team of knowledgeable Dark Rangers. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night through Labor Day, rangers at the park in eastern Nevada near the Utah border lead themed talks and provide big telescopes to see what's happening in the heavens. A Perseids Meteor Shower Watching Party is planned for Aug. 12 and an Astronomy Festival from Sept. 18 to 24.

Info: Great Basin National Park, (775) 234-7331

Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona: The park allocates an entire week for its 24th Star Party from June 21 to 28. It's clear and dry in June, making for the best sky-viewing conditions. Free nightly astronomy talks and free telescope viewing will be held at the visitor center on the South Rim and at the lodge on the North Rim.

Info: 2014 Grand Canyon Star Party

Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah: Another good dark spot to watch the stars. Bryce Canyon welcomes Australian photographer and amateur astronomer Alex Cherney on June 27 during the park's 14th Astronomy Festival June 25-28. Watch the sky by day (solar astronomy) and then take a ranger-led constellation tour of the night sky.

Info: Bryce Canyon National Park Astronomy Festival

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