The best stargazing occurs when you live in an area with very little artificial light, and the Bortle Dark Sky Scale is a great tool to measure it. Here is an example:
To get a rough idea of what the light is like in the areas around you, Ethan Siegel at Medium.com has put together a nice process for adding Bortle data to Google Earth. Once you follow their steps, you can zoom in anywhere in North America (or other areas with other maps) to see Bortle values for that region.
You can also try it in a browser by loading this map from Jonathan Tomshine.
If you can’t find a dark area near you, you can always use Google Earth to do your star gazing for you. The incredible night sky feature will take you to the stars, and the “starry sky” released last year gives you a beautiful view around the planet.
When you have a chance, make sure to read Ethan’s full post at Medium, as it does an excellent job of digging into the Bortle Scale and exactly how to use Google Earth to determine the Bortle value for your area.